By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — It took some time.
Then it took a little more time.
But eventually the Charlotte Stone Crabs walked off with a win against the Clearwater Threshers for the second time in three days in a 4-3 decision that took 12 innings.
“It was like a marathon game,” manager Michael Johns said of the three-hour, 48-minute contest.
“I’m proud of the guys the way they stayed with it. They could’ve packed it in, but they didn’t.”
Peter Maris provided the heroics to help the Stone Crabs take advantage of an earlier Thresher mistake.
Ryan Boldt, who had three hits in the win, reached on an error by second baseman Grenny Cumana to lead off the 12th. After David Olmedo-Barrera’s single put runners at the corners, Maris drove in the game-winner on his third hit of the afternoon.
The game reached the 12th inning due to some misfortune for the Stone Crabs. In the eighth inning, reliever Dalton Moats – who entered the game in the seventh with two men on and one out, and got an inning-ending double play – gave up a game-tying, two-run homer to Edgar Cabral.
What made it unfortunate was the way Jose Gomez reached base a couple of batters earlier. “I don’t mind the home run. What really killed us is (Moats) trying to make that play (on a groundball right to) Lucius Fox,” Johns said. “If he lets that ball go by, Lucius makes the play, and then that’s a solo home run and we’re out of here in nine.
“That’s why we’re here, to learn. You can’t fault the guy for wanting to make a play in the eighth inning.”
Before the home run, Moats had briefly preserved what was a third straight solid start from Brock Burke. The left-hander threw 6.1 innings, surrendering one run on seven hits and no walks with four strikeouts.
Spencer Jones earned the win thanks to his scoreless three-inning outing in relief.
It was another game for the Stone Crabs where opportunities were there, but they were unable to strike for a big inning. In both the fourth and fifth innings, Charlotte had the bases loaded with just one out, but was only able to push across one run each time.
“I think those things come in streaks,” Johns said. “Teams go through these peaks and valleys, and there’s not much you can do about it. You just have to stay with it.”
Kevin Padlo scored the first run on a sacrifice fly from Thomas Milone. Fox, who had two hits, scored in the fifth on Maris’ first RBI single of the day.
The Stone Crabs will enjoy a day off today before welcoming Tim Tebow and the St.
Lucie Mets to town for a three-game series beginning at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday. The last time the Mets were in town, the Stone Crabs set a franchise attendance record for a single game.