The York Revolution had just scored four runs in bottom of the ninth inning to tie the score at 7-7 when Octavio Martinez stepped to the plate.
With runners on first and third and two outs, and the momentum on York’s side, it was now up to Martinez to either end the game or let it go into extra innings.
With side-armed pitcher Ben Grezlovski on the mound, Revs’ manager Andy Etchebarren had instructed his players to hit the pitches that were from the waist up.
“Luckily, I got a first pitch pretty much down the middle and it felt high. I said ‘this is it right here. I better let it fly,” Martinez said.
Let it fly he did, smacking the ball to the gap in left-center field for a walk-off RBI single, giving York a dramatic 8-7 come-from-behind victory over Somerset.
The matchup between York and Somerset was the first since the Freedom Division Championship Series in September, when the Revs defeated the Patriots 1-0 in Game 5, taking the series 3-2. York went on to win its first Atlantic League crown.
Although Martinez wasn’t around for last year’s York-Somerset series, he said the victory over the Patriots, who have won five Atlantic League titles in their 14 seasons, still means a lot to him.
“It seems like the whole league has rivalries with them. It’s the one team you really wanna go out there and play well and beat,” he said.
Until the bottom of the ninth inning, though, York hadn’t played well.
In his second start of the season for York, pitcher Corey Thurman (1-0) gave up at least a hit in each of the five innings he tossed. Thurman ended up allowing four runs, three earned, on eight hits. But the damage could have been much worse. Thurman worked out of jams in the first and third innings, and Somerset left a total of six runners stranded against him.
“You keep your mind together and focus on the next pitch, pitch to pitch and out to out. And it’ll work out,” Thurman said. “That’s one of those situations where it validates you focusing on executing pitch to pitch, don’t worry about what just happened.”
Ronnie Morales tossed a scoreless sixth inning and was pulled after retiring the first batter in the seventh inning. But reliever Jason Richardson then came in and walked two batters and gave up an RBI single.
And in the top of the ninth inning, York reliever Jeremy Lewis gave up a two-run home to Michael Hernandez, allowing Somerset (1-3) to extend its lead to 7-3.
But York stormed back in the bottom of the ninth. Liu Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to lead things off. Van Pope and Scott Grimes followed with singles to load the bases with no outs. Rodriguez scored from third on a wild pitch, and Val Majewski then hit an RBI groundout to bring the Revs to within 7-5.
A walk to Jason Botts loaded the bases again, this time with one out. James Shanks then nailed a two-run single to right field, tying the score at 7-7.
After Vince Harrison grounded out, York had runners on first and third with two outs when Martinez singled to bring home Botts.
The victory marked the third straight game that York (4-0) has won in come-from-behind fashion. With the win, York remains as the only unbeaten team in the Atlantic League. The 4-0 start is also the best first-half start in franchise history. York began the second half of its 2009 season at 4-0.
–York’s Van Pope entered Wednesday with the lowest batting average of any Revs everyday player (2-for-10, .200). He ended up getting the most hits of any York player on Wednesday, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
–Val Majewski accounted for three of York’s run, with an RBI single in the third, a solo homer in the eighth and an RBI groudnout in the ninth.
—With his five innings of work on Wednesday, Thurman has now tossed more than 1,500 innings in the minors.
York Batting Stats from Wednesday’s game:
Grimes, cf: 0-for-4, run scored, walk
Walker, rf: 0-for-4, run scored, RBI, walk
Majewski, lf, 2-for-5, run scored, three RBIs
Botts, 1b: 1-for-3, run scored, two walks, K
Shanks, dh: 1-for-5, two RBIs, two Ks
Harrison, 3b: 1-for-5, two Ks
Rodriguez, 2b: 1-for-2, two runs, one walk, K
Pope, ss: 3-for-4, two runs scored, K
York pitching from Wednesday’s game:
Thurman: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Morales: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER
Richardson: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB
Cruz: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER
Rice: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB
Lewis (W, 1-0): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB