Spikes lead early, falter late in 10-9 loss
UNIVERSITY PARK — The State College Spikes took an early lead and starting pitcher Jason Alvarez dominated, but in the end the State College bullpen sputtered, giving up nine runs as Williamsport clawed back to take a 10-9 victory in an MLB Draft League contest on Friday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Alvarez threw five masterful innings for the Spikes, but the Williamsport Crosscutters used a monumental rally led by a mammoth 463-foot three-run home run off the bat of Dakota Kotowski to get back into the game. Williamsport (19-22-2) broke a 9-9 tie in the eighth, scoring a run on an RBI fielder’s choice by Noah Hemphill to score the go-ahead run.
Kotowski’s home run was the longest home run ever hit at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, as it sailed well over the wall.
Hylan Hall made history for the Spikes on Friday night, collecting five hits at the plate to tie the team record for hits in a game. Hall went 5-for-6 with with a pair of RBIs and a stolen base on the night. Hall had been having a rough go of it at the plate recently but upped his average .027 with his five hits.
“It was amazing,” Hall said. “You know, it’s everything that I have worked for. I was kind of expecting (to hit). It was great.”
Hall has been hitting particularly well since returning from the All-Star break, recording hits in three of his last four games.
“For the last two weeks I’ve been hitting the ball very hard, it just hasn’t been falling my way,” Hall said. “(Spikes hitting coach Jermaine Mitchell) has just told me to just keep hitting the ball and eventually they would fall, and today they were falling, thank God.”
The Spikes (20-25) scored six runs in the third inning as an RBI triple by Zacchaeus Rasberry and RBI singles by Darryl Lloyd, Luke Seidel and Hall allowed the Spikes to take a 7-1 lead. Rasberry scored on a wild pitch and Lukas Cook also scored after stealing third base and advancing home on a throwing error.
State College seemed to be in control as Alvarez was dealing, throwing five innings of one-run baseball in which he allowed just three hits, walked two and struck out seven. Alvarez showed good command of his pitches and struck out four consecutive batters at one point.
The Spikes got the tying run to second base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and Hall made Williamsport pay, driving in Seidel to tie the game at 9-9 after Williamsport took the lead in the top half of the inning. The hit was Hall’s fifth of the game, which tied the Spikes’ record.
The MLB Draft League experience has provided a big learning experience for Orlando native and Washington State commit.
“It’s amazing and I’ve learned a lot coming from Orlando, Florida,” Hall said. “It’s honestly made me a better player. It’s made me see pitches and put myself against the other top players in the world, so it’s fun competing out here.”
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak as the Spikes returned home Friday after sweeping the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on the road. The Spikes offense scored 31 runs in the three-game series.
The Spikes currently sit in third place in the MLB Draft League and will look to bounce back in Game 2 of the series Saturday night.
The State College Spikes had 4,314 fans on hand Friday night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park for Mifflin/Juniata County Community Night at the park. The Spikes also had postgame fireworks in which fans were welcomed to watch fireworks from the field. It was the Spikes’ second largest crowd of the season.
The Spikes host the Williamsport Crosscutters in the second game of a three-game series on Saturday with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.