Byrd Tenerowicz arms became wings as he exited the infield dirt and made his way into the pristine outfield grass. What gave him those wings? A walkoff single that drove in two teammates and produced a memorable 5-4 tenth-inning victory. After being mobbed by teammates and taking a moment to compose himself, Tenerowicz explained his approach.
“If it was a slider, screw it, it’s going to be in the dirt and it’ll suck.
Or it’ll hang and I’ll put it over the fence,” the game’s hero said. “So I decided I’d shoot a fastball anywhere, 12 degrees, and give my team a shot. And they threw me a ball right down the middle that I don’t think he was trying to throw.”
The Braves wasted what was a remarkable start by top prospect Jared Shuster. Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos looked on as Shuster threw six scoreless innings while giving up only two hits. While top system prospect Michael Harris had a quiet game (0-4 at the plate with a strikeout), the Braves got a couple of runs from a more unheralded player.
Luke Waddell sat on base was catcher Hendrik Clementina embarked upon an odyssey of an at bat against Lookouts’ reliever Stevie Branche. After five foul balls and nine total pitches, Clementina finally got the better of his adversary and blasted a fly ball over the right field wall in the top of the sixth.
Shuster was great, but so was Conner Curlis. He threw one less inning than the Braves headliner, but he gave up only two hits and two walks in a scoreless five innings of work. The Lookouts had a tough day at the plate, but the man tasked with standing behind it started his night 3-3 with a walk, raising his batting average to a nice .314.
In the sixth inning, Quincy McAfee doubled on a hard-hit grounder to left and started running. And running. And running. Catcher Chuckie Robinson scored from his spot as Braves shortstop Luke Waddell made his throw to home plate. Waddell’s throw was an errant one and sailed past his intended target.
McAfee was still running through all of this, and by now was rounding third and starting to run to the promised land. The next throw was late and McAfee was called safe on the slide. Dust flew up and the crowd of 4,000 or so exploded as the Lookouts tied the Braves at two-runs apiece.
“What about speedy Chuckie? And then Q, with a sick play to dive into home,” Tenerowicz said. “I almost passed out in the dugout because I was yelling too hard.”
In the bottom of the ninth, the Lookouts had runners on the corners with two outs when the dependable Leo Rivas came up to bat. He attacked the first pitch he saw, and hammered a ball to left. But his strike ended up in Trey Harris’ glove, and into extra innings the game went.
The Braves scratched two off Ricky Delgado in the top of the tenth, with both RBIs coming on a Clementina double. Things looked dire, but the Lookouts responded in a huge way in their frame. Matt McLain walked, and Quin Cotton’s single into center scored pinch runner Rivas. When TJ Hopkins walked, that set the stage for Tenerowicz’s heroics to end the game.
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