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.

Jul 122014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 16-9 @ Charlotte,
7:05 p.m.
Roenicke (4-4, 4.97) vs.
McCutchen (0-0, 9.72)
Harrisburg Lost, 13-12 (11 inn.) vs. Altoona,
6:00 p.m.
Simms (2-0, 1.40) and
Espino (3-3, 4.47) vs.
Sampson (6-5, 2.89) and
Kasparek (1-0, 0.63)
Potomac Won, 4-0 @ Frederick,
6:00 p.m.
Spann (5-4, 4.15) vs.
Vader (1-0, 4.50)
Hagerstown Won, 5-0 @ Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Suero (3-0, 2.04) vs.
Fernandez (0-5, 7.36)
Auburn Won, 4-0 @ Aberdeen,
7:05 p.m.
A. Williams (0-1, 7.36) vs.
Means (0-0, 0.00)
GCL Nationals Tied, 3-3
(Susp., Bot 6th)
@/vs. GCL Mets,
10:00 a.m.
TBD and TBD vs.
TBD and TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 5-1 @ DSL Rojos,
10:30 a.m.
Acevedo (2-1, 3.90) vs.
Salas (2-4, 4.58)


Syracuse 16 Charlotte 9
• Laffey 4IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 0BB, 5K, HR, WP
• Holland (W, 1-0) 2IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 0K
• Laird 3-4, 2R, BB, 2RBI
• Walters 3-5, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Solano 3-5, 2R, HR, 2RBI
• Moore 3-6, 3R, 3-2B, 6RBI

A touchdown and a field goal in the 8th inning took the edge off a missed extra point in the 5th as Syracuse roared back from deficits of 5-0 and 7-6 for a 16-9 victory over Charlotte. Eight of the Chiefs’ 17 hits were of the extra-base variety, with Tyler Moore pounding the gaps for three doubles and six RBI while Zach Walters, Jhonatan Solano, and Destin Hood each homered. Aaron Laffey stared but was jousted by the Knights after giving up five runs on seven hits over four innings. Neil Holland earned his first AAA win, though he was touched for a run on two hits and a walk over two frames.

Altoona 13 Harrisburg 12 (11 inn.)
• Dupra 3IP, 8H, 7R, 7ER, 3BB, 1K, 0HR, PO at 2B
• Benincasa (L, 0-3) 2IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, K, 2HR
• Keyes 2-4, 3R, 2B, BB, RBI, SAC(!)
• Jeroloman 2-5, 2R, 2B, BB, RBI
• Skole 2-5, 2R, 2B, BB
• Hague 2-6, 2-2B, 4RBI

Altoona launched six solo HRs, including two in the final two innings, as they outslugged Harrisburg 13-12 in 11 innings. Starter Brian Dupra kept the ball in the yard, but had his fielders chase after eight hits as the Curve railroaded him for seven runs over three innings. Tyler Herron was the sole Senator pitcher to keep Altoona off the board, as he posted two goose eggs in the 7th and 8th innings before giving up a big fly in the 9th. Robert Benincasa took the loss with the aforementioned two homers in the 10th and 11th innings. The Senators never led in this one but racked up 15 hits and six doubles, including two by Ricky Hague who drove in four for the night.

Potomac 4 Frederick 0
• Voth (W, 2-0) 7IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 8K
• Walsh 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• E. Perez 2-4, R, 2RBI, CS
• Norfork 2-4, RBI

Austin Voth is just too good for the curse of the GBI as the 22-y.o. flirted with a perfect game into the 4th, a no-hitter though five, and finished with seven scoreless innings as the P-Nats blanked the Keys, 4-0. Voth gave up just two singles and one walk while striking out eight for his second High-A win. Richie Mirowski and Jake Walsh each turned in a zero on the board to complete the third shutout of ’14 for Potomac. Eury Perez and Khayyan Norfork both went 2-for-4 to lead the 10-hit parade against Frederick’s pitchers.

Hagerstown 5 Lexington 0
• Pivetta (W, 11-5) 6IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 7K
• Thomas (SV, 3) 3IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 5K, HBP
• Middleton 2-3, RBI, SAC
• Masters 3-5, R, 2B
• Lopez 2-5, R, RBI

Nick Pivetta became the second 11-game winner on the Nats farm as the Suns debunked the Legends, 5-0. The 21-y.o. Canadian turned in six scoreless frames and let up just three hits with no walks and seven K’s. Justin Thomas finished the game with three hits, no runs, no walks allowed and five whiffs for his third save. The trio of Carlos Lopez, David Masters, and Brenann Middleton combined to go 7-for-13 with a double (Masters), two runs scored, and two RBI to pace the 11-hit Hagerstown attack.

Auburn 4 Connecticut 0
• Bourque (W, 1-0) 5IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Bach (H, 1) 3IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Page 2-2, 3B, 2BB, RBI
• Marmolejos-Diaz 2-4, BB, RBI

Third time’s the charm for James Bourque as he combined with two Auburn relievers for 4-0 shutout of Connecticut. The 14th Rd. pick from the Univ. of Michigan got his first professional win in his third start for the Doubledays, giving up four hits and no walks over five innings while striking out one. Connor Bach no-hit the Tigers over the next three and Philips Valdez worked around a safety in the 9th. Matt Page singled once, walked twice, and tripled in a run while “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz and Willie Medina both went 2-for-4 as Auburn notched 10 hits and extended its winning streak to three games.

GCL Nationals 3 GCL Mets 3 — GAME ONE (SUSP., BOT 6th)
• Encarnacion 4IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 0BB, 7K
• Feliz 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Aguero 1-3, 2B, RBI
• Keniry 1-2, R, SAC, SB

Rain halted play in the bottom of the 6th with this one tied at 3-3 and postponed its completion to tomorrow when they’ll try again to get two games in. The second, regularly scheduled game, was postponed to July 21st. Pedro Encarnacion made his fourth start and gave up all three G-Mets runs on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. John Feliz followed with two scoreless innings in relief. The G-Nats were held to just four hits and three walks. There were no runners on and one out when the game was suspended.

DSL Nationals 5 DSL Orioles2 1
• Baez (W, 3-1) 5IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 7K
• Nunez (H, 1) 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Vilorio 3-5, R, 2B, E
• Franco 2-4, R, BB
• Robles 2-5, R, 3B, RBI

The D-Nats scored three early and two late as they cruised to a 5-1 win over the D-Orioles2 for their fourth straight win. Joan Baez got the win with an unearned run let in on two hits and two walks over five innings with seven strikeouts. Jose Nunez followed with scoreless innings to earn the hold. Luis Vilorio went 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored while Anderson Franco singled twice and walked once to lead the D-Nats offense, which racked up 11 hits and seven walks for the game.

Jul 112014
 

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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 56-37, 1st place I.L. North, 4½ games behind

Good Matt Grace 15⅔ scoreless innings in 9 appearances since promotion to AAA
Bad Will Rhymes 1-for-27 (.037) in last 10 games
Interesting 12 team pitching shutouts leads I.L.



HARRISBURG SENATORS 36-55, 5th place E.L. West, 17 games behind

Good Kevin Keyes .297/.381/.622, 4HR, 9RBI in July (10G)
Bad James Simmons 1-0, 6.58/4.76/1.29, 7HR in 39⅔ IP as a starter
Interesting Just two pitchers (Tyler Herron, Colin Bates) have been on the roster since Opening Day
(H/T Senators PR staff)



POTOMAC NATIONALS 9-9, 1st place C.L. North, ½ game ahead (47-40 overall)

Good Austin Voth (duh) 1-0, 0.47/2.72/0.53 in 3GS since promotion from Low-A
Bad Oscar Tejeda 10E in 46 games on defense
Interesting Pythagorean W-L 42-45, 19-9 record in one-run games


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 14-8, 2nd place Sally North, ½ game behind (58-34 overall)

Good Spencer Kieboom .419, 2HR, 8RBI in July (8G)
Bad Andrew Cooper 2-1, 1SV, 5.67 ERA, 1.63 WHIP in last 10 appearances
Interesting 11 holds = fewest in Sally League among teams with a +.500 record


AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 12-15, 4th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 7 games behind

Good Reynaldo Lopez 2-2, 1.01/3.00/0.75 in 5GS
Bad Osvaldo Abreu 5E, .375 OPS in 22G
Interesting 21 pitching HBP in 27 games


GCL NATIONALS 8-9, 3rd place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 5 games behind

Good Thomas Alvarez .343/.500/.686, 11BB in 13G
Bad Jose Morales 0-3, 9.35/5.49/2.54 in four appearances (8⅔ IP)
Interesting “Fred” Aguero six doubles in 13 games


DSL NATIONALS 20-15, 4th place Boca Chica South, 4 games behind

Good 17-y.o. Telmin Augusto 20BB in 28G
Bad 19-y.o. Miguel Vargas 5.89 ERA, 1.91 WHIP in 10 appearances
Interesting 17-y.o. Nector Ramirez 15BB, 30K, 4HBP in 23IP
Jul 092014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-3 @ Gwinnett,
6:35 p.m.
Cole (0-0, 2.53) vs.
Northcraft (0-1, 6.10)
Harrisburg Won, 7-0 vs. Bowie,
7:00 p.m.
TBD
McGregor (0-1, 38.57) vs.
Rodriguez (3-5, 4.81)
Potomac Postponed vs. Wilmington,
5:00 p.m.
Rauh (1-1, 5.08) and
Bacus (3-4, 3.76) vs.
Manaea (2-7, 4.75) and
Finnegan (0-0, 0.00)
Hagerstown Won, 10-1 vs. Lakewood,
10:35 a.m.
Mooneyham (1-0, 1.20) vs.
Therrien (2-0, 6.39)
Auburn Lost, 10-2 @ Connecticut,
7:00 p.m.
Lopez (1-2, 1.31) vs.
Bailey (1-2, 3.43)
GCL Nationals Lost, 9-6;
Won, 3-0
@ GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Won, 6-3 vs. DSL Cardinals,
10:30 a.m.
Fuentes (0-2, 4.09) vs.
Gonzalez (1-1, 3.38)


Gwinnett 6 Syracuse 3
• Hill (L, 9-3) 6IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, BB, K, HR
• Holland 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, 2-0 IR-S
• Kobernus 3-5, R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• Johnson 3-4, SB, CS

Gwinnett scored six unanswered runs, including three in the 7th to break open a 3-2 game as they doubled up Syracuse, 6-3 to end a modest three-game win streak for the Chiefs. Taylor Hill turned in a quality start of three runs allowed on seven hits and one walk but suffered his third loss. Jeff Kobernus led off the game with a solo shot and fell the proverbial triple shy of the cycle as he drove in two while going 3-for-5. Josh Johnson matched him in the hit column with a 3-for-4 night, followed by Tyler Moore with a 2-for-4 effort as the Chiefs registered 13 hits but were 0-for-10 with RISP.

Harrisburg 7 Bowie 0
• Simmons (W, 1-0) 6IP, 6H, 0R, 2BB, 4K
• Espino 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Skole 4-4, R, 2B, 3B, 2RBI
• Vettleson 2-4, 2R, 2B, 3B
• Jeroloman 1-3, 2B, 2RBI

Matt Skole got the triple and the double but the home run eluded him as his 4-for-4 night helped power the Senators to a 7-0 win over Bowie. The corner infielder, who turns 25 at the end of the month, drove in two and scored once. Kevin Keyes homered for the 15th time at AA and 19th time overall, which leads the Nationals farm (teammate Michael Taylor is second with 18). Starter James Simmons kept the ball in the yard and pitched six scoreless innings for his first win for Harrisburg. Paolo Espino (2IP) and Bryan Harper (1IP) combined for three more goose eggs to complete the eight-hit shutout.

Wilmington vs. Potomac — PPD
Rain delayed the start of the games in Maryland and Pennsylvania, but a seven-o’clock-hour deluge created a doubleheader today (weather permitting) at 5 p.m. Roster move: OF Will Piwnica-Worms placed on the 7-Day DL.

Hagerstown 10 Lakewood 1
• Johansen (W, 5-3) 6⅔ IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K
• Johns (H, 1) 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, 2-0 IR-S
• Difo 2-4, 2R, 2B, RBI, SB
• Kieboom 2-4, 2R, 2RBI
• Bautista 1-4, 2R, BB, SB(45)

Jake Johansen pitched a season- and career-best six and 2/3rds innings for the Suns while his teammates scalded the BlueClaws pitchers for eight unanswered runs in a 10-1 win over Lakewood. Johansen let in one run on five hits and two walks while striking out five to earn his fifth win of the season. Sam Johns stranded two in his Sally League debut to earn the hold. Wilmer Difo and Spencer Kieboom both went 2-for-4 with two runs scored as Hagerstown maximized its offensive chances with 10 runs scored on nine hits (only one double) and five walks.

State College 10 Auburn 2
• Van Orden (L, 0-2) 3⅓ IP, 8H, 8R, 8ER, BB, 2K, HR, WP, HBP
• P. Valdez 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Carey 3-4, R
• Gardner 1-4, R, HR, RBI

A four-run 3rd gave State College the early lead. A five-run 5th put the game away as they cruised to a 10-2 win over Auburn. Drew Van Orden suffered his second loss in as many starts, giving up eight runs on eight hits, including a home run, over three and a 1/3rd innings. He walked one and struck out two. Dale Carey singled three times in four trips to the plate as the Doubledays managed seven hits in their third straight loss.

GCL Marlins 9 GCL Nationals 6 — GAME ONE
• Estevez 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• R. Pena 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Morales ⅔ IP, 7H, 8R, 4ER, 0BB, 0K, HR
• Alvarez 1-3, R, BB, SB
• Guzman 1-3, R, BB, RBI, SB
• Rosario 1-4, R, 2B, RBI, SB

The G-Marlins pounded the G-Nats for eight runs in the 6th to turn a 5-0 deficit into an 8-5 lead as they cruised to a 9-6 win in the opener. 18-y.o. Venezuelan Jose Morales took the brunt of the assault (and the loss), skewered for eight runs (four earned) on seven hits, including a home run while retiring just two of 11 batters faced. Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez started and threw three scoreless innings with one hit allowed, no walks, and three K’s. Thomas Alvarez and Luis Guzman both went 1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, and a stolen base as the G-Nats notched seven hits and three walks total.

GCL Nationals 3 GCL Marlins 0 — GAME TWO (5 inn.)
• Torres 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Yrizarri (W, 1-0) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Corredor 2-2, R, RBI
• Keniry 2-3, 2B

Rain shortened the second game to just five innings, with the G-Nats shutting out the G-Marlins 3-0 on one hit to break a four-game losing streak. Deibi Yrizarri got the win in relief, pitching three innings and allowing the lone hit with no walks or whiffs. Luis Torres started and was perfect for two innings. Aldrem Corredor singled twice, scored once, and had an RBI to lead the nine-hit parade for the G-Nats. Roster move: RHP Ronald Pena assigned from Potomac for minor-league rehab.

DSL Nationals 6 DSL Cardinals 5
• W. Pena 4IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 3BB, 4K, WP
• Vargas 2IP, 2H, 2R, 0ER, 0BB, 2K, WP, 2HBP
• Franco 2-3, R, BB, HR, RBI, SB
• Je. Baez 1-3, BB, RBI
• Pimentel 1-1, R, HR, 2RBI

Anderson Franco homered in the top of the 9th to break a 3-3 deadlock as the D-Nats took advantage of some sloppy play for two more as they doubled up the D-Cards, 6-3. Franco also singled, walked, and stole a base to lead the D-Nats five-hit, six-walk attack. Angher Cespedes struck out two and worked around a walk in the bottom of the 9th for his fifth save. Nector Ramirez got the win for pitching a scoreless 8th. Starter Wilber Pena went the first four frames with one unearned run let in on one hit and three walks while fanning four.

Jul 082014
 

Yesterday, the Harrisburg Senators announced three of their players were named to the 2014 Eastern League All-Star Game.

Cutter Dykstra, Neil Holland, and Michael Taylor were selected for the Western Division squad. Holland will obviously not be playing due to his recent move to AAA to join the Syracuse Chiefs.

Dykstra is currently posting a .297/.369/.417 line for the Senators as the team’s starting second baseman, where he’s putting up a career-best 4.39 range factor. He was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 out of Westlake, CA high school.

Holland was leading the team in appearances with 29 before his promotion, and had allowed just seven of 18 inherited runners to score while not allowing any runs of his own in 17 appearances. This is his second all-star appearance, having represented the Nats NYPL affiliate in Vermont in 2010, the same year he was drafted out of the University of Louisville.

Taylor has been a force all season long, displaying both power (18 HR) speed (26 steals) while putting up an OPS of .956. Originally a shortstop when he was drafted in the 6th Rd. out of Westminster Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), he was converted to outfield in 2010 and has quickly evolved on defense to an elite level, most notably for his throwing arm where he racked up 23 assists last season and has nine so far this season.

The E.L. ASG will be held on July 16 in Altoona. Full rosters and further details can be found here.

Jul 072014
 

The good news is that if this series is indeed a preview of the 2014 Mills Cup, we’re in for some good baseball. The bad news is that that it wasn’t as close as the 2-0 win by Myrtle Beach would otherwise suggest.

This, of course, is not discredit the effort that Matthew Spann did in escaping multiple jams in his five innings of work as the southpaw stranded eight runners through four innings before the Pelicans broke through in the 5th for the first of their two runs.

But the reality is that on most nights, you’re not going to be able to put that many baserunners on and get out of it unscathed. Not at this level.

Four of ‘em were definitely Spann’s doing — or the umpire’s, if you were privy to the bellowing from Myrtle Beach batting coach Josue Perez prior to being ejected in the 8th — as he walked four, including two in the first inning.

Twice Spann loaded the bases with two outs, with three singles in the 2nd and a walk and two singled in the 4th. Spann’s fourth walk followed by a double set up second and third with no out. Tripp Keister did not elect to pull in the infield against power-hitting lefty Preston Beck, who indeed hit one sharply to second for the RBI groundout.

He did pull ‘em in for Royce Bolinger and Tony Renda, playing shortstop, threw out the runner at the plate for the second out then leapt high to catch line drive 7′ off the ground to end the inning. But the damage was done.

Potomac, who got three doubles out of its five hits, saw all three extra-base hits go for naught.

Stephen Perez led off the second with a ground-rule double that bounced a foot inside the foul line in right and over the fence but only got as far as third.

Pleffner led off the 4th with double to left-center but was called out for interfering with a grounder to third as he dodged the ball but got in front of the fielder for the inning’s second, rally-killing out.

Renda got to second with two outs on an opposite-field drive to right, prompting the Pelicans to go “old-school” and call for their closer, Jose Leclerc, before the 9th inning to face Pleffner instead of issuing an intentional pass to put the go-ahead run on base and let Justin Spenger, who had already retired Oscar Tejeda easily, do it again.

Leclerc fanned Pleffner and struck out two more in 9th for the un-Soriano save that secured the 2-0 win.

Potomac remains in 1st place with an 8-8 mark as they host second-place Wilmington for the next four. It’ll be Ian Dickson (1-6, 6.11) scheduled to face off against Luis Santos (1-1, 7.06).

Jul 072014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-1 @ Gwinnett,
6:35 p.m.
Roenicke (3-4, 5.09) vs.
Maya (yes, that Maya)
Harrisburg Lost, 6-5 vs. Bowie,
7:00 p.m.
Simms (1-0, 1.35) vs.
Davies (4-4, 3.69)
Potomac Lost, 2-0 vs. Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Dickson (1-6, 6.11) vs.
Santos (1-1, 7.06)
Hagerstown Lost, 12-7 vs. Lakewood,
7:05 p.m.
Giolito (4-2, 2.19) vs.
Casimiro (2-7, 4.98)
Auburn Lost, 4-1 vs. State College,
7:05 p.m.
Derosier (0-1, 8.49) vs.
D. Perez (1-1, 4.96)
GCL Nationals OFF DAY @ GCL Marlins,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals OFF DAY vs. DSL Mariners,
10:30 a.m.
Acevedo (2-1, 4.37) vs.
Tamarez (0-1, 6.75)


Syracuse 6 Pawtucket 1
• Laffey (W, 11-3) 7IP, 3H, R, ER, 3BB, 6K; 0-1, R, BB, RBI, SAC
• Madrigal 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, K, BK
• Souza 2-2, R, 2-2B, 2BB, 3RBI, SB
• Johnson 1-2, R, 2BB

A five-run 2nd erased an early 1-0 lead for the G-Braves as the Chiefs cruised to a 6-1 lead. Aaron Laffey went seven strong innings with just that one run on allowed on three hits and three walks while striking out six for his 11th win. Steve Souza menaced the opposing hurlers with two doubles, two walks, and three RBI while Josh Johnson reached base three times with two walks and a single as Syracuse took advantage of seven walks to score six times on seven hits.

Altoona 6 Harrisburg 5
• Dupra 5⅔ IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, 4BB, 4K; 1-1, BB, RBI
• Benincasa (BS, 2; L, 0-2) 1IP, 1H, 2R, 0ER, BB, K
• Taylor 2-4, BB, RBI
• Leonida 3-4, 2R, 2B, BB

The Senators scored in three of the first four frames to build a 5-2 lead but lost it in the 8th for a 6-5 loss to Altoona in the series finale. Brian Dupra pitched into the sixth with four runs let in on six hits and four walks but got the no-decision. In the 8th, Robert Benincasa issued a one-out walk and committed an error on the subsequent sacrifice, which plated the tying run and moved the would-be out all the way to third. The 23-y.o. struck out the next batter but gave up the gamewinner to Alen Henson on a single. Cole Leonida reached base four times with two walks, a single, and a double to pace the 12-hit, seven-walk Harrisburg attack.

Myrtle Beach 2 Potomac 0
• Spann (L, 5-4) 6IP, 7H, R, ER, 4BB, 4K
• Runion 3IP, 4H, R, ER, 0BB, 5K
• Renda 2-3, 2B
• Perez 2-4, 2B

It wasn’t as close as it looks Last Night In Woodbridge.
Roster move: OF Eury Perez transferred from GCL for minor-league rehab.

Kannapolis 12 Hagerstown 7
• Pivetta (L, 10-5) 3⅓ IP, 9H, 8R, 8ER, 2BB, 3K, 2HR
• Davis 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Ward 4-5, R, RBI
• Kieboom 1-2, 2R, 3BB, HR, RBI
• C. Lopez 1-5, R, HR, 3RBI

Kannapolis hit ‘em hard, hit ‘em early, and hit ‘em often in a 12-7 beatdown of Hagerstown. Nick Pivetta gave up five runs via the longball (nos. 9 and 10) and eight runs total on nine hits as he was chased with one out in the third for his fifth loss. Drew Ward went 4-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI while Spencer Kieboom and Carlos Lopez both homered. The rest of the lineup went just 4-for-23 and was unable to fully capitalize on the eight walks issued by the Intimidators.

Williamsport 4 Auburn 1
• A. Williams (L, 0-1) 3⅔ IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, K, HR
• D. Williams 4⅓ IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 6K, HR, 2-0 IR-S
• Davidson 1-3
• Read 1-4, 2B

The Crosscutters brought out the lumber while Doubledays managed just three hits in a 4-1 loss. Austen Williams was knocked around for three runs on six hits and two walks over three and 2/3rds innings for the loss. Deion Williams was brilliant in relief, stranding two to keep Auburn within striking distance at 3-1 and fanning six but gave up a solo HR for the final 4-1 score. Raudy Read doubled while Austin Davidson and Jose “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz both singled to account for the feeble offense.

GCL Nationals — OFF DAY
After a 1-3 week with two washouts, it’s a busy week ahead for the G-Nats, who play three against the Marlins, then five against the Mets with doubleheaders scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

DSL Nationals — OFF DAY
Things weren’t much better in the D.R. as the D-Nats went 2-4 to drop into a fourth-place tie with the D-Mets1 in the Boca Chica South at 17-14.

Jul 062014
 

After pummeling the Pelicans for eight runs in the completion, the second game of the de facto doubleheader proved to be a pitcher’s duel that ended in the first “extra inning” as Steve Perez’s two-out single in the bottom of the 8th drove in Tony Renda for a 1-0 win.

Starter Austin Voth can’t quite catch a break as he pitched brilliantly for a third straight start but has just one win to show for it. He allowed just three hits over six shutout innings with no walks and seven strikeouts, which puts him to the Washington minors-leading total of 94 in 88⅔ innings.

In part, that’s because Potomac had not one but two runners thrown out at the plate in the 3rd. Estarlin Martinez was the first, making an ill-advised decision to score from third base on a ball hit to the third baseman while Perez was unable to score from first one batter later when Shawn Pleffner doubled into the left-field corner (though he made it close).

The P-Nats managed just two singles from the 4th to the 7th before the game-winning rally in the 8th. After a weak flyout by Martinez (who was quite busy on defense, catching six flyballs in right field over eight inning), Renda beat out an infield single and took second on a wild pitch. Perez delivered the game-winner with a single to right that was hit fast enough to get past the infielders but too slow for the outfielder to pick up and fire in to beat Renda.

The win went to Chris Manno, who struck out four over the 7th and 8th innings while walking one. Combined with a Lynchburg loss, Potomac returned to first place by a half-game over Wilmington, who will be in town next for four games tomorrow through Thursday.

Matt Spann (5-3, 4.45) gets the ball tonight against Andrew Faulkner (6-1, 2.35) in the series finale.

Jul 052014
 

The first-half winners of the Carolina League matched up on the 4th of July — a possible preview of the 2014 Mills Cup? — with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans besting the hometown Potomac Nationals, 4-2 before a reported crowd of 7,993.

The Pelicans boast the league’s second-best pitching staff, in large part because they don’t have to face the league’s best lineup (Myrtle Beach, natch). The P-Nats, however, are second as measured by the only stat that matters: runs scored (though they are second in strikeouts and third in HRs hit).

But as the old saw goes, good pitching beats good hitting. For three innings and a 1/3rd, burly lefthander Chad Bell was perfect against Potomac, setting down the first 10 batters he faced before Stephen Perez sliced a line drive down the left-field line for a clean double to break up the perfect game.

Alas, the one-out double wouldn’t equalize the 1-0 score that Myrtle established on the second pitch of the game by Dakota Bacus as leadoff man Chris Garia cleared the right field fence for his second HR of the season. Bacus, who had struggled with his command in his previous outing, righted the ship and found his groove to shut down the Pelicans through four innings.

But this is the best offense in the league, and in the 5th they got to Bacus for three runs, leading off with a double and closing out with a double and making him pay for a walk and a hit batsman with one out. At the midpoint, the Pelicans led 4-0.

Bell left after five innings and Potomac jumped on his replacement in the 7th, with Oscar Tejeda, Shawn Pleffner, and Randolph Oduber going back-to-back-to-back with singles to break up the shutout. Myrtle Beach left fielder threw strike to the press box but the netting blocked the throw and enabled Oduber to take second on the throw.

Khayyan Norfork plated the second and final run on a sacrifice fly that required Myrtle Beach centerfielder Garia to make what may have been the game-saving catch as he leapt while running back towards the warning track to snag a liner that if not caught was a definite triple and a possible inside-the-park job.

Instead, it went in the scorebook as an SF-8 with an RBI. After a scare when Will Piwnica-Worms was dropped and bloodied by a pitch that ricocheted off his helmet (he walked off the field under his own power, but left the game) Justin Miller struck out to the end the inning.

Potomac would go in order in the 8th and 9th innings to suffer their fourth straight loss and fall into third place in the C.L. North.

It’s faux doubleheader tonight, with a completion of the game suspended last Friday night scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. and a seven-inning game to follow. Blake Schwartz (1-0, 6.43) will get the ball when the Pelicans come to bat in the 5th. Austin Voth (1-0, 0.69) is scheduled to pitch the second game, which will reportedly start 30 minutes after the first game is done.

Jul 052014
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 3-2 (10 inn.) vs. Pawtucket,
7:00 p.m.
Laffey (10-3, 2.93) vs.
C. Hernandez (4-6, 3.31)
Harrisburg Lost, 4-2 @ Altoona,
6:00 p.m.
Dupra (1-3, 5.04) vs.
Montero (2-3, 4.66)
Potomac Lost, 4-2 vs. Myrtle Beach,
5:00 p.m. (Comp. DH)
Schwartz (1-0, 6.43) and
Voth (1-0, 0.69) vs. TBD and TBD
Hagerstown Won, 9-0 vs. Kannapolis,
5:05 p.m.
Silvestre (3-6, 5.02) vs.
Dykstra (6-6, 2.87)
Auburn Lost, 2-0;
Won, 6-4 (8 inn.)
@ Williamsport,
7:05 p.m.
Bach (0-0, 18.00) vs.
Arteaga (1-2, 4.56)
GCL Nationals Lost, 7-1 vs. GCL Cardinals,
12:00 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
DSL Nationals Lost, 7-2 @ DSL Mariners,
10:30 a.m.
Jo. Baez (2-1, 1.52) vs.
Santiago (2-2, 3.51)


Pawtucket 3 Syracuse 2 (10 inn.)
• Cole 5IP, 9H, 2R, 2BB, 2K
• Grace 2⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K, 1-0 IR-S
• Madrigal (L, 0-2) 1IP, 4H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K
• Walters 1-3, R, BB, 2B
• Hood 1-4, R, 2B

It took the PawSox 14 hits to get a third run as they came back from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Chiefs, 3-2 in 10 innings. A.J. Cole was strafed for nine of them over five innings but with some help from his defense (two DPs, a Steve Souza gundown at the plate) allowed just two runs for a no-decision in his second AAA start. Rafael Martin and Matt Grace combined for three scoreless to keep up with knuckleballer Steven Wright, who went eight innings for Pawtucket. Zach Walters and Destin Hood both doubled for Syracuse, which was held to six hits and three walks total.

Altoona 4 Harrisburg 2
• Brach (L, 1-4) 6IP, 10H, 3R, 2ER, 0BB, 2K, HR
• Harper 2IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 3K
• Vettleson 2-3, BB, CS
• Jeroloman 2-4, R, HR, RBI

Harrisburg went deep twice but couldn’t score otherwise as Altoona doubled ‘em up, 4-2 to take the series opener. Brett Brach avoided the walk but labored through six innings (102 pitches) with three runs allowed on 10 hits over six innings to suffer the loss, his fourth at AA this season. Brian Jeroloman and Kevin Keyes took the circle clout for the two Sens runs. Drew Vettleson singled twice and walked once to lead the Harrisburg hit column.

Myrtle Beach 4 Potomac 2
• Bacus (L, 3-4) 6IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 7K, HR, WP
• Rauh 2IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Oduber 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Perez 1-4, 2B

Unfortunately, the old saw about good pitching and good hitting was proven Last Night In Woodbridge

Kannapolis 0 Hagerstown 9
• Mooneyham (W, 1-0) 6IP, 3H, 0R, 4BB, 9K
• Napoli 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Dent 2-3, 2R, BB, RBI
• Chubb 2-5, 2R, 2B, RBI
• C. Lopez 2-5, R, RBI

The Suns impressed with the nines as Drew Ward’s ninth HR highlighted a five-run 4th while Brett Mooneyham’s nine K’s led the way for 9-0 win over Kannapolis. Cody Dent, Austin Chubb, and Carlos Lopez each had two hits as Hagerstown racked up (you know it) nine hits. Mooneyham tossed six scoreless and let up three hits and four walks for his first Low-A win of 2014. David Napoli (2IP) and Jake Walsh (1IP) combined for three hitless frames to secure the shutout (sorry, only the sixth).

Williamsport 2 Auburn 0 — GAME ONE
• Ott (L, 0-1) 5IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 5K
• D. Ramos 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Gordon 1-2
• Mejia 1-2

The Doubledays’ losing streak was extended to three with a 2-0 loss to the Crosscutters in the opener. Williamsport’s Mitch Gueller sawed through the Auburn lineup with just four hits and no walks for a complete-game shutout. Travis Ott was nearly his match, but allowed two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out five.

Auburn 6 Williamsport 4 — GAME TWO
• Bourque 4IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 3K, HR
• M. Sanchez (W, 1-0) 3IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Gunter 3-4, 2R, HR, 3RBI
• Williamson 1-2, R, 2BB, SB
• Langlois 1-3, R, RBI

Cody Gunter’s three-run homer capped off four-run 8th as the Doubledays took the second game, 6-4 in “extras.” Mario Sanchez, who pitched three scoreless innings in relief, got the win. James Bourque went the first four innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks while striking out three. Gunter also singled twice and scored twice to finish the game at 3-for-4, accounting for half of Auburn’s six hits.

GCL Cardinals 7 GCL Nationals 1
• Vasquez (L, 0-2) 1+ IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 1K
• A. Martinez 3IP, 3H, R, ER, 0BB, 5K, 2-2 IR-S
• Lora 1-3, R, 2B, BB
• Ortiz 1-4, OF assist at HP

The G-Cards shut down the G-Nats after the 1st, scoring seven unanswered in a 7-1 demolition. Daury Vasquez walked three of nine batters faced in one-plus innings to suffer the loss. Meanwhile, the bats declared themselves independent of the baseball as the G-Nats mustered just three hits on the afternoon, with Edwin Lora