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Thanks to home run in 10th, Somerset tops Hartford to clinch playoff berth

Anthony Volpe, a top minor league prospect for the New York Yankees, hit a walk-off two-run run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning on Sunday afternoon, leading the Somerset Patriots to a 5-4 victory against the Hartford Yard Goats at TD Bank Ballpark in Somerset, New Jersey.

With the win, Somerset (44-25) clinches a playoff berth in September’s Northeast Division semifinals after winning the first half Northeast Division title by one game over the Yard Goats (43-26).

The Yard Goats have two more opportunities to clinch their first Eastern League playoff berth since 2009 when they were the New Britain Rock Cats. Hartford can win the second half title in the Northeast Division or if Somerset wins the second half title, the Goats can secure a playoff berth by finishing with the best overall record among the remaining teams in the division.

Hartford erased a four-run deficit to tie the game only to see Volpe win it all for the Patriots in the tenth inning. Volpe’s two-run home run over the left field wall came off Yard Goat closer Gavin Hollowell to give Somerset a 6-5 victory. It was his tenth home run of the season.

Both starting pitchers were dominant and the game was scoreless after six innings.  Somerset starter Luis Medina pitched around a pair of walks in the first inning and Hartford starter Noah Davis allowed just three singles in the first six innings.  Davis retired seven consecutive batters from the fourth through six innings.

Somerset, the Double A affiliate of the Yankees, scored four runs in the seventh inning to take a 4-0 lead.  The first two batters reached on a hit batter and walk, and then Volpe was hit by a pitch, scoring Jeisson Rosario to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead. Elijah Dunham followed with a three-run double, scoring Jesus Bastidas, Mickey Gasper and Volpe and it was 4-0.

Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman, in town for a rehabilitation assignment, hurled the seventh inning for Somerset, and retired the Yard Goats in order.

The Yard Goats, the Double A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, tied the game with four runs in the top of the eighth inning.

Brenton Doyle reached first base on an error and scored on Willie MacIver’s RBI double to make it 4-1.  Niko Decolani followed with a run-scoring single, bringing in MacIver and it was 4-2.  Later in the inning, Jimmy Herron smashed a two-run double, and Decolati and Isaac Collins scored to tie the game.

Neither team scored in the ninth inning and the game was sent into the 10th inning for the second time this week. Hartford took a 5-4 lead in the 10th inning, on Ezequiel Tovar’s RBI ground ball out, which scored Decolati.

Tovar had his 11-game hit-streak come to an end, going 0-5 with an RBI.

The second half of the season begins Tuesday night in Hartford as the Yard Goats host a six-game series with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, the Double A affiliate of the New York Mets.

Max Scherzer, the New York Mets’ 37-year-old righthander, will start for Binghamton as his rehabilitation continues. Scherzer strained an oblique muscle in May and went on the disabled list. He pitched 3½ innings for Binghamton on Tuesday.

Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young Award winner and won a World Series championship in 2019 with Washington. Karl Kauffmann will get the start on the mound for Hartford with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. The broadcast can be heard on AM 1410 WPOP and FM 100.9 and on the iheart radio app.

Somerset 6, Hartford 5 (10)
At Somerset, N.J.
Hartford (43-26)              000  000  040  1  — 5-5-0
Somerset (44-25)            000  000  400  2  — 6-5-1
Davis, Jones (7), Poulin (8), Hollowell (10) and MacIver; Medina, Chapman (7), Maiejewski (8), Espiral (8), Loseke (10) and Duran; WP: Loeske (6-0); LP: Hollowell (3-2); 2B: MacIver (H), Dunham (S); HR: Volpe (S)

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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