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.

Apr 202012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 11-7 vs. Buffalo,
7:00 p.m.
Atkins (1-1, 0.75) vs.
Harvey (0-1, 7.62)
Harrisburg Won, 6-2 @ Trenton,
7:05 p.m.
Gilliam (1-2, 5.82) vs.
Heyer (1-1, 1.69)
Potomac Won, 10-4 vs. Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Olbrychowski (0-2, 6.97) vs.
Workman (6-7, 3.71 @ A- in ’11)
Hagerstown Won, 11-9
(10 inn.)
vs. Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
Estevez (1-0, 8.16) vs.
Martinez (2-0, 3.78)

Pawtucket 11 Syracuse 7
• Duke (ND) 4IP, 8H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Martin 3IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 2K, 1-0 IR-S
• Moore 3-4, 2B, 3RBI, BB
• Brown 2-6, 2R, 2B, HR, 2RBI, 4K
• Harper 1-2, 3BB, K

A four-run 5th inning put the PawSox ahead for good as they completed a four-game sweep of the Chiefs with an 11-7 pounding yesterday afternoon. Austin Bibens-Dirkx took the loss, letting in both runners he inherited and surrendering three straight doubles. Rafael Martin put out the fire and turned in his best outing of the season with a run given up on one hit over three innings. Tyler Moore led the 11-hit attack with a 3-for-4 afternoon, including a double and a walk. Speaking of which, Bryce Harper may have just discovered the value of the base on balls by drawing three walks, doubling his season total to six.

Harrisburg 6 Trenton 2
• Ballard (W, 1-1) 6⅔ IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 8K
• Garcia (H, 3) 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Valdez 3-4, 2R, 2B, BB, SB, 2RBI, OF assist (2B)
• Hood 3-5, R, RBI, SB
• Kobernus 3-5, 2R, 2SB (10, 11)

With a four-run first, the Sens put the hurt on the Thunder early and cruised to a 6-2 win, their third straight. Mike Ballard kept up the string of strong pitching, tossing six and 2/3rds innings with one unearned run on four hits and two walks for his first “W.” Jesus Valdez, Destin Hood, and Jeff Kobernus combined for nine of the 14 Harrisburg hits, with Kobernus swiping two more bases to increase his SB total to 11. Christian Garcia struck out three of the five batters he faced for the hold, his third of the season.

Potomac 10 Salem 4
• Hansen (ND) 5IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 5K
• Applebee (W, 1-0) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Sanchez 3-4, 2R, 2RBI
• Bloxom 2-3, 2R, 2B, BB, RBI
• Soriano 1-3, 2R, BB, 3B, 3RBI

A five-run 6th broke open a 2-2 game as the P-Nats cruised to a 10-4 win Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 11 Lakewood 9 (10 inn.)
• McKenzie ⅓ IP, 3H, 6R, 5ER, 3BB, HR, HBP
• Meza 3⅔ IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 2K, 1-0 IR-S
• Barrett (W, 1-0) 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Martinson 3-6, 3R, 2RBI
• Skole 2-3, 3R, 3BB, HR, 2RBI
• Nieto 1-5, R, HR, 4RBI (GS)

Matt Skole’s two-run shot in the bottom of the 10th gave the Hagerstown Suns an improbably 11-9 walkoff win in extras. Hagerstown pounded out 15 hits in the contest, but not before taking a beating early. Chris McKenzie got knocked from the box in the 1st, giving up three hits and three walks to the eight batters he faced to put the Suns in 6-0 early. Christian Meza put the kibosh on the BlueClaws and led the quartet of Suns relievers, who combined for eight and 2/3rds relief with three runs allowed. Adrian Nieto’s grand slam in the bottom of the third launched the comeback bid as the two teams eventually fought to a 9-9 tie after six and half innings. Aaron Barrett got the win with three strikeouts over the last inning and a 1/3rd. Prior to the game, Cutter Dykstra was activated from Extended Spring Training, and went 2-for-6 while playing 3B. Narciso Mesa was taken off the roster and assigned to XST to make room for Dykstra.

Apr 192012
 

The Harrisburg Senators have announced that C Jeff Howell has been assigned to the Syracuse Chiefs. Replacing him on the roster is C James Skelton, who has been reassigned from the Potomac Nationals.

Both the Chiefs and the Senators have full rosters. Potomac is now back to 24, one below the limit of 25. It would appear that with the recent injury to IF Brent Greer, another move is forthcoming as my speculation that Skelton may used as a backup IF was wrong.

As before, should another move be made soon, look for an update in this space.

UPDATE: C Beau Seabury has been activated from the DL (H/T to SpringfieldFan), bringing the active Potomac roster to 25. It’s doubtful, however, that Potomac will carry three catchers, so the guess here is that someone will be reassigned shortly.

Apr 192012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-1
(11 inn.)
vs. Pawtucket,
12:00 p.m.
Duke (1-1, 4.91) vs.
Wilson (1-0, 1.80)
Harrisburg Won, 7-1 @ Trenton,
7:05 p.m.
Ballard (0-1, 5.23) vs.
Romanski (1-0, 5.23)
Potomac Postponed vs. Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Hansen (1-1, 7.88) vs.
Celestino (1-1, 3.60)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-2 vs. Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
McKenzie (0-1, 10.50) vs.
Kleven (1-1, 2.45)

Pawtucket 6 Syracuse 1 (11 inn.)
• Lannan (ND) 6IP, 6H, R, ER, BB, 2K
• Arnesen 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Brown 1-3, 2BB
• Michaels 1-3, R, 2B, BB

The Chiefs had held the PawSox to just two runs over the previous 22 innings, but the levee broke in the top of the 11th with a five-run implosion as Pawtucket defeated the Chiefs, 6-1. John Lannan finally turned in the kind of start you’d expect from a major-leaguer at AAA, with just a solo HR given up over six innings. The problem is that the Syracuse offense, which was shut out on Tuesday, was just as woeful on Wednesday: Just five hits and five walks over 11 innings. Hassan Pena took the loss, loading the bases on a walk and two singles, and sending in the go-ahead run on a bases-loaded walk. Josh Wilkie nearly escaped the jam with a first-batter strikeout (out #2 of the inning), but then gave up a bases-clearing double to put the game out of reach, and a single to add insult to injury. Bryce Harper went 0-for-5 to drop his season average to .222

Harrisburg 7 Altoona 1
• Rosenbaum 9IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 9K, 95-71 B-S
• Pahuta 2-4, 2R, HR, 3RBI
• Rahl 2-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• King 2-4, RBI

Already the most accomplished Nats pitching prospect in the organization, Danny Rosenbaum put another notch on his belt with a four-hit, nine-inning complete game in a 7-1 win over Altoona. The 24-year-old southpaw needed just 95 pitches to do it, pounding the zone with 71 strikes. Can’t say that this surprises me; I’ve seen something like it before. The Senators also gave Rosenbaum plenty of support, with the 4-5-6 batters (Pahuta-Rahl-King) each going 2-for-4, with Pahuta and Rahl smacking back-to-back jacks in the 7th. The Senators finished their first homestand with a 4-3 mark and now hit the road for Trenton and Altoona before returning to City Island next Friday.

Potomac vs. Frederick — PPD
The rains that pelted the DC area yesterday forced the first postponement of the 2012 campaign. The game will be made up with a doubleheader on Tuesday, June 5th, which might be pivotal as last year’s two playoff teams from the Carolina League’s Northern Division were already set for a four-game series. Currently, both are in second place, two and a half games behind Lynchburg. The P-Nats return to Woodbridge tonight for a four-game series against the Salem Red Sox.

Delmarva 6 Hagerstown 2
• Turnbull (L, 0-1) 4⅔ IP, 9H, 6R, 6ER, 2BB, 5K
• Hill 3⅓ IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 1-0 IR-S
• Jimenez 2-4, 2B, 2RBI
• Burns 1-3, R

The Shorebird batters turned into the Lehman Brothers in the middle innings, putting up crooked numbers in three consecutive innings for another 6-2 win over the Suns. Kylin Turnbull took the loss with all six runs charged against him over four and 2/3rds innings, giving up nine hits and two walks. Taylor Hill finished the game with three and 1/3rd scoreless innings. Despite the solid relief, the Hagerstown nine couldn’t mount a late-inning charge and were limited to just six hits and one walk. Hendry Jimenez was the leading batter with a 2-for-4 night, driving in both Suns runs with a third-inning double. The Suns will be back in action tonight at the Muni for a four against the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Apr 182012
 

As referenced in this morning’s News & Notes, the Potomac Nationals have indeed added another pitcher, activating RHP Shane McCatty from Extended Spring Training, per an official team release.

McCatty is a 34th round pick from the 2009 Draft. He spent 2011 in Hagerstown primarily as a reliever, appearing in 30 games with one start. He compiled a 2-3 record with one save, a 6.63 ERA, and a 1.632 WHIP.

Via Twitter, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus and Matt Eddy of Baseball America are both reporting that the Nationals have signed 27-year-old infielder Jim Negrych, an ’06 Sixth-Round Pick that spend 2011 in AA for the Marlins, posting a .304/.370/.402 line.

No assignment or corresponding move for the Negrych signing has been officially announced. As always, if one is made or found in the next day or so, this space will be updated.

Apr 182012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 1-0 vs. Pawtucket,
6:00 p.m.
Lannan (0-2, 13.50) vs.
Cook (2-0, 1.50)
Harrisburg Won, 4-0 vs. Altoona,
7:00 p.m.
Rosenbaum (1-0, 2.13) vs.
Baker (2-0, 0.82)
Potomac Won, 5-3 @ Frederick,
7:00 p.m.
Hansen (1-1, 7.88) vs.
Copeland (1-0, 0.00)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-2 @ Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Turnbull (0-0, 3.72) vs.
Bridwell (1-0, 2.70)

Pawtucket 1 Syracuse 0
• Maya (ND) 7⅓ IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 3K
• Wilkie (L, 0-1) 1⅓ IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 2K, HR, IR-S 3-0
• VanAllen ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K, IR-S 1-0
• Hoffpauir 2-3

Ryan Lavarnway’s solo shot off Josh Wilkie was the sole score of the night to send the Chiefs to a 1-0 defeat. The two teams combined for just 11 hits, with Lavarnway and Syracuse’s Jarrett Hoffpauir the only muti-hit performances of the night. Yunesky Maya turned in 7⅓ innings but left the bases loaded in the 8th. Wilkie escaped that jam with a double play ball. The Chiefs got the tying and winning runs on in the last of the ninth, thanks to singles by Seth Bynum and Tyler Moore, with a wild pitch setting up a 2nd-and-3rd with two out situation for Bryce Harper. Facing the 35-year-old Brandon Duckworth, the 19-year-old scorched a liner… right at second baseman Tony Thomas to end the game.

Harrisburg 4 Altoona 0
• Mandel (W, 1-1) 7IP, 4H, 0R, BB, 4K; 2-3, 3RBI
• Nelo (SV, 1) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, K
• Hood 1-3, R, 2B, BB, SB
• Rahl 1-4, R, RBI

Jeff Mandel must have felt like he was back in high school, throwing seven shutout innings while going for 2-for-3 with 3RBI, as he powered the Senators past the Curve for a 4-0 shutout. The 26-year-old also picked up his first win of the season while lowering his ERA to 0.96. Hector Nelo picked up the save despite allowing four baserunners in two innings, walking a pair in the 8th and giving up two singles in the 9th. Destin Hood doubled, walked, and scored a run to lead the position players on offense.

Potomac 5 Frederick 3
• Winters (W, 1-1) 6IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 6K, HR
• Eusebio (H, 1) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Oduber 2-4, 2R, 2B
• Taylor 1-3, 2B, 2RBI

After coughing up a two-run shot early, Kyle Winters settled down to turn in a quality start of six innings pitched to earn his first win for the P-Nats. Wilson Eusebio followed with two scoreless to give the ball to Rob Wort, who did his best imitation of Chad Cordero by walking one, giving up three straight singles, the striking out the side with the bases loaded for the save. Randolph Oduber paced the offense from the leadoff spot with a 2-for-4 night, followed by Michael Taylor, who doubled in the first two runs in the top of the 1st. David Freitas also connected for solo shot in the 6th. Just prior to the game, Brent Greer and Josh Smoker were placed on the 7-Day DL. A follower reported to me on Twitter that Greer had broken his finger during BP; no word on Smoker. The roster now stands at 24 with three catchers, as Sam Palace was activated from the DL, with C James Skelton the likely option to replace Greer on an emergency basis (73G experience).

Delmarva 6 Hagerstown 2
• Meyer (L, 1-2) 5IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 7K
• Newsome 2-4
• Leonida 2-4
• Skole 1-4, RBI (16, leads SAL lg.)

Alex Meyer made it out of the first inning, matching zeros with O’s uber-prospect Dylan Bundy for the first three, but ran into trouble in the 4th and 5th innings as the Shorebirds pecked him for three runs en route to a 6-2 win over the Suns. For the second straight game, Hagerstown did all its scoring in the 9th. Delmarva committed two errors to lead to the two unearned runs. Brett Newsome and Cole Leonida both went 2-for-4 to combine for four of the seven Suns hits. OF Brian Goodwin is eligible to come off the DL, but is not yet ready to return to game action, per the Suns radio broadcast last night.

Apr 172012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 4-3 vs. Pawtucket,
6:00 p.m.
Maya (1-1, 4.50) vs.
Germano (1-1, 3.60)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-2 vs. Altoona,
7:00 p.m.
Mandel (0-1, 1.54) vs.
Colla (0-1, 7.00)
Potomac Won, 6-4
(11 inn.)
@ Frederick,
7:00 p.m.
Winters (0-1, 4.09) vs.
Simon (0-1, 7.20)
Hagerstown Lost, 5-4 @ Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Meyer (1-1, 7.94) vs.
D. Bundy (0-0, 0.00)

Pawtucket 4 Syracuse 3
• Roark (L, 0-3) 5⅓ IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 3K, 3HR
• Severino 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 3K, IR-S: 2-0
• Harper 2-4, R, 2B; 1PO, 1E(3) in CF
• Johnson 2-4, 2B, RBI, CS
• Moore 1-4, 2K; 1PO, 0E in LF

The big fly was Tanner Roark’s undoing as all four PawSox runs came on the three round-trippers he gave up in a 4-3 loss by the Chiefs. All three Syracuse runs came in the bottom of the seventh, the last coming when ex-Nat Garrett Mock let in one inherited run (SSDU) then struck out the side (WTF). Josh Johnson was 2-for-4 in his AAA debut. Bryce Harper doubled and scored a run, but also committed his third error of the season. Tyler Moore played his first game in LF and made a putout. His single in the 4th extended his hit streak to seven games.

Altoona 5 Harrisburg 2
• Demny (L, 0-1) 3IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 5BB, 2K
• Frias 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Rahl 2-4, R, RBI, 2SB
• Kobernus 2-4, R, 2B

Paul Demny continues to give up the free pass, with three unintentional and five total in a 5-2 loss to Altoona. The 22-year-old has walked four or more in all three starts for a total of 13 in 11⅔ innings. Two of the three he walked scored in the three-run third, chasing him from the game as he had already thrown 79 pitches. Jeff Kobernus and Chris Rahl both went 2-for-4 to pace the Senators offense, with Rahl swiping both second and third in the 4th, but the rest of the lineup managed just three hits and struck out nine times (10 total).

Potomac 6 Frederick 4 (10 inn.)
• Swynenberg 3⅔ IP, 9H, 4R, 3ER, BB, K
• Selik (W, 1-1) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Taylor 3-5, 2B, RBI, OF assist (3B)
• Oduber 2-5, 2RBI, CS, OF assist (HP)
• Nicol 2-5, 2R, HR, RBI

A day after getting smacked like a cheatin’ spouse on daytime talk show, the P-Nats ‘pen turned in a sensational effort to help the offense mount a comeback for a 6-4 win in 10 innings over the Keys. Ryan Demmin, Neil Holland, and Cameron Selik combined for six and a 1/3rd shutout innings, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out six. Randolph Oduber’s two-out single in the 10th was the gamewinner. The Groovin’ Aruban also gunned down a runner at the plate, one of two kills from the outfield. Michael Taylor had the other, cutting down a runner at third while going 3-for-5 to lead the hit parade.

Delmarva 5 Hagerstown 4
• Dupra (L, 0-3) 5IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, BB, K
• Karns 3IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 4K, WP
• Nieto 3-4, R
• Martinson 1-5, R, HR, 3RBI

Highlighted by Jason Martinson’s three-run blast with two out, Hagerstown rallied for all four of their runs in the 9th but fell short in a 5-4 loss to Delmarva. It was, however, the sole clutch hit as the Suns went 1-for-7 with RISP and stranded eight. Brian Dupra had a no-no through three and third, but got tagged for four runs on six hits by the last 10 batters he faced and took the loss, his third on the season. Adrian Nieto was the leading Suns batter with a 3-for-4 night.

Apr 162012
 

As is usually the case, the news of some transactions is trickling in. Here’s a recap:

• Xavier Paul was placed on the restricted list yesterday. Further details have not surface, but the suspicion is that it may be related to the leave absence he was granted last month during spring training.

• Andrew Shay of The Patriot News is reporting that Josh Johnson has been promoted to Syracuse (H/T to Carl Goldstein for the heads-up in the comments).

• Marc Tomkins of the Tampa Bay Times has tweeted that the Nationals have sold Matt Buschmann to the Tampa Bay Rays (via MLB Trade Rumors).

• Chris McConnell has been reassigned from Syracuse to Harrisburg

It may certainly be possible that there is a correlation between the Paul and Johnson moves, but the Buschmann transaction appears incidental. As noted in the comments, there are more players in Extended Spring Training than is usual for this time of year and this may be simply in lieu of giving Buschmann his release.

As always, if/when more details come to light in the next 24 hours or so, this space will be updated.

UPDATE: Chris McConnell (above)

Apr 162012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 7-2 vs. Pawtucket,
6:00 p.m.
Roark (0-2, 6.30) vs.
Ohlendorf (1-0, 0.00)
Harrisburg Lost, 9-3 vs. Altoona,
7:00 p.m.
Demny (0-0, 4.15) vs.
Poreda (1-0, 0.00)
Potomac Lost, 13-2 @ Frederick,
7:00 p.m.
Swynenberg (1-0, 6.43) vs.
TBD
Hagerstown Lost, 7-4 @ Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Dupra (0-2, 3.86) vs.
Chalas (1-0, 7.20)

Syracuse 7 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 2
• Atkins (W, 1-1) 7IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 4K
• Teahen 4-5, 2R, 2B, RBI, SB
• Rivero 3-5, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Bynum 2-4, 2B, BB, RBI

Four doubles keyed a four-run rally as the Chiefs snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-2 win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Mitch Atkins got the win with seven strong innings, allowing just one run on three hits and two walks. Mark Teahen led the 13-hit attack with a 4-for-5 afternoon. Bryce Harper doubled and scored two runs while Tyler Moore homered for the fifth time in six games. Syracuse puts on the home whites for the next seven games, with four against Pawtucket and three against Buffalo.
Xavier Paul was placed on the restricted list yesterday, but no further details could be found at virtual press. Last month, Paul was given a leave of absence for “personal reasons.” It should also be noted that with Brett Carroll currently on waivers, it’s entirely possible this is yet another example of roster shenanigans.

Reading 9 Harrisburg 3
• Gilliam (L, 1-2) 5IP, 7H, 6R, 6ER, 0BB, 6K
• McCoy 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Perez 1-3, 2BB, 2SB
• Johnson 3-3, 2B, BB
• Howell 2-4, RBI

With two in the 1st and four in the 5th, the Reading Phillies built a 6-0 lead en route to a 9-3 win to split the four-game series. Robert Gilliam took the loss in his third start, allowing those six runs on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Josh Johnson reached base four times to lead the offense, with Eury Perez drawing two walks and stealing two bases. Altoona is next to visit as the Senators host them for the next three games before heading back out on the road to Trenton, New Jersey.

Lynchburg 13 Potomac 2
• Grace (L, 1-1) 4IP, 11H, 7R, 6ER, BB, 3K, HR
• Eusebio ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Moore 2-3, R, BB
• Taylor 1-3, BB, CS(5)

It was a game to forget on this Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge.
Lakewood 7 Hagerstown 4
• Estevez 5⅓ IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 5K
• Simko (BS, 1; L, 0-1) 2⅔ IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 2K, IR-S 3-3
• Newsome 1-2, R, HR, RBI
• Martinson 1-3, R, 3B, BB, RBI
• Ortega 2-4, 2B, SB

For five innings, Wirkin Estevez had a no-hitter. When he left with one out in the 6th, he still had a 3-0 lead — even after surrendering three straight singles before getting a strikeout. But Todd Simko couldn’t stop the bleeding, letting in all three runners and three of his own as the Lakewood BlueClaws put up six runs en route to a 7-4 win, the second straight loss for the Suns. Bryce Ortega led the seven-hit attack with a 2-for-4 afternoon while Brett Newsome clubbed a pinch-hit HR and Jason Martinson tripled and scored the final Hagerstown run. The Suns continue their road trip with a three against Delmarva before returning home to host the BlueClaws for a four-game series starting on Thursday.

Apr 152012
 

Until Wade Moore appeared to pull up lame to end the 8th, the best that could be said was that nobody got hurt.

With runs in seven of the nine innings, Lynchburg dismantled Potomac by a 13-2 count this afternoon. The Atlanta farmhands plowed the P-Nats pitchers for 21 20 hits, 10 of which were for extra-bases.

If the Mets hate Willie Harris, than Evan Gattis can’t be much more loved by Potomac — not after a 5-for-6 game, with a double, a three-homer, and six RBIs. In six games against the P-Nats this year, the 25-year-old catcher is 11-for-22 with two HR and nine RBI.

Truth be told (no, tell us lies) — the team was horrific on defense. That “2” in the “E” column? Could have been three, as one fielder ran past a ground ball without touching it. In fact, after the game ended, just one error had been charged but was later changed from “1” to “2”

Not that it matters in the big scheme of things. Even with stellar fielding, this would have been a blowout. One cannot readily dismiss seven doubles, a triple, and two home runs and play the game of woulda-coulda-shoulda.

The loss drops Potomac to 3-6 for the season and ends the brief homestand 1-2. It’s a quick trip to Frederick for three games before returning on Thursday for a four-game set against Salem.

Apr 152012
 

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.