As third base umpire Jansen Visconti ruled that Ricky Hague interfered on the turn of a double play, the Senators ninth-inning rally fell short. Manager Matt LeCroy sprinted out onto the field yelling at Visconti to no avail. One hour later, LeCroy was once again sprinting around and yelling. But this time, it was in the clubhouse as Reading defeated Richmond and secured a playoff spot for the Senators.
The 4-1 loss to Altoona left a bitter taste, but it was washed away as the players and coaches huddled around the live feed of Reading’s stirring comeback. The celebration poured out into the concourse just outside the locker room door. Champagne was popped and sprayed, cases of beer were consumed, and speeches were given. Steven Souza addressed the team from atop a folding chair and spoke of the injuries and promotions that have affected the club. He praised LeCroy for guiding the Senators and pulling them together as a team.
His clothes completely soaked and dripping, the skipper returned the praise as he spoke of their accomplishment, “These guys have played hard all year. They’ve had some ups and downs, but these guys responded. Tonight we had a tough loss but we were able to get some help from somebody and these guys deserve it. Now that we’re in, we’re just going to try and win it all…It’s just a good moment. These kids worked their tails off all year and it’s good to be rewarded.”
• LeCroy didn’t mince words on the way the game ended, “That was a bad call. It was an unfortunate way to end the ballgame with a really bad judgement call. Just playoff baseball and you allow a game to end like that was done incorrectly. To me, it’s an injustice to how you play the game. We teach our guys to play hard and we expect to give every fan here their money’s worth when we come out and play everyday and prepare…It’s something that probably the league should look at. That’s the way you play the game of baseball. Nothing was bad about the play. The guy was off the base anyway. I know everybody’s learning but unfortunately for me, my job is to teach kids how to play the right way.”
• Now that the playoff berth is secure, LeCroy will also be able to approach the four games in Richmond differently, “We’ll be able to get some other guys in. I’ve got to get Head more at-bats and Hoody. We’ll adjust our pitching when we see how it lines up.”
• Prior to the game, the Senators Fan Club gave out their annual awards. Jerad Head was named the Offensive Player of the Year, while Ricky Hague took home the Defensive Player honors. Nate Karns was honored with the Pitcher of the Year and Sean Nicol was easily named the Fan Favorite.
• Aided by the entire Senators’ bullpen holding back Bingo and Bongo, Steve won his first ever Monkey Race.