Remember that old cliche', "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Well, Ronald Guzman of the Hickory Crawdads did just that. And he tried, and tried, and tried before all that effort finally paid off.
Guzman, who was mired in an 0-33 streak, came through with a walk-off, run-scoring single in the bottom of the tenth as the Crawdads defeated the Greenville Drive 4-3 Sunday at L.P. Frans Stadium. The 'Dads utilized a hit, a walk, and a hit batsman before Guzman delivered his game-winning base hit into center field.
Joe Jackson led things off with a single to left field. Nomar Mazara walked, and Ryan Cordell was hit by a pitch on a bunt attempt to load the bases with nobody out for Guzman. The 6'4" Dominican Republic native then lined a base hit up the middle past the drawn in infield to score Jackson and give the 'Dads the 4-3 win.
The win keeps Hickory (9-2 in the second half of the South Atlantic League season) in first place in the SAL's North Division. The Crawdads (50-30 overall) also won their 50th game of the year, and they picked up their 24th win in their last 27 games.
Left fielder Kendrick Perkins continued his assault on Hickory pitching with a RBI single in the second inning that gave Greenville (37-43; 3-8) a 1-0 ead. Greenville doubled its lead with a run in the third. Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin drove in Carlos Coste on a RBI groundout.
Crawdads center fielder Lewis Brinson narrowed the gap with a solo home run leading off the bottom of the third. Brinson came through again in his next at-bat in the sixth. He lined an opposite field solo blast to right-center field that tied the game at 2-2.
Jackson crushed a solo home run two batters later that gave the 'Dads a 3-2 lead. But the Drive came right back with a game tying run of their own however, as Perkins doubled and scored in the 7th to deadlock and game at 3-3. The Crawdads had opportunities to re-take the lead in both the 8th and 9th frames, but it wasn't until extra innings that the team finally came through.
Guzman was 1-5 with his game-winning hit; Brinson went 2-5 with two home runs, and Jackson finished 2-5 with his solo home run. All-star closer Cody Kendall (7-2) earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief. Drive reliever Raynel Valette (4-1) took the loss after he gave up Guzman's game-winning hit.
The Crawdads, who have now won three straight, will go for the four-game sweep of the Drive Monday night, Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Crawdads Baseball School: Early registration for the Crawdads Baseball School ends THIS Monday (6/30)! Registration is only $99 for the next day before rising to $115. The 4-day clinic runs July 22 - 25 and includes personal instruction from former major leaguers and current Crawdads players! Don't miss out! MORE
Make-A-Difference Monday: The Crawdads wrap up their 8-game home stand with another Make-A-Difference Monday, highlighting Sipe's Orchard Home. Fans can donate arts & crafts supplies, personal hygiene products, sports equipment, or school supplies and receive a FREE ticket to the game! PROMOTIONS
Stay Connected: Make sure to stay connected with the Crawdads by visiting the 'Dads website at www.hickorycrawdads.com, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter!