HIGH POINT, N.C. – The Lancaster Barnstormers rallied for five runs in the top of the 12th inning and went on to win the opening game of the Atlantic League Championship Series 6-2 over the High Point Rockers on Tuesday night at Truist Point.
The Barnstormers loaded the bases in the 12th off reliever Cam Cotter, the sixth High Point pitcher of the night. Shawon Dunston reached base after being hit by a pitch and Cotter then issued a walk and an intentional walk, all with two outs. A single by Ariel Sandoval brought home two runs and put the ‘Stormers up 3-1. A walk to Anderson Feliz reloaded the bases and Jacob Barfield smashed a one-hopper to short. Shortstop Giovanny Alfonzo gloved the ball but the force of the drive knocked him backwards and his throw to first was not in time, allowing a fourth run to score. Chris Proctor then singled into the left-center gap to plate two more runs before Barfield was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The Rockers tallied a run in the bottom of the 12th after Quincy Latimore and Zander Wiel opened the inning with singles. But Tyler Ladendorf hit into a double play as Latimore scored to make it a 6-2 game. Lancaster closer West Tunnell struck out Jay Gonzalez for the final out of the game.
The frenzied ending overshadowed what was a tremendous game for the first 11 innings featuring outstanding pitching and minimal hitting. The Rockers sent knuckleballer to Mickey Jannis to the mound to start and he allowed a solo homer to Shawon Dunston leading off the game. But Jannis settled down after that and did not allow another run through his six innings of work, holding Lancaster to four hits while walking three and striking out five.
The Rockers managed a single run off Lancaster starter Brooks Hall who allowed just four hits over his six innings of work. Ladendorf drew a one-out walk in the fifth and moved to third on a single by Michael Martinez. Alfonzo lifted a fly ball to shallow left field that did not appear to be deep enough to score Ladendorf. But the Major League veteran tagged and took a few steps off third as if he were not going to go to the plate. As the relay throw came in from Dunston, Ladendorf’s deception caused first baseman Andretty Cordero to cut off the throw and his relay to home was not in time to catch the sliding Ladendorf who tied the game at 1-1.
Lancaster’s top scoring opportunity came in the seventh when Jake Hoover led off the inning with a double off reliever Gabriel Castellanos. After Hoover reached third following a sacrifice bunt by Trace Loehr, Dunston sent a one-hopper at Ladendorf at second. Ladendorf scooped the ball on the short hop, twirled and threw a strike to catcher Logan Moore who tagged out Hoover for the second out of the inning.
Cam Booser picked up the win for Lancaster, throwing scoreless frames in the 10th and 11th innings. Cotter took the loss after allowing five runs on three hits and three walks while striking out one.
Logan Morrison led High Point’s six-hit effort with two singles.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday at Truist Point.