Double-A Bowie evens finals series with 9-1 win, forces a decisive Game 5

Double-A Bowie evens finals series with 9-1 win, forces a decisive Game 5

After Bowie dropped Game 3 of the Eastern League title series Thursday night, manager Gary Kendall knew his team faced an elimination game but didn't appear too nervous. Kendall shrugged, smiled and said the Double-A Baysox had dealt with this before and would continue fighting.

They did just that in Game 4 Friday night. David Hess gave up one run and struck out eight in seven solid innings as Bowie took command early to score a 9-1 victory over Reading at Prince George's Stadium, tying the championship series at two games apiece.


Everything comes down to Saturday night's decisive Game 5 at 6:05 p.m. in Bowie. The Baysox have never won an Eastern League title in their 23 years of operation, and they're excited to be this close to one.

"The last game in the Eastern League will be tomorrow, and we get to play in it," Kendall said. "Those guys out there really want it, and I know our staff does. To play a meaningful game this late in the year, I'm really happy where we're at."

The Baysox have been behind before. They lost Game 1 of their semifinal series with Altoona and did the same versus Reading.

But the Fightin Phils could not figure out Hess, who allowed just that three hits in his seven innings. He retired the final 11 Reading batters he faced, keeping them off-balance with his mix of pitches — a fastball that climbed into the mid 90s plus a big overhand curve in the low 70s and a nasty slider and changeup — while ignoring the pressure.

"The more you think about it, the more pressure there is," Hess said. "So I tried to make it just like any other game. You know, it's a big playoff game, so it was fun to go out and compete."

The offense also helped as four players drove in two runs apiece — Garabez Rosa, Quincy Latimore, Trey Mancini and Chance Sisco.

The Baysox started quickly with a three-run first that Kendall said "set the tone." In fact, that first inning turned the game in Bowie's favor. Reading's first two batters reached on a single and an error before Hess retired the next three.

Bowie jumped in front in the bottom half. Corban Joseph (Caleb's brother) led off with a walk and moved to second on Mike Yastrzemski's bunt single. After Mancini grounded into a force play, Latimore walked to load the bases.

Rosa then ripped a two-run double just past the bag at third. Sisco followed with a sacrifice fly that gave Bowie a 3-0 lead against starter Ben Lively.

"[That] was very important," Latimore said. "You're down, they feel they have the upper hand [and] to go out and put three up on them in the first inning, to put a little pressure on them and let them know that, hey, we've got a lot of fight in us, and it's not going to be easy [is good]."

Reading answered in the fourth when Cam Perkins scored on a Hess wild pitch. But Bowie added a run in the fifth on Mancini's RBI single. That scored Joseph, who reached earlier on a double. Mancini had been 4-for-29 in the two playoff series before going 2-for-5 on Friday.

The Baysox then broke it open with a three-run seventh. Their first three batters reached, the last being Yastrzemski after Lively hit him on the helmet as the right fielder was trying to bunt.

That infuriated the Baysox, who came pouring out of the dugout and bullpen, screaming and pointing at Lively and the Reading dugout. The umpires warned both benches and calm returned. But the Fightin Phils pulled Lively moments later, and Latimore added a two-run double later in the inning while Sisco also contributed an RBI groundout to make it 7-1.

Reinier Roibal starts for the Fightin Phils in Game 5 with Joe Gunkel, the Game 1 starter, going for Bowie. But Kendall said it's basically all hands on deck for this one.


"Why not?" he asked with a smile. "You start the year out and you're thinking about getting to this point. I just like where we're at."