What might have been, may very well be the way, to sum up, the 2018 Lowell Spinners. Refusing to go down without a fight. Lowell rallied with single runs in the eighth, ninth, and tenth to send the team and their fans into the off-season with a good feeling. Lowell won the season finale on a Juan Carlos Abreu single to right field scoring Alan Marrero and giving the Spinners a sweep of the series 5-4. They finished the season with a record of 37-38, four games better than last year.
The motto of this team has been, “never a doubt”. It’s what Spinners manager Corey Wimberly has talked about all summer long. On Labor day the motto was in full effect.
Yorvin Pantoja made the start and in his five innings, he gave up four hits, two runs, with one earned. He walked a couple and struck out one. His trouble inning was his last one, the fifth. With one out, the Tigers got back to back doubles from Hector Martinez and Clark Brinkman, with Brinkman getting the rbi. The second run came across on a run-scoring groundout by Isrrael De La Cruz. 2-0 Tigers.
The Spinners got one of those runs back in their half of the fifth facing Juan Aguilera, on in relief of the starter Adam Wolf (three innings, one hit, no runs, two strikeouts). Aquilera gave up a leadoff single to center to Korby Batesole and one out later, he would score the Spinners first run on a double to left by Dylan Hardy. 2-1 Connecticut.
Lowell would tie the game in the sixth on a double from Trey Ganns (two hits and a run scored for him). One out later, he was driven in by Alan Marrero who doubled to the left-center field gap. It was 2-2 after six.
A nice moment took place in the Connecticut half of the sixth. Danny Bethea was called out of the Spinners bullpen. It would be his final appearance as a baseball player. Danny has decided to retire and head back to his alum-mater St. John’s to become part of the coaching staff with the Red Strom.
The Tigers looked like they would put the game away in the eighth vs Logan Browing. A single to center by Jeremiah Burks was followed by a home run off the bat of Kingston Liniak. The blast cleared the wall in left and was his first of the season. The Tigers now had a 4-2 lead.
Lowell began their comeback in the eighth. Alfredo Sliva, now on to try and protect the lead, walked Ganns. With one down, Tyler Esplin (two hits on the day ) singled him to second. Marrero got hit by a pitch to load the bases. However, the Spinners would only get one run out of this opportunity. Batesole grounded out to score Ganns to bring the Spinners within one at 4-3.
In the ninth, against Yaya Cherntouf, Lowell would tie the game. Once again a walk would get things going. Hardy walked and after that, the next two hitters made outs. Pinch-hitter, Ramifs Berrora, kept the season alive with a base hit to center and Hardy stopped at second. With Esplin batting, Cherntouf uncorked a wild pitch that scored Hardy with the tying run. It could have been better when Esplin was walked. However, for some reason, Berrora was caught between third and home in a rundown. Berrora was eventually caught and tagged out to end the inning with the score tied at 4-4. Free baseball was on tap.
It did not last long when in the bottom of the tenth, The Spinners completed the comeback. Jayce Vancena was the next Tiger out of their bullpen with a runner at second base. The Spinners tried to bunt him along. The attempt did not work as Marrero’s attempt was turned into a fielder choice out. However, during the next at-bat, Marrero moved up to second base on a passed ball charged to Tiger catcher Gresuan Silverio. He advanced to third on a wild pitch. Batesole could drive him in and instead, he struck out. Abreu was next to possibly deliver, and he did with a line drive single to right that scores Marrero with the game-winning run. The Spinners walked off with a 5-4 win.
Wimberly was asked after the ballgame about his first year on the job as manager of the Spinners. He said: “it was a good experience as he was able to communicate with the younger guys on the team”. He also said: ” that he was able to understand their feelings”.
Next for Wimberly is three weeks in Fort Myers Florida for Instructional League Baseball before going home to enjoy the off-season.
The Winner was Kris Jackson and he finished at 2-1. The loser for the Tigers ( 29-44 ) was Vancena and he finished the year 0-2.