If there is ever a time to get hot, now is the time. Coming into the game, the Mudcats only had eleven games left in the season, nine of which against divisional opponents. With Carroll just a few games back of Chillicothe, this was looking to be an important win for either team. If you’ve paid attention all season long, you would know that this Chillicothe Mudcats team doesn’t like to make it easy. In fact, they tied it up not once, not twice, but three times in the game. Luckily, the hitters have been clutch and Elian Guzman seems to be getting comfortable.
Both teams went with two runs a piece in the first, making it a 2-2 ballgame. Chillicothe would later take a one run lead in the fourth, but Carroll responded by tying it in the sixth at 3-3. Getting down to the final few innings, the Merchants scored two in the eighth to make it 5-3. But, the Mudcats didn’t roll over that easy, scoring two of their own in the bottom half to make it 5-5. After RHP Josiah Golden pitched a scoreless ninth, it would be up to the Mudcats’ offense in the bottom half to win it or force extras.
Designated Hitter Layne Rutherford would draw a leadoff walk to get the inning started. Left Fielder Tanner Sears would reach on a fielder’s choice, now putting him at first as the winning run. Right Fielder Kodai Yaoita would fly out to center, putting the Mudcats one out away from sending it to extra innings. With Catcher Zack Thompson at the plate, Sears would steal second base easily. Thompson would end up drawing a walk, now putting runners at first and second with two gone. It would now be up to First Baseman Elian Guzman to score the winning run from second. Guzman started the season hot, but has fallen into a cold spell in the last few weeks. As of the last few games though, Guzman has had a hit in his last three games, with two already in this one. Guzman would rip a deep drive to left field, splitting the Merchants’ outfield, scoring Sears from second and winning 6-5.
The adrenaline, the hype and the theatrics summed up an incredible victory Tuesday night. The Mudcats are 9-3 this season in one-run games, which proved Head Coach Tyler Hudlow’s point in saying when the team has their backs against the wall, that is when they are at their best. This victory puts the team at third place in the North Division at 18-15, three games above Carroll. Chillicothe trails Clarinda by three games for the second place spot. Those teams don’t meet up until the final game of the season on July 22nd. Strap on your seatbelts, folks. These next two weeks are going to be the most interesting of the summer.
After an off day on Wednesday, the Mudcats head to Carroll to take on the Merchants again. The doubleheader game will get started at 5:00 PM. This will be the final time these two teams are set to meet in the regular season.