By MICHAEL MROZIAK firstname.lastname@example.org
Niagara Gazette — NIAGARA FALLS — The Niagara Power erased an early 2-0 lead, but the Geneva Red Wings, boosted by their bats as well as several Niagara errors, piled on more runs on their way to a 12-7 win at Sal Maglie Stadium last night.
The Power made the game interesting in the late stages, rallying for five runs in the eighth inning including a two-run homer by Michael Kerr. Then, they loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth. Alas, it wasn't the night for a miracle at Maglie.
The Red Wings took the 1-0 lead in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Zak Worsley singled to get on base. The following two hitters bunted to advance him, then Worsley scored on Andrew Gronski's ground out.
Geneva got its second run of the game in the second inning under some unusual circumstances. With Vernon Trice on third and two men out, Dustin Stuck appeared to be walked by Niagara's starting pitcher Ryan Brasser. However, the umpire recalled Stuck in an apparent mistaken count. On the following pitch, Stuck's broken bat hit was bobbled by Power second baseman Perry Rigby, who then made an errant throw to first, allowing Trice to score.
Rigby made up for his error at the plate in the bottom of the third. After Alex Lagos got aboard with a double and Cody Pentecost walked to take first base, Rigby brought them both home with his stand-up triple, tying the game at 2-2.
Unfortunately for the Power, sloppy play in the top of the fifth allowed the Red Wings to regain the lead. Stuck reached first safely on a well placed bunt. He then stole second and was able to advance to third when Niagara catcher Ben Pickard's throw missed the target and rolled into center field. Yet another miscue, a wild pitch by Brasser, allowed Stuck to score. Geneva increased the lead to 4-2 in the inning when Casey Fox smacked a standup triple and was then sent home on a base hit by Gronski.
Geneva piled on three more runs in the sixth inning. Stuck's sacrifice bunt resulted in a throwing error by Niagara pitcher Sam Whim. That bunt and error also allowed Scott Shields to score. Lee Miller then singled home two more runs.
They weren't finished. The Red Wings added five more runs in the top of the seventh, turning what earlier in the evening was a fast-moving game into a slow crawl. Every player in the Geneva lineup had a chance at the plate, two of them getting to bat twice.
Niagara cut the lead with its eighth inning rally, but after Geneva reliever Justin Thigpen got into trouble in the bottom of the ninth, Zach Augustine fanned the last batter to get the save.
Brasser, who struck out six and surrendered four hits in four and two-third innings, took the loss for the Power while Geneva starter Nicholas Myers got the win.
The same two teams meet again at Sal Maglie Stadium at 7 p.m. tonight.