It was nearly 11 p.m., the eclipse was about de-clipsed and the Salt Lake Trappers had two men on base and yet another chance to break a 6-6 tie. It was the bottom of the 12th inning Wednesday at Derks Field.
The Traps had tied the game in the eighth with one run, but they'd left two more runners on base. They'd loaded the bases in the 10th and failed to score, and they'd loaded the bases in the 11th with none out and failed to score.Joe Beaulac, who'd singled, was on second, and Mike Grace, intentionally walked for the third straight time, was on first as Travis Tarchione came up.
Tarchione sent a ground ball straight at Pocatello shortstop Pepe Frias.
"I thought, `Oh great, another double play,"' said Tarchione.
Instead, the ball caromed off Frias' glove, and while he immediately argued for interference on Beaulac, Beaulac raced home with the winning run.
It was 7-6 for the Trappers and gave them their longest win streak of the season - five games - while moving them a game closer to division-leading Butte, which lost 11-4 to Idaho Falls.
Butte comes to Derks Thursday night and Friday with a four-game lead.
The 12 innings were the longest the Trappers have played this season.
"I was in front of him, and he was coming behind me," said Beaulac of the disputed play. "I really didn't see what happened; my back was to it. I was past him. "At third, I saw Barry (Manager Moss) wheeling me around, so I came on and scored. I was a little surprised, but as soon as I heard the noise of the crowd, I knew something had happened."
Until then, it seemed this one would last till the next lunar eclipse.
"This was one night it didn't seem to click," said Tarchione. "My last four at-bats were my worst all year."
"I knew we'd win, though," said Beaulac. "We've been coming back and winning some games, and the guys are really playing as a team."
The Trappers left 18 men on base through the first 11 innings. Normally, that would frustrate Moss. However, Moss credited the Giants' pitching.
"That was the best game they've pitched all year," Moss said, noting that relievers Darren Musselwhite and Mark Quintel had their best outings against Salt Lake and that reliever Rob Taylor, who has a reputation as a stopper but hadn't stopped Salt Lake, finally did.
Trapper pitchers did well, too, though starter Mike Steinkamp had to settle in after a three-run, four-hit first inning. Dave Alexander pitched two and Scott Bray three innings of scoreless ball, Bray getting the win. The Trap trio went 11 2/3 innings before issuing its lone walk.
Steinkamp gave up a solo homer to Kelly Ahrens in the third, but he wasn't in trouble again until the seventh. The Trappers were ahead 5-4 then, but two errors on second baseman J.D. Ramirez helped Pocatello go ahead 6-5. The first was a throw that skipped off Gerard Giustino's mitt at first, then bounced off catcher Phil Evans' mitt and into the stands as Evans backed up the play. That runner, David Booth, scored on the second Ramirez error, on a Matt Harr grounder. Harr scored on two singles.
"I'm not mad," said Moss. "One's an aggressive play, and the other is to his right, a tough play. It seems like every time we make an error, a run scores."
Ramirez doubled in the eighth and scored on a Giustino single and Beaulac sacrifice fly to make it 6-6. Giustino's four hits topped everybody; Giant Steve Rolen and Trapper Pat Waid had three hits each.