Tiger Roar Back to Defeat Arfuso 12-11
Written by: Bill Martin
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Louis Sarandoulias drove in Michael ILes with two outs in the bottom of the fifth to lead the Detroit Tigers to an emotional 12-11 come from behind win over a scrappy Arfuso team. Sarandoulias' heroics came immediately after a controversial play at home plate, when brilliant baserunning by Matthew Canuso barely escaped the pitcher's tag to score the tying run on a Jake Askin single.
The Tigers jumped to an early 7-0 lead on tremendous defense by Ryan Simalchik and Askin. The Tigers kept the Arfuso team scoreless through two innings, but gave up 5 runs in the third, allowing the Arfuso team back into the game. After picking up a run in the third behind Max ILes and Griffin Foster hits, the Tigers bats stalled. Jack Sanborn made two terrific plays at second base to slow Arfuso rallies. But entering the Fifth inning, the Tigers trailed 11-8 and it looked as if the Tigers had run out of energy. But Alec Sozio kept the Tigers in the game. With two outs and runners on first and third, Austin Kennedy smacked a ball to center. Sozio, playing centerfield, grabbed the ball and darted to second, barely beating a sliding runner to end the inning and save a run. That run proved to be significant, since the Tigers needed all the runs they could muster. Griffin Foster, the "rally starter," got the inning started with a single, followed by Ryan Simalchik's hit to center. Consecutive hits by Canuso and Max ILes set up the big play at the plate. After a strike out and a fielder's choice, Askin hit a grounder that stuck in the mud. Canuso broke for home and the pitcher fielded the ball and ran after him. Canuso swerved around the outstretched arm of the pitcher and touched home. Coaches for both teams could not make the call at the plate due to their positions, and after an inquiry, the pitcher honestly announced that he did not make the tag and the game was tied. But Sarandoulias needed to come up big, and he did not disappoint, stoking the game winning hit up the middle.
The Tigers had dedicated this game to their injured comrade, second baseman Billy Martin, who could not play due to a foot injury, and became team photographer. The Tigers wore wristbands with Martin's #1 on it as a tribute, and got the win for him.
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