LIMA – It took all night and part of the next morning.
But, finally, Lima Locos’ Matt Furuto ended it close to 30 minutes past midnight.
Furuto’s walk-off RBI single brought home Tyler Grogg from third to finish it and give the Lima Locos a 12-11, 15-inning wacky-filled victory over Southern Ohio in the early Sunday morning at Simmons Field.
“We never gave up and always fought back,” Furuto said. “That’s a good team over there and we gave them a good battle tonight. We battled our brains out.”
Consider these numbers: The Locos finished with 27 men left on base, 19 hits and 11 stolen bases.
Grogg (Toledo) ended up 2 for 3 with four walks, a hit by pitch and six stolen bases. With the six stolen bases, he has 26 on the year to break the Locos’ single-season record of 25 held by Mike Mulligan (Ohio State) in 1990.
“It turned out really nice,” Grogg said of getting the record with the win. “Now I have to go for the Great Lakes League record (31 stolen bases). … They have a good club and we beat them. It’s going to give us momentum going into tomorrow.”
It was a personal high of six stolen bases for Grogg, who stole five bases in a game at Toledo this year, en route to breaking the Mid-American Conference record with 36.
After the game, Locos general manager Steve Meyer presented Grogg with third base, the one he stole for record No. 26.
Moved from his leadoff spot down to the No. 9 spot, Grogg was full-go the entire game with four steals of second and two of third.
With one out in the home 15th inning, Grogg walked, then stole second. He then took off and easily stole third off lefty Logan Starkman.
“He was a lefty and lefties are easier to steal off of, going from second and third,” Grogg said. “I was trying to be aggressive.”
Furuto then stepped up and lined a 1-1 pitch into center field for an RBI single to give the Locos the victory.
“I was just trying to get a pitch I could hit,” Furuto said. “Thankfully, I got a good barrel on it and it happened to fall. It was a long game.”
The Locos are 12-9, down four games behind first-place Southern Ohio (18-7). The two teams play again at 7 p.m. today at Simmons Field.
Jess Posey went 3 for 7 with a double and an RBI for the Locos. Furuto finished 2 for 6 with two RBIs. Matt Britton went 2 for 7 with an RBI.
The Locos’ Casey Schroeder was 3 for 4 with two stolen bases and an RBI. Jose Cruz had two RBIs. Shawn Sanders went 2 for 8 and nearly stole home to win the game, but the batter fouled off the pitch in the 13th inning.
“It’s great,” Schroeder said. “This is what baseball is. We baseball players live for games like this. It’s a blast and great to come out on top.”
The Locos also had some fine relief pitching. Jason Gamble fired four shutout, one-hit innings from the eighth to the 11th. He struck out four and walked none.
Tyler Murphy picked up the win. He gave up two runs in the 12th, but then threw three shutout, no-hit innings after that to close out the game. Murphy gave up two hits and two runs, with three strikeouts, over his four innings.
Locos coach Chad Ehrnsberger was serving a one-game suspension on Saturday for his ejection in the home seventh inning of Friday’s 1-0 loss at Grand Lake. Assistant coach Kottenbrock was in charge of the club.
“Resiliency, that’s the word,” Kottenbrock said. “This is by far the best game we’ve played by far. There were a few times we didn’t execute, but it was unbelievable. The attitude and demeanor was completely different than any other game that we played so far. I think four or five time we came back. I knew we could do it. It was a matter of stringing two hits together and we finally did today.”
After being tied at 9 after nine innings, both teams scored two runs in the 12th.
In the top of the 12th, Southern Ohio’s James Coates led off with a triple. After Taylor Burch was walked intentionally, Jesse Puscheck hit a sacrifice fly to center to give the Copperheads a 10-9 lead. Colton Turner tacked on an RBI double to center to push it to 11-9.
In the home 12th. Grogg and Furuto both walked. Britton put down a perfect sacrifice bunt and pitcher Eddie Fitzpatrick fired the ball into right field, scoring Grogg and getting the Locos within 11-10.
Pinch-hitter Jose Gonzalez’s RBI groundout to the mound tied the game at 11.
It stayed tied at 11 until the 15th.
The later the game went, the more chances the Locos had to turn the lights off and head home.
In the home eighth, the Locos loaded the bases with no outs. On came Southern Ohio closer Anthony Misiewicz.
Joe Cruz’s RBI groundout tied the game at 9. But Misiewicz got the next two hitters to keep it tied at 9.
In the home ninth, Grogg walked and stole second and third. Britton and Schroeder were walked intentionally to load the bases.
But Misiewicz struck out the next two hitters to send the game to extra innings.
The Locos also loaded the bases in the 10th and 11th and both times failed to score.
Through 11, the Locos had 20 men left on base.
Southern Ohio ended up with 10 hits and only left six on base.
Burch went 4 for 5 with two doubles, a home run and two RBIs for the Copperheads. Puscheck had a three-run home run and four RBIs.
It was a long night, especially for Schroeder who caught all 15 innings.
“I’m going to take a nice Epsom salt bath when I get out of here,” Schroeder said with a grin.
Locos notes: The Locos got a new assistant coach in Coldwater grad former University of Cincinnati pitcher Sam Slavik. He takes the place of Ted Stenberg, who left for a pitching coach job at Marion Military Institute (Ala.) … The Locos’ team batting average jumped from .237 to .244 with the 19-hit game. At .244, that ranks third in the league. The Locos’ team ERA of 2.85 ranks fourth. … The Locos’ Keaton Baker ranks second in the league in ERA at 0.49. Baker suffered an ankle injury when he was out for a run on Saturday. He’ll have it X-rayed on Monday.