QUINCY — After coming from behind to take a one-run lead on Otto Jones’ RBI single in the bottom of the eighth, the Quincy Gems were close to relinquishing that lead in the top of the ninth inning on Friday night.
Reliever Jax Howard walked the first two batters in the top of the ninth, and he fell behind Alton’s Marcus Heusohn 2-and-1 in the count. Heusohn then hit a one-hopper down the third-base line that looked like it was going to turn into a two-run double.
However, Gems third baseman Nolan Wosman dove to catch the ball, got to his feet, stepped on third and fired to first to complete a double play. Howard then struck out Ben Gallaher to end the game and give the Gems a 6-5 victory in a Prospect League game at QU Stadium.
The Gems (12-10), who have won six of their last seven games, are a game ahead of Clinton and 1 1/2 games ahead of Normal in the Great River Division.
Zach Stewart hit a two-run homer in the third inning for the Gems to tie the score at 3-3. No more runs were scored until the River Dragons scored two runs on Blake Burris’ double in the top of the seventh. Quincy scored a run in the bottom of the seventh. Hayden Moore was on first and running with the pitch when Stewart grounded to third. Moore rounded second and headed to third, and the throw by Heusohn, the Alton first baseman, skipped into the Quincy dugout, allowing Moore to score.
Gage Swansen singled and Drew Townsend walked to lead off the eighth for the Gems. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Jonathan Latham drove in Swansen with a sacrifice fly, and Townsend moved to third on a balk. After Ethan Moore was intentionally walked, Jones dumped a bloop single into right field to drive in Townsend.
Starter Brayden Haug allowed three runs in five innings. Luc Fladda picked up the victory in relief, allowing two runs and six hits in three innings. Howard earned his first save.
The Gems were outhit 11-8.
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