* Due to how late the Aeros/Trenton game ran Wednesday night, Thursday's newspaper run a story without quotes. Below is my final story on the wild back-and-forth game that left more than the players and coaches needing a day off Thursday before play resumes Friday in Trenton.
Inside-the-park home runs are always a tad bit unconventional.
The one Bronson Sardinha recorded against visiting Trenton in the Aeros wild 13-10 Game Two victory of the Eastern League Championship Series was somewhat controversial as well.
With the host leading 4-1, two outs and Nate Panther on second base in the bottom of the fourth inning, veteran Sardinha sent a drive to right field that bounced off the wall a good 15 feet away from right fielder Edwar Gonzalez.
By the time Gonzalez corralled the ball and threw it into cutoff man Reegie Corona at second base, Sardinha was at third base, apparently happy to settle for an RBI-triple.
But after Sardinha slid, quickly popped up and saw Corona with his back to him, he unexpectantly took off for home to record the rare homer - which he said was his first in-the-parker since PONY baseball.
"I slid into third and got up quick to check and see where the ball was,'' Sardinha said. "I wanted to be aware of what the middle infielders were doing. And right away I saw his back turned and it looked like he was taking his sweet old time. So I thought I'd chance it and try and go home.''
The controversy on the play centered around the fact that Sardinha had actually stopped at third with the play seemingly over. And it depended on who was asked as to whether Corona committed an error on the play or simply lost focus and held on to it too long.
"I think we kind of fell asleep,'' Trenton manager Tony Franklin admitted. "We were a little too casual on the play and we lost a little focus right there. We got the ball back into the infield and the (defense) must have thought (Sardinha) was going to hold up at third.''
But by the time the four-hour plus affair that knotted the series one game a piece was over, Sardinha's biggest hit wasn't even the controversial inside-the-park homer.
On a night when Sardinha went 4-for-5 with four RBI, his biggest contribution came in the eighth inning when his two-run double helped spark an Aeros' season-high tying seven-run inning that finally handed the host the win after blowing an earlier 6-1 advantage.
But not until surviving one final Thunder rally, as Trenton jumped all over struggling Aeros reliever Randy Newsom for four runs to pull within three runs before Erik Stiller managed to quell the threat.
It was a hard-fought game on both sides, one that included a combined 15 pitchers, five errors and the bases loaded five times between the two clubs.
The Aeros took an early five-run lead and lost it. Then they went back up by a big margin in the eighth inning and nearly lost it again in the ninth as the feisty Thunder would not go quietly.
The wild night began with the Aeros quickly loading the bases in the first inning with nobody out against shaky Thunder starter Christian Garcia. But the Aeros came away with just one run on Stephen Head's sacrifice fly.
Yet, when they found themselves with the same opportunity to get to Garcia again in the third inning, they made the most of it by extending their lead to 4-0.
Trenton joined the bases-loaded act in the fourth with a two-out rally that came via consecutive singles by Kevin Russo, Edwar Gonzalez and James Cooper, whose hit scoring the Thunder's first run.
Sardinha's head's up play put the Aeros up 6-1, but Trenton began to chip away at the lead with a three-run fifth inning that bounced Martin from the game after just 4 1/3 innings while the Thunder sent eight men to the plate.
* UP NEXT - The Eastern League Championship Series shifts to Trenton's Waterfront Park Friday at 6:05 p.m. for Game Three after an off day for travel Thursday. Aeros left-hander Ryan Edell (1-0, 1.23 ERA) is slated to face Thunder right-hander George Kontos (0-0, 0.00 ERA) on the mound.
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