The Aberdeen IronBirds walked off Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium Friday night tied for first place with Hudson Valley
The IronBirds (41-31) staged a dramatic ninth inning rally to beat Brooklyn, 5-4, in the final home game of the season.
Aberdeen closes the season at Hudson Valley (41-31) Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The series will determine the McNamara Division champion of the New York Penn League.
The ninth inning magic got started with a blast, another Jaylen Ferguson blast. Ferguson (3-5) homered to left center field, his third long ball in as many games and his ninth hit of the series. “Honestly, I’m just locked in at the plate,” Ferguson said. “Coming off the injury, I’ve been out for nearly a month, so I’ve been itching to get back on the field."
Mason Janvrin (2-4) followed with a single to right and Kyle Stowers (2-5), whose two-run bomb opened the scoring in the first, also singled, moving Janvrin to third.
Andrew Daschbach stepped in hitless, but that changed on the first pitch he saw from Cyclones reliever Matt Mullenbach, who was charged with a blown save and the loss.
Daschbach lined the pitch into center field, scoring Janvrin and setting off a crowd-pleasing celebration. “What I said earlier, just everybody talks about the last hit, and there were a lot of huge at bats,” Daschbach said. “Like you said, Jaylen’s home run. We wouldn’t have been in that position if it wasn’t for that and Mason grinded out a tough two-strike at-bat and Stowers got on base, so everybody looks at the last one, but it’s a team effort all the way through.”
IronBirds manager Kevin Bradshaw watched the scene on his computer and from the window of his office. Bradshaw and shortstop Joey Ortiz were both ejected in the fifth inning after a called third strike on Ortiz.
It was the second ejection for Bradshaw in a week. “I thought in Lowell, he [Paul Roemer] admitted missing the call. I just reminded him now is not the time to missing calls when were coming down to every out counts every strike counts,” Bradshaw said. “And tonight, Joey, when you draw a line in the dirt with your bat, that’s an automatic, I can understand that. Joey didn’t do that, Joey kind of shook his arm, swiped it downward. Once he got thrown out for that, I knew I was going to have to do something and he’s [Rainiero Valero] been very inconsistent, I’ll say that. I was just hoping to get my point across and I did it in a way that he had no choice."
Aberdeen starting pitcher Leonardo Rodriguez (4IP, 3BB, 3R, 3K) wiggled out of trouble in the the first and second innings, but he wasn’t so fortunate in the third. All the runs, however, were unearned.
An error and walk set up a two-out, three-run double by Brett Baty, a first round pick of the New York Mets this season. It was Baty’s first game with the Cyclones.
Aberdeen tied the game at 3 in the fourth. Clay Fisher hit his third home run of the season, leading off the inning.
Brooklyn (40-32) slipped back ahead in the fifth with a run off reliever Malachi Emond. Three singles, none hard enough to break glass, produced the run.
Shelton Perkins (H, BB, K) threw two scoreless innings and Kade Strowd (2-0) pitched the ninth fir the win. He struck out one.
Ian Evans also had two hits for the 'Birds.
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“You play all year for this series and we told them in extended spring, it was going to come down to Hudson Valley and probably this final series,” Bradshaw said. “It’s exactly where we want to be, well I take that back, we’d like to be a couple games ahead, but this is great baseball and it’s great development for all these young guys.”