Mark Appel, the Houston Astros’ No. 1 pick in the recent Major League Baseball draft, was long gone by the time the Tri-City ValleyCats scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the 10th inning to defeat the Lowell Spinners, 5-4, in a New York-Penn League game at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium Friday night.
But most of the sellout crowd of 5,854 who turned out to watch Appel’s pro debut were still around when Thomas Lindauer dashed home with the winning run.
Appel, the overall No. 1 pick out of Stanford, was assigned to Tri-City to begin his pro career. He’s expected to make one more start before moving on to Quad Cities.
One Lowell player who hopes Appel makes it in the big leagues is Tzu-Wei Lin, the Spinners’ shortstop who led off the game and had the distinction of getting the first hit — a triple — off Appel.
Lin scored on a groundout, and the Spinners got a second run when Kevin Mager singled and scored on another groundout.
In two innings of work, Appel gave up three hits, two runs and had one strikeout.
The ValleyCats tied the score in the bottom of the third. With two outs, James Ramsay’s single scored Anthony Kemp, and Ramsay then scored on Conrad Gregor‘s first double of the season.
Lowell regained the lead on an RBI double by Carlos Asuaje in the fourth, but Tri-City came right back in the bottom of the inning and tied the score at 3-3 on a wild pitch.
Lowell got another run in the fifth on an RBI single by Cleusius Rondon, but the ValleyCats pulled even again in the bottom of the seventh on Gregor’s run-scoring single.
In the 10th, Michael Martinez singled with out out, and Lindauer went in to pinch-run. Ronnie Mitchell flied out for the second out, but Lindauer went to third on a single by Ryan Dineen.
Luis Alverez then struck out for what would have been the third out, but Lowell catcher David Sopilka couldn’t hang on to the ball, and Lindauer came home with the winning run.
The two teams will play again tonight at 7.