Prospects Brawl in Ohio

Dayton, OH – The Peoria Chiefs lost back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month with a 6-5 defeat against the Dayton Dragons on Thursday night. The contest was marred by a bench-clearing first-inning brawl that resulted in a 69 minute delay before the Chiefs rally fell short. Peoria stays in first place by 2 ½ games with a 22-12 second half record.

Chiefs starter Julio Castillo walked Justin Reed to start the bottom of the first and then hit Zack Cozart in the head. Cozart was down for about five minutes before leaving the game under his own power.

Neftali Soto struck out and Brandon Waring hit a dribbler past Castillo. Castillo and Gian Guzman collided as all three Dragons runners were safe. Guzman was down for about 15 minutes with a left leg injury before he left the field on a stretcher.

After the delay, Denis Phipps blooped one into right that Cliff Andersen lost in the sun for a two-run double as the ball landed at Andersen's feet. Devin Mesoraco put the Dragons up 4-0 with a single back up the middle to score Waring and Phipps.

Angel Cabrera was then hit by a pitch in the arm and after throwing his bat down, he started jawing at Castillo on his way to first. Kel Jones bounced into a fielders choice to second and Cabrera went in hard, spikes up, on Nate Samson. As Cabrera walked off the field, the players jawed and then Dragons manager Donnie Scott started yelling at Castillo and Samson from the third base coaches box.

Chiefs Interim Manager Carmelo Martinez came out of the dugout to confront the Dragons skipper, and he and Scott had an animated discussion down the third base line. The players began jawing as well and it quickly turned into a full-blown, benches-clearing brawl.

As all the players from both teams converged around the Dragons dugout, punches were thrown and players hit the ground. By time the umpires finally gained control, they handed out 15 ejections. After multiple conversations with both coaching staffs, substitutions were announced and both teams were ready to put two pitchers in the outfield.

The umpires then disappeared into the clubhouse and returned 10 minutes later to announce that all of the ejections were reversed. Play resumed with Chris Siegfried on the hill for the Chiefs, 69 minutes after the brawl ended. Siegfried retired Brandon Menchaca to end the first inning at 8:53 Eastern Time after a 7:00 first pitch.

The Dragons added a run against Siegfried in the second to go on top 5-0. With one out, Feiner tripled past Andersen in right before Soto again struck out swinging. Waring drove in his team-leading 49th RBI with a single up the middle as Feiner scored.

Held scoreless into seventh, the Chiefs finally got on the board against Juan Rafael. With two down, Mario Mercedes doubled to the wall in left-center. Andersen drove Mercedes home with a single to right and advanced to third on a two-base error in right by Phipps. Jake Opitz walked and Jonathan Wyatt drove Andersen home with a single to center to put runners on the corners. Samson drew the Chiefs one run closer with a single to right as Opitz scored and Wyatt moved to third. Samson stole second to put the tying run in scoring position, but Jeff Jeffords struck out Guyer to end the inning with the Dragons on top 5-3.

The Chiefs continued the comeback in the eighth against Jeffords. With one out, Reed dropped a flyball on the warning track to allow Rebel Ridling to reach second base. Ridling advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 5-4. Mercedes walked to put the tying run on base, but Andersen bounced out to third to end the inning.

Dayton picked up a big insurance run against Chiefs reliever Craig Muschko in the eighth. Phipps led off with a single and moved to third on a single by Mesoraco. A fielders choice grounder off the bat of Cabrera scored Phipps for a 6-4 lead before Muschko got out of the inning.

In the top of the ninth, Wyatt collected a one-out hit to center off Jeffords to bring the tying run to the plate for Peoria. Samson reached on a grounder that went under Cabrera's glove at second to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in Guyer. Dayton went to the bullpen as Derrick Conaster relieved Jeffords. Guyer lined one into left that was caught by a diving Menchaca for the second out. Rosa doubled down the right-field line to cut the lead to 6-5 with Samson moving to third. With the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second, Ridling struck out on a check-swing to end the game.

Castillo didn't return after the lengthy delay caused by the brawl. He allowed four runs on three hits, a walk and two hit batters in 2/3 of an inning. Siegfried kept the Chiefs in the game after allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. Muschko allowed one run on three hits while striking out three in two innings.

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