Niagara Gazette — NIAGARA FALLS — The Niagara Power found the run production they sorely missed in recent games, but it was Matt Brooks' bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning that brought home their winning run.
Niagara's eight-game losing streak came to an end Friday night with a 9-8 win over the Oneonta Outlaws before 575 fans at Sal Maglie Stadium.
Given the team's luck of late, the Power are more than happy to win it this way, or any way.
"It was a crazy way to finish," said Niagara head coach Josh Rebrandt. "I was hoping (relief pitcher Travis) Laitar would be able to get the save. He battled out of it… Matt Brooks, that last at-bat, one of the best we've had all year."
Brooks battled his way to a full count, with the bases loaded and two men out. After Cameron Wilkie got aboard with a triple, Oneonta intentionally walked the next two batters, Scott Gillespie and Buddy McCoy, to load the bases and give them the opportunity to get forced outs at home. The strategy worked for two outs, until Brooks stepped to the plate.
It was a dramatic finish that seemed unlikely early in the game, when the Power found the run production they had sorely missed during their prolonged slump.
Niagara loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning on three walks by Oneonta's starting pitcher Jake Cryts. Jimmy Landes smacked a base hit that brought home three runs, scored by Johnny Blue Craig, Gillespie and McCoy. After Brooks took first base on yet another walk, Michael Kerr tripled to bring home two more runs, scored by Landes and Brooks. Kerr had an inside-the-park home run in mind and rounded third as the throw was coming in, but his aggression backfired as he was tagged out at home plate.