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Mitch's Sports: Rookie Saves Rays In Ninth Against Yanks; Mets Score 24; Vermonter Talks Ultimate

The Tampa Bay Rays sidearm-delivering lefty Adam Kolarek had never pitched in the big leagues, and wasn't meant to pitch the ninth inning in the Bronx against the NY Yankees yesterday, trying to preserve a 3-1 lead with the bases loaded and nobody out.

But he had to, because veteran Rays closer Sergio Romo allowed two singles to start the bottom of the ninth, then walked another to put ducks on every pond, so manager Kevin Cash rolled the dice and brought Kolarek in to a baseball version of "Mission Impossible", who proceeded to go all Tom Cruise on the next three Yankee hitters.

Kolarek got slugger Greg Bird to chase the first pitch he saw, popping out in foul territory, and after that, consecutive strike-outs took care of Brett Gardner and Austin Romine and just like that, Kolarek had his first major league save and a story to tell his grandkids if they're in his future.

Masahiro Tanaka gave up two runs in the first inning, then settled down and ended up scattering nine hits over five innings, but the Yankee line-up, still missing injured sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, couldn't do much against Blake Snell and the Tampa bullpen. The Rays move on from the Bronx to face the Red Sox at Fenway Park tonight. Boston was idle last night.

In Philadelphia yesterday, the NY Mets played two against the Phillies, and scored enough runs in game one for about five. In fact, Mets fans may have been thinking "why couldn't they have spread out some of those 24 runs over a bunch of games earlier this season when they couldn't even buy one."

That's right, the Mets put up a football score 24 runs in game one of their 24-4 victory, with former Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista leading the hit parade. Joey Bats hit a grand slam and drove in 7 in all, a career high, and the Phillies don't want this one on their team's highlight reel. Corey Oswalt gave up four home runs, and the Phils committed four errors leading to an astonishing 11 un-earned runs in the Mets romp, which came just one game after they put up 16 runs in a win against the Orioles, the first time in Mets history the team scored more than 15 runs in back to back contests.

The game was so out of hand that Phillies manager Gabe Kapler brought in position players to throw the last three innings, rather than taxing his bullpen in a game that would have been called for the mercy rule in a lot of Little Leagues. But that move worked as the Phils went on to win the nightcap 9-6.

In the NY Penn League, the Vermont Lake Monsters lost their fifth straight game, victimized by a bunt single and throwing error in the bottom of the tenth, in a 2-1 loss to the Brooklyn Cyclones.

The Monsters scored a run in the top of the tenth to make it 1-0 when Nick Osborne hit a lead-off double, and if you're wondering how a lead-off double can produce a run it's because minor league baseball has started employing this ridiculous rule that when games go into extra innings, each team gets to start the inning with a runner automatically put on second base.

The Cyclones won it in the bottom of the tenth when a fielding error put runners on first and third --after that automatic runner at second--and then a throwing error on a bunt single to follow allowed the tying and winning runs to score for Brooklyn.

We've got a little extra time on Fridays for the sports report, so we'll occasionally bring you a Friday Focus on the sports Vermonters play. And today we'll talk about the Ultimate sport--literally--and that's ultimate frisbee.

Starting in 2019 Ultimate will be an officially sanctioned high school varsity sport in Vermont, the first state in the nation to make it so after the Vermont Principals Association unanimously approved the designation in a vote last year.

I spoke about Ultimate with Oscar Felcan of Burlington. He's 18 and has been playing competitive Ultimate since his freshman year in high school, and he was part of a squad that competed this month in the Ultimate Youth Club Championship tournament in Minnesota.

And if you've got news about an interesting sport or game being played in the Green Mountain state that you'd like featured as part of our sports Friday Focus report you can shoot me an email: mwertlieb@vpr.net

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station WBUR...as a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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