Shootout at the FNB Corral as Sens top SeaWolves 13-10
Although the score between the Senators and SeaWolves was more suited to a football game, I assure you baseball was played at FNB Field on Monday night. Over three hours of it, and it was rarely pretty. If you like dominating pitching and slick fielding, aesthetically this wasn’t the game for you. But the two teams provided plenty of offense to keep things exciting as both put up early touchdowns, I mean 7-run innings.
Harrisburg sent 11 batters to the plate in their big inning aided by two routine plays the SeaWolves flubbed for errors. They chased Erie starter Tyler Alexander with a single, two doubles, a triple, and a Khayyan Norfork home run. Erie reliever Santiago Garrido didn’t fare much better as Neftali Soto welcomed him into the game with a blast off the pavilion roof over the left-centerfield boardwalk to give the Senators the seven run cushion.
But Harrisburg starter Mark Blackmar ran into trouble as Erie put together their own rally in the the top of fourth inning capped off by Jeff McVaney‘s three-run homer that tied the game up and sent Blackmar to the showers.
The lead changed hands back and forth until Alec Keller, who was the last Senator batter without a hit, delivered a two-out double that cleared the bases and put the Senators up for good. “He didn’t have good at-bats early, but he got that big hit,” said manager Matt LeCroy.
“I think it was a big win for us after a couple of letdowns against Hartford. It could have been one of those nights too, but we bounced back.”
Norfork came into the game with only 11 home runs in his professional career over 1,736 plate appearances and none at the Double-A level. In fact, the last time he went yard in a game was August 18, 2015 playing for Potomac in Wilmington.
“That’s the biggest park we play in too,” Norfork joked. “I save all my homers for the big parks. All these other parks are kind of small. Any time we play in a big park I show off my power.”
The Tennessee native has gotten the start at second base the last two games and has made the most of his opportunity going 4-for-6. “He’s that guy that comes to work everyday and no matter if he’s playing or not, he’s got life and energy and willing to do whatever,” LeCroy said. “It’s always good to see a kid that gets in there and does his job.”
For his part, Norfork remains positive and prepared despite limited playing time. “I’ve really been just trying to be patient and see pitches,” Norfork said. “My previous at-bats before the last few days I’ve been trying to force it, being too aggressive.”
It’s understandable that with fewer chances, Norfork would struggle with his approach at the plate but he’s not looking to justify any struggles. “That’s the easy excuse to use,” he said. “But hitting is still the same.”
The 28-year-old utility player has an infectious smile and attitude that doesn’t go unnoticed by his skipper. “He’s got some things he needs to figure out more consistently on the offensive side, but he’s a guy you want around in your dugout and clubhouse,” LeCroy said. “Being that extra person, he’s what you want.”
Norfork and Soto’s homers in the second inning were the first time this season the Senators have hit two long balls in the same game, let alone the same inning…The 17 hits recorded by Harrisburg was a season-high…Both teams combined for 16 extra-base hits…Drew Ward crushed his fourth home run of the season out of the deepest part of the park above the 405 sign and off the top of the ribbon board…Erie’s Zach Cox was the only batter for either team who failed to get a hit…Ryan Brinley picked up the win and Wander Suero his fourth save of the season.