Prospect League

Birdsong lifts Gems in extras to cap off season

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 3, 2018 12:01 am Updated: Aug. 3, 2018 12:06 am

QUINCY -- The Hannibal Hoots brought in their outfield to prevent the Quincy Gems' Francisco Rodriguez from moving from first base to third on any hit in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Cody Birdsong brought him home on a ball that cleared everyone's heads.

Birdsong, a Quincy University product, capped off the Gems' Prospect League campaign with a walk-off double to deep center field for an 8-7 victory over the Hoots on Thursday night at QU Stadium.

It made up for swinging and missing at two pitches badly earlier in the at-bat.

"I was pretty frustrated because those balls were out of the zone," said Birdsong, who hit two home runs and drove in four runs. "I was trying to do a little too much and expanded my zone, which that happens."

Hoots manager Clayton Hicks elected to bring in his outfield during Birdsong's at-bat. Had center fielder Patrick Donohue been playing at his normal depth, his speed may have allowed him to make the catch and send the game to the 11th inning.

"We just wanted to give ourselves a chance," Hicks said. "You pick your poison and play the odds. Obviously, if we knew what was going to happen we would have had them play at the wall.

"We had the right guys in the right situation. Their guy was just a little better tonight."

Birdsong was better than most.

The Gems second baseman followed Ryan Mantle's solo home run in the bottom of the first inning with his own blast to center that hit off the batter's eye more than 410 feet away. That tied the game at 2 after the Hoots (24-35) plated two runs in the top of the first.

"If Cody Birdsong isn't drafted next season, there's something wrong with the system," Gems interim manager Pat Robles said. "What he did to hit that off the batter's eye in center, that was probably hit about 430 (feet). That's really impressive."

Birdsong tagged another ball over the wall in right-center field that gave the Gems (33-27) a 5-2 advantage.

"We kind of came out with some energy today," Birdsong said. "We hit some home runs. Then (the Hoots) grabbed the momentum, but we really never gave up."

That's because some of the Gems were playing in potentially their final game.

Matthew Crook, who had been serving as an assistant coach for the Gems this season, was activated for the final two games as a graduate player. The Lindenwood-Belleville graduate went 1 for 3 and drove in a run in the finale.

"My last at-bat at school, I thought it was the last time I was going to step on a baseball field competitively," Crook said. "So it was fun to get back out there a little bit and mess around. It was well worth it."

Hannibal chipped back into the game when Chris Iazzetta smacked a solo home run to left to lead off the top of the fifth. In the sixth, Alex Satunas had an RBI single to score Brady West, and Iazzetta later had an RBI double that scored Aaron Goecks to make it 6-5.

The Hoots tied the game in the seventh on a throwing error that allowed Donohue to score.

Cody Klotz led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run to right that gave the Gems a 7-6 lead, but the Hoots answered with Iazzetta's RBI single to center that scored West. Iazzetta went 3 for 4 with three RBIs.

Gems 8, Hoots 7

Hannibal Quincy

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Donohue cf 4 2 2 0 Rodriguez cf 5 2 1 0

Lane 2b 4 1 1 1 Mantle 3b-rf 4 1 1 1

Roscetti 3b 5 0 0 1 Birdsong 2b 6 2 3 4

West c 4 2 2 0 Klotz dh-lf 5 2 2 1

Satunas 1b 3 0 2 1 Huber ss-p 5 0 1 0

Kraus ph-rf 1 0 0 0 Crook 1b-c 3 1 1 1

Goecks 1b-rf 4 1 0 0 McGuire c 1 0 0 0

Iazzetta dh 4 1 3 3 Hahn lf-rf 5 0 3 0

Whitman lf 4 0 0 0 Crowl 3b-ss 4 0 0 1

Mercado ss 4 0 0 0 Knrnschld c 2 0 0 0

Montgmry 1b 3 0 1 0

Totals 37 7 10 6 Totals 43 8 13 8

Hannibal 200 012 110 0--7

Quincy 321 000 100 1--8

E--West, Saak, Montgomery. LOB--Hannibal 4, Quincy 11. 2B--Donohue, West 2, Satunas, Iazzetta, Birdsong. 3B--Lane. HR--Iazzetta, Mantle, Birdsong, Klotz. HP--Donohue, Crook. SH--Kraus. SB--Donohue 3, Lane, Goecks, Rodriguez, Crook, Hahn, Montgomery. CS--Mantle.

IP H R ER BB SO

Hannibal

Kuck 2 6 5 5 3 1

Saak 5 3 2 2 0 7

Steiner 2 2 0 0 1 2

Lunger L,2-2 2-3 2 1 1 0 0

Quincy

Bock 5 1-3 7 4 4 0 5

Mathewson 1 2-3 1 2 1 1 1

Huber W,1-0 3 2 1 1 1 4

PB--Crook. HB--Saak, Mathewson.

Umpires--Plate, Mike Hirstein; Field, Steve Mast.

T--3:14. A--1,822.

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