By Darrin Bauming (@DarrinBauming)
For the second consecutive night the Winnipeg Goldeyes needed extra innings to decide their playoff matchup against the St. Paul Saints. However, they couldn’t pull off the late-night heroics again, falling 12-6.
Trailing 1-0 in the second, shortstop Wes Long came to the dish to face St. Paul starter Todd Matheson with Jon Weber aboard. Long crushed the 1-0 offering to give the Fish a 2-1 lead.
Winnipeg starter Isaac Hess struggled. After loading the bases and allowing a Jason Cooper sac-fly to open the scoring in the second, Hess nearly fell apart in the third, allowing four more Saints’ runs.
Hess maintained composure, sitting the Saints down 1-2-3 in the fourth.
The offence responded in the fourth, but ultimately blew an opportunity to do some serious damage.
Centerfielder Fehlandt Lentini brought the Fish within a pair, driving home Long. However, when Price Kendall singled two batters later, Lou Ott was caught rounding third to end the inning. The unfortunate fact — Kody Kaiser would’ve come to the plate next with the bases loaded.
The Fish scored single runs in the fourth, sixth, and seventh to tie the game 5-5.
Despite Winnipeg’s arms holding the Saints scoreless for five straight innings, St. Paul dented Aaron Hartsock for a run in the ninth to take the lead back.
With two out and runners on first and third, Saints’ shortstop Jake Krause couldn’t handle a Jon Weber shot up the alley, as Price Kendall scored to tie the game 6-6 and send it to extras.
Reliever Ian Thomas came in to pitch the tenth for the Fish, but let it all slip away. A Ryan Patterson grand slam capped a six-run inning, taking all the wind out of the Goldeyes’ sails.
With the series tied up, Winnipeg now travels to the Twin Cities for Games 3, 4, and 5 (if necessary) on Saturday through Monday.
At press time, the South Division champion Grand Prairie AirHogs and the Central Division champion Wichita Wingnuts were tied 11-11 in bottom of the ninth. The ‘Hogs lead their best-of-five semi-final series 1-0.