Tucson Toros baseball
Bizarre game sees Toros fall to Maui
Ikaika survives Toros' comeback attempt 6-5
The Tucson Toros played a bizarre game in the series finale against first-year team Maui on Sunday night.
In their 6-5 loss to the Maui Ikaika, the Toros committed six errors in total – including five in the first, a call was reversed for a home run, and a manager was ejected.
After all of that, the Ikaika got the game-winning run in the final inning by an unusual error.
With the Toros leading 5-4, the game continued with its quirkiness.
One out away from clinching the win and taking two of three from the South division leaders, Tucson shortstop Ryan Priddy’s error allowed for the tying run to score and set up the winning run.
He first attempted a short flip to second baseman Brian Bistagne to forceout Gerard Mochizuki, but then decided to throw to first instead, for the Toros' fifth error of the game.
“You make that many errors, you’re going to struggle,” Toros manager Tim Johnson said.
Priddy’s throw bounced far beyond the bag, and Mochizuki scored to tie the game. Keoni Ruth – who scored the game-winning run – made it to third base on the error.
Maui catcher Phila Avlas followed the play with an RBI double, scoring Ruth for the 6-5 lead and Maui’s closer Jamie Vermilyea struck out the side to end the game.
Tucson (15-19) fell seven and a half games behind the Ikaika’s in the division, but were able to erase an early four-run deficit.
Maui (21-10) took a 4-0 lead in the first after the Toros committed five errors in the inning.
After a single by Ikaika center fielder Fehlandt Lentini to lead off the game, three consecutive errors in the field gave Maui the lead, 2-0.
After a strikeout by Mark Okano, two throwing errors by Luis Apodaca put two more runs across for Maui.
“You can get upset about four runs and five errors in the first inning,” Johnson said. “But, even then, the guys were like, ‘Let’s get back in this,’ and they did. They definitely showed some character.”
The comeback started with a leadoff single by Ron Perodin in the bottom of the first, followed by an RBI base hit by Wally Backman Jr. to cut the lead to 4-1.
Tucson drew even in the third inning with Lino Garcia’s home run that drew some controversy.
Garcia launched a changeup against the wall for what was initially ruled a double. After several minutes of discussion amongst the umpires, the call was changed to a home run
“Honestly, I really thought the ball went over when it came off the bat,” Garcia said. “But it was tough to see because it went over the white sign (camouflaging with the ball). I heard the ball clink on the metal, which told me it was a home run.
“I couldn’t keep running because I saw the umpire signal that the ball was still in the park. Luckily, the call was reversed.”
Setting up Garcia’s home run was a one-out double by Perodin, followed by a single by shortstop Ryan Priddy putting runners at the corners.
Maui starting pitcher Don Brandt, who went 6 2/3 innings on 11 hits and five runs, was surprised by the call.
“It was weird,” he said. “This is the only park I’ve played in where the pads above the wall count as a home run. But there was nothing I could do.”
Maui manager Cory Snyder fervently argued the call reversal and was ejected from the game.
Through the middle innings, neither team was able to score until the bottom of the seventh.
Perodin hit the go-ahead RBI double to score Apodaca and give the Toros the lead for the first time, 5-4.
“In that at-bat, he threw me a curveball on the first pitch and I missed it,” Perodin said. “Then he threw me a high fastball, and after that, he kept flipping me curveballs. He eventually threw me the same curveball as he did on the first pitch – I didn’t miss that one.”
Perodin went 3 for 4 at the plate with two runs and an RBI.
The recently acquired center fielder is batting .625 since signing with the Toros on June 26.
“(Perodin) has been outstanding,” Johnson said. “This kid is in every game. He’s a great center fielder and good hitter. He’s done a tremendous job.”
Toros starter Vince Davis went six innings on five hits with eight strikeouts.
All of Maui’s runs were unearned.
“I was commanding my pitches a lot tonight,” Davis said. “My changeup was working really well, and I was just trying to locate them in a good spot.”
The Toros begin a three-game home series versus Yuma starting on Tuesday, June 29.