The Columbia Fireflies (22-21) fell to the West Virginia Power (24-17) in 11 innings at Spirit Communications Park in Columbia Monday night. This was the first game in an eight-game homestand that features four games against West Virginia and four games against South Atlantic League South Division rival Greenville Drive. The Fireflies currently stand at fourth in the South Division of the SAL.
The game started off as a slugfest where neither team scored in the first five innings. The Power were the first to score when right fielder Chris Sharpe scored after running from first to third on a wild pitch.
The Fireflies responded when Matt Winaker started the bottom of the seventh inning with a triple which led to a score. Later in the inning, Edgardo Fermin singled which ultimately led another score by Raphael Gladu. This gave the Fireflies a 2-1 lead heading into the eighth inning.
The Fireflies seemed to be in a good position to win until West Virginia’s Rodolfo Castro singled that allowed left fielder Calvin Mitchell to give West Virginia a point, which sent the game into extra innings.
Monday night gave the Fireflies a chance to try the new MiLB rule. This new rule states that in extra innings, the batting team must start with someone on second base.
Some fans and players are not in favor of this new rule, including Fireflies manager Pedro Lopez.
”I know for a fact the fans don’t like it, myself included," Lopez said. "I don’t like it, but the one thing it does is save pitchers.”
This rule helped West Virginia to win in the 11th inning, when Calvin Mitchell doubled to send Sharpe home and gain a 3-2 lead. The Fireflies couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the 11th, which led to a victory for the Power.
Looking ahead at the rest of the series, the Fireflies will have three more home games against West Virginia, then they will stay at home for a four-game series against Greenville. This eight-game homestand will come one day at a time for the Fireflies as they face West Virginia Tuesday night starting at 7:05 p.m.
”First and foremost, we gotta take care of business tomorrow," Lopez said. "I think that we gotta take care of West Virginia.”