Cody Bohanek and the Quad-Cities River Bandits didn’t let a second chance go to waste Wednesday.
Bohanek belted a game-tying two-run triple in the bottom of the eighth inning and then scored the deciding run on a Colton Shaver sacrifice fly in a 5-4 victory over Clinton at Modern Woodmen Park.
The win moves Quad-Cities into a second-place tie in the Midwest League Western Division with Peoria, one game behind the division-leading LumberKings with four games remaining in the half.
"That’s two good teams going at it, back and forth, and there’s no quit in this team," said Shaver, who also homered and drove in the River Bandits’ other run with a sacrifice.
Clinton overcame a 2-0 deficit after six innings, tying the game in the seventh on a Eugene Helder homer and grabbing a short-lived lead on run-scoring singles by Ariel Sandoval and Ryan Costello an inning later.
The LumberKings’ 4-2 lead midway through the eighth didn’t last.
The ability of Bryan De La Cruz to avoid a double play after Jake Meyers and Corey Julks beat out infield singles positioned Quad-Cities to rally.
"A little thing that can get overlooked, but the way he got down that line is why we’ve talked since the start of spring training about why you need to bust it every chance you get," River Bandits manager Mickey Storey said. "It made all the difference."
Bohanek took over from there, driving a two-strike pitch over the head of Clinton’s Sandoval in center to score Meyers and De La Cruz.
"In the at-bat I had before, I took a walk. I was too passive," Bohanek said. "With two strikes, I wanted to put a good swing on the ball, and I got a breaking pitch I could turn on. Just trying to make something good happen."
That came after two swings of the bat changed things for Clinton in the seventh inning.
The LumberKings hadn’t managed a hit against a collection of three River Bandits pitchers when Costello dropped a bunt down the line toward third against a shifted Quad-Cities infield to open the inning.
Parker Mushinski struck out the next two batters he faced before Helder homered to right, erasing the 2-0 lead the River Bandits had held since the fourth inning.
"It was back and forth, an emotional roller coaster," Storey said. "Clinton has a good offense, a tough lineup. Leovanny (Rodriguez) got us off to a great start, and our pitchers did a decent job holding them, but eventually they got it going.
Rodriguez got Quad-Cities going with 4.2 hitless innings, striking out seven, and before the Clinton comeback, Mushinski (3-1) carried the no-hit bid into the seventh by working a 1-2-3 sixth that started with the first of his four strikeouts.
Once the River Bandits regained the lead, Willy Collado finished off a 13-strikeout effort by Quad-Cities pitchers with a 1-2-3 ninth.
"Everything we’re doing starts with our staff," Bohanek said. "They’re keeping us in games, giving us a chance to do what we hope to do."
Shaver drove home the River Bandits’ first two runs, the first in the second inning on a sacrifice fly two innings before a two-out shot to center resulted in his eighth home run of the season.
"We kept competing. That’s what we’re about and that doesn’t change now," Shaver said.