Half of the Sky Sox home victories have come in dramatic, walk-off fashion. But none have been quite like this.
Colorado Springs won 7-6 on Monday by erasing a three-run ninth inning deficit and with the final run scoring when Omaha catcher Adam Moore failed to touch the plate on what would have been a force out while runner Ryan Wheeler was still steps away.
"I never saw his cleat on the plate, so I just kind of walked by and pointed that he was off," Wheeler said. "The ump, he was right on it."
The bizarre final play was set up by yet another ninth-inning rally.
Corey Dickerson crushed a ball right at pitcher Michael Mariot's head with one out and Charlie Culberson on first. Mariot put his glove up just in time to keep the ball from striking his face, but he couldn?t get Dickerson out at first. Clearly shaken, Mariot then took a few moments to regain his composure.
DJ LeMahieu then went after the first pitch, driving a two-run double into the left-field corner.
"I was just looking fastball, because he was trying to get ahead with his fastball against a couple righties he faced," LeMahieu said. "Then he slung a slider."
Wheeler followed with a game-tying double, which chased Mariot. A pair of walks from reliever Everett Teaford - one intentional - loaded the bases with one out for Greg Golson, who chopped the ball to third baseman Anthony Seratelli in Omaha?s drawn-in infield. Seratelli?s throw to Moore arrived in plenty of time, and Moore was clearly looking at the possibility of doubling off Golson at first when he shuffled his feet around the plate without touching it.
"I wasn't watching his foot," Sky Sox manager Glenallen Hill said. "It's just one of those plays where he should have been standing on the plate, because he had plenty of time."
The play was scored as a fielder's choice, with an error given to Moore.
"I feel for the catcher in that situation," Hill added. "I mean, if he has to make that play 10 times he will make it 10 times."
The Sky Sox led 3-0 early, thanks to an efficient Sky Sox debut from starter Drew Carpenter, who gave up no runs and three hits in five innings.
After Carpenter left with a three-run lead, reliever Rob Scahill gave up five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. Omaha pounded Scahill and Corey Riordan for 12 hits in four innings as it built a 6-3 lead.
But the Storm Chasers didn't get to bat last, and that made all the difference.
The Sky Sox have now registered five walk-off victories among their 10 home triumphs.
"I feel like a little switch goes on for us in the ninth and we can feel that we're going to come back most games," Wheeler said. "If it's close enough, we'll do it."