Before hundreds of children were showered with marshmallows from a passing helicopter while scooping up candy in the outfield at Modern Woodmen Park, Josh Rojas enjoyed his own postgame shower.
A jug of water was poured on Rojas as he rounded first base after his single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning drove home Troy Sieber with the deciding run in Quad-Cities’ 6-5 Midwest League victory Sunday over Beloit.
“That was cold, but it felt good,’’ Rojas conceded. “It felt good to get the win.’’
The victory, which preceded the team’s annual candy drop, was the sixth straight for the Western Division-leading River Bandits. They were forced to earn it in the bottom of the ninth after the second-place Snappers tied the game on a two-run single by JaVon Shelby with two outs in the top half of the inning.
“I was talking with (Kristian) Trompiz before our half of the inning started and I told him one of us was going to end it,’’ Rojas said. “He reminded me of that afterwards.’’
Sieber started things off, beating out an infield single with one out and advancing on a wild pitch.
After Abraham Toro-Hernandez flew out, Daz Cameron was intentionally walked after the count reached 3-0 before Rojas settled into the batter’s box.
Snappers reliever Ty Damron threw a pair of strikes before Rojas collected his game-winning hit, slipping a single down the line and just beyond the reach of third baseman Eric Marinez.
“Down 0-2, he really battled. It wasn’t the hardest hit you’ll ever see, but it was just hard enough and just far enough to allow Sieber to get home,’’ Quad-Cities manager Russ Steinhorn said. “Their hit to score two in the top half was kind of the same thing. Sometimes, that’s how it works.’’
Rojas said he was simply attempting to make contact.
“Put the pressure on the defense and make them make a play,’’ he said. “I was trying to be aggressive, hit my pitch and put the ball in play. It all worked out.’’
Quad-Cities scored its other five runs in the bottom of the third inning, an effort which started with a double that extended Ronnie Dawson’s ongoing hitting streak to 15 games. It was followed by a record-breaking home run from Chuckie Robinson.
His blast to left was the 115th home run of the season for the River Bandits, breaking the previous club record of 114 established by a Matt Adams-led team in 2010.
A run-scoring double by Daz Cameron, a sacrifice fly by Rojas and a run-scoring single by Luis Payano extended the lead and ended the start for the Snappers’ Xavier Altamirano, who had struck out 14 batters and allowed two hits in 12 shutout innings of previous work against Quad-Cities.
“He’s had some quality outings against us and I felt like our guys did a great job of laying off of some of the pitches he had us swinging at the other times we’ve seen him,’’ Steinhorn said. “They went out and executed the plan, which was great to see.’’
Beloit answered the Bandits’ five-run third by tagging Quad-Cities starter Abdiel Saldana for three runs in the top of the fourth.
Saldana scattered six hits over a six-inning start, striking out seven batters and walking one, but the Snappers put themselves back in the game by bunching four hits together in the fourth to pull within 5-3.
“I liked the way he bounced back with two shutout innings,’’ Steinhorn said. “He came right back.’’
So did his teammates when pushed in the ninth.
“That’s the way it’s been working for us the past few weeks,’’ Rojas said.