Image: Lincoln Horsley

Columbus Clippers 7, St. Paul Saints 6- W: Broom (2-0) L: Pinto (1-1)

It took 12 innings, but the Clippers defeated the St. Paul Saints after a back-and-forth fight all game long.

Left-handed starting pitcher Tanner Tully kept Columbus in the game for seven strong innings. He had quite an impressive outing; dominant yet bounced back quickly from the few mistakes he made.

“Tully all the time, just is doing such a great job commanding the zone, keeping guys off balance, just always in control out there. Tremendous job,” designated hitter Alex Call said.

Tully pitched great first and second innings which only totaled 18 pitches while relying heavily on his fastball. Every pitch in the second inning was a fastball, but off-speed became more used and was effective in the innings followed.

The southpaw labored a bit in the third when he gave up three straight singles which allowed a run to score. However, good defense behind him bailed him out as shortstop Tyler Freeman and second baseman Mitch Tolman turned a double play to get him two outs. 

He bounced back in the fourth and fifth to have quick, efficient innings. During these two frames, about half of his pitches were off-speed, compared to the majority of fastballs thrown earlier in the game. That kept the Saints on their toes, as they could not square them up, grounding out a total of 12 times against Tully.

Coming in clutch for his pitcher, center fielder Anthony Alford hit a home run in the bottom of the fourth to tie it up. 

The Clippers kept the offense going in the next inning. Left fielder Richie Palacios showed off his speed by stealing second after he reached on a fielder’s choice. Freeman immediately followed up with a double to the warning track in left center to score Palacios, giving the Clippers the 2-1 lead. 

Alford crushed his second home run of the game in the sixth, this time a moonshot to the street behind the stadium, extending the lead to 3-1. 

Tully’s only major mistake came in his final inning. Catcher Caleb Hamilton hit a two-run home run in the seventh to tie the game off a fastball misplaced right down the middle. However, he did not allow it to affect him as he got two outs immediately after to end the inning. 

The combination of Palacios and Freeman were key for timely hits. In the bottom of the seventh frame, Palacios doubled to the right field corner, then Freeman did the same thing, keeping the ball just fair down the line to score Palacios, as the Clippers regained the lead. Right fielder Oscar Gonzalez singled to score Freeman, adding another insurance run.

The Saints tied things up in the top of the ninth, sending the game into extras. A run was scored by both teams in the tenth, then stayed tied going into the twelfth. Will Benson was the ghost runner on second, then Gonzalez was intentionally walked. 

“You replay the situation in your mind, you know, I’ve been there plenty of times before, visualizing that same situation,” Call said. “That just gives me confidence, just looking for a good pitch to hit and delivering for the team.”

After two outs, it came down to Call, and he answered the phone. On a 1-2 count, Call drilled a line drive up the middle to score Benson for the walk-off win. 

“This team is wonderful. It’s amazing to be on this team, so many good guys, we are all playing for each other,” Call said. “We are all friends, it’s a phenomenal atmosphere, I love these guys. We love to play and we are really good. We love to come out and have fun so that’s what it’s all about.”

Velocity

LHP Tanner Tully

1st: 89, 89, 89, 80, 81, 91, 82, 84, 90, 83

2nd: 89, 90, 90, 90, 91, 90, 91, 91

3rd: 90, 83, 90, 91, 73 (Nice), 91, 82, 90, 90, 82, 90, 91, 83, 90, 81, 91, 81, 83, 92, 92, 85

4th: 89, 89, 89, 81, 81, 80, 75, 82, 84

5th: 90, 83, 80, 82, 89, 89, 89, 81, 90, 90, 80, 79

6th: 89, 84, 84, 91, 83, 79, 74, 89, 89, 84, 82

7th: 73, 79, 80, 89, 82, 90, 82, 89, 85, 91, 84, 85

LHP Ben Krauth

8th: 88, 89, 91, 77, 91, 91, 91, 90, 84, 91, 77, 78, 78, 89, 90, 91

9th: 90, 88, 86, 90, 89, 89, 78, 78, 90

LHP Alex Young

9th: 92, 91, 85, 82, 90, 90, 92, 84, 92

RHP Aaron Pinto

10th: 77, 78, 91, 92, 80, 80, 92, 81, 80, 81, 81, 87, 87

11th: 80, 81, 92, 91, 87, 90, 93, 80, 80

RHP Robert Broom

12th: 73, 73, 86, 74, 87, 87, 73, 87, 87, 88, 87, 74, 88, 88, 89, 89, 76

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