Elmira USA Takes Game 1 Over Canada in Home Run Derby OT!
The Elmira Pioneers began a two game exhibition against the Canadian Capital City Reds as part of their fourth of July celebration series. The Pios came into the game riding a bit of a winning streak having won their last three games and though these games don't count in the standings the feeling of national pride was palpable as chants of "USA, USA, USA" resounded throughout historic Dunn Field.
Elmira began the game with third year pitcher Chase Austin on the mound. Austin walked two of the first three batters and the other batter singled to load the bases before Tucker Criswell hit a bases clearing triple before coming in to score himself to give Canada the 4-0 edge after 1/2 an inning. The Pioneers would not be deterred as they came back in the bottom of the first and plated four runs of their own to even things up as Brennen Dorighi, Bryce Moskiewicz, and Trevor Henneman all connected to drive in runs.
After the first four runs the 6'6 Chase Austin settled in pitching 3 shutout innings to keep the game rolling, however the Canadian starter Ashton Holdridge did the same thing for the Reds. The Pioneers brought in Steven Rossi to pitch the fifth inning and though he got a quick out he surrendered a run on another hit by Criswell. The Pioneers continued to battle, but could not seem to find a way to push across the tying run.
Rossi pitched the sixth as well putting up a zero before turning things over to Mason Ruhlman. Mason had pitched just two innings all year, both of them in a doubleheader to Geneva on Sunday, but tonight he pitched three innings allowing zero runs and keeping things even for the bottom of the ninth. As Elmira came into the bottom half of the ninth inning they had the top of the order coming up. Brody Moore led things off with a single that saw the attempted put out throw put into the dugout advancing him to second. Unfortunately, neither Quinn Buffington of Zack Turner could find a way too move him along so with two outs everything came down to Brennen Dorighi. Dorighi responded with a single to give him his second RBI on the night and force what many thought would be extra innings.
Due to international rules what followed was a home run derby. Each team selected a batter and got 10 outs most home runs wins. The Canadian Reds selected Catcher Ryan Burnside. Burnside came out with an impressive showing, as Dunn Field is well known as a pitcher friendly park, as he blasted two home runs. The Pioneers chose Trae Harmon, the number 4 ranked first baseman in the USA. Harmon hit his third home run with still four outs remaining to win the game amongst chants of "USA USA USA!"
These two teams will do battle one more time tomorrow night in the finale of the showdown. Game time is 7:05 pm so make sure to get your tickets early and don't forget to hang around after the game for Fireworks, Fireworks, Fireworks!