08/08/2018 8:00 AM -
NORMAL, Ill. (August 7, 2018) – In a game where the Normal CornBelters (38-22) trailed the majority of the game, Andrew Godbold came up in the clutch and doubled with the bases loaded to walk it off 9-8 over the Gateway Grizzlies (33-42) on Tuesday night.
"This team is built on a lot of character and resilience. You got 24 guys in there that really care about each other. This is really like a family. Pasky (Pascual Santiago) and I have been on Championship teams, this reminds me of my club in 2016. Everybody got along, the clubhouse is fantastic and guys just want to win," said First-year Manager Billy Horn. "Herrera came in and had a good inning until he gave up a two-out, two strike hit and then a run scored, but our boys didn't care. Let's go, we got this. That's the mentality in there."
Normal had chances all throughout the series opener and finally came through in the ninth down 8-5. Nick Cain led off with a pinch-hit single to begin the rally. A groundout later, James Davison Jr. and Santiago Chirino knocked back-to-back singles to load the bases. Derrick Loveless drew a four-pitch walk and made it 8-6. Then two pitches later, Andrew Godbold walked it off on a bases-clearing double to take the series opener. The former Dodgers prospect now has two walk-off hits at home in the second half of the season.
The CornBelters erased a Gateway sacrifice fly in the first as Loveless knocked an opposite-field home run to give Normal a 2-1 lead. The Grizzlies responded in the next frame and added four runs off starter Zack Kirby to make it 5-2.
Each side hit a solo shot in the third. The inning was highlighted by Davison Jr. who blasted his first professional home run to cut the Gateway advantage in half 6-3.
Normal made it a one-run game in the fifth. After leading off with a single, Michael Baca looked to be picked off but got out of the rundown which turned into a successful hit and run by Davison Jr. Chirino then made it 6-4 on a groundout, followed by Loveless who doubled to the deepest part of the ballpark to make it a one-run game.
After Kirby threw a scoreless fourth, Miles Moeller entered and threw two shutout innings. The lefty struck out four Grizzlies, which is the most in an outing for him this season. Evan Smith was the next lefty out of the bullpen in the eighth and Gateway strung a pair of hits together to stretch their lead to 7-5. Despite giving up a run in the ninth, Anthony Herrera (7-3) went on to earn his team-leading seventh victory.
Davison Jr, Chirino, Loveless, and Godbold all recorded multi-hit games tonight. Chi Chi picked up his 100th hit of the season in the seventh, the Frontier League Hit King now has five straight seasons of over 100 hits. With the win tonight the Normal CornBelters are now two games up in first place in the West Division and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.
"Again we got a long way to go, we got 26 games. It's a long season, we have got a lot of good ball clubs ahead of us that were playing. We just got to take it one game at a time, that's the old cliché. As long as we continue to stay lock-in, play together as a unit, it's pretty special to watch."
Normal looks to clinch the series tomorrow and extend their five-game win streak with first pitch at 7:05 p.m.
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ABOUT THE CORNBELTERS
The Normal CornBelters are a professional baseball team of the Frontier League located in Normal, Illinois, which is part of the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area. They play their home games at The Corn Crib. Tickets and Sponsorships are available for the 2018 season. For more information visit normalbaseball.com or call 309-454-2255. You can also follow the team on Facebook.
ABOUT THE FRONTIER LEAGUE
The Frontier League, based in Sauget, Illinois, is a professional, independent baseball organization located in the Midwestern United States consisting of 12 franchises in two divisions playing a 96-game regular season schedule. The league was formed in 1993 and is the oldest currently running independent league. For more information about the Frontier League visit frontierleague.com.