It turned into the longest nine-inning game of the season when the Fightin Phils and Fisher Cats wrapped up an eight-game homestand with a July 3rd pre-Independence Day fireworks celebration. A 37-minute delay
at the outset slowed things down, and the later innings continued the trend as the Fightin Phils once again built an early lead. JoJo Romero was strong again for six innings, and the offense used 11 hits and seven walks to keep the pressure on and win 8-6 for their seventh triumph in eight games.
With the talented Tanner Pearson countering for what was supposed to be two innings, it was imperative for Romero to get off to a fast start after defeating the Sea Dogs last Thursday night. The lefthander needed just eight pitches to speed through the first, then watched from the dugout as Pearson followed suit with a 1-2-3 first and a popup that he fielded himself for the first out in the second.
Jose Gomez and Luke Williams reached on singles, and two pitches later, Arquimedes Gamboa chased Pearson
(0-2) from the game with a triple to center for a 2-0 lead. Henri Lartigue drew the first of his three walks, and
number nine hitter Raul Rivas bounced a single through the right side to make it 3-0.
In the fifth, the Fightin Phils tacked on two more against Blue Jays 40-man roster member Hector Perez in just his second spot start of the season. Darick Hall hit his league-leading 24th double with one out, and Grenny Cumana scored him with a triple for a 4-0 lead. Perez, who struggled with his command and walked five, then balked in another run and Reading jumped ahead 5-0.
The Fisher Cats didn’t break through until Romero’s last inning in the sixth. After loading the bases via a pair of
walks and a single, Riley Adams cleared the bases with a triple to right-center. On the play, Gomez’ throw to third
deflected off the back of Gamboa’s head and ended up in the air near third base. Adams attempted to score and
cut the lead to one, but Alec Bohm made a perfect off-balanced throw from down the line and nailed Adams at
the plate for the final out.
Reading quickly loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth against Perez, with Rivas’ second single coming between a pair of walks. Bohm nearly snuck a single through the right side, but second baseman Santiago Espinal made a diving stop to start a 4-6-3 double play that scored a run and grew the lead to 6-3.
The seventh inning was cluttered, with the Fisher Cats pushing across another run against Luis Cedeno in his
Double-A debut on a sacrifice fly from catcher Andres Sotillo. Leading 6-4, Cornelius Randolph came through in
his first at-bat after replacing Gamboa in the lineup by roping a 2-RBI triple to double the lead and push it back to 8-4.