Blue Wahoos Produce Walkoff Magic To Win Series Against M-Braves, Close Gap In Division Race

June 10, 2024

written by Bill Vilona

The Blue Wahoos’ last walk-off win happened on May 9.

Sunday, of course, was June 9. A little numerology worked perfectly in their favor.

After having a 3-run lead evaporate in the eighth inning, then trailing 7-6 in the 10th, the Blue Wahoos got a pair of run-scoring singles, highlighted by Cody Morissette’s two-out, liner through the right side gap to produce a crowd-roaring 8-7 win against the Mississippi Braves, thus taking the series on four consecutive victories.

This one, however, was the biggest. It delighted a crowd of 4,444 on Military Family Sunday that featured a festive scene afterward with players and their families on the field, joined by children from the stands running the bases as part of the day’s promotion.

With the Montgomery Biscuits losing Sunday to the Biloxi Shuckers, the Blue Wahoos are now a half-game back in the first half Southern League divisional race with two weeks remaining. The Blue Wahoos will begin a road trip Tuesday against the Birmingham Barons.

“We just got to keep battling,” said Morissette, following the win and the ice bath dousing by teammates during an infield celebration. “We’re excited to try and win this first half, that’s the biggest part.”

In addition to his game-deciding hit heroics, Morissette also played a big role in the Blue Wahoos’ five-run rally in the sixth inning that changed the game.

The M-Braves led 3-1 after their starting pitcher, David Fletcher, a reinvented knuckleball thrower from his former Major League Baseball career as an infielder, kept frustrating the Blue Wahoos with his array of darting knucklers.

But after Bennett Hostetler led off that inning with a home run off a Fletcher floater, Zach Zubia followed one out later with a blast of his own to make it a tie game. Jake Thompson then doubled and Fletcher was lifted for a reliever.

With one out, Morissette’s hustle beat out a double-play that would have ended the inning. That effort was huge.

Harrison Spohn then followed with a two-run triple. Tanner Allen padded the lead with a RBI single.

Leading 6-3 with two outs in the top of the eighth, the Blue Wahoos appeared set to close out a win, just as they have in 25 of 26 previous games when leading in the eighth.

The M-Braves tied the game with a pair of home runs, the latter a two-run shot by Javier Valdes, their No. 9 hitter.

Blue Wahoos closer Austin Roberts was summoned to begin the ninth and he struck out the side. In the 10th, placement runner Keyshawn Ogans moved from second to third on a ground out. He scored on a sacrifice fly to give the M-Braves the lead.

With fans tossing a “Rally Fish” in the stands, the mojo worked on this day.

Joe Mack scored Hostetler, the placement runner, from second base with his single. Zubia walked. M-Braves reliever Rolddy Muñoz then struck out the next two batters.

But on a 2-0 pitch, Morissette made perfect contact to win the game.

“I was trying to put the ball in play,” said Morissette, in the post-game interview with Blue Wahoos broadcaster Carter Bainbridge. “Muñoz is a good pitcher. We battled all day. I was just trying to put the ball in play. It found a hole and we ended up scoring.”

Roberts (3-1) earned the win for his relief role and had a save earlier in the series. The Blue Wahoos used five pitchers, beginning with Chandler Jozwiak, who pitched two hitless innings. Jake Thompson went 3-for-5 as part of the Blue Wahoos’ 12-hit attack.

GAME NOTABLES

— After dropping the first two games of the series, the Blue Wahoos followed with four straight wins, three of those by one run, the other a 3-1 win Friday.

— The Blue Wahoos will end the first half of their schedule at home against the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Cincinnati Reds affiliate, in a series June 18-23.

— There were five different youth baseball teams from across the Northwest Florida and Baldwin County, Alabama, participating in on-field recognition and having the players run out with Blue Wahoos players during pregame introductions.

WHAT’S NEXT?

WHO: Blue Wahoos vs. Birmingham Barons

WHERE: Regions Field, Birmingham. Alabama.

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