04/24/2018 4:33 PM
(Credit John Ellis Kansas City T-Bones)
Our top 10 moments continue. The team had so many great moments to look back on, and this one was a huge event in telling the story of the 2017 T-Bones.
Remember, this list includes the moments that stood out to me and is a matter of opinion from my seat. I am willing to bet your list may be totally different from mine, or you might agree. Regardless, hopefully it will jog your memory, and, most of all, get you ready for the great 2018 season ahead.
I tried to avoid crushing losses (except when memorable) as they are parts of the twists and turns of a season. If someone was to ask me about the past season, these moments would have been what I would include if I were forced to write a book on the topic.
#7 August 13 – 15 games above
August was a month full of milestones for the T-Bones. The team set and broke two strike-out records, reached their longest streak of consecutive days being above .500 in a season, helped Joe Calfapietra hit 900 career wins as a manager, and the team finished with the franchise second best overall record in 2017. It makes sense when we look back on what was an historic season in the win/loss column that a moment like August 13th, 2017 would jump out at me for out at me for our #7 moment. There may not have been a better gauge at just how far the club had come from previous years than following the walk-off heroics on a Kansas City Saturday night.
Looking back on 2017, the Salina Stockade will be footnote in the American Association history books. The club was added only two weeks prior to opening day as they replaced the Laredo Lemurs franchise that never saw the field that year. The barnstorming Stockade were “road warriors” and fought tooth and nail, but most nights, they were just too thin to compete. They were forced to play shorthanded and the team was really thrown together late and had so many obstacles that just getting to the finish line was a mjor story. I could go on and on about the saga, but that was the Stockade; their story would make a heck of an HBO special.
(Credit John Ellis T-Bones Media)
It was that same Salina Stockade that stood in the way of another T-Bones series win and their drive to hit 15 games above .500. Kansas City won 20 series in 2017, lost 10, and only split a pair. Those are the type of numbers that winning clubs put together, and the T-Bones were that in 2017.
It was not a good start that evening for the T-Bones. The Stockade struck first in the third when first baseman Kewby Meyer drove in Cody Coffman with an RBI single to give the Stockade the early lead. An error by third baseman Jordan Edgerton allowed Salina to extend their lead to 2-0, before the T-Bones responded, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second. It seemed like things were going to be easy from there.
According to the game story, “Catcher Zane Chavez singled to bring in Edgerton and narrow the Salina lead to 2-1. Right-handed pitcher, Jordan Cummings (1-4, 7.52) walked right fielder, Chantz Mack, advancing all runners around the diamond to even the score at 2-2. Kansas City took over the lead with second baseman Marcus Lemon’s putout to bring in the final run of the inning.”
The game stayed 3-2 until the fifth when Coffman took back the Stockade’s lead with an RBI double, putting Salina up 4-3. It seemed as if things were getting tense, and the atmosphere WAS intense. Nobody could afford to lose any home series to the Salina team that replaced Laredo on the schedule, removing them from an AA pennant. The pressure of a playoff spot also hung in the balance, and every game would count as we found out a day later in a loss.
(Credit John Ellis T-Bones Media)
The T-Bones went scoreless in the sixth, but a solo home run from Chantz Mack in the seventh would tie up the game at four on that Saturday night. The game stayed tied, but the T-Bones had a heck of a chance in the ninth, but could not cash in. Salina pitcher Tyler Herr walked the bases loaded, but the T-Bones couldn't produce a game-winning hit in the ninth, so we went to extra innings.
Cody Winiarski worked a shutdown 10th and held the Stockade in check for two innings of work. Salina then brought in left-handed pitcher Connor Bach in the bottom of the frame. Jerome Pena reached with a single and then a double to deep right field from Mack plus the great speed of Pena gave the T-Bones the 5-4 walk-off victory.
The T-Bones won for their 46th time of the season against 31 losses and were a season high 15 games above .500. What a difference a year can make! At the same point in 2016, the club was 35-42, amounting to a 22-game swing for 2017. This was the high water mark for games above .500, but the T-Bones had not faded through the first three quarters of the season and would find themselves in the race to the season’s final breath.
#8 St. Paul – Full throttle
#9: One crazy night on the lake!
#10: Opening Night: “How did we get that in?”