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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Ironbirds Defeat Crawdads 8-6

Willems caps off dramatic ninth inning, Mayo begins rehab assignment

*Cover Photo Credit: John Topoleski

So, there were two main headlines coming out of the Ironbirds' 8-6 victory last night against the Hickory Crawdads.

The first big topic of discussion was the excellent comeback effort in the bottom of the 10th.

Trailing 6-4 after seeing the Crawdads take the lead in the top of the 10th, Aberdeen had Elio Prado, Tavian Josenberger, and the red-hot Mac Horvath due up in the lineup with the task of keeping their hopes of a win alive. Enqirue Bradfield Jr. started the inning on second base with the extra innings runners rule in place. Hickory put Adrian Rodriguez on the bump.

Bradfield, perhap one of the fastest prospects in both the Orioles' system and in all of Minor League Baseball, wasted no time in stealing third base for his 28th stolen bag of the season. Prado proceeded to fly out to right field while Josenberger walked.

Then Horvath stepped into the box and if you are Aberdeen, there is no other bat you want in the box in this situaton than him. He had been batting .444 with 4 RBI in his previos 4 games. On the first pitch he saw, ne ripped a pitch down the middle of the plate to left field for a game-tying 2 RBI double, scoring Bradfield and Josenberger.

Creed Willems played hero in last night's game with a walk-off two-run home run. Photo: Grant DeVivo

Horvath had stayed hot and come up big for his team, the game was tied a 6 a piece, and Rodriguez had blown the save.

Creed Willems was the next batter to step into the plate. After getting to a 2-1 count, Willems said "enough already" and deposited a high fastball beyond the right field wall and next to his own club house for a walk-off two-run home run.

The game was over. Aberdeen had won 8-6, and it was that magical team effort of a 10th inning that anchored them to victory. Willems went 3-for-5 on the night, while Horvath went 2-for-5 and righty Yaqui Rivera was credited with the win.

So that was the first major headline out of the Ironbirds' game last night. The second major headline had to do with the Orioles' No. 3 prospect in Coby Mayo.

Him being in Aberdeen again is not a demotion. He is beginning a rehab assignment for the Norfolk Tides as previously announced by Andy Kostka on Twitter.

In mid-May, the 6'5" third baseman suffered fractured ribs after attempting to catch a foul pop up in which he fell and landed in the visiting dugout, resulting in his injury. It has been nearly four weeks since he obtained the injury, and he had not played in a game since then until last night. He had done some light work and swinging at the Orioles' training complex in Sarasota according to Mayo's own Instagram story.

Coby Mayo will spend this weekend in Aberdeen on rehab. Photo: John Topoleski

It is nice to see Mayo in game action again, as this was an annoying roadblock to his progress and development which is seeing him on the brink of an MLB promotion. Mayo, a fourth round pick in 2020 from Stoneman Douglas High Sschool (Parkland, Florida), had been batting .291 for Norfolk with a .964 OPS, 13 HR, 37 RBI, and a .605 SLG. In his first rehab game last night, he went 1-for-2 with a walk and a double as the starting designated hitter. He would eventually be lifted for Prado.

Between Willems' walk-off winner and Mayo's return to Aberdeen, there were tons of great things for fans to cheer about last night at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. This victory should put the team and the fans in a good mood heading into the weekend, the second half of this series.

The Ironbirds and Crawdads are back at it tonight at 7:05 pm. Buy tickets to the remaining three games of the series here and be sure to catch the red-hot Horvath back in action as well as the rest of Mayo's rehab assignmentwith the Ironbirds.

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