The Alvinston Indians turned in an impressive effort against the Argentina Men's National Team on Monday night in Alvinston, when they hosted Argentina for a double header.
In game #1, Alvinston sent ace Kyle Crawford to the mound, while Argentina countered with Max Montero.
The Indians had runners in scoring position in both the first and second innings, but failed to score to draw first blood in the game. Argentina would then score first in the top of the third inning, when lead-off hitter Nicolas Carril hit a solo homerun. In the fifth inning, Argentian would count again, when Francisco Lombardo tripled, and then scored on wild pitch.
Crawford was turning in what was a fine performance, giving the Indians a chance to get back in the game. And that they did. In what would have been their final at bat in the bottom of the seventh, Ryan Chapman lead off the inning with a "no-doubter" solo homerun, to make the score 2-1, off of Francisco Sabatie, who replaced Montero in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ty Sebastian then singled for the Indians, and Tyler Huff did the same, putting runners on first and third. Joe Triest then promptly walked to load the bases. Jamie Shields was the next batter, and if not for a nifty play by the Argentianian shortstop, the game would have been over. Instead, Shields hit an infield single to score Sebastian for the game's tying run. However, Alvinston was unable to deliver the final blow, and would only tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to a game saving play by shortstop Luciano Ivoldi.
The game went into the eighth inning, with the International tie-breaker rule coming into effect. Crawford went to work, and did his job retiring the three batters he faced, and leaving the go-ahead run at third base. Alvinston then came to the plate, and Jeff Lyons started at second base for the Indians in extra innings. Lyons advanced to third via a pass ball, and with no one out, Alvinston had the winning runner on third base. The next two batters, Aaron Stocking and Craig Lyons were both intentionally walked, to load the bases for Alvinston, with nobody out, to put the force play into effect for Argentina. However, Argentina escaped unharmed, as Sabatie retired the next three Alvinston Indians batters, via ground ball outs, to keep the game knotted at 2's.
In the top of the ninth inning, with two out and two strikes, Marcelo Malatasta delivered the crushing blow to Alvinston, when he hammered a two run homerun, to take a 4-2 lead. They were able to grab one more run in the inning, and the thrilling game finished with a 5-2 score for Argentina. Sabatie earned the win for Argentina, while Crawford pitched well enough to win, however, he suffered the hard-fought loss. Crawford pitched all nine innings, allowing 5 runs, 3 earned. He struckout 10 batters, and was touched for 8 hits, 3 walks, and one hit-by-pitch. Joe Triest was 2/4 for Alvinston, while Craig Lyons and Ryan Chapman were both 1/3.
In game #2, Alvinston wasn't able to keep things as close, as Argentina scored early and often, en route to a 8-2 win. In saying that, Alvinston had the lead - 2-1 - through 2 innings, thanks to a two run homerun by Jeff Lyons, who clubbled the full count offering over the right centrefield fence, after a Jamie Shields double in the opening inning. That would end up being all the offence for Alvinston, as Argentian cruised to victory, behind an impressive performance by pitcher Francisco Lombardo. Lombardo also factored into the offence, when he clubbed a three run homerun, off of Indians started Doug Hoffman. Ty Sebastian came in in relief of Hoffman after 3 1/3 innings of work, and would allow the final two runs for Argentina. Sebastian, Shields, Jeff Lyons, Andy Triest, and young rookie Cole Pavey had the hits for the Indians in the game 2 defeat.
All-in-all, Alvinston turned in an impressive effort in the two games, and almost defeated the Argentinians in game #1. About 250-300 fans were on hand to enjoy these international contests, and they were treated to great pitching, hitting, and defence