Putting the ball in play...

Bluefield Blue Jays’ Ryan Sloniger makes contact with a pitch from Princeton Rays pitcher Brayden Theriot in the eight inning of Thursday night’s Appalachian League game between the Mercer County rivals.  

PRINCETON — There will be no playoffs for either the Princeton Rays or Bluefield Blue Jays this year. 

A trophy was still up for grabs Thursday night when the two teams met in a winner take all Mercer Cup finale.

The Rays scored six runs in the first two innings but the Blue Jays six runs in the final two innings to win 9-6 at Hunnicutt Field to win the Mercer Cup for the second time in three years. 

A bases loaded walk with two outs in the top of the ninth gave the Blue Jays (30-31) their first lead of the game and Spencer Horwitz blew it open with a two-run double. The Rays (28-33) went down in order against reliever Kyle Huckaby for his third save in five opportunities. 

In the eighth Ryan Sloniger reached on an error and with two outs Justin Ammons singled before both of them came around to score on a Miguel Hiraldo double. He scored the tying run when Horwitz singled to center setting up the three-run ninth inning. 

Aldenis Sanchez and Abiezel Ramirez began the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles for the P-Rays before Diego Infante brought them both in with a bases loaded single.  

The Blue Jays were nearly out of the second inning with two outs and a runner on second but Ramirez came through with a single to score Angelo Armenta. A single from Luis Leon is his first game back from injury followed with a single and Ramirez scoring when Jake Guenther reached on an error. 

Infante came through for the second time in two innings with a two-run single to put the Rays up 6-1. 

The only damage that P-Rays starter Cristian Fernandez gave up were two solo home runs. He threw 3 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and three walks. 

Reliever Trevor Bridgen went 2 2/3 innings with four strikeouts and one run allowed. Brayden Theriot struck out five in 1 2/3 innings while giving up three unearned runs and Angel Felipe walked three while allowing three runs in his inning of work. 

Roither Hernandez only went two innings in his start for the Jays giving six runs, three earned, on seven hits with three strikeouts. A solid season of relief continued for Luis Alvarez who went three scoreless innings allowing two hits. 

Adams Cuevas struck out six in three scoreless innings to keep the Jays within striking distance and Huckaby closed it out in the ninth. 

The Jays got single runs in the second, fourth and sixth innings all on solo home runs. For the second straight night Sloniger hit a home run, his ninth of the season, and Davis Schneider hit his sixth home run of the season in the fourth.

D.J. Daniels closed the deficit to three runs with a home run to left, his seventh of the season, in the sixth inning. 

Princeton heads on the road for four games over three days against the Greeneville Reds including a doubleheader today with first pitch at 5:30 p.m.

Bluefield travels to Kingsport for a three game series against the Mets with first pitch at 6:30 p.m. today. 


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