Walk-off leads to bench-clearing brawl in Troy

ValleyCats first baseman Colton Shaver hit his second walk-off grand slam of the year on Monday night, but as he crossed the plate, a brawl broke out. Photo: Adam Ziobrowski/Upstate Courier on August 21, 2017

TROY — Fireworks weren’t on the ValleyCats’ promotions schedule Monday, but the 3,879 fans who poured into Joe Bruno Stadium witnessed one spectacular ending to the night.

For the second time this season, ValleyCats first baseman Colton Shaver played hero, delivering a walk-off grand slam to push the ‘Cats past the Brooklyn Cyclones, 10-6.

With the ‘Cats down 6-5 with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, Adrian Tovalin tied the game with a hard-hit ball that went under the third baseman’s glove for a ruled error, scoring a run from second. After an intentional walk to Michael Papierski, it was Shaver’s time to shine, again. On the second pitch of his at-bat, the Riverton, UT native hit his second walk-off grand slam of the year.

“It feels good, we put in a lot of work here, and it feels good to see it pay off,” Shaver said about his game winning homer.

However, as the ValleyCats celebrated and rushed home plate to congratulate the 21-year-old, another round of fireworks exploded in the form of fists, as both benches cleared in a short, but all out brawl at home.

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“There was chirping the whole game; it’s just baseball. We’re competitive, and they’re competitive, and juices got flowing,” Shaver said about the benches-clearing following his walk off.

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ValleyCats Manager Morgan Ensberg commented on the situation as well. “It was obvious frustration, and I’m glad to see no one got hurt. I was giving Shaver a high-five, and I turned and saw a bunch of people pushing….I’m just glad it didn’t escalate. I’m not sure what happened exactly,” Ensberg said.

The game started with Shaver homering in the bottom of the 2nd to give the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead. Then the wheels fell off in the top of the 4th.

‘Cats starter Adam Bleday allowed four runs, all of which earned, as the Cyclones pieced five hits together to take a 4-1 lead. Bleday would finish the fourth as he went four innings on the night while allowing four earned runs on seven hits, also striking out two batters and walking three.

However, Michael Papierski would answer with a solo shot to right center field to cut the gap to 4-2 in favor of the Cyclones.

A Brooklyn home run by Jose Maria opened the game to 5-2 in the top of the 6th, Kyle Davis of the ‘Cats singled home a run to cut the deficit back to two.

Then in the bottom of the 7th, JJ Matijevic crushed a two-run home run over the second fence in right field at Joe Bruno Stadium to tie the game at five runs a piece. After the contest, Ensberg noted the exit velocity was near 109 MPH.

The Cyclones reclaimed the lead in the top of the 8th inning until the magical ninth for the ‘Cats sent the fans home happy.

The ValleyCats hit the road Tuesday to start a doubleheader against the Connecticut Tigers. The start time for game one has not yet been released, but the first pitch of game two is scheduled to leave the mound at 7:05 p.m.

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