River City pitcher Lucas Laster’s storybook debut came up one out and three pitches short of a happy ending for the Rascals in their game against the Gateway Grizzlies on Thursday at GCS Ballpark.
Instead it was a wild pitch by River City reliever Zeb Sneed which sent a crowd of 2,834 home with smiles on their faces.
Richard Seigel scored from third on Sneed’s wild pitch with one out in the 11th inning as Gateway rallied for a dramatic 3-2 win over its Frontier League West Division rivals.
A member of the Mississippi State University pitching staff during the past two years, Laster silenced the Grizzlies bats on three hits for 8 2/3 innings before giving up back-to-back home runs to Blake Brown and Madison Beaird in a three-pitch span as Gateway tied the game at 2.
Looking for just its third series win of the season —and second over River City — Gateway (9-21) was held to just three singles by Laster, who struck out 10, including a string of five of six. That was before Brown and then Beaird sent the game into extra innings.
Signed to his first professional contract on Sunday, the 22-year-old Lewisberg, Tenn., native worked out of a first-inning jam. With two outs, Ben Waldrip legged out an infield single and Blake Brown walked on four pitches to put runners on first and second. Laster got out of the inning by getting Madison Beaird to ground out.
Gateway starter Tyler Thompson (1-4), coming off a 5-2 loss at Windy City on June 13, also pitched well.
The Cuba, Mo., native retired the first eight Rascals he faced before Saxon Butler singled with two outs in the third inning.
Rascals leadoff hitter Curran Redal then hit a 2-1 pitch down the left-field line and when the ball got tangled in the River City bullpen before Grizzlies left fielder Cody Livesay could retrieve it, Butler scored all the way from first base for the first run of the game.
Brian Hansen then made it 2-0 with a leadoff home run in the sixth inning. Thompson worked 6 1/3 innings before giving way to the Grizzlies bullpen
The Grizzlies will be out for a bit of revenge beginning today when they host the Windy City Thunderbolts in the first of a three-game series starting at 7:05 p.m. Windy City swept a three game series with Gateway last week. The series continues Saturday with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch and on Sunday beginning at 6:05 p.m.
Gateway then heads east for a short three-game road trip at Lake Erie, beginning on Tuesday.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at email@example.com or 618-239-2661.