Luke Erickson

Luke Erickson is a season-ticket holder for the Potomac Nationals, but makes a point of seeing games in Hagerstown and Harrisburg at least once a summer. When the PNats are away on the weekend, Luke finds a minor-league game somewhere to watch, and generally attends 70-80 baseball games a year up across several states. A former sportswriter with newspapers in Massachusetts and Oregon, Luke lives in Western Fairfax County with his wife and two sons.

May 212012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 5-2 @ Toledo,
10:30 a.m.
Roark (2-5, 4.38) vs.
Weber (3-1, 2.18)
Harrisburg Won, 4-0 @ Altoona,
6:30 p.m.
Mandel (4-2, 3.45) vs.
Baker (2-4, 5.18)
Potomac Won, 4-2 @ Wilmington,
6:35 p.m.
Swynenberg (3-1, 3.95) vs.
Billo (3-3, 5.58)
Hagerstown Lost, 3-1 vs. Greensboro,
7:05 p.m.
Karns (1-0, 2.10) vs.
Fernandez (4-0, 1.91)

Toledo 5 Syracuse 2
• Maya (ND) 7IP, 2H, R, ER, 2BB, K
• Wilkie (BS, 1; L, 0-2) ⅔ IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, K, HR (3R)
• Brown 1-4, R, HR, RBI
• Teahen 1-4, R, 2B

A pinch-hit, two-out, three-run home run by former Chief Brad Eldred ended this one in walkoff fashion as Toledo rallied for four in the 9th to beat Syracuse, 5-2. Josh Wilkie blew his first save, charged with four runs on four hits over 2/3rds an inning. The implosion spoiled another fine start by Yunesky Maya, who allowed just two hits, two walks, and one run over the first seven innings. Corey Brown drove in the first Chiefs run with a leadoff HR in the 1st while Brett Carroll’s sac fly in the 7th broke a 1-1 tie. Pat Lehman and Corey VanAllen divvied up the 8th, each earning a hold.

Harrisburg 4 Bowie 0
• Demny (W, 3-2) 8IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, 4K
• Garcia 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K
• Rahl 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI
• Pahuta 1-4, R, HR, 2RBI

Paul Demny’s MBP demons were nowhere to be found as the 22-y.o. turned in his best outing of the season with eight scoreless innings in a 4-0 Harrisburg win over Bowie. Tim Pahuta and Chris Rahl both smacked two-run shots in the four-run 4th, as the Senators prevented a BaySox sweep and stopped a three-game tailspin. Christian Garcia worked around two 9th-inning baserunners (walk, hit) to preserve the shutout and lower his ERA to 1.65.

Potomac 4 Carolina 2
• Demmin 4IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, 5K
• Holland (SV, 1) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Oduber 2-3, R, HR, 2B, 2RBI
• Bloxom 1-3, R, HR, RBI

Justin Bloxom and Randolph Oduber both homered Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge.
Byron Kerr passes along news that Matt Purke continues to be the sirloin that the local diner will have on special “next week,” as the southpaw is set to go Thursday in Viera after pitching last Thursday. If activated (and not reassigned) for his next turn in the rotation, that would be during the next Potomac homestand on May 28 to June 3.

Delmarva 3 Hagerstown 1
• Turnbull (L, 1-3) 5IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K
• McKenzie 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Souza 0-1, SH, SF, RBI, E
• Skole 1-4, 2B
• Ramirez 1-2, 2B

The Suns were the latest victims of Shorebirds teenage phenom Dylan Bundy, who was perfect for four innings before Matt Skole led off the 5th with a double, as Delmarva beat Hagerstown, 3-1. J.P. Ramirez also doubled while Brian Goodwin singled, as the Suns were held to just three hits and one walk (neither by Billy Burns, ending his on-base streak at 30 games; Kerr gets the blame for the curse ;-). Steve Souza drove in the sole Hagerstown run with a 7th-inning sac fly.

May 202012
 

Justin Bloxom and Randolph Oduber continue to terrorize the Mudcats, as both went deep in a 4-2 Potomac win over Carolina.

Potomac got on the board in the bottom of the 1st for the fifth time in the last seven games, posting a three-spot. Francisco Soriano drew a one-out walk and stole second and third, waltzing home with the first run when Carolina’s Tyler Cannon overshot the third baseman. Bloxom connected two batters later for his first HR batting righthanded to drive in the second run

Michael Taylor followed with a double to deep right-center. After a Kevin Keyes walk, Oduber drove in the third Potomac run. Three innings later Oduber cleared the LF fence as Bloxom did. The two combined for four HR’s and eight hits for the series, scoring five runs and driving in five runs.

Ryan Demmin took his second turn in the rotation and struggled with his control. His stuff was there — a nice mix of 90s heat combined with low-80s breaking balls — but the command was spotty as the southpaw walked three and struck out five. But with some help from his defense (a nifty 5-C-3 DP by Blake Kelso in the 2nd), he stranded four baserunners and gutted his way through four scoreless innings.

Shane McCatty was the first man out of the ‘pen and wasn’t much better than his previous outing. He walked three and struck out but also gave up a HR to Cleveland’s #13 prospect Ronny Rodriguez, unable to get his fastball past him despite multiple warnings that were hit hard, far, and foul down the LF line. He would get the rulebook win despite giving up a run in his fourth straight appearance, pitching the 5th and part of the 6th.

Joe Testa, another reliever that’s been struggling, stranded the two runners he inherited from McCatty to end the 6th. But got into trouble after giving up a leadoff double to start the 7th and then firing a seed on a sacrifice attempt that handcuffed an inexperienced Soriano at 1B as the throw glanced off Soriano’s wrist, scoring the second Carolina run. He would finish the inning on defense, but eventually left the game.

David Freitas, who was getting the usual rest for an everyday catcher (day game after a night game) showed little signs of rust as he returned to the position he played as a schoolboy and deftly handled all four chances he had over the last two innings, as sidewinding Neil Holland closed out the game with just a one-out single allowed in the 9th for his first save of the season.

After getting swept last weekend, Potomac took two of three from the Mudcats finished the homestand with a 5-2 mark, keeping pace with both Lynchburg and Wilmington. With less than a month left, the six-game roadtrip that starts tomorrow will make or break the P-Nats’ chances for the first half.

It starts with a three-game series against the second-place Blue Rocks, a team that Potomac took two of three from at home two weeks ago. After a previously misreported (*ahem*) unnoticed off day on Thursday, it’s a weekend set against the Hillcats — a team that (rather handily) beat Potomac five times in six April meetings.

May 202012
 

It’s tempting to write this as a valiant ninth-inning comeback, the third during this homestand. But the reality is that the Potomac Nationals had numerous opportunities to win this game sooner and took advantage of a very, very critical mistake.

Going into the 9th, the P-Nats had drawn four walks, stolen five bases, and left on 10 baserunners. They got off to a good start as Mudcats closer Jesus Flores committed the one of the cardinal pitching sins by walking the leadoff batter, Ricky Hague.

Hague stole second to reduce the odds of another double play, as the Woodbridge nine had done in the 7th and 8th innings. But David Freitas struck out for the inning’s first out. Zach Walters worked another base on balls, Potomac’s sixth, to set up 1st and 2nd with one down.

Michael Taylor drove in the tying run with a single to left while Carolina’s LF Anthony Gallas airmailed it past the catcher to allow Walters to take third, Taylor to take second.

Here’s where the critical mistake took place.

With first base open, the Mudcats decided to take their chances with Kevin Keyes, rather than issue the intentional pass and see if they can get another twin-killing with Adrian Sanchez, who had already hit two infield grounders.

The big man from Texas does indeed strike out quite often. And after getting ahead 1-2, the gamble appeared to be on the verge of paying off.

But Keyes also hits a fair amount of flyballs and that’s all that the P-Nats would need as he connected for a drive to medium center to send in Walters with a sacrifice fly with the gamewinner and a 6-5 final.

Keyes’ 23rd RBI (and yes, he does have 23 hits) made a winner out of Cameron Selik, the last of three relief pitchers that combined for six and 2/3rds innings of stellar relief.

Early on, this game had the feel of three of the previous four Carolina-Potomac matchups: A big inning in the 3rd that should have been much smaller that turned a 1-0 lead into a 5-1 deficit.

Spot starter Trevor Holder gave up a leadoff double to left-center followed by a single to left and a stolen base. Holder got the first out on grounder to second with the IF drawn in halfway, and should have had the second out on another grounder, but Freitas was late with the tag on a ball that beat the runner by 10 feet for the first Mudcat run. Another single and an error plated two more runs and another double followed for a fourth, and Holder was out — his scoreless inning streak snapped at 11.

Paul Applebee gave up the fifth Carolina run on a two-out double, but sporting a funky new motion, retired nine of the next 10 for a line of three and 2/3rds with one walk and one strikeout.

Meanwhile, Potomac answered the five-run Mudcat rally with back-to-back RBI singles from Freitas and Walters in the 3rd and a nifty double steal in the 4th that enabled Francisco Soriano to ease Potomac to within one at 5-4 with a grounder to 2nd. Potomac would leave on two in the 5th, one in the 6th, and as previously mentioned, hit into DPs in the 7th and 8th innings.

Rob Wort followed Applebee and worked around a one-out triple by striking out the #3 and #4 batters before turning in a 1-2-3 eighth for his sixth straight appearance without allowing a run of his own, all of them with three or more Ks. Selik worked around his own error (plunking the baserunner on a tapper back to the mound) with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth.

With the win, Potomac improves to 17-22, percentage points behind second-place Wilmington but still 4½ games behind division-leading Lynchburg. Ryan Demmin (0-1, 4.67) gets another turn in the rotation as the P-Nats shoot for the series win and attempt to close out the homestand with a 5-2 mark.

May 202012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 8-5 @ Toledo,
2:00 p.m.
Maya (3-4, 2.76) vs.
Crosby (4-2, 4.79)
Harrisburg Lost, 2-1 vs. Bowie,
2:00 p.m.
Demny (2-2, 4.91) vs.
B. Bundy (2-6, 5.27)
Potomac Won, 6-5 vs. Carolina,
1:05 p.m.
Ryan Demmin (0-1, 4.67) vs.
TBD
Hagerstown Lost, 9-1 vs. Delmarva,
1:05 p.m.
Turnbull (1-2, 5.27) vs.
D. Bundy (0-0, 0.00)

Syracuse 8 Toledo 5
• Wang (ND) 5⅔ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 6K, HR
• Wilkie (SV, 3) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Hoffpauir 3-5, 2R, 2RBI
• Bynum 2-5, R, 2B, RBI

A four-run 8th turned a 5-4 deficit into an 8-5 lead as Syracuse defeated Toledo. Chien-Ming Wang, making what appears to be his final start before heading to DC, was touched for four runs on seven hits and three walks over five and 2/3rds innings. Atahualpa Severino, who stranded both runners he inherited from Wang but gave up the go-ahead Toledo run in the 7th, got the win while Pat Lehman and Josh Wilkie each turned in a scoreless inning for the hold and save, respectively. Jarrett Hoffpauir led the 10-hit Chiefs’ attack with a 3-for-5, 2RBI night.

Bowie 2 Harrisburg 1
• Ballard (L, 1-3) 7IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 6K, HR
• Davis 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Hood 2-4, R
• Rahl 1-4, RBI, SB

“Missed opportunities” were the two key words to describe the Sens’ 2-1 loss to the Baysox. Harrisburg went 0-for-10 with RISP and did not take full advantage of the four Bowie errors. Mike Ballard was the hard-luck loser, giving up both runs on a two-run shot in the 4th and just five hits total over seven innings with no walks and six K’s. Destin Hood had two of the five Harrisburg hits while Chris Rahl drove in the lone Senator run and stole a base.

Potomac 6 Carolina 5
• Holder 2⅓ IP, 5H, 5R, 5ER, BB, 2K
• Applebee 3⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, K, 2-1 IR-S
• Freitas 2-4, BB, 2RBI
• Taylor 2-5, RBI

Kevin Keyes’ sac fly in the 9th cashed in the last of several opportunities to win Last Night In Woodbridge.

Delmarva 9 Hagerstown 1
• Hill (L, 3-3) 6IP, 9H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 2K
• Encarnacion 3IP, 4IP, 5R, 4ER, 3BB, K, 2HR
• Dykstra 2-4
• Ramsey 1-2, R, BB, OF assist at HP

Pedro Encarnacion, assigned from the GCL Nationals on Friday night, got a rude welcome to the Sally League on Saturday night with a pair of HRs in the 7th as the Shorebirds eclipsed the Suns, 9-1. Starter Taylor Hill took the loss with four runs given up on nine hits and a walk over the first six innings. Cutter Dykstra was the sole Hagerstown batter to get multiple hits as the Suns were held to five hits and five walks and had their six-game win streak snapped. Brian Goodwin had an RBI double in his second game back from the disabled list. J.P. Ramirez went back and forth to “Auburn” as he was assigned to the SS-A roster on Friday to make room for Encarnacion and returned to the Low-A roster on Saturday with Chris Curran taking his place (but likely not leaving town, either).

May 192012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 12-2 @ Toledo,
7:00 p.m.
Wang (2-0, 3.60) vs.
Turner (0-0, 3.38)
Harrisburg Lost, 9-3 vs. Bowie,
7:00 p.m.
Ballard (1-2, 3.44) vs.
Bascom (2-2, 4.87)
Potomac Lost, 12-5 vs. Carolina,
6:35 p.m.
Holder (2-0, 4.34) vs.
Jimenez (4-1, 2.43)
Hagerstown Won, 5-4 vs. Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Hill (3-2, 3.90) vs.
Chalas (3-2, 8.34)

Columbus 12 Syracuse 2
• Duke (L, 4-2) 5IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 3K, HR
• Severino 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Bynum 2-4, R, RBI
• Howell 1-4, 2B

A six-run 7th by Columbus put this game away, turning a 6-1 lead into a 12-1 blowout as the Clippers would sail to a 12-2 win over Syracuse. Cory VanAllen failed to retire any of the five batters he faced, giving up two doubles and two walks with a Carlos Rivero error. Hassan Pena would let in both inherited runners and give up a run of his own before getting out of the inning. The Chiefs would manage just five hits, with three coming from the #8 and #9 batters, Seth Bynum and Jeff Howell.

Bowie 9 Harrisburg 3
• Gilliam (L, 1-4) 6IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 5K, HR
• Tatusko 3IP, 5H, 6R, 6ER, BB, K, HR, BK
• Valdez 3-4, 2B
• Seabury 1-2, 2BB, RBI

A pair of three-run rallies in the late innings turned a 3-1 game into a 9-1 Bowie beatdown. Harrisburg would get two in the last of the 9th for the 9-3 final. Starter Robert Gilliam gave up single runs in the first three innings but lasted six innings, giving up eight hits but five were for extra bases (four doubles, a solo HR). Ryan Tatusko had the misfortune of a dropped third strike in the 7th and a balk in the 8th but finished the game to save the bullpen. The Senators were a woeful 1-for-10 with RISP and left on seven, the “1″ being Chris McConnell’s RBI single in the last of the 9th. Jesus Valdez had three of the seven Harrisburg hits. Prior to the game, Manny Mayorson was activated from the DL to bring the Senators roster to the full 25.

Carolina 12 Potomac 5
• Grace (L, 2-5) 5IP, 12H, 8R, 8ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Hansen 2IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 2K, HBP, pickoff at 1B
• Bloxom 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI, BB
• Oduber 2-4, R, 2B, HR, RBI

Same [stuff], different weekend. The Mudcats hammered the P-Nats for 12 runs on 18 hits for Carolina’s fourth straight win over Potomac. The collective score thus far has been 33-10 by runs, 47-11 by hits. Justin Bloxom and Randolph Oduber once again were the two P-Nats the Mudcats pitchers couldn’t reel in, both homering and driving in three of the five Potomac runs. The two have seven of those 11 hits in the four games. Matt Grace took the loss with eight runs allowed on 12 hits, including a three-run shot by Jeremie Tice in the 3rd. Bobby Hansen returned from the DL and gave up on a run on a two-out double following a hit batsmen, but his one run over two innings made him the most effective Potomac pitcher of the night.

Hagerstown 5 Delmarva 4
• Meyer 5IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 6K, HR
• Hawkins 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Lucas (W, 2-0) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Ramsey 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI
• Martinson 2-4, R, RBI

The Hagerstown Suns scored the last five runs of the game, walking off with a 5-4 win over Delmarva. Starter Alex Meyer was touched for all four Shorebird runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings. Ben Hawkins and Bobby Lucas pitched each pitched two perfect innings of relief, striking out six combined. Hagerstown rallied for three in the 8th to tie with a Steve Souza sac fly and Caleb Ramsey’s two-run HR. Brian Goodwin (0-for-3) drew a leadoff walk and took third on an errant pickoff move. He scored two batters later on Jason Martinson’s RBI single. To make room on the Suns roster for Goodwin, Brian Dupra was placed on the temporary inactive list. Billy Burns played LF and extended his on-base streak to 30 games with a single in the 7th.

May 182012
 


Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 19-22, 5th place I.L. North, 7½ games behind

Good Corey Brown .361/.480/.656 in May
Bad John Lannan 6.63 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 4HR in last 3 starts
Interesting Xavier Paul .380/.436/.780 in May

HARRISBURG SENATORS 22-17, 2nd place E.L. West, 2 games behind

Good Eury Perez .316/.328/.386, 4SB in May
Bad Paul Demny 8.29ERA at home (2.57 on road)
Interesting Christian Garcia 5SV, 3H, 19K in last 10 appearances

POTOMAC NATIONALS 16-21, 3rd place C.L. North Division, 5½ games behind

Good Cameron Selik 3SV, 13K in last 5 appearances
Bad Shane McCatty 19H, 9BB in 9⅔IP, 13.03ERA, 2.90WHIP
Interesting Kevin Keyes 22H, 22RBI (.191/.271/.417)

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 22-15, 2nd place Sally League North Divison, 6 games behind

Good Cutter Dykstra .340/.429/.454 in 23G
Bad Brian Dupra 10.98ERA, 2.31WHIP in May (4 appearances)
Interesting Steve Souza 7HR in 13G
May 182012
 

For the second straight night, it’s a walkoff in Woodbridge, with David Freitas driving in two with two down in the 9th for a 10-9 Potomac win over Frederick.

While the outcome was pretty, the game was ugly — ten walks, six unearned runs, four errors, two passed balls over nearly three and a half grueling hours. Never mind the loudmouth lout with a face made for radio heckling the umps and the Keys.

Potomac rallied three times for three runs, with the first two aided by three Frederick errors for five of the six unearned runs. Still, staked to a 6-2 lead, it should have been smooth sailing in the middle innings for Kyle Winters.

Instead, he labored to get through five innings and turned it over to Shane McCatty, who blew the save in the 7th with back-to-back walks, a single, and a would-be sacrifice bunt that he fielded then air-mailed over Justin Bloxom’s head and bounced into the stands. It was the fifth time in six appearances he had been scored upon.

The four-run seventh was the fourth straight inning in which the Keys scored, turning that 6-2 deficit into a 9-7 lead.

Potomac would go in order in the 7th and 8th innings, thus the few that gutted out the 9th were in for an unexpected treat. Randolph Oduber singled to lead off the inning and took second on Blake Kelso’s one-out single. Oduber took third on flyout to right. Bloxom singled for third time to drive in Oduber, sending Kelso to third.

Bloxom took second on defensive indifference, a critical move because despite having first base open, the Keys decided that they might get Freitas for a fourth time versus taking their chances with Michael Taylor (3-for-4, 2B, 3RBI). The big backstop lined one into left to send home Kelso with the tying run and Bloxom with the gamewinner.

With the win, Potomac took the series 3-1 and won their third straight. Tonight, LHP Matt Grace gets the start against Carolina, looking to improve over his last outing last Saturday night in Zebulon.

May 182012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-1 @ Columbus,
7:05 p.m.
Duke (4-1, 3.43) vs.
Slowey (2-3, 5.79)
Harrisburg Lost, 1-0
(14 inn.)
vs. Bowie,
7:00 p.m.
Gilliam (1-3, 4.70) vs.
Clark (2-3, 4.12)
Potomac Won, 10-9 vs. Carolina,
7:05 p.m.
Grace (2-4, 6.14) vs.
TBD
Hagerstown Won, 13-11 vs. Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Meyer (2-3, 4.32) vs.
Rodriguez (1-0, 2.42)

Syracuse 6 Columbus 1
• Atkins (W, 3-3) 5IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 2K
• Roark 3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 5K
• Brown 3-5, R, 2B, RBI, CS
• Paul 2-4, R, RBI
• Negrych 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI

Jim Negrych’s two-run HR started the five-run 2nd off with a bang, as Syracuse downed Columbus, 6-1. Mitch Atkins evened his record with one run given up over five innings while Tanner Roark struck out five over three in his first relief outing. Corey Brown and Xavier Paul remain red-hot, combining for five of the eight Syracuse hits and both scoring a run.

Richmond 1 Harrisburg 0 (14 inn.)
• Rosenbaum (ND) 7IP, 4H, 0R, 2BB, 4K
• Pucetas 3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 5K
• Frias (L, 1-3) 1⅓ IP, 0H, R, ER, 5BB, 0K, WP
• Valdez 2-6
• Kobernus 1-5, SB, SH

Richmond quite literally walked off as Marcos Frias issued four free passes (one intentional) in the bottom of the 14th to send Harrisburg to a 1-0 loss, snapping the Sens’ five-game win streak. Starter Danny Rosenbaum lowered his ERA to 0.62 with seven shutout innings, but the Flyinq Squirrels’ Chris Heston — the #2 man in the E.L. ERA race at 0.71 — matched him, then threw an 8th scoreless frame. Harrisburg managed just six hits, with Jesus Valdez the sole multihit Senator.

Potomac 10 Frederick 9
• Winters (ND) 5IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 3K
• Holland (W, 2-1) 3IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 2K, 2-2 IR-S
• Taylor 3-4, R, 2B, 3RBI
• Bloxom 3-5, 3R, RBI

A win is a win, even when it’s ugly like it was Last Night In Woodbridge.
Prior to the game, LHP Bobby Hansen Jr. was activated from the DL, with RHP Wilson Eusebio moved to the temporary inactive list to make room on the 25-man roster.

Hagerstown 13 Delmarva 11
• Dupra 3IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 2K, 3HR
• Holt (W, 1-0) 2⅓ IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, BB, K
• Simko (SV, 1) 2IP, 0H, R, ER, 3BB, 0K
• Ramsey 4-5, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Dykstra 3-5, 3R, HR, 3RBI
• Martinson 2-3, R, 2B, 3B, 3RBI

After blowing leads of 7-4 and 9-8, Hagerstown put another four-spot on the board in the last of the 7th and fended off one last charge from Delmarva for a 13-11 win. Every Hagerstown batter reached base, eight drove in at least one run, and seven had a hit as the Suns piled up 14 hits total. Caleb Ramsey led the hit parade with a 4-for-5 night, while Cutter Dykstra and Jason Martinson both drove in three. Starter Brian Dupra was tagged for four runs on four hits, three of them over the fence. Greg Holt got the win in relief while Todd Simko notched the save. Byron Kerr is reporting that CF Brian Goodwin will be back in action tonight. No word on the corresponding roster move just yet, but look for Billy Burns (29G on-base streak) to shift to LF.

May 172012
 

[Ed. Note:] These are the thoughts of my friend Shawn, a.k.a. one of my “spies in Hagerstown,” on the Suns position players. And again, don’t forget to visit his blog Musings about Sports and other important items

Brian Goodwin
was very impressive offensively in his five games. I was at the game that he injured himself, grabbed the leg immediately and you knew it was trouble. Goodwin showed speed and in power in those five games. Keep in mind that we haven’t seen him struggle, just as the last memory is the best memory.

Matt Skole has done everything you can do with the bat thus far and I really like his patience. Skole is striking out a little more than I would like, but his walk total is high and I think his bat will play higher up the ladder. The real issue is the leather; I do not think Skole plays third in the long run and it might be better to move him sooner than later.

Caleb Ramsey has been better than expected, but thus far something tells me that he will not hit for power as he moves higher — just a gut feeling.

Jason Martinson has played well and has reduced his errors, but for a repeat performer has not torn the Sally League up as you would hope a true prospect would. Martinson is still striking out a lot and that is a red flag to me.

Outside of those, none of the rest show me signs of being true prospects.

I love the way Billy Burns plays, but he reminds me more of a Chris Curran type — a high-energy, slap hitter that plays the game the right way, but lacks true high-end talent.

