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Trash Pandas Bring Fireworks Late, Walk off with 8-7 Win

Home Runs Sink Rocket City in 4-2 Loss

August 21, 2022 – Southern League (SL)Rocket City Trash Pandas News Release

MADISON, Alabama – Time and time again in 2022, the Rocket City Trash Pandas have found a way to win. On Saturday night, despite the best attempts of the Chattanooga Lookouts and a late push by Mother Nature, the Trash Pandas rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth, with Preston Palmeiro’s walk-off home run securing a thrilling 8-7 win at Toyota Field.


After Ben Joyce fired a scoreless top of the ninth, the skies above Toyota Field caused a rain delay. As the grounds crew put the tarp on the field, Trash Pandas players and coaches offered a hand to make sure the game could be completed. When it resumed over an hour later following a fireworks spectacular, the Trash Pandas brought the fireworks to the plate.

Down 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Livan Soto got it started with a walk and Zach Neto was hit by a pitch to put two on with nobody out against Spencer Stockton (L, 1-2). Palmeiro fouled off a couple two strike pitches, then crushed the 2-2 pitch over the fence at right field, sending the Trash Pandas and the remaining fans into a frenzy with one of the most incredible wins in franchise history.

The game started nearly as well as it ended for the home team. Making the start a day after his 25th birthday, Rocket City righty Mason Erla was efficient early, needing just 25 pitches to get through the first three innings without allowing a baserunner. Mike Siani began the fourth with a double down the right field line, becoming the first Chattanooga player to reach against Erla. Siani would advance to third when Erla’s pickoff attempt sailed into center field for an error and score the first run of the night on Elly De La Cruz’ sacrifice fly.

Zach Humphreys kept the bottom of the inning alive with a two-out single to right off Lookouts starter Connor Phillips. Humphreys promptly swiped second for his eighth stolen base of the season. Kevin Maitan followed with a ground ball single through the right side of the infield, allowing Humphreys to dive home and beat the tag at home plate for the tying run.

In the sixth, the Lookouts restored the lead. Allan Cerda led off with a solo home run that just eluded the glove of Trash Pandas right fielder Ryan Aguilar to put the Lookouts ahead 2-1. James Free doubled and came around to score on Matt McLain’s fielder’s choice. Erla nearly got through the inning without further damage as De La Cruz grounded into a double play. But…

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