Photo Credit: Pinola Photography
LAFAYETTE, IN. – The Lafayette Aviators concluded a three game homestand in true Aviators fashion. The night started with a baseball giveaway courtesy of WLFI News 18. Just like the great crowd that came to support the Fly Boys, the Aviators cracked the first inning wide open. The Aviators bats came to play. After two walks, and a single from Eli Tencza, the bases were loaded and Jarrett Bickel stepped to the plate. He singled up the middle, scoring Thoroman. Next up, welcome back MIKE SNYDER, he hit his first triple of the season, increasing the Aviators lead to 3-0. Making his Aviators debut, Jared Harris hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Snyder, to bolster the Fly Boys lead. After the 1st, the Aviators had already put 5 runs on the board. The Pistol Shrimp tried to answer back in the top of the second scoring three runs from a double by Ivan Witt, and a single from Chance Resetich. Returning Fly Boy Jack Lang led off the Aviators half of the second with a double, and scored on a single by Tencza. With a 6-3 lead heading into the 3rd, the Pistol Shrimp put one more on the board, to cut the Aviators lead to 6-4. During the top of the fourth Richie Cimpric relieved starter Norris who finished the game with a pitching line of 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K. The Aviators increased their lead in the 4th after an attempted throw out caused Illinois Valley to create a double error, and eventually the Aviators tacked on 3 more runs and led 9-4. In the top of the 6th, Tencza gets the crowd roaring after making an ESPN-worthy diving catch. Then a 1-2-3 inning for Illinois Valley defense. The Pistol Shrimp continue to try and stay alive adding 2 runs in the seventh to cut the Aviators’ lead to 9-6. A DeFouw Automotive pitching change brings in #8 Tyler Valdez to finish out the inning and escape any further damage. After the Aviators added an insurance run, Valdez brought the power striking out the 8, 9, and 1 batters in the 8th, to keep the Fly Boys lead at 10-6. Things got tense in the 9th inning, as the Pistol Shrimp struck for 3 runs, without the benefit of a hit, before Connor Fries finally settled down and induced a game-ending Twin City Twin Killing double play. Final Score: Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp 9, Lafayette Aviators 10.