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FARMINGTON — With one out and the bases loaded, Midland's Brandon Montgomery hit a shot to the left field wall to walk off against Strike Zone, winning 3-2 in Friday's nightcap of the opening day of the Connie Mack World Series at Ricketts Park.

"You have to win this game," said Midland coach Dave Evans after the win. "In the last inning, the seventh inning, we got the two daggon runs to tie it up. That's what baseball's all about. It all evens out."

While the game evened out in Midland's favor, it left the host team with a feeling of disappointment.

"It was a good battle. It's just one of those games, though," Strike Zone head coach Adam Morrissey said after the game. "It leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you're on the receiving end of it, though. We've done that to teams before, but it sucks when it happens to you."

Midland Redskins’ Ty Duvall hits a line drive on Friday during Game 2 of the Connie Mack World Series against Strike Zone on Friday at Ricketts Park
Midland Redskins' Ty Duvall hits a line drive on Friday during Game 2 of the Connie Mack World Series against Strike Zone on Friday at Ricketts Park in Farmington (Alexa Rogals/The Daily Times)

Midland pitcher Alex Lange wasted no time setting a defensive tone for the Redskins, striking out the side while hitting 94 mph on the gun.

But Strike Zone loaded the bases after centerfielder Austin Davis drew a one out walk in the top of the third. After Connor Calvert popped out for the inning's second out, short stop Lance Lee hit a slow roller to third. Midland's Greg Deichman fielded the ball and threw to first for the out that would end the inning. But the throw hit Lee in the shoulder, ricocheting into foul territory and allowing Casey Dunlap and Matt Knickerbocker to score on the play to make it 2-0 Strike Zone.

It looked like Midland was going to answer in bottom of the third, loading the bases with two outs. But Strike Zone pitcher Justin Phillips got Deichman to roll over on the pitch, hitting into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play.

"Outstanding," is how Morrissey summed up Phillips' performance on the mound.

"He did everything I expected him to and threw a great game," he said.

Phillips said after the game he felt good on the mound, getting the Midland hitters to roll over on a lot of the pitches by keeping them off balance with a variety of off-speed pitches.

Offensively, Strike Zone picked up the top of the fourth where they left things in the third, getting Ethan Spellbring to third with one out. But Lange rang up Lawrence Mayberry and Dunlap to get out of the jam.

Liam Sabino would reach third for Midland with one out in the bottom of the fifth, to set up a scoring opportunity for the Redskins. But on the next at bat, DJ Wilson hit a hard grounder to Calvert at first, who gunned it home to get Sabino at the plate and keep Midland off the board.

Down 2-0 entering the bottom of the seventh, Midland got new life when Zach Shannon reached second after a wild throw to first trying to get the force.

Shannon reached third after Jeren Kendall hit a bloop single up the middle, putting runners on the corners with no outs and prompting a change on the mound for Strike Zone, bringing James Harrington in for Phillips.

Shannon would touch home for Midland on a Ty Duvall sacrifice to make it 2-1 Strike Zone.

Midland then tied the game on a Sabino single that brought Kendall home and sent the game to extra innings.

The game stayed even at 2-2 until the bottom of the ninth when Brandon Montgomery walked off with the bases loaded to win 3-2.

The win gives Midland, who will play the Frozen Ropes at 5:15 p.m. Monday, a confidence they didn't quite have coming into Friday night's game.

"We were a little nervous coming in," Montgomery said of the opening game, "but we'll come through and win it."

 

Karl Schneider covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648 and kschneider@daily-times.com. Follow him @karltschneider on Twitter.