It was a game where the lead was changing between Clearwater and Lakeland all night long. The game ended up in regulation tied at 8-8 after nine innings. Even with a runner starting off at second base for each team, no scoring took place in the 10th inning.
On to the 11th we went and runs started to pile up on the scoreboard. Lakeland put a three spot up on the board in the top of the inning. Clearwater answered with five runs in the bottom half of the inning to win the game.
The Threshers loaded the bases with one out when D.J. Stewart came to the plate trailing by two runs. D.J. has not been much of a home run hitter now starting his fourth season in the Phillies system. However, he was served an up and in fastball and he did not miss it.
He showed great bat speed and the ball disappeared somewhere near the Tiki Bar roof behind the left field wall for a walk-off Grand Slam and a 13-11 win in 11 innings. It was Stewart’s only second home run in the fourth season of his Phillies minor league career. He was a 39th round draft pick back in 2017.
We were excited to watch this game because it was the first professional start for the Phillies 2020 first round draft pick Mick Abel. Mick struggled after striking out the first batter he faced. He lasted only 2.1 innings allowing four runs, three earned, walking two and striking out two in 48 pitches.
We expect Abel will be fine once he gets better command. He has a mid 90’s fastball and I am sure in his next start he will have better results.
Last night’s game though belonged to the offense of both teams helped by the strike zone of the automated umpire system which resulted in a combined total of 19 walks by the pitching. The two teams combined to score 24 runs on 24 hits including the most important hit of them all, D.J. Stewart’s walk-off Grand Slam.
For more on the automated strike zone, you can see Baseball Betsy’s blog HERE.