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Slammers win longest game in franchise history

Brad Netzel

(London, Ontario) – Brad Netzel singled home Kyle Maunus in the top of the 13th and the Joliet Slammers (11-10) survived a marathon battle with the London Rippers (10-11) in a 13-12, 13-inning victory, Sunday afternoon.

The Slammers drew a franchise record 14 walks in the game. The time of the game was a franchise record five hours and 34 minutes. It was also the longest game innings-wise in team history.

The Slammers grabbed a 3-0 lead against London starter Eric Katzman in the second inning. Zach Mandelblatt walked to start the frame. Kyle Maunus executed a perfect hit-and-run with a single to right. With runners at the corners, Sean Estand singled home Mandelblatt for the first run of the game. Brad Netzel followed with a double to left to bring in Maunus. A Tony Sanchez sacrifice fly brought in Estand.

London took the lead in the third. With two outs and nobody on, Aaron Glaum and Clifton Thomas hit back-to-back singles. A walk loaded the bases and the Slammers brought in rookie pitcher Seth Hobbs for his professional debut. He was greeted by the league’s leading hitter, Joash Brodin, who hit a slow check-swing grounder that just barely went off the glove of the diving Sean Estand at third. Glaum scored on the play to make the score 3-1. Then David Christensen struck the big blow with a bases clearing double. A Mark Samuelson single drove in Christensen as the Rippers took a 5-3 lead.

Down two headed to the fifth, Erik Lis drew a lead-off walk. David Fox followed with a towering home run to tie the game at five.

Back-to-back walks to Netzel and Waters started the sixth for the Slammers and Tony Sanchez bunted them over. Hector Pellot came through with a sacrifice fly and the Slammers grabbed a 6-5 lead.

London would immediately tie the game in the bottom half of the frame. Stephen Cardullo walked to start the inning and one out later he stole second base. Jim Vahalik singled him to third and Aaron Glaum hit a little blooper on the infield that spun away from Pellot. Cardullo scored and the game was tied at six.

With two outs and nobody on in the seventh, Brad Netzel crushed his first home run of the season to give Joliet a 7-6 lead. They would tack on one more in the eighth as a balk scored Tony Sanchez from third.

But London scored four runs in the eighth inning off Brian Smith to take a 10-8 lead. Vahalik was hit by a pitch and Thomas followed with a double. Brodin doubled in both runners to tie the game. After Christensen was hit by a pitch it was Mark Samuelson’s turn to double in two runs and the Slammers fell behind by two.

However they battled back to tie the game in the ninth. Maunus reached on a Glaum error and Sean Estand singled. Netzel drew a walk and Jimmy Waters came up huge with a two-RBI single to tie the game at 10.

The game remained tied at 10 until the 12th inning. Sanchez got things started with a double. Then Hector Pellot lay down a bunt back to the mound. The Rippers tried to get Sanchez at third but the throw got away and Sanchez scored. Pellot noticed no one covering third and he scampered all the way around to the third base bag.

Pellot scored on a wild pitch and Joliet went up 12-10.

London rallied against Jim Schult in the bottom of the 12th. Vahalik singled to start the frame. One out later Thomas singled as well. A hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Brodin who came through again with a base hit, this time he smacked a single to drive in two runs and the game was tied once again.

The Slammers took advantage of the 14th walk issued by London pitching as Kyle Maunus walked to start the frame. Estand executed a perfect hit-and-run as he singled through the right side to put runners at the corners with nobody out. That’s when Netzel delivered his single to give the Slammers the lead again.

Schult, the last pitcher available in the ‘pen, went back to work in the bottom of the frame. He gave up a lead-off single but then the Slammers turned a 6-4-3 double play. The Rippers threatened with two away thanks to a walk and a single. Schult was able to strike out pinch hitter Zach Lawson to end the game.

With the win the Slammers snap London’s seven game winning streak and move to within three games of the River City Rascals for first place in the West Division. The Slammers return home Monday night to take on the Schaumburg Boomers at 7:05 p.m. Central Time. It’s the first Memorable Monday Presented by Me-TV of the season. Fans will take a trip down memory lane all night long with clips from classic TV shows between innings. Plus all sodas and hot dogs are only one dollar.

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