Whitecaps Walkoff in Home Opener
STORM LAKE, Iowa – The Storm Lake community waited 77 years for Whitecaps baseball return to their town, so what’s one extra inning.
Anthony Stewart turned out to be the hero as his blooper-turned-error scored Mason Pryzbilla to win the game for the Whitecaps, 6-5 over Carroll in 10 innings.
In a game that did not start well for the home squad, they clawed back to tie the game and even take the lead for a brief moment in the later innings.
Casey Berg picked up the win on the hill for the ‘Caps as he threw three innings in relief, allowing just two hits and a walk to go with two strikeouts.
Andrew Blount was the tough luck loser as the game winning run was an unearned one. He allowed a single and a pair of walks before almost getting out of the bases loaded jam in the 10th.
A tough start for Whitecaps saw Carroll bring in two runs in the first inning despite the Merchants not recording a hit.
Storm Lake would get a run back in the bottom of the 2nd as a ground out by Tony Nichols scored* Jason Galleano*.
The home team had a chance to tie it in the third, Berg led off the inning with a double to left field and advanced to third after a ground out by Stewart. Carroll starter, Tristan Steffans was able to strike out Eze Encarnacion on three pitches but then hit Galleano with a fastball to give the ‘Caps runners on the corners. Christian Montero then laced a ball to second base but the ball was snared by Eric Yachinich to end the inning.
That would prove costly as the Merchants got two of their own in the top of the 4th after doubles from David McAnelly and Blount. Zach Ruckman singled home Blount on the very next pitch, on a play that took a wicked hop over Encarnacion.
Storm Lake would respond in the bottom half of the fourth as Pryzbilla set the table with a one-out double and would score on a fielders choice, making the score 4-2.
The Whitecaps would threaten once again in the 7th as Noah Paper reached on an error while Berg reached on a single. They would be moved into scoring position on a passed ball, setting the stage for Stewart as his bloop single cut the deficit to one.
Connor Forsythe would come in to relieve Jeremy Thorson and he would get the ground ball he wanted but an another Merchant error allowed everyone to reach safely and tie the game at four.
Forsythe would strike out Galleano and Montero but a wild pitch would allow Stewart to score the go-ahead run to give the Whitecaps their first lead of the night.
That lead, however, would be short-lived as a ground out from Yachinich scored Sean Moore to even the score at five in the eighth.
The ‘Caps were only 90 feet away from taking the lead as they had runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out, but Forsythe was able to strike out a pair of Storm Lake hitters and got a ground out as well.
After failing to score in the ninth, their luck finally turned in the 10th when the pop up from Stewart was misplayed by the Carroll shortstop resulting in bizarre game winner for the Whitecaps.
Andrew Kasperbauer led the Storm Lake offense going 2 for 5, with a pair of doubles. Berg also collected two hits and a double of his own. Stewart finished his night just 1 for 6 but he’ll take his game-winning RBI any day of the week.
For the Merchants, Zach Ruckman led all hitters with three hits, he also tallied a RBI. McAnelly reached base four times with a couple hits and few free passes.
Storm Lake grabs their first win of the season and they’ll have a few days off to enjoy as they take on the Albert Lea Lakers on Wednesday night.
Carroll will look to shake this one off, they’ll have a late afternoon game against Bancroft tomorrow. The Bandits were rained out in Albert Lea last night.