Sometimes you need to be reminded that this is still just A-ball.
Don’t get me wrong: There are flashes of brilliance, like Kevin Keyes turning on a 95+ mph first-pitch fastball and knocking over the light tower in left field, or Randolph Oduber ripping a double to left with two outs in the 9th.
Then are moments like the top of the 6th. It started innocently enough with a leadoff walk. Then a stolen base, the third of the night without a runner being caught. A tapper back to the mound, it’s now one out. Then a high popup to shallow right field.
Second baseman Adrian Sanchez, first baseman Justin Bloxom and the right fielder (Oduber) all converged, but the ball fell fair. It could have been scored an error, probably should have been. But that’s not the point.
Lynchburg took advantage of the extra out to score their fifth run with a mere sacrifice fly that should have been the third out of the inning.
With a final score of 6-4, that extra run probably didn’t cost the Potomac Nationals the win — 12 strikeouts is a much better culprit — but on another night, it might have.
Lynchburg’s J.R. Graham should also get some credit. Aside from the big boys, the 3-4-5 batters Bloxom, David Freitas and Keyes, who combined to go 4-for-8 with a walk, a home run, two doubles, and a strikeout against him, the 5’11” fireballer handled the rest of the lineup with ease (0-for-12, 5Ks).
Adam Oblrychowski took the loss, pitching 5⅓ innings and giving up five runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four. Paul Applebee followed, giving a solo shot in the top of the 7th for a run over 1⅔ innings while Neil Holland tossed two scoreless to finish the game, retiring all six batters he faced.
The loss denied the P-Nats a chance to even their season record, instead, the Potomac Nine are 3-5 — three games behind the 6-2 Hillcats in the Carolina League’s Northern Division.
Matt Grace (1-0, 1.80) gets the start this afternoon with 21-year-old Aaron Northcraft (1-0, 1.59) taking the hill for Lynchburg.