Jun 2, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorA furious, last-inning stand came up just short as the potential tying run was thrown at at third base in the bottom of the seventh.
In baseball's unwritten rulebook is a list of cardinal sins which should never be committed on a diamond.
One of them is never to make either the first or third out of an inning at third base.
However, that's exactly what happened on Thursday evening at Riverton Babe Ruth Field in the Yankees' dramatic 10-9 victory against the Giants.
The out was the potential game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh after the Giants had rallied from an early 8-0 deficit to bring themselves all the way back to the brink of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
The Giants had already put four runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth to close the gap to 10-8.
Dalton Leach hurled a scoreless inning, posting a zero on the board in the top of the seventh and the stage was set.
Johnny Hilder drew a leadoff walk to begin the frame, bringing Cameron Kazzee to the plate. Kazzee laced a double, which left runners on second and third, still with no outs.
Nathan Cousineau stepped in next and when a ball got away from Yankees catcher Blake Dale, Hilder broke for home, and the race was on.
Dale bolted to the backstop to retrieve the ball, then sent a pinpoint throw to pitcher Derick Lange, who applied the tag with the pair enveloped in a cloud of dust.
Once it had settled, the Yankees had dodged the first bullet from the Giants' gun, but there was still ammo left with only one out with Kazzee on third and Jacob Eppler at the plate with the equalizer tantalizingly 90 feet away.
A fielder's choice off Eppler's bat left a runner on first with two outs, bringing Rhett Stover to the plate as the Giants' last hope.
Eppler led off first, Lange delivered a pitch, and Stover caught hold of one, pulling a liner which just dropped over outstretched, diving shortstop Ethen Vaughn on the edge of the outfield grass.
With the ball in no-man's land after falling to the grass in short left field, Hilder took off from second, hoping to beat the throw to third baseman Jeremiah Garcia.
The aggressive dash was cut down as Eppler was met well before arriving at the bag by Garcia, who had the ball firmly in his glove, waiting to apply the tag. Just like that, an inning which had held so much promise only moments earlier was over, and with it the game, as well.
Lost in the shuffle of the last-inning heroics was the Giants' fightback from a first inning which saw eight Yankees cross the plate for an 8-0 lead before the home club ever swung a bat.
A total of five walks and two hit batters, along with a single by Isaac Strauna and a double by Vaughn did the early damage, leaving the Giants with an enormous hole to dig themselves out of.
But, the good news was two-fold.
First off, they had the entire rest of the game to come back. Second, they had and Dalton Leach and Damon DeVries on the mound, who in tandem, held the Yankees to only a pair of runs the rest of the way, including four scoreless innings.
In the meantime, their teammates took up the offensive slack.
With the score sitting at 9-0 going to the bottom of the third and in danger of being victimized by the mercy rule, the Giants' bats erupted for four runs to make it a 9-4 contest.
Leach led off with a walk, followed by a Paxton Rees single, then a base hit to left by DeVries, followed by a double off the bat of Hilder, and it was game on after all.
The next two innings were scoreless for both sides before the Yankees scratched a single marker across in the top of the sixth, as Dale drew a base-on-balls, then came around to score, making the game 10-4.
The Giants weren't done at the dish, with another four runs in their half of the sixth.
Hilder led off with a walk, followed by a Yazzee fielder's choice which failed, leaving runners on first and second with no outs.
Cousineau banged an RBI single, making it 10-5, then advanced to second on the play, bringing Eppler up. He reached on another fielder's choice, loading the bases for Stover, who delivered in the clutch with an RBI single to close the score to 10-6.
Jude Eppler then plated another pair with a base hit, driving in Kazzee and Stover, before the third out was finally recorded with the Yankees having survived with a 10-8 lead.
DeVries pitched out of trouble in the top of the seventh, which set up the frantic bottom half of the inning.
Yankees 8 0 1 0 0 1 0 -- 10
Giants 0 0 4 0 0 4 1 -- 9
Yankees - Strauna, 3-4; Vaughn, 1-3, 2B, 2 BB; Dale, 1-2, 2 BB; Lange, 0-3; Goff, 0-4; Topaum, 2-3; Hanger, 0-1; Lucas, 0-2; Crowley, 0-0, 2 BB; Graham, 1-2; Garcia, 0-3.
Giants - Leach, 1-2; Rees, 3-3; Ju. Eppler, 1-3; Olheiser, 0-1; DeVries, 1-4; Hilder, 1-2, 2B; 2 BB; Kazzee, 2-3, 2B; Cousineau, 2-4, 2B; Ja. Eppler, 1-1, 2 BB; Carruth, 0-1; Stover, 2-4.
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