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Freedom Fall in Tenth Inning, Now 3.5 Games Back in Standings

The Florence Freedom saw Sunday’s game slip right through their fingers in the tenth inning, falling to the Gateway Grizzlies 2-1.

With the score tied at one, Travis Weaver led off the top of the tenth by ripping a double down the left-field line. The Florence shortstop started the game in an 0-for-16 slump, but recorded three of the Freedom’s nine hits in Sunday’s ballgame.

The next batter, Daniel Fraga, moved Weaver over to third with a fly out to deep right. With the go-ahead run just 90 feet away, the Freedom could not bring Weaver home as Taylor Oldham popped out to the second baseman and Austin Newell struck out to end the inning.

In the bottom half of the tenth, Matt Pobereyko cruised through the first two batters before three miscues cost Florence the game. With two outs, Seth Heck hit a broken-bat 30-foot pop fly down the third-base line. Both Pobereyko and catcher Isaac Wenrich converged on the play, but Wenrich could not make the basket catch. After it popped out of his glove, he tried to fire to first for the out and the throw skipped past Richard Seigel. The double error put Heck on third. The next pitch got by Wenrich and Heck scored the winning run for the Grizzlies.

Pitching dominated throughout the game as the teams only totaled 14 combined hits. The Grizzlies scored first in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Logan Davis. Fraga almost made a fantastic defensive play ranging well into the hole up the middle and firing a throw across his body to first, but it was just late of a diving Davis. Brandon Thomas scored from third on the play to put Gateway ahead 1-0.

Florence answered in the sixth. Oldham walked to lead off the inning and then stole second. He moved to third on a fly out by Newell and scored on an RBI single by Seigel. The Freedom had two other good chances to score, the seventh (two men in scoring position with two outs) and the tenth (Weaver on third with one out).

Florence starter Stetson Nelson allowed just the one run in 4 2/3 innings, while striking out five (four hits, one walk). Pete Levitt, TJ Bozeman, and Tony Vocca combined to pitch the next 3 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit and one walk, while fanning six. Pobereyko tossed a scoreless ninth and then took the tough luck loss by allowing the unearned run in the 10th (three strikeouts, one walk). In total, Freedom pitching recorded 14 strikeouts, while only giving up only five hits.

The Grizzlies used three pitchers in the game. Vince Molesky tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run baseball, while Jon Jones pitched 1 1/3 scoreless and Nate Carter worked two innings, including escaping the 10th-inning jam.

Florence looks to bounce back in Schaumburg, the last stop on the team’s six-game road trip. The Freedom will send Jeremy Gooding (1-2, 6.46 ERA) to the hill in game one against the Boomers, a 6:30 p.m. local time (7:30 p.m. Eastern time) first pitch on Tuesday.

With the loss, the Freedom fall to 5-9 on the season, 3.5 games behind the Grizzlies and the Evansville Otters who sit atop the West Division at 9-6 each.

From the Florence Freedom