Quinn evens DNL series with Klingensmith
Another night, another classic.
In what has turned into an unpredictable, roller coaster of a preliminary round series, Jim Pasquine and the Quinn Construction Mudcats pulled off a stunning comeback over Klingensmith Insurance in Game 2 Monday at Beedle Park. Pasquine's three-run, walk-off double give Quinn Construction a 9-8 victory.
The series will conclude Wednesday at Helen Richey Field in the climatic Game 3.
"What an unbelievable series to be a part of," Quinn Construction manager Tom Simcho said. "If you're a fan coming to these games, you just can't ask for anything more."
Simcho's squad appeared down for the count, falling behind 8-0 in the fifth inning. With one foot already in the grave, however, the Mudcats came to life. Quinn Construction knocked starter Ryan Jacobs out of the game in the sixth inning and finally got the best of reliever Kyle Thomas.
"I can't believe this," Klingensmith Insurance manager Jeff Kern said. "You never can assume a game is over, but we were in pretty good shape there."
The news turned even worse for the Mets following the game when word broke that starting pitcher Scott Manko, long expected to start in Game 3, has been saddled by a complication with work and won't be available Wednesday night. This leaves Anthony Iorio as the likely Mets' pitcher Wednesday.
It remains unknown who will start for the Mudcats, though the smart money is likely on Simcho, the crafty veteran who has started a number of elimination games in his illustrious career.
"I can honestly say that I'm not sure who is going to pitch," Simcho said. "I have to see how I feel. We'll see."
Pasquine was the hero of Game 2 only 24 hours following one of the roughest games of his career. In Game 1, he went 0-for-5 at the plate and permitted Jack Waltonbaugh's walk-off home run.
This time, he was on the other side of the walk-off theatrics.
With Klingensmith ahead, 8-5, in the bottom of the seventh, the Mudcats loaded the bases with one out. Brett Ferlic was then hit by a Thomas pitch, pushing ahead the sixth run.
Pasquine then came to the plate.
"I told him that a home run in that situation would be legendary," Simcho said. "But that I'd take a single."
Pasquine responded with a double. Thomas jumped ahead in the count, 0-2, but then inexplicably threw a fastball down the middle. Pasquine, arguably the league's most talented player, belted a blast to deep right field. Brian Hartung gave a terrific effort but fell about a foot short of making the play. Three runs scored on the play, giving Quinn Construction the victory.
"In that situation," Pasquine said, "I was just looking to get a hit. It just so happened he gave me an awfully nice 0-2 pitch to hit."
Early in the contest, it appeared that Klingensmith was going to emerge with an easy victory.
Waltonbaugh continued his onslaught by crushing a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Mets a 2-0 lead. In the third, Dan Campbell's two-run single helped Klingensmith to a 5-0 lead.
The situation would have been worse for Quinn had Waltonbaugh not ended that inning by hitting into a double play with the bases loaded.
"Looking back at it," Simcho said, "that was a pretty big play. I kept telling the guys that it wasn't over."
But it did seem over when Scott Dolekary's run-scoring single helped the Mets to an 8-0 lead.
Still, the Mudcats were not affected by the deficit.
Quinn Construction started chipping away at the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Then, in the sixth, Simcho triggered a rally when, after replacing Tony Kostelnik in the lineup, he lined a run-scoring single to center. The great veteran's hit ignited the crowd at Beedle Park and the Mudcats. Suddenly, the score was 8-5, and the Mudcats had the bases loaded with no outs.
Thomas, however, struck out three straight batters to end the threat.
"For a while things were still looking pretty good," Kern said.
The seventh inning, though, wasn't so kind to Thomas.
Both teams appear to be running out of pitching and are thankful for today's day off.
"It's going to be interesting," Simcho said. "You just can't ask for a series much better than this one. Both of these games have been incredible, with two walk-off endings. It doesn't get much better than that."
Although Iorio is certain to start Wednesday, the great Mike Sikorski will be available to pitch in relief.
And he made it clear that he intends on moving into the semifinals.
"I don't care what it takes and I don't care how much I have to pitch," Sikorski said. "I'll pitch the whole game if I have to. I'll do anything to win that game."
NOTES Both semifinal series will begin Friday evening. Clancy's will host five-time defending champion Bowser Pontiac Friday at 5:45 p.m. at Baker Field. Mulligan's Sports Bar, meanwhile, will host the winner of the Quinn Construction/Klingensmith Insurance series Friday at 5:45 p.m. at The Winkle Dome...Thanks to a ride from Bowser manager Andy Brettschneider, DNL Commissioner Nick Donato, whose car exploded Saturday night in Homestead, was able to attend the contest...The godfather of Quinn Insurance, Keith Reynolds, was unable to attend Sunday's game but watched Game 2 from the first base dugout.