Steven Souza is killing the ball, but he should: This after all is his fourth Hagerstown stint and he is too skilled for this level. Does this play higher? I doubt it, but he is still young enough to make a move especially considering his tools.

Cutter Dykstra is hitting for a high average as he should, but still lacks the type of pop that you would hope to see, especially when you consider the drop in level. Dykstra turns 23 next month, but he needs to make his move soon.

J.P.Ramirez seems to me to be somewhat dispirited with the demotion and it has shown in his play. I thought Ramirez would rip this league up for eight weeks and move back up, but thus far he has only hit two homers. From a player that will rise and fall with the power potential, that is a huge disappointment.

Adrian Nieto continues to show just enough potential to keep your hopes up. Nieto has some power, but still does not make the type of contact that you would like.

Bryce Ortega broke his thumb and is out of action, but in his 51 at-bats, showed no power at all — not even gap power. Ortega looks to be a organizational type to me.

Brett Newsome is exactly that: an organizational soldier.

Hendry Jimenez has murdered lefties in a small sample size, but has been pathetic against righties.

Cole Leonida looks to be viewed as a backup catcher for the second year in a row. He has not gotten a ton of at-bats, and has not taken advantage of what he has been given.

Justin Miller has hit four homers in a little over a hundred at bats, but also has 35 strikeouts, which is rather high. Considering he turns 24 in the fall, Miller’s chances of making the Potomac roster in ’13 are quite slim.

May 172012
 

After losing seven of eight, the Potomac Nationals took a pair of one-run contests from the Frederick Keys, taking the first game 5-4, and capped by a walkoff in “extra” innings, 4-3.

Robbie Ray took the hill in the first game, coming off a six-run smackdown in Salem in his previous start and a position-player’s ERA of 16.50. The rest-or-rust question was answered rather quickly as Ray set down the Keys in order three times with three quick innings — 20 pitches, 17 for strikes.

But the second time through the lineup is always a big test for any starter, and Frederick drew blood in the 4th — three straight singles, a sharp lineout, then a two-run double, and an RBI single. Ray got the second out on a sac fly and then got out of the inning with a grounder. But it took 24 pitches.

Prior to the big inning, the P-Nats had built a 3-0 lead on a two-run HR by Adrian Sanchez in the first and a two-out RBI double by David Freitas. After the big inning, three straight singles in the bottom of the 4th produced the tying run, with Kevin Keyes atoning for his ill-advised attempt to score from second on a single in the 2nd with an RBI single.

Ricky Hague homered in the bottom of the 5th to put Potomac up 5-4. Ray would bounce back from the four-run fourth with 1-2-3 fifth and worked around a single and a hit batsmen with a inning-ending DP. Cameron Selik flirted with disaster, giving up a pair of two-out singles but bore down to get the save (his 5th) and preserve the win for Ray (his 1st).

In the nightcap, Francisco Soriano produced twice in the clutch — tying the game with a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 7th, and doubling home the gamewinner with two down in the last of the 9th for a 4-3 win.

Wilson Eusebio was the pitcher of record and got the win, but the pitcher of the night was Rob Wort. After starter Matt Swynenberg tired in the 6th, giving up a single and a double to put runners on second and third, Wort came on and struck out the first batter for the first out, then got the second with a grounder to second that Frederick inexplicably decided to try to score on Soriano’s arm.

While it’s true that an RBI single followed, for which the casual fan may place blame, what’s lost in the quick glance at the box score is that Wort then dispatched the next six batters straight — that’s three innings with nine outs to nine batters faced.

Potomac would actually score all four runs with two out last night. Blake Kelso, who scored three of the four Potomac runs on a 3-for-5 game and a 4-for-8 night, scored the first on a Frederick throwing error. Justin Bloxom followed with an RBI double to tie the game at 2-2 in the 3rd. Kelso would double in the last of the 7th and score on Soriano’s single. Then (guess who?) after reaching base safely on a grounder in the 9th, Kelso came around from first on Soriano’s gamewinner, a double to down the RF line.

With the win, Potomac improves to 15-21, percentage points behind second-place Wilmington, but still 6½ back of first-place Lynchburg. Kyle Winters (1-5, 6.99) toes the slab tonight for the P-Nats, opposed by Scott Copeland (1-3, 5.91).