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.

Sep 072011
 


As you might have guessed by the image, rain is going to be an underlying theme during the playoffs.
Last night, Harrisburg beat writer Geoff Morrow reported a story about how the the forecast of heavy rain, coupled with the the proximity of the Susquehannah River and the location of Metrobank Park (i.e. on an island in said river) could force the rearrangement* of the Eastern League Divisional Series.
*Could be worse. The Pittsfield Colonials, Hagerstown manager Brian Daubach’s previous ballclub, will be playing ALL its games on the road.

UPDATE: As predicted/feared, the Harrisburg Senators and Richmond Squirrels have postponed their series until Friday, shifting Games One & Two to Friday and Saturday, with Games Three, Four and Five (if necessary). H/T to Max Power to bringing this to our attention, and I strong encourage folks to read his Senators vs. Flying Squirrels Series Preview.

The forecast for Frederick isn’t any better: 1-2″ of heavy rain today with a chance of rain in the hourly forecast that won’t fall below 50% until 11. On Friday night. Rearranging the series simply isn’t an option given the forecast for Woodbridge is nearly identical. It’s also my understanding that the Potomac field there doesn’t drain very well.

Finally, the Auburn Doubledays took on the Vermont Lake Monsters in Burlington, VT last night — located on higher ground than the folks in the Winooski River Valley to the east — but were stifled by 32nd-round pick Drew Garnier, who allowed just one run on two hits and three walks while fanning nine over five innings to lead the Lake Monsters to a 7-1 win.

Auburn starter Nathan Karns was hit hard early, giving up four runs in the bottom of the first, lowlighted when Angel Montilla lost the ball in the, well, low lights at Centennial Field to let in three runs. He would give up six runs total over four innings on seven hits and two walks to take the loss.

Of course, the defensive gaffes aside, the Vermont ‘pen struck out seven and gave up just one hit and one walk after Garnier’s exit. That’s just three hits, four walks on offense for the Doubledays while striking out 16 times. They left on eight and went just 1-for-13 with RISP.

The series shifts to Auburn for today and tomorrow. But wouldn’t you know? There’s also a forecast for heavy rain over the next two days, and a strong chance of rain on Friday. Stay tuned and stay dry.

Sep 062011
 

It’s a baker’s dozen of weekly honors for the Nats farm system, with Auburn’s Justin Miller picking up the hardware for hitting .500 last week (12-for-24).

Miller also homered and drove in six last week. Since the All-Star game in mid-August, he has batted .371/.444/.613, a stretch of 18 games.

The 22-year-old was drafted in the 18th round of the 2010 First Year Player Draft from Middle Tennessee State University.

Sep 062011
 

Basically, it’s the callups from Syracuse and the tweaks to the Potomac roster for the playoffs. As always, if more moves are spotted in the next 24-36 hours, this page will be updated.

SYRACUSE
• RHP Brad Peacock recalled to Washington
• RHP Yunesky Maya recalled to Washington
• RHP Craig Stammmen recalled to Washington
• LHP Atahualpa Severino recalled to Washington
• OF Corey Brown recalled to Washington
• 2B Steve Lombardozzi recalled to Washington
• RHP Garrett Mock designated for assignment
• RHP Adam Carr released

POTOMAC
• RHP Erik Davis placed on 7-Day DL
• IF Sean Nicol assigned from Potomac
• RHP Trevor Holder activated from 7-Day DL

Sep 062011
 

Our final 2011 look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues, with a focus on the level where the prospects shone the brightest. Repeats from 2010 are in italics.

SYRACUSE
66-74, 4th place IL North, 14 games back

Good Bat: Chris Marrero .300/.375/.449 in 127G
Arm: Tom Milone 12-6, 3.22 ERA, 155K in 148⅓ IP
Bad Bat: Chris McConnell .175/.250/.257 in 57G
Arm: Yunesky Maya 4-9, 5.00 ERA
Interesting Bat: Jesus Valdez .271/.318/.397 in 102G
Arm: None

HARRISBURG
80-62, 1st place, 4 games ahead, E.L. West Division winner

Good Bat: Steve Lombardozzi .309/.366/.454 in 65G
Arm: Brad Peacock 10-2, 2.01 ERA, 0.86 WHIP in 98⅔ IP
Bad Bat: Stephen King .191/.277/.300, 15E in 95G
Arm: Matt Chico 10.93 ERA, 2.29 WHIP in 10G
Interesting Bat: Tyler Moore 31HR, 90RBI in ’11; 31HR, 111RBI in ’10
Arm: Pat Lehman 34K in 34IP

POTOMAC
39-31 in 2nd Half, 68-71 overall — 2nd-Half CrL North Division winner (tied)

Good Bat: Destin Hood .276/.364/.445 in 128G
Arm: Danny Rosenbaum 6-5, 2.59 ERA, 2CG, 1.17 WHIP
Bad Bat: Cutter Dykstra .212/.265/.265 in 94G
Arm: Erik Davis 0-5, 6.75 ERA after dropping *down* from AA
Interesting Bat: Jeff Kobernus 53SB, 124GP (21/74 in ’10)
Arm: Joe Testa 6-0, 1.42 ERA, new delivery, still lefthanded

HAGERSTOWN
35-34 in 2nd Half, 75-64 overall

Good Bat: Bryce Harper .318/.423/.554 in 72G as 18 y.o.
Arm: Chris Manno 1.04 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 69K in 43⅓ IP/td>
Bad Bat: Mills Rogers .215/.288/.266 in 77G
Arm: Matt Grace .314OBA, 1.56WHIP in 132⅓ IP
Interesting Bat: Kevin Keyes .263/.336/.510; .175/.321/.278 in ’10 at VMT
Arm: Matt Swynenberg 1.22 WHIP, 3.68 ERA in 102⅔ IP

AUBURN
45-30, 1st Place Pinckney Division of NY-Penn League, 2½ games ahead

Good Bat: Matt Skole .290/.382/.438 in 72G
Arm: Wirkin Estevez 55K, 4.01 ERA in 14G (13GS) as an 18-y.o.
Bad Bat: Rick Hughes .125/.205/.175 in 22G
Arm: Travis Henke .298 OBA, 1.52 WHIP in 16G
Interesting Bat: Hendry Jimenez .846 OPS in 54G
Arm: Taylor Hill 2.38 ERA, 1.02 WHIP as a starter

GCL NATIONALS
20-33, 4th place GCL East Division, 17½ games back

Good Bat: Estarlin Martinez .289/.379/.471 (18 y.o. DSL grad)
Arm: Gregory Baez 3.72 ERA in 48⅓ IP (18 y.o. DSL grad)
Bad Bat: Deion Williams .157/.216/.157 in 30G
Arm: Inocencia Heredia 6.75ERA, 1.83 WHIP in 17G
Interesting Bat: Wander Ramos .313/.401/.653 in 43G (21 y.o. DSL grad)
Arm: Brandon King 13HBP, 12BB, 26K in 35⅔ IP

DSL NATIONALS
33-36, 5th Place, Boca Chica East, 12½ games back

Good Bat: 19 y.o. Wilmer Difo 26SB, .831 OPS in 39G
Arm: 19 y.o. Ivan Pineyro 2.20 ERA, 73K in 69⅔ IP
Bad Bat: 17 y.o. Bryan Mejia 35K, .331 SLG in 52G
Arm: 18 y.o. Miguel Navarro 2.75 WHIP, 15.75 ERA in 10G
Interesting Bat: 18 y.o. Junior Geraldo .542SLG in 18G
Arm: 18 y.o. Gilberto Mendez 7-0, 2.06 ERA, 66K in 65⅔ IP
Sep 062011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 4-1
(5½ inn.)
END OF SEASON N/A
Harrisburg Won, 5-2 END OF SEASON N/A
Potomac Won, 8-4 END OF SEASON N/A
Hagerstown Won, 9-1 END OF SEASON N/A
Auburn N/A Game 1, NYPL
Divisional Round
@ Vermont, 7:05 p.m.
Nathan Karns (3-2, 3.44) vs.
Drew Granier (1-1, 1.91)

Lehigh Valley 4 Syracuse 1 — 5½ inn.
• Meyers (L, 6-5) 4⅔ IP, 9H, 3R, 2ER, BB, K
• Mock ⅔ IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 0K
• Curran 1-3, RBI
• Brown 1-2, R, 2B
• Nicol 1-2

Syracuse finished the season on a down note with a rain-shortened 4-1 loss to Lehigh Valley. Brad Meyers took the loss with three runs given up over four and 2/3rds innings on nine hits and a walk. The Chiefs were held to just five hits, with Chris Curran’s RBI single scoring Corey Brown for the lone Syracuse run. Garrett Mock continued his reversion to the mean with three walks given up over 2/3rds of an inning. Syracuse finished the season in 4th place with a 66-74 mark, 14 games behind Pawtucket in the I.L. North.

Harrisburg 5 Akron 2
• O Perez 4IP, 3H, 0R, BB, 3K
• C Martinez (W, 3-4) 3IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 1K
• Norris 3-4, 2R, HR (20), RBI
• Pahuta 2-3, R, 2B, RBI

The Sens got off the schneid with a 5-2 win over Akron, stopping a three-game losing streak. Derek Norris started the scoring with a solo shot in the bottom of the 1st, his 20th of the year while Chris McConnell’s RBI double and Erik Komatsu’s two-run single in the 2nd extended the lead to 4-0. Oliver Perez got the start and went four scoreless innings on 49 pitches before giving way to Carlos Martinez, who earned the win with one run given up over three innings. Harrisburg finished the season at 80-62, best in the Eastern League and will host Richmond in the first round of the playoffs, which begin tomorrow.

Potomac 8 Kinston 4
• Olbrychowski 5⅔ IP, 10H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 3K
• Holder 1⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Peacock 2-4, R, 2B, 3RBI
• Kobernus 2-3, 2R, SB

Brian Peacock’s two-out, two-run double started a six-run scoring binge in the eighth that secured a 2nd-half title on a Monday Afternoon In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 9 Lakewood 1
• Swynenberg 2⅓ IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Applebee (S, 2) 4IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Cuevas 2-4, R, 2RBI
• Kelso 2-4, 2R, 3B, RBI

A five-run 4th combined with a solid “bullpen outing” sent Hagerstown on its way to a 9-1 win over Lakewood. Matt Swynenberg, Sam Brown, and Paul Applebee divvied up the pitching duties, with Brown getting the win and Applebee getting a four-inning save. Kevin Keyes was the sole Sun to go hitless, but did his part with a sac fly while Blake Kelso, Justino Cuevas and Brett Newsom each went 2-for-4 as part of the 11-hit attack. The win gave the Suns a tie for fourth place with Lakewood at 35-34 in the second half and 75 wins overall, the best season total since the Nats affiliation began in 2007.

Auburn Doubledays
The New York-Penn League Playoffs begin today with the Auburn Doubledays visiting the Vermont Lake Monsters in Game One of the best-of-three divisional series. Nathan Karns faces off against Drew Garnier in what will be just the fourth meeting between the two teams this year, but the first in Burlington. Click here to read the official MiLB.com preview on the NYPL playoffs.

Sep 052011
 

It might not have clinched the division (it didn’t) but The season finale for the Potomac Nationals gave the home nine some momentum for the playoffs…and a regular-season finish to remember for a longtime P-Nat.

For five seasons, Brian Peacock has been a part of the Potomac Nationals, his stay extended by a variety of season-ending and season-shortening injuries, ranging from the frightening (drilled in the noggin) to the sublime (hairline fracture of vertebrae via body slam) to the mundane (broken pinky). He’s gone from a 22-year-old hopeful to a 27-year-old “OG,” but a fan favorite for his grit and hustle.

Not to mention, he’s still a decent ballplayer.

Potomac began the bottom of the eighth two innings removed from a seeing a 2-1 lead evaporate (slowly) in the top of the sixth. A double, a walk, and an error loaded the bases for Destin Hood with nobody out. Kinston’s third baseman snagged a liner to the 5/6 hole and beat the runner back to the bag for what seemed like a rally-killer.

But Peacock, the catcher (though he did pitch in a blowout this year) was unfazed and delivered the clutch, two-out hit: a double to right field that plated the tying runs. After a wild pitch, and a Steven Souza single, Peacock would score what would prove to be the game-winning run.

Potomac would pile on three more runs with a steal, a Zach Walters single, and back-to-back doubles by Sandy Leon and Jose Lozada (on a first-pitch fastball, natch) before Cutter Dykstra, who led off the inning with a double, ended it with a grounder to short.

The big inning would make a winner out of Rob Wort, though the first man out of the pen, Trevor Holder, got four key outs and stranded two runners in the 6th inning to keep the game within reach. Hector Nelo got the last three outs in keeping with the LaRussa model of bullpen usage.

With the win, Potomac finishes the second half with a 39-31 mark, same as the Frederick Keys but lost the division title on a tiebreaker. The two teams will meet in the first round for the second straight year with Games One and Two (and five, if necessary) set for Frederick on Wedenesday and Thursday and Games Three and Four (if necessary) slated for Friday and Saturday.

UPDATE: As referenced in the comments, both the Carolina League and the Potomac Nationals official recap are stating that the team has indeed won the second-half title, with the former implying that they won the title outright while the latter clarifying that Potomac and Frederick have tied for the division title. There is also some conflicting data regarding the host of a possible Game 5. I have contacted the league office asking for a clarification.

UPDATE #2: The Carolina League office has confirmed that Frederick will indeed be the host of a Game 5, if necessary.

Sep 052011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 7-4 vs.
Lehigh Valley,
2:00 p.m.
Brad Meyers (6-4, 3.46) vs.
Nate Bump (4-9, 5.09)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-4 vs. Akron,
2:00 p.m.
Oliver Perez (3-5, 3.27) vs.
Steven Wright (2-3, 5.66)
Potomac Lost, 5-3;
Lost, 2-1
vs. Kinston,
1:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
Hagerstown Won, 4-2 vs. Lakewood,
2:05 p.m.
Matt Swynenberg (6-3, 3.77) vs.
Austin Wright (1-1, 1.50)
Auburn Lost, 4-2 END OF SEASON N/A

Lehigh Valley 7 Syracuse 4
• Tatusko 4IP, 7H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 2K
• C Garcia 2IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Valdez 2-3, R, HR, 3RBI, 2BB
• Hulett 2-2, R, RBI, 3BB

Six unanswered runs in the late innings sent Syracuse to a 7-4 defeat. Jesus Valdez’s 10th home run, a three-run shot in the 5th, highlighted a four-run rally as the Chiefs rallied from an early 1-0 deficit. Ryan Tatusko got the spot start and scattered seven hits over four innings to allow just one run. Recently promoted Christian Garcia threw two scoreless innings to follow but things went south in a hurry after as four relievers gave up six runs over the last three innings, with Jeff Mandel taking the loss and Josh Wilkie blowing his fourth save of the season.

Akron 6 Harrisburg 4
• Rosenbaum (ND) 6IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 2K
• Komatsu 2-4, 2B, BB
• Moore 1-3, R, HR, RBI
• King 1-2, 2BB

Tyler Moore smacked his 31st home run for the second straight season, but the Sens ‘pen fell apart late to lose this one, 6-4. Danny Rosenbaum got his 10th no-decision in 25 starts, tossing six solid innings with two runs allowed on four hits and no walks for his 15th quality start of the year. Erik Komatsu led the eight-hit offensive effort with a single, double, and a walk. Meanwhile, Richmond and Bowie tied in the loss column with a Baysox win and a Squirrels loss on Sunday. Richmond is in automatically with a win today, but Bowie needs both a win and Squirrels loss to make the postseason.

Kinston 5 Potomac 3 — GAME ONE
• Bronson (L, 5-5) 5⅓ IP, 9H, 5R, 4ER, 4BB, 3K, HR
• Holland 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Lozada 2-3, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI

Evan Bronson wasn’t sharp on a Sunday Afternoon In Woodbridge

Kinston 2 Potomac 1 — GAME TWO
• Clegg (L, 4-7) 5IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 0K
• Selik 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Peacock 2-3, 2B
• Bloxom 1-3, RBI

Mitchell Clegg flirted with a no-hitter for four innings in his first starting assignment in nearly three months. He gave up an unearned run on two hits in the fifth to take the hard-luck loss. Potomac was held to just five hits total, with Brian Peacock the sole P-Nat to collect multiple hits with a 2-for-3 game. Frederick lost again, leaving Potomac mathematically alive for the division title, as the two teams are now separated by a single game.

Hagerstown 4 Lakewood 2
• Cole 5IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 5K
• Eusebio (W, 1-7) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Keyes 2-4, R, HR, RBI, SB
• Cuevas 2-4, 2B, 3B

Back-to-back jacks by Kevin Keyes and Jason Martinson in the bottom of the 6th helped turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead that the Hagerstown bullpen held. A.J. Cole gave up two runs on five hits and a walk to lower his ERA to 4.04 but got the no-decision for the seventh time in 18 starts. Blake Kelso, Justino Cuevas and Keyes had two hits apiece as the Suns collected 10 total for the game. The win puts Hagerstown at .500 for the second half and a win today would put them at 75 wins total, which would be a 10-game improvement over 2010.

Batavia 4 Auburn 2
• Estevez (L, 6-3) 5IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 0K
• Moldenhauer 3-4, 2B, RBI
• Ramsey 2-4

In the season finale, Auburn was, um, doubled up by Batavia, 4-2. Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez took the loss with all four runs given up over five innings on seven hits and a walk. Russell Moldenhauer and Caleb Ramsey combined to go 5-for-8, but just two other Doubledays collected hit in the loss. Richie Mirowski, Alex Kreis, and Manny Rivera each threw a scoreless inning of relief. With Connecticut falling 6-5 to Lowell in the 16th inning, Vermont’s 11-7 win over Tri-City gave the Lake Monsters the Stedler Division title. Vermont will host Auburn in Game One of the best-of-three first round on Tuesday night, with Games Two and Three (if necessary) set to be held at Auburn’s Falcon Field on Wednesday and Thursday.

Sep 042011
 

Kinston’s three-run rally with two outs in the second inning proved to be too much for Potomac to overcome, as they dropped the first game of the doubleheader by a 5-3 tally.

Evan Bronson got the start but was not sharp this afternoon, allowing a long leadoff double to start the game and then misplaying a sacrifice bunt to set up runners on the corners with nobody out. After a popup to the three-hole batter, Adam Abraham, it appeared for just a moment that he would clean up his own mess, like the good pitchers do and like he’s done before.

Instead, he would walk the next two batters to give Kinston a 1-0 lead.

Bronson would get a liner to second and a strikeout to end the first, then the same sequence again to the first two batters of the second inning. And again, it looked like the worst had passed.

But the one thing that Bronson can’t control is the insistence by the Nationals of playing Justin Bloxom at third, and it was Bloxom’s 37th error in his 76th game at the position that started the Kinston rally in the second. Yes, you can put the blame on Bronson for failing to buckle down to the next two batters, who singled and homered, but it’s human nature to lose focus when things go awry and hard to ignore when a preventable problem keeps recurring.

Potomac would respond in its half of the 3rd as Cutter Dykstra singled and Eury Perez was safe on a sacrifice attempt to set up runners on first and second. Francisco Soriano’s subsequent bunt attempt was popped up and for a brief moment it appeared that Kinston’s Toru Murata had pulled a fast one by intentionally allowing the ball to drop and firing to second to attempt the 1-4-3 DP.

To his credit, Soriano ran out the play and it saved the P-Nats from an embarrassing moment, if not the umpires. Dykstra strayed from second but retreated to second *after* the throw to second came and went. With the force removed from Dykstra and Soriano beating the relay to first, the only out was the force on Perez. Had Murata thrown to third, he might have gotten away with the gambit and gotten the double play.

Instead, Jose Lozada ripped a first-pitch fastball (when will the Carolina League ever learn?) down the left field line for a two-run double and cut the Kinston lead in half, 4-2.

Bronson worked around threats in the 3rd and 4th innings before working a 1-2-3 fifth. He would throw away a pickoff move that sent Kinston outfielder Delvi Cid all the way around from first to put the Indians up, 5-2. He was lifted after his fourth and final walk for Neil Holland, who stranded the runner with the help of nifty 7-3 double play by Soriano, who has been pressed into OF duty with the shortage of OFs since J.P. Ramirez and J.R. Higley were placed on the DL.

Unfortunately, Kinston’s Murata also settled down to retire seven of the next eight batters, including a double play to end the fifth, before giving up another big hit to Lozada, a solo shot to right field in the 6th. Steven Souza would single two batters later, but he would be the final baserunner as the Kinston closer Preston Guilmet came on in the 7th and final inning to set down the P-Nats in order for his league-leading 35th save

Prior commitments made for a short afternoon, but in the nightcap, Potomac fell again 2-1, giving the Kinston Indians the second-half division title.

For the second straight day, Wilmington beat Frederick to keep Potomac mathematically alive, but it will require another Frederick loss and a win to break the streak. This wouldn’t be the 2011 season if the weather weren’t a part of the narrative, and yes, there is rain in the forecast for tomorrow.

Sep 042011
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitcher
Syracuse Lost, 6-3 vs.
Lehigh Valley,
6:30 p.m.
Ryan Tatusko (3-4, 4.79) vs.
Scott Mathieson (2-2, 3.00)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-2 vs. Akron,
2:00 p.m.
Danny Rosenbaum (3-1, 2.16) vs.
Brett Brach (1-2, 4.03)
Potomac Lost, 9-8 vs. Kinston,
1:05 p.m.
(doubleheader)
TBD vs. TBD
Hagerstown Won, 6-5 vs. Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
A.J. Cole (4-7, 4.07) vs.
Ervis Manzanillo (8-7, 5.16)
Auburn Won, 2-1 @ Batavia,
1:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD

Rochester 6 Syracuse 3
• Martin (ND) 6⅓ IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 5K, HR
• Severino (BS, 2) ⅔ 3H, 2R, 2ER, BB, K
• Frazier 2-3, R, HR, RBI, BB, CS
• Maldonado 2-4, R

J.D. Martin’s final start of the season was marred by a bullpen blowup, as the Chiefs surrendered three in the 7th and three in the 8th to blow a 3-0 lead and lose 6-3. Martin was lifted with one out in the 7th after giving up his lone run on a home run. Atahualpa Severino gave up the tying runs on three hits and a walk but finished the inning. Garrett Mock took the loss with three runs surrendered in the 8th. Jeff Frazier led the Chiefs offense with a 2-for-3 night including a solo HR.

Akron 6 Harrisburg 2
• Roark (L, 9-9) 7IP, 9H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 5K
• C Martinez 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Rahl 2-4, R, 2B, 3B, RBI
• Ivany 2-4, CS

In what you’ll see is a motif, the Sens ‘pen also faltered, giving up three in the 9th to turn a 3-2 game into a 6-2 loss. Tanner Roark took the loss to even his record at 9-9, pitching seven innings but putting 13 runners on base via hit or walk. Chris Rahl doubled and tripled to lead the Harrisburg offense, which managed just seven hits total. Bowie lost while Richmond won to put the Baysox on the brink of elimination from the playoffs, the magic number now just one for the Flying Squirrels.

Kinston 9 Potomac 8

• Davis (L, 0-5) 6⅔ IP, 6H, 6R, 6ER, 4BB, 3K
• Smoker 1⅓ IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 2K, HR (GS)
• Perez 3-4, 2R, SB (45)
• Walters 2-5, R, 3B

Oh, look. A reliever gave up the big hit to make it hurt Last Night In Woodbridge

Hagerstown 6 Lakewood 5
• Grace 6IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Demmin (W, 5-2) 3IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, BB, 0K
• Martinson 3-4, 2R, 2B, HR, RBI
• Oduber 3-4, R, SB

Another four-run rally in the 8th, another 6-5 win for Hagerstown. Matt Grace tossed six innings but allowed four earned runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out four, finishing the season with a 12-7 mark despite a 1.56 WHIP and a .314 OBA. Jason Martinson and Randolph Oduber both went 3-for-4 for the Suns, with Martinson’s 18th homer beginning the eighth-inning rally. Ryan Demmin got the win with a run given up over the final three innings.

Auburn 2 Batavia 1
• M Rodriguez 4⅔ IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 3K
• Jenkins (S, 1) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Moldenhauer 2-4, R, 2-2B
• Montilla 2-4, R, 2B

Three Auburn pitchers combined to limit Batavia to one run on five hits as the Doubledays edged the Muckdogs, 2-1. Manny Rodgriguez got the start and gave up the first four hits over four and 2/3rds, walking three and striking out three. Kelvin Lopez got the win by finishing the fifth and pitching the sixth while Chad Jenkins notched his first save with three scoreless innings to finish up. Russell Moldenhauer and Angel Montilla both went 2-for-4 with a run scored to lead the Doubleday offense. Today is the season finale with Auburn’s first-round opponent still undetermined, as Connecticut and Vermont are separated by a game in the Stedler Division.

Sep 042011
 

It wasn’t exactly too little, but it was definitely too late as the P-Nats rallied for four in the bottom of the 9th, but came up short, 9-8 to the Kinston Indians.

The bottom of the 9th started innocently enough as Eury Perez singled for the third time, which is hardly a surprise with Perez on a hot streak which has seen him raise his batting average from .259 to .279 since August 11th. He then stole his 45th base, also not much of a shock since he’s swiped nine straight bags this week.

Soriano moved him over with a grounder to second and Kobernus moved him in with an infield single. Kobernus took second uncontested and Justin Bloxom walked. This brought up Steve Souza, who had already stranded four runners with two out. Apparently, having one out seems to suit him, as he clubbed his 11th home run to bring Potomac within one. It was his first home run since July 23, and the first one at the Pfitz since May 24.

If there’s a hotter hitter than Perez right now, it’s Zach Walters, who singled after Souza’s blast to restart the rally. Walters’ two hits pushed his Potomac batting average to .302, precisely what it was for South Bend when he was acquired for Jason Marquis in late July. Walters took second on a Sandy Leon groundout but was stranded there following a Jose Lozada walk and Brian Peacock’s game-ending flyout.

Erik Davis took the loss (his fifth in six starts) in what may very well be his final appearance for the Nationals organization. Once again, he struggled with his control, walking four batters over six and 2/3rds innings and striking out just three batters. He gave up six hits and was charged with six runs. Simply put: He looked more like a Low-A pitcher in his first High-A start than a AA pitcher that had been dropped down.

Davis is believed to be ineligible for the playoffs, but there is cause for concern with the first man out of the ‘pen. Josh Smoker let in the two runners he inherited from Davis in grand fashion with a slam over the LF wall, the second straight outing he had given up a homer. Perhaps its fatigue — Smoker leads the team in appearances with 46 — but it’s definitely something to be concerned because the heater wasn’t so hot last night (well, except on the way back out), flat, uneven and and elevated. That’s the classic recipe for getting knocked around.

Unfortunately, not only did the loss end the P-Nats’ four-game win streak, it was a missed opportunity to take first place as the Keys fell to the Blue Rocks, 3-2. The elimination number remains at three, but Potomac still can win the division regardless of what Frederick does; they just have to win the rest of their games. Conversely, a doubleheader loss combined with a Keys win today clinches the division for Frederick.