The Brazos Valley Bombers fought through the heat, and then the rain, to grab a late lead Sunday afternoon against the visiting Duncanville Deputies at Brazos Valley Bank Ballpark. Unfortunately, the Deputies had just a little more fight in them, scoring a pair in the top of the ninth, then holding off a budding Bombers rally in the home half of the frame, to defeat the B’s, 5-4.
The Bombers remain in first place following the loss, pending the results of the doubleheader between the second place Coppell Copperheads and the third place Colleyville LoneStars. The top two teams in each division qualify for the TCL playoffs.
The two teams traded leads all afternoon, interrupted only by a one hour rain delay in the top of the eighth inning. The B’s landed the first blow, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Blake Walker led off by dropping a blooper down the right field line that he hustled into a double. Walker then stole third base and Kip Masuda was plunked to put runners at the corners. Ryan Weber, who has been hot of late, drove an RBI single to left that scored Walker and moved Masuda up to second. Kyle Sisney followed with a grounder to second that had Duncanville thinking double play. The toss to the shortstop forced out Weber, but his throw to third was wild, allowing Masuda to come around and give the Bombers a 2-0 lead.
The Deputies struck back in the top of the third. A leadoff double turned into the visitors’ first run when Bombers starter Garrett Duff threw wildly to first on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Two batters later, Duncanville picked up an RBI single to tie the score.
Duncanville picked up their first lead of the game an inning later. Two singles were followed by a double-steal, putting runners at second and third. A one-out single through the right side scored one and gave the Deputies a 3-2 lead.
Brazos Valley came back to tie the score in the home half of the sixth inning, and once again Walker was at the center of the action. The Bombers’ center fielder singled to left, and a Masuda sacrifice moved him into a scoring position. A wild pitch put Walker ninety feet from home, and Weber scored him with a sac fly to right-center.
The rains came in the top of the eighth, and when the skies cleared and the tarp was rolled away, Tyler Davis (2-1) had taken to the mound for the B’s. He retired the Deputies in order, setting the stage for a dramatic ending.
Will Basom got things goes in the bottom of the eighth with a leadoff walk. Joseph Towns moved him over with a sacrifice bunt, and Basom advanced to third on a wild pitch. Walker grounded to the second baseman, who looked Basom back to third before retiring Walker. But with two outs, Masuda singled to left, allowing Basom to trot home with a 4-3 lead.
The first two batters in the ninth proved to be the Bombers downfall. Jeremy Barfield, the reigning TCL Player of the Week and son of former long-time Major Leaguer Jesse Barfield, hit a double off the wall in left field to lead off the inning. Brent Harris followed with a homer to right, snatching the lead right back from the Bombers, 5-4.
The B’s tried to mount another comeback in the home half of the frame. TJ Mittelstaedt led off with a single and Keith Stein walked. After Mark McGonigle and Basom were unable to move the runners along, Towns lined a shot to second that momentarily brought the crowd to its feet, before ultimately falling in defeat.
Walker was the sparkplug for the Bombers’ offense, going 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Mittelstaedt also notched a pair of hits atop the order, while Weber drove in a pair of runs and Masuda scored once and posted an RBI.
The Bombers return to action Monday night against the same Duncanville squad in the second of four games in three days between the two teams. Monday night is College Night, where anyone who shows a college ID can get a ticket for just one dollar, sponsored by Candy 95.
The B’s will take to the road beginning Tuesday for the final road trip of the regular season. The trek will open with a makeup doubleheader in Duncanville, followed by a makeup in Mineral Wells against the Steam. Brazos Valley will travel to the McKinney Marshals on Thursday, then make yet another visit to Duncanville on Friday.
Next Saturday, August 4, the Bombers return home to one of the most eagerly anticipated promotions of the season – Acie Law Bobblehead Giveaway. The Bombers will be taking on Colleyville in the first game of a weekend series to close out the regular season, but most fans will be interested in what’s being given away at the door. The first 500 fans through the gate will receive a miniature bobblehead likeness of the former Texas A&M All-American basketball player, now a first round draft choice of the Atlanta Hawks, courtesy of Brazos Valley Bank. This exciting giveaway has had fans buzzing ever since it was announced. It is the first Brazos Valley merchandise item with Law’s likeness and it is sure to be a hot commodity, so fans are encouraged to get tickets early so they don’t miss out.