Jupiter, FL- The Jupiter Hammerheads (2-2) lost a thrilling, but costly game this afternoon to the Palm Beach Cardinals (2-2) in 11 innings by a final score of 6-5. Jupiter may have also lost catcher Ryan Blake for an indefinite amount of time after he endured the brunt of a brutal collision at home plate with Cardinals first baseman John Santor. Blake's diagnosis remains uncertain at this time.
The Cardinals first two runs came at a devastating price for the Hammerheads. With Terry Evans at third base and Santor at second, Cardinals catcher Mike Pagnozzi singled to left. Evans scored from third with ease as Hammerheads right fielder Alejandro De Aza fielded the ball and threw home to Blake, who was blocking the plate as Santor made his way down the third base line. Blake fielded the throw, and turned just in time to collide head-on with Santor. Play was stopped for a little over 10 minutes while Blake was taken off in an ambulance.
On the ensuing play, Cardinals second baseman Calvin Hayes was hit by Hammerheads starter Jeff Gogal (0-0), resulting in Gogal's ejection from the game. Hammerheads manager Tim Cossins argued the point, and was also ejected. Gogal pitched three and a third innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs, two walks, three hit batsmen and two strikeouts.
Gogal, who allowed 2 runs on 5 hits, was relieved by Matt Overman, who pitched three and two thirds scoreless innings of relief while not allowing a hit and striking out two.
Cardinals starter Mark Michael (0-0) gave up two runs (1 earned) in the bottom of the third, when Frank Moore drove in De Aza with a single to right. Later in the inning, Kevin Randel would score on an errant pick off attempt by Michael.
The score remained tied until the 7th inning, when Frank Moore drove in his second run of the day by knocking in De Aza. Palm Beach would tie the score again in the top of the 8th, when Santor brought in Brian Martin with a ground out to second.
In the 10th, Hammerheads reliever Kevin Cave gave up two runs (1 earned) on three hits. Jupiter rallied to tie the score in the bottom of the inning. Lee Mitchell walked with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Followed by a pair of singles from Ryan Bear and Tony Arnerich. With the bases loaded, Todd Brock singled to left, bringing in Mitchell and pinch runner Jose Campusano.
Palm Beach would come right back to take the lead in the top of the 11th, when Hammerheads pitcher Brian Strelitz (0-1) yielded a walk to Matt Dryer, a single to Brian Martin and an RBI double to Ty Parker. Cardinals reliever Mark Worrell (1-0) came on to seal the deal in the bottom of the 11th, allowing one hit and striking out one.