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Posted July 20, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Closer, error help Bandits rally in extras

By Dennis Atwood -- sports@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- The River Bandits' closer held a sticky brown glob on his throwing hand after Sunday night's 10-inning 8-7 win over Rockbridge in Valley Baseball League action.

Although the use of chewing tobacco is against league rules, it can be used for medicinal purposes and that's what Guido Knudson was doing -- holding the wet, oozing mess on the bee sting he suffered while watching the game in the eighth inning.

In spite of being stung, Knudson came in to pitch in the top of 10th to sting the Rapids by retiring the side in order. He was rewarded with a win as Stephen Hunt was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the extra frame and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Then Michael Garza laid down what would have been a sacrifice bunt.

"I just like to go after them with the fastball," Knudson said. "I drop down a little sometimes to change the look, but mostly I come over the top. My fastball's the key to getting ahead and putting guys away."

But Rapids relief pitcher Alan Watts demonstrated that it isn't always easy to throw at targets other than the catcher's mitt, as his throw after picking up Garza's bunt sailed over first base to allow Hunt to score the winning run.

Trailing 7-6 in the bottom of the ninth, Matthew Blow lined a one-out 2-2 pitch just inside the rightfield line for a double. Blow was 3-for-4, including a deep solo home run to center with two outs in the first, a single as well as drawing an RBI walk.

"It's going well, I'm seeing the ball well" Blow said. "Hopefully we can put a little winning streak together here and get to the top of the [Central] Division."

After also working the count to 2-2, Eric Kroll laced a single to left to drive in Blow with the tying run.

"I was just trying to put the bat on the ball," Kroll said. "He was making good pitches, started me out with a couple of fastballs, went slider, then I saw a fastball in the heart of the plate and I just took it the other way."

Woodstock broke out to a 5-1 lead in the second inning as Cory Tilton hit a two-RBI double and Michael Benton (2-for-4) bashed a solo homer to center.

The Rapids climbed back with a run in the fourth, three in the fifth and two in the seventh to take a 7-6 lead.

Anthony Melchionda and Scott Colton hit solo homers for the Rapids.

The night after becoming the latest victim in the Winchester Royals' eight-game winning streak, the River Bandits improved to 17-17 and extended the cellar-dwelling Rapids' losing streak to seven games.

"We did hang together and did a good job, but I'd rather have seen us stay ahead after we went up 5-1," Woodstock manager Donn Foltz said. "There's no quit in this team. They haven't quit all year and it was very evident tonight."

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