Frankel Deals in Bombers 1-0 Playoff Win Over Flash

Frankel Deals in Bombers 1-0 Playoff Win Over Flash

The comeback Bombers came back to historic League Stadium last night for a deciding Game 3 against the Henderson Flash in the first round of the OVL playoffs. There would be no comebacks on this night. And that’s a good thing. Dubois County won 1-0 in a classic pitchers’ duel, advancing to the finals of the Eastern Division playoffs starting tomorrow night in Owensboro.

The story was all Jacob Frankel from IU-Southeast in New Albany, a quickly improving NAIA power. Frankel did not allow Henderson a base hit until the eighth inning when a single to center broke up the no-hit bid.

The Bombers scored the only run they would need on this night in the second inning. Nolan Ramsey led off with a single. Ramsey started for second on a pitch in the dirt, but was frozen on the basepaths when the Flash catcher corralled it quickly. However, the throw down went into the outfield, allowing Ramsey to advance to third base. Tanner Craig followed with another single scoring Ramsey and the Bombers were up 1-0.

Henderson’s best chance for a hit early on was a fly to deep right field in the first inning by Nolan Fertig, but Ramsey ranged back to the wall, the ball falling into his glove on the warning track. Frankel walked the leadoff batter in the second, but Andrews threw him out at second trying to steal, Nick Gonzales laying down the tag.

Frankel struck out at least one batter in each of the first five innings, notching seven Ks before departing. He never had to face more than the minimum of three batters in an inning until the sixth, when a hit batsman was followed by three infield outs.

Cheering for a potential no-hitter and an important playoff win, the crowd of 517 cheered Frankel and the Bombers on.

In the seventh, Frankel took out the 2-3-4 hitters in the Flash lineup with a strikeout, a grounder to short with an outstanding play by Gonzales and a fly to deep left hauled in by Trevor Ricker.

All the while, the Bombers offense was likewise stymied by Henderson starter Travis Hennessy, who struck out eight, only walking one while scattering seven hits in six innings.

Adams and Craven continued to hold the Bombers scoreless in the latter innings, but the action escalated as the tension built in the final innings.

Cooper Trinkle hammered a two-out double in the sixth, as did Tanner Craig in the seventh, but both were stranded on the bases.

The Bombers best rally came in the seventh. Trinkle was hit by a pitch. Gonzales walked, and John McDonald singled to load the bases with two outs, but a grounder to first sent the game to the ninth, a ticket to the Division Finals or elimination hanging in the balance of a 1-0 lead.

Frankel started the inning. After walking the #9 hitter, he was pulled in favor of Tobe Whitten, the Bombers’ team leader in saves.

A sacrifice bunt put the tying run on second with one out. A walk added the potential winning run to the bases with Henderson’s #3 and #4 batters coming up.

But pitching under pressure was the name of the game for the evening. Whitten fanned one looking, the other swinging to earn the Bombers a 3-game set against the regular season division champs, the Owensboro RiverDawgs.

The best-of-three series against Owensboro will start tonight in Owensboro. Game 2 will be at League Stadium on Wednesday. If necessary, Game 3 will be back in Owensboro on Thursday with the League Championship Series scheduled to commence on Friday.

And as for that whole pitching under pressure deal, the Bombers post-game tweet credited Frankel with “a gem under pressure, but that’s how gems are made.”

Frankel replied to the tweet, with a tip of the cap to his high school coach,

“Once learned from the great @JFiorella12 that there is no such thing as pressure. Also that big time players perform in big time games.”

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