BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas (June 18, 2021) — In an originally one-sided matchup against the San Antonio Flying Chanclas, the Brazos Valley Bombers mounted a five-run comeback rally before ultimately falling, 6-8, to set up a must-see rubber match Saturday featuring a second firework extravaganza.
The Friday opener featured solid offensive work from both sides, totalling 15 hits between the two teams. Though the Bombers were not able to emerge victorious, they successfully spent the evening honoring essential medical workers in the Brazos Valley as part of Nurses Appreciation Night. To highlight this tribute, fans were treated to an extravagant firework display at the end of the sixth inning, drawing cheer and awe from both sides of the seating sections.
For the first time in four games, the Bombers struck first, this time in the bottom of the second inning. A solid line drive by catcher Ryan Snell forced San Antonio’s center fielder to try and make a diving play, but the ball squeezed just past. Third baseman Troy Viola, who was hit by a pitch one batter earlier, scored on the double.
The Flying Chanclas knotted things at one in the top of the third with a leadoff solo shot over the left field wall. Another base runner threatened from scoring position, but pitcher Joseph Menefee escaped without any further damage by striking out three straight batters.
San Antonio outright took the lead in the fifth when an RBI single to left field brought home a runner from scoring position on second base. Two wild pitches allowed two more free runs, setting the new score at 1-4. Another multi-strikeout outing, this time from pitcher Dylan Johnson, ended the inning.
A challenging sixth inning doubled the Flying Chanclas’ run total. A passed ball and a three-run dinger to left field put San Antonio up by seven runs, the greatest deficit seen all night.
The Bombers fired back in the bottom of the sixth, scratching back three runs. Viola, center fielder Grayson Tatrow and shortstop Bobby Lada each recorded an RBI, bringing home Tatrow, right fielder Zane Schmidt and first baseman Shelby Becker. (transition to quote about a rally)
After a brief pause for fireworks, the Bombers continued their rally into the eight inning. A two-run hack over the left field wall by Lada scored himself and Tatrow, putting the navy and gold within two runs of San Antonio. This marked the shortstop’s second straight game with a home run, and his third in the past six matchups. Bombers head coach James Dillard said he is happy the team’s “hitting dry spell” seems to finally have ended.
“We had a lot of extra-base hits,” Dillard said. “We’re getting there. Our guys are starting to hit the ball hard. That’s the encouraging thing. The middle of our lineup is producing. When we start getting hot with the bats, we’re going to win quite a few baseball games. I truly believe that.”
An all-out push by the Bombers in the ninth inning wasn’t enough to secure the victory, with the final score ultimately finalizing at 6-8 in favor of San Antonio.
Captained by starter Menefee, Friday’s Player of the Game, the Bombers bullpen had one of its best showings of the season. Five pitchers came together to retire fourteen at the plate, including a season-high seven from the opener. Dylan Johnson and Chris Shull each recorded multiple as well, with Shull closing the night at a perfect 0.00 ERA. Menefee said his dominance on the mound came with adjustments necessary between play in the SEC regular season and the TCL during the summer.
“I felt good out there for my three innings,” Menefee said. “Stretching it out is a little new for me, so that’s what I’m trying to do. This is uncharted territory. I feel fairly confident out of the bullpen right now.”
After Friday’s series-opener, Brazos Valley falls to a 7-9 record while San Antonio continues its league-leading dominance, climbing to 11-2 on the season. This marks the Bombers’ first ever loss to the Flying Chanclas at Edible Field.
The Bombers return to action Saturday, June 19 for game two against the Flying Chanclas, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. The rematch will be held on the Bombers’ Happy Gilmore Night, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the iconic movie’s release. Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to participate in a ‘longest drive’ competition and special auctions featuring Happy Gilmore-themed Brazos Valley merchandise and a special Saturday showing of the team’s firework show.
Dillard said he is confident the team’s hard work and determination has the ability to push the Bombers into the win column come Saturday.
“When you’re in a little bit of a slump, those things happen,” Dillard said. “We’re going to figure it out. We’re going to be fine. I didn’t like the result, but I was proud of their effort. That’s all that you can ask for.”
For tickets and updates on the Bombers 2021 season, fans are encouraged to call (979) 779-PLAY or visit www.bvbombers.com. To follow all upcoming news and developments for the Brazos Valley Bombers, follow the team on facebook.com/bvbombers, Twitter: @BV_Bombers and Instagram: @bvbombers.
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