For most of the evening, Friday night appeared to be the latest chapter of disappointment in the story of the 2009 Evansville Otters. The Otters were trailing the River City Rascals 2-0 in the bottom of the 8th inning, and manager Wayne Krenchicki had just been ejected for vigorously arguing a call that Greg Alexander had swung at a pitch that hit him in the wrist.
With two outs and the bases empty, Matt Pulley doubled to keep the inning alive. Frank Meade, the next batter, crushed a pitch just to the left of dead center, tying the game at two. But that that was merely the opening act of Otters heroics.
In the bottom of the ninth with one out, Javier Brown came to the plate to face Rascals’ side-arm reliever Eric Cordell.
“I had seen him once when we were at their field, but he hit me in the arm so I really didn’t get to face him.
“I was really locked in when I was at the plate, because he had thrown me fastballs and it was kind of hard to pick up on his fastball because he’s a submariner. I was looking to hit the ball away. He threw a curveball and I tracked it really well and just dropped the head (of the bat) on it and it went.”
Where it went was over the left field wall, just inside the foul pole for a walk off home run.
“That was my first walk off home run I’ve ever hit in my life” said Brown, smiling ear to ear.
A dugout that had been sullen most of the night burst to life, mobbing Brown as he leaped on home plate.
Otter starting pitcher Dustin Renfrow delivered his best performance of the year, surrendering only two runs over eight innings. Reliever Nick Utley (2-2) pitched the ninth, picking up the victory.
For a team that had lost eight of nine, the importance of Friday’s walk-off win could not be understated.
“I think this is going to be a spark to the team,” said Brown. “I think this really helped. It gives us a lot of confidence going into the next couple games.”
The Otters (8-18) will look to take the rubber match of the three game series tomorrow at 7:05pm CDT.