Legends defeat Shorebirds in 21 innings, 7-6

Salisbury, MD - Marten Gasparini’s home run in the top of the 21st inning gave Lexington the lead, and the Legends escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam with a double play in the bottom of the 21st to capture a 7-6 win over the Delmarva Shorebirds in Salisbury, Maryland Friday night. It was the longest game in the history of both teams.

The game was suspended after 20 innings Thursday night due to a thunderstorm. When it resumed Friday, Gasparini led off the 21st and hit the fourth pitch over the wall in right field for the winning margin.

But the Shorebirds did not go quietly in the bottom of the 21st. After Chris Clare fouled out to start the inning, Jake Ring doubled, barely missing a game-tying homer. Preston Palmeiro walked, and Collin Woody was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Milton Ramos then grounded to shortstop, where Angelo Castellano started the game-ending double play.

The 21st inning took 16 minutes, after the teams had played for five hours and 46 minutes the night before, plus a 17-minute rain delay.

Vance Tatum (3-1) got the win. He worked five innings – the 16th through the 20th -- and allowed two hits and no runs. Cody Dube (1-1) was the losing pitcher.

The two teams combined for 13 runs, 35 hits, and 50 strikeouts. Legends batters fanned 29 times, the Shorebirds 21.

The Legends opened the scoring with two runs in the second inning. Back-to-back doubles by Emmanuel Rivera and Gabriel Cancel produced the first run, and Cancel later scored on a single by Luis Villegas.

Delmarva tied the game in the fourth. Woody led off with a triple and scored on a ground out by Frank Crinella. Singles by Ryan McKenna, Stuart Levy and Cole Billingsley loaded the bases, and McKenna scored when Clare was hit by a pitch.

The Legends scored three runs in the fifth inning. After Villegas and Gasparini walked, Yeison Melo singled, scoring Villegas, and Gasparini and Melo also scored as right fielder Ring and second baseman Clare committed errors on the play.

The lead didn’t last, as Delmarva evened the score with three in the bottom of the fifth. Palmeiro was hit by a pitch, and back-to-back doubles by Woody and Ramos brought home two runs. Ramos scored on a two-out double by Levy, tying the game at 5-5.

Castellano’s solo homer in the seventh gave the Legends a 6-5 lead, but Delmarva rallied in the ninth. After Castellano dropped Palmeiro’s foul pop for an error, Palmeiro singled and was sacrificed to second by Woody. Ramos struck out, but Juvier singled, scoring Palmeiro with the tying run and sending the game to extra innings.

The regularly scheduled game was rained out. The Legends return home Sunday to play a doubleheader with Hagerstown.

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