It was a night of home runs down in Cincinatti as the Ohio Oxen fell to the New York Dragons 8-4 in a game filled with long balls.
All the usual suspects from both teams teed off, with the Dragons’ Manny Davila going yard twice, Chrism going back-to-back for one of them, and Jake Jett picking up a third for the season, while Oxen sluggers Garth Goyle, Corrosive Joseph, and Juan Toothry all found the outfield seats.
Davila led the game off with his first homer, tearing a 2-0 pitch from Skeeter Heater down the third base line and over the wall, a total distance of 338 feet. Then, it was Chris Chrism’s turn as he made it sequential bombs, this time sending it 357 feet and nearly to the same left field bleacher section.
Heater shook it off and struck out Tony Cruz in the next at bat, but then he walked Victor Jimenez and gave up a single to Pedro Rosario, putting two on. Jake Jett singled to first and Jimenez tried for home, but was thrown out at the plate, making it two away. Gula Kareem popped up to the first base foul area for the third out.
Ohio tried to come back a base at a time, or rather two bases at a time after a Craig Gnarly double. Joseph grounded to short allowing Gnarly to reach third. Gnarly then scored on a Justin Good ground out to second, cutting the lead to just one run by the end of the first inning.
Later, in the third, Toothry went yard putting a Robby Andrade 0-2 pitch over the fence in the left field gap, tying the game.
But in the next inning, Jake Jett took Heater over the wall with a deep fly ball over the right field fence. Goyle answered in the bottom of the 4th with a 2-out solo shot, again reading an 0-2 pitch from Andrade correctly just as Toothry had.
With the game tied up at 3-3 in the 5th Davila rang up his second round-tripper, pushing New York ahead 4-3.
But relentless Ohio tied it again in the bottom of the 8th. This time it was Corrosive Joseph nailing a first-pitch strike with two-outs over the wall down the third base line.
The Dragons would resort to scoring the old fashioned way in the top of the 9th as they started a rally off a Gula Kareem one-out single off of Rusty Rowe to short. Kareem went to second on Devon Buell’s walk in the next at bat, then both came round to score on Jose Espinoza’s line drive double to left.
That set up an intentional walk for Davila, who had already gone yard twice in the game. But the gamble didn’t pay off for Ohio, as Chrism doubled in the next at bat, scoring Espinoza and moving Davila to third. This left first base open again, the next batter, Tony Cruz, was walked intentionally to try for the force at second once more.
Rowe then whiffed Josiah Parker, who was pinch hitting for Jimenez. But Rosario was at it again the very next at bat, driving a 1-0 pitch to left for an RBI single that put Davila across the plate for his 3rd run of the game.
That left the score at 8-4, and the Oxen were unable to answer the late game rally, ending their opening series with New York with a 2-2 split.