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Hoskins gives Cutters 2nd walk-off win

July 22, 2014 - Mitch Rupert
Bent over at the waist, Rhys Hoskins held the bill of his red batting helmet and tapped the top of the helmet on the ground before jumping up and firing the helmet into the air. The Williamsport first baseman waited by second base to be swarmed by the pack of Crosscutters players rushing the field.

Hoskins, who hadn't hit a ball out of the infield in four previous at-bats Tuesday night against Batavia, smoked an 0-2 pitch to the warning track in right-center field in the bottom of the ninth, scoring Jiandido Tromp and Aaron Brown to give the Cutters a 6-5 win. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak and was the second walk-off win of the season.

Williamsport, which had lost eight of its previous 10 games, was down to its last out before Tromp and Brown singled to put two runners on in the ninth inning. Hoskins then double off Batavia's Juancito Martinez to end the game and set off a celebrating by second base.

Hoskins had jumped out of the way of the first two pitches of the at-bat against Martinez in the ninth inning, thinking they were inside. But homeplate umpire Chris Scott called them both strikes to Hoskins' dismay. But the Sacramento State product took a walk out of the box and composed himself before drilling the next pitch to win the game.

“He let one over the plate and I got on it,” said Hoskins. “Really, all you're trying to do is get it to the next guy. That was my approach. Get it to the next guy and either load the bases with a walk, or have the game tied.”

On a night where the Cutters had at least one baserunner in all nine innings, Hoskins' two-run double allowed the Cutters to reach the season's halfway point with a .500 record at 19-19, and moved them just one game behind Staten Island in the Wild Card standings.

“This is a really big game. We keep playing really well at home,” Cutters manager Shawn Williams said. “After the last week to 10 days, for this to happen late in the game and get a big walk-off where you're down to your last out and down to your last strike, it shows the character of the players we've got.”

Williamsport had averaged just 3.1 runs per game over its last 10 games prior to last night, but got one early on a the first of Jiandido Tromp's two home runs, which tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth. Tromp hit his team-leading ninth home run in the seventh inning, a laser of a two-strike, two-out, three-run blast to left field.

It was the third multi-home run game of the season for the 20-year old from Aruba. All nine of his home runs, and 21 of his 24 RBIs this year have come in the not-so-friendly confines of spacious Bowman Field.

Tromp finished the night 4 for 4, with four runs batted in and threw in a stolen base for good measure. It snapped a 5 for 26 (.192) stretch over his previous nine games.

“We're not in that game without Tromp,” said Hoskins, who still remnants of a shaving cream pie in the corners of his eyes and throughout his hair while standing in the clubhouse. “He had four knocks and got us the lead and kept us in it. We're not there without him.”

“He's one of those guys you just leave in there. He's going to go up and down. He's kind of streaky, but that's how he is,” Williams said. “So you leave him in there. When he puts together good games, they're just like (Tuesday). And he usually does it for multiple nights. He's a gamer and he gets after it and he's fun to watch play because he's a five-tool guy.”

Batavia took the lead in the eighth inning, erasing Williamsport's 4-1 lead by scoring four times and sending eight batters to the plate. Reliever Frank Rivas allowed a run on a wild pitch and exited after walking his second batter of the inning to put runners on first and second with one out.

Closer Calvin Rayburn allowed a two-run double to K.J. Woods, the first batter he faced, on an 0-2 pitch to tie the game at 4-4. Three pitches later, Wildert Pujols slapped a ball passed the drawn-in infield to give the Muckdogs a 5-4 lead.

It erased another strong start from Mitch Gueller, who without his best stuff, grinded through six innings, allowing just one run on five hits. It was the fourth time in seven starts this year Gueller allowed one run or less and completed at least five innings.

He was in line for his fourth win, which would have been a career high, until the bullpen couldn't hold the lead.

“He pitched is what he did,” Williams said. “When he has success, that's what he does. I think he's almost better off when he doesn't have his best stuff because then he starts using his slider more and his change-up more, and pitching backwards. He does whatever he can to get outs.”


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