Whatever Appalachian League baseball game can go long, will go long.
Brent Citta hit a walk-off single to score Mason Martin in the 12th inning to lift the Bristol Pirates to a 6-5 win over the Kingsport Mets in a game that started Saturday night and stretched into Sunday morning at Boyce Cox Field.
It came after Kingsport's Phil Capra hit an RBI single in the top of the 11th to give the Mets a 5-4 lead, only to see the Pirates tie the game in the bottom of the inning.
And it came on a night when the former Atlanta Braves star Murphy, a two-time National League MVP, a five-time Golden Glove winner and seven-time All-Star, was honored before the game. He, representatives from Toyota of Kingsport, and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam all threw out ceremonial first pitches before the game.
But it was more than three hours later at 12:15 Sunday morning with the dignitaries long gone when the game finally ended.
It came after Bristol blew opportunities to end the game in both the bottom of the 10th and 11th innings with bases loaded and no outs. In the 10th, Connor Uselton grounded into a force out with the Kingsport shortstop throwing home to the catcher Capra.
The Pirates' next batter up, Sherten Apostel, grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Murphy played for the Kingsport Braves in 1974. Part of his trip to the Tri-Cities included a visit to Kingsport's J. Fred Johnson Stadium, where he played during his rookie league stint.
He saw the first part of Saturday's game as the Pirates improved to 13-16. The Mets fell to 15-14, three games behind Elizabethton in the Appalachian League West Division standings.
ALL ABOUT THE GAME
Uselton gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with an RBI single to score Martin.
The K-Mets tied the game in the top of the third with an RBI ground out by Yoel Romero to score Ranfy Adon. But the Pirates responded with a run in the bottom of the third and tacked on two more in the fourth for a 4-1 lead.
Capra scored on Romero's pop up to second base in the fifth inning, and Luis Santana scored on Newton's bases-loaded walk in the seventh. But facing a full count and bases still loaded with the next batter, Bristol reliever Yeudry Manzanillo struck out Jarred Kelenic for the third out.
Trailing 4-3 with two outs in the eighth, Capra hit a ball all the way to the warning track in right field for the final out.
Adon wouldn't be denied the following inning, sending a solo home run over the left field fence in the top of the ninth. Batting in the nine-hole, Adon was the offensive leader for the Mets, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored. He was the only Kingsport player with multiple hits.
Vince Dezyel (3-1) got the win, while Andrew Mitchell (1-1) suffered the loss with his second blown save.