ST. PAUL, MN (July 27, 2012) – Chants of USA, USA rang throughout the crowd in the bottom of the 11th inning when Joe Spiers stepped to the plate with the winning run at third. In a game billed as the Gold Medal game between the USA (St. Paul Saints) and Canada (Quebec les Capitales) it was the U.S. who walked off with the top prize in a 4-3 11 inning victory on Friday night at Midway Stadium in front of 6,055.
With the game tied at three in the bottom of the 11th Miles Durham led off against reliever Guillaume Leduc with a walk. Benji Johnson laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, his team leading sixth of the season, moving Durham to second. Jake Krause then hit a liner that just cleared the leaping shortstop Jeff Helps, but Durham had to hold to make sure Helps wouldn’t catch it, and advanced to third. That brought up Spiers and with the corners pinched in he lined a single over the glove of first baseman Rene Leveret that scored Durham that set off a celebration in the infield.
The game went 11 innings for two reasons. The first came in the top of the eighth with the Saints leading 3-2 the left-hand hitting Sebastian Boucher clubbed the first pitch he saw from the lefty Kyle Carr over the right field wall, his 11th of the season, to tie the game at three.
The second reason the game went 11 was because of Saints reliever Bret Severtson who was incredible out of the bullpen. He tossed 3.0 perfect innings of relief and struck out a career high five in picking up his third win of the season.
The Saints jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second when Tanner Townsend led off the inning with a solo homer to left, his eighth of the season, to make it 1-0. Durham was hit by a pitch, stole second, moved to third on a fly out and scored on Spiers’ single.
Les Capitales made it 2-1 in the third when Saints starter Todd Mathison got a little wild. He hit the first batter of the inning Patrick D’Aoust and, with one out, gave up a single to Helps, who grounded one off the glove of a diving Townsend at third. With two outs Boucher was hit by a pitch and Mathison plunked the next hitter, Leveret, to force in a run.
The Saints got the run back in the bottom of the third when Adam Frost doubled, moved to third on a fly out and scored on Ronnie Bourquin’s single to give the Saints a 3-1 lead. Frost finished the night 3-5 with a double and a run scored.
In the top of the fourth les Capitales made it 3-2 when Rony Rodriguez walked with one out, moved to second on a ground out and scored on a single by Josh Colafemina. Mathison would go 7.0 innings allowing two runs on four hits while walking four, hitting three batters and striking out five.
With the win the Saints are now four games over .500, at 34-30, the second time this season they have reached that mark. The only other time they were four games over was when they were 15-11.
The same two teams meet in game two of the three game series on Saturday night at Midway Stadium. The Saints send RHP Luke Anderson (2-0, 3.03) to the mound against les Capitales RHP Chad Jones (2-1, 2.29). It is The Real Housewives of Blue Earth County presented by 5 Eyewitness News.