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American Heritage-Delray Walks Off Dr. Krop In Extras

Chris Ferara connects for an RBI single to drive in the winning run in the tenth inning.

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With only two slots available to advance into the final round of the 2018 HSBN March Madness Shootout, American Heritage-Delray and Dr. Krop waged a war of attrition on Monday afternoon in pursuit of one of those coveted spots.

The two clubs played tug-of-war for ten grueling innings of play under a hot but beautiful day for baseball, a contest that saw numerous momentum swings and intensity.

In the end, one swing of the bat from Chris Ferara lifted American Heritage-Delray to a 7-6, walk-off victory that keeps the Stallions alive in the title chase. The Stallions (11-4) improved to 2-0 in Pool Play to keep their tournament title hopes alive. A win over Northeast on Tuesday night should be enough to get the team into the championship.

This reality would never have been possible had it not been for a spirited comeback effort from the entire Stallion squad. Trailing 6-0 midway through the action, Heritage-Delray came to life and roared back. A three-run home run from senior shortstop Troy Hamilton evened things up in the bottom of the sixth, leading to the bottom of the tenth and Ferara batting with the winning run ninety feet away. Ferara was looking for a fastball and he hit it right up the middle through the drawn-in infield defense to send his club off as winners.

“I’ve got to thank my teammates for keeping me up. I was 0-for-4 for the game and then I got the fifth at bat and I knew this was coming, knew I was going to get a base hit. So I have to thank my teammates for that one,” Ferara said. “I’s also great, because our coach wasn’t here today because he had some family issues, so this one is definitely for Coach Mazza. We miss him and we wish him best of luck.”

Early on, it was all Dr. Krop. The Lightning (8-5) grabbed the lead with their first swings and led for most of regulation thanks to a strong offensive performance that piled up 11 total hits.

Four straight base hits with one out in the top of the first helped Krop jump out with a 2-0 advantage. Peter Pacheco singled to left, Masashi Takegama lined a shot past the diving shortstop and Rolando Leyva singled to right to load the bases. Luis Menendez then clubbed a double to left field to drive in two base runners.

The Lightning then added on to their lead with four runs in the fifth. Takegama singled to lead off, stole a pair of bases and scored on an RBI single from Leyva. Nicholas DiMartino singled to left and gave way to Alexander Batista on the bases. Batista quickly swiped second, took third on a passed ball and then came in on a throwing error.

Melvin Hatcher kept things going with a base hit to right, advancing to third on an error and scoring on an RBI single from Adam Singer.

Pitching depth is something the Stallions have, and the bullpen responded with five shutout innings to make the comeback possible. Dylan Lloyd, Carsten Finnvold and Kevin Shulman combined to cool off the Lightning bats and limit base runners down the stretch.

The Heritage offense got things going with a pair of runs in the fifth. Ryan Bruno walked and scored when Ben Vespi reached on an error. Vespi came home when Jacob Lojewski was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

An inning later they got things going to come all the way back and tie the game. Ryan Bruno reached with a bunt single, Bailey Uderitz singled to left and Vespi followed with an RBI double. Hamilton then connected for his second hit of the day when he drove the ball deep to left field for a three-run home run that made it a 6-6 game and led to extra innings.

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