Cardinals prevail in 16-inning game

Front Royal's shortstop Wardy Torres gets the force out at second base as Charles Town's Bryson Bowman makes a late slide into second base during third inning action Monday night Valley League baseball at Bing Crosby Stadium. Torres made good on the double play ball Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — It took over five hours, but the Front Royal Cardinals found a way to pick up another win in Valley Baseball League action.

The Cardinals outlasted Charles Town, 6-5 in 16 innings on Monday night at Bing Crosby Stadium with help from a strong relief appearance by Joe Romero. The game didn’t end until after Midnight on Tuesday morning.

The winning run scored in the bottom of the 16th on a single and an error off the bat of Diego Reynoso, who was then mobbed by teammates.

“I think that’s now six [wins] out of eight now in July. We’re still finding a way to get it done,” Front Royal manager Brad Neffendorf said.

The Cardinals had to battle back from a 4-1 deficit. They scored a run in the bottom of the seventh off of Charles Town starter Steve Ridings, who struck out 15 in eight innings of work.

Charles Town's Tyler Dearden beats a late tag by Front Royal's Wardy Torres on a second base during fourth inning Monday night Valley League baseball at Bing Crosby Stadium. Rich Cooley/Daily

Back-to-back doubles by Dalton Rogers and Colby Dishmond cut the lead to 4-2.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinals tied the game up with only one hit in the inning. Charles Town closer Justin Flores walked Reynoso to start the inning. Wardy Polanco singled, and with one out Tre Porter drew a walk to load the bases. A sacrifice fly by Drew Small cut the lead to 4-3.

Edgar Lebron then drew a walk, and with a 2-0 count to Bobby Lang Flores was relieved by Tony Troiano. Lang eventually drew the walk to tie the game.

“It just show that they’re still in there at the end trying to find a way, which is good,” Neffendorf said of his team’s resiliency. “A lot of teams just kind of pack it in. We faced two of the best arms [Ridings, Flores] in the league today.”

Each team scored a run in the 11th. A sacrifice fly by Bradley Jones gave the Cannons a 5-4 edge. The Cardinals tied the game once again with a bunt single, a walk and an error.

Charles Town shortstop Cooper Coldiron fumbles the throw as Front Royal's Chase Luseford reaches second on a steal attempt during first inning Monday night Valley League baseball action at Bing Crosby Stadium. Rich Cooley/Daily

The big difference for the Cardinals in extra innings was the pitching of Romero. He worked six innings, allowing only two hits and striking out five. Romero retired the last 17 batters he faced.

“He kept us in the ballgame,” Neffendorf said. “Romero comes in and does what he does there for six innings and 90 pitches and gives a shot. We didn’t have to throw anybody else, so that was good.”

With two outs in the bottom of the 16th, Chase Lunceford and Matt Jones drew back-to-back walks from Charles Town reliever Evan Richardson to set-up the game-winning hit by Reynoso.

The Cardinals (18-12) struck out 19 times, but they also drew 13 walks, 12 of which came after the eighth inning.

Front Royal is now 1.5 games ahead of Strasburg for first place in the North Division.

Front Royal's shortstop Wardy Torres gets the force out at second base as Charlestown's Bryson Bowman makes a late slide into second base during third inning action Monday night Valley League baseball at Bing Crosby Stadium. Torres made good on the double play ball Rich Cooley/Daily

“We’re doing things right,” Neffendorf said. “We’re playing OK. We’re pitching well. We’re staying in ballgames. We’re not making many mistakes, we’re not making a lot of errors.

“Credit to our guys for doing what they did.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com