2013: A Chiefs Odyssey – #5

Welcome back to “2013: A Chiefs Odyssey” – a countdown of our 12 most memorable moments of Syracuse’s 2013 season. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Festive Festivus, etc…here’s the fifth-most memorable moment of the year, as chosen by our committee of one.

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5. The Cisco Kid

Winning is nice in the minor leagues – but make no mistake, it’s a clear second to development. Major-league franchises will take improvement over victories at the minor-league level every day of the week. That means not every minor-league promotion is a merit-based one – if a player’s sent up to Washington, you’ll often get a random minor-leaguer just to plug a hole for a couple of days, rather than uproot a pivotal part of Double-A Harrisburg’s roster and mess with development.

That was the situation on May 11th, when the Nationals called up Eury Perez to replace injured outfielder Jayson Werth, and Washington gave the Chiefs in return a little-known outfielder named Francisco Soriano from Advanced-A Potomac. Soriano, a 26-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, hit just .209 in 72 Potomac games…a full two levels below Syracuse. He began his Syracuse tenure innocuously enough, pinch-hitting in a 14-1 loss to Norfolk on May 12th before pinch-running for Chris Marrero the following night. The chances of Soriano getting a meaningful at-bat seemed slim to none – and slim had one foot planted on the doorway.

No, no...not this kind of "slim"...

No, no…not this kind of “slim”…

 

But the following night, May 14th, the Chiefs rallied for four runs in the seventh inning against Columbus to tie the game at five, and Soriano suddenly found himself in a pivotal position, replacing Micah Owings in left field for the top of the 10th. He’d come to bat twice in the coming innings, striking out in both the 10th and 12th frames, but Syracuse’s pitching held up its end of the bargain – sending a scoreless game deep into the night, with the 5-5 scoreline holding still into the 14th. A one-out Will Rhymes single was sandwiched in between a pair of harmless flyouts, with Soriano all that stood between the Chiefs, Clippers and a 15th (!) inning of baseball. Surely, punishing left-hander Scott Barnes would have no issue with the Triple-A newbie…but a funny thing happened on the way to “surely”.

Soriano would end the season 4 for 15 with the Chiefs after playing in just four more games with Syracuse before a return to Potomac. Who knows if he makes it to Syracuse again? Either way, he provided the unexpected memory of a lifetime – one that I’ll certainly never forget in terms of the Chiefs’ 2013 season.

#4 will come by later this week. Happy New Year, everyone!

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