SOTO’S WALK-OFF SINGLE ENDS LONGEST GAME IN MINERS HISTORY
Augusta NJ – Elvin Soto hit a walk off single in the bottom of the 12th inning to propel the Sussex County Miners to a 5-4 victory over the Shikoku Island League All-Stars on Saturday night in front of 2,947 fans at Skylands Stadium. The game was the longest in Sussex County Miners history at 4 hours and 27 minutes, eclipsing the previous high of 4 hours and 24 minutes at Rockland back on August 20th of last year.
Soto’s heroics came in his 3rd at bat with the bases loaded in the game. The Miners (11-11) as a team went 3-for-8 with the bases loaded in the contest, and overall Sussex County left 17 runners on base, including the three in the 12th.
Among the other hitting stars for the Miners, Carl Thomore went 4-for-5 with an RBI, Jay Austin went 3-for-6, and Nick Giarraputo and Ryan Dent both had 2 hits and 2 RBIs, with Dent’s coming on a run-scoring triple in the 11th inning.
Joe Donino pitched 7 solid innings, only having a hiccup in the 3rd inning when Shikoku Island scored both of their runs. After that, Donino settled in and retired the last 13 Shikoku Island batters he faced. Stone Speer pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief, and J.B. Kole threw three innings, allowing 2 unearned runs in the 11th inning.
Down 4-2 in the bottom of the 11th inning, the Miners battled back to tie the game on an RBI triple by Dent and an error by Shikoku Island 3B Jiro Kato.
With Andres Santiago pitching in the top of the 12th, the Miners got a big break. Yuki Tarui who was on at second base as the leadoff runner as per Can-Am League rules, came too far off the bag trying on a pitch in the dirt that momentarily got away from Soto. The Miners catcher quickly got the ball and then wisely ran back at Tarui, starting a rundown that would eventually lead to the first out of the 12th. Santiago then got the next two batters to get out of the 12th spotless.
That eventually set up Soto in the bottom of the 12th. With Steve Nyisztor on at second, Thomore drew a walk, and then Giarraputo was hit by a pitch. Soto then drilled the first pitch deep into right field over the drawn in outfield and gave the Miners the thrilling victory.
For Shikoku Island, Zak Colby went 3-for-5, but the Miners staff held all other Shikoku Island batters to a 2-for-33 rate in the batter’s box. On the pitching side, Itsuki Shoda went 4 innings before 5th inning trouble led him to turn the ball over to Hiroki Satoh. Satoh then worked out of the 5th en route to 4 innings of clean pitching, not allowing a baserunner and striking out 4 Miners.
Sunday is the last of the 4-game series as Francisco Rodriguez will pitch for Sussex County while Shungo Fukunaga will pitch for Shikoku Island. Tickets for this and all Miners home games are available by clicking here or by calling 973.940.0222. Tomorrow’s game can be seen on Service Electric Channel 10 and CanAmLeague.tv, and can be heard on the Miners Radio Network.