May 4, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorBlake Dale went 4-for-5 as he and his teammates overcame a 10-run deficit to defeat the Angels by a 14-13 score.
Baseball is a funny game.
It's also a game of momentum, and that's exactly what the Angels had going for them during the opening three innings of their game Wednesday against the Yankees at Riverton Babe Ruth Field.
The red-clad visitors built themselves a comfortable 13-3 lead after the first trio of frames, as the sun still burned bright in the western sky on its way down to the horizon.
However, by the time darkness had fallen a couple hours later, and the park on the corner of Sunset and Major was awash in man-made light, the story was altogether different.
In an epic comeback, the Yankees took on the persona of their big-league Bronx Bomber counterparts and mounted an assault which featured 11 unanswered runs over the final four innings, emerging with a 14-13 victory.
Early on, it was Angels starter Aquilo Friday who held all the cards, dealing zeroes during his three innings of work, with the exception a single marker for the pinstripers in the second stanza, when Derick Lange reached on an error, then came around to cross the plate for a 1-0 advantage.
Lange would also figure prominently later in the game, but for his heroics on the mound as opposed to at the dish.
First though, it was teammate and Yankees starter Blake Dale and his battery mate, catcher Jared Lucas, who had difficulty keeping the ball from traveling to the backstop time and again, with a bevy of passed balls and wild pitches, which helped the Angels score 10 runs in the third inning, as 15 Halo batters walked up to the plate and proceeded to form a conga line around the diamond.
Trey Draper began the rally with a base hit, but that was only the beginning.
Following a Cameron Schoening walk and a Friday single, Kameron Murfitt stepped in and launched a ball high and deep to the warning track in left-center field for the first of his four hits on the night, going 4-for-4 with a pair or runs scored in the process.
Friday added a double later in the frame and came around to score his second run of the inning and when the smoke had cleared, the visitors led by a 13-1 scoreline.
But before the dust had settled on this day, it was the Yankees who would have their revenge.
Lange took the ball from Dale during the third-inning onslaught and proceeded to shut down the Angels' bats the entire rest of the way, putting up four consecutive goose eggs on the scoreboard.
Now, it was his club's offense's turn to pick up the slack, and it was Dale who was at the center of the storm, going 4-for-5 in the No. 3 hole and scoring four runs on the evening.
Alas, for every zero put up by the Angels from the fourth through the seventh innings, the Yankees posted a crooked number of their own, highlighted by a six-run sixth which brought them all the way back within a run at 13-12.
Included in the attack was a controversial dropped third-strike call with runners at the corners during which a run scored only to be called back due to first base being occupied, which didn't obligate the batter to run the play out.
So, the inning ended with the Yanks still a run behind, but they simply wouldn't be denied, with their final at-bat still in the offing.
In the meantime, while his mates were crossing the plate on their way back from defeat, Lange was keeping the Angels from doing so, pitching four innings of shutout ball in an 82-pitch performance.
On to the last-chance saloon in the top of the seventh and it was Ethan Vaughn who led off with a single for the Yankees, followed by another by Dale, then one by Lange to load the bases, bringing Jeremiah Garcia to the plate.
Garcia bounced one back to pitcher Rylan Koehn, who threw to first for the out, with the tying run scoring in the process.
A wild pitch then allowed Dale to score the eventual game-winning run.
But, the Angels had their half of the seventh left to prevent the game, which had seemed as if was in the bag innings earlier, from slipping away after all.
Murfitt drew a one-out walk and was the potential tying run on first when Koehn rifled a line drive, which was snared by third baseman Garcia, who held on for the second out.
Lange then buckled down and fired a called third strike past Lucas Engle, and the comeback was complete in a game which took nearly three-and-half hours.
Yankees 0 1 0 3 2 6 2 -- 14
Angels 0 3 10 0 0 0 0 -- 13
Yankees - Strauna 0-3, 2 BB; Vaughn 2-4, 2B; Dale, 4-5, 2B; Lange, 1-3; Garcia, 0-3, 2 BB; Crowley, 2-4; Lucas, 0-2; Graham, 0-2; Topaum, 1-1; Hanger, 1-3; Goff, 0-1.
Angels - Draper, 1-3; Bell, 0-1; Schoening, 1-4; Friday, 2-4, 2B; Murfitt, 4-4; Koehn, 2-3; Engle, 0-5; Broadhead, 0-1, 2 BB; Soule, 2-4; Lane, 2-3; Gard, 0-1.
Yankees 2 0 0 2 3 x x -- 7
Braves 0 8 8 1 x x -- 17
Yankees - Crowley, 2-2, 2B; Lucas, 0-1; Vaughn, 0-2; Dale, 2-2; Lange, 1-3; Garcia, 1-3; Strauna, 0-2; Topaum, 0-3; Goff, 1-2.
Braves - Gaston, 3-4; DeWitt, 3-4, 2B, 3B; Brown, 1-3; Truempler, 1-3, 3B; Hoffman, 1-1; McKiernan, 1-2; LeClair, 1-1, 2B, 2 BB; Moore, 1-1; Heidenreich, 3-3; Yates, 0-1; Cash, 1-2.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.