Sykes Two Homer Game Pushes Aviators To VictoryMonday, August 05, 2019
The Lafayette Aviators defeated the Champion City Kings by a score of nine to eight, in a late game thriller during their last trip to Springfield, Ohio this season.
In the penultimate game of the season, it was the Lafayette Aviators that got on the scoreboard first. Chris Monroe (Illinois-Springfield) homered in the top of the first inning, driving in three runs. It was Monroe’s seventh home run of the season, also bringing his season RBI total to 59. He didn’t have to wait long for RBI number 60, as his single in the top of the second scored Braedon Blackford (Illinois State), who got on base with a RBI double earlier in the inning. This put the Aviators’ up five to zero. Facing a five run deficit, the Kings slowly started to chip away at the Aviators’ lead throughout the middle of the game.
The Kings responded in the bottom of the second, scoring three runs of their own. Nathanial Tate (East Tennessee State), who has struggled giving up big innings at times this season, recovered, only giving up one more run in the rest of his five inning start. The Kings came within one run of tying the game in the bottom of the fourth, but the Aviators’ responded in the top of the sixth with a solo home run by Mason Sykes (Wabash Valley CC). It was Sykes’ first home run of the season, getting much needed breathing room to the Aviators’. This wouldn’t last long the lead by a score of seven to six. The Kings would add one more run for insurance in the top of the eighth. The Aviators kept composure, trailing by two with two outs in the top of the ninth. With two men on, Miles Simington (Purdue) singled to tie the game at eight. Since Simington joined the Aviators, he has been one of the most solid bats, with an average near .350, making him a staple in the middle of the Aviators’ lineup. The Aviators were unable to score another run in the top of the ninth, and help the Kings bats silent, sending the game into extra innings.
The Aviators’ didn’t take long to get into the scoring column in extras, with Mason Sykes coming up big yet again, hitting his second home run of the game. For reference, Sykes has zero home runs heading into Monday’s game, but captured lightning in a bottle to push the Aviators over the top. Jason Bollman (Danville Area CC) was able to shut down the Kings’ bats, capping off an impressive five and two-thirds innings relief stint, where he allowed only two earned runs and struck out seven batters.
The Aviators play their final game of the season tomorrow against Champion City. While they may be out of playoff contention, it is a big game as it is the last game at historic Loeb Stadium. The Tuesday night game will play homage to the historic stadium which has been a staple in the Lafayette community, hosting the Colt World Series for decades, minor league baseball, and of course, the Lafayette Aviators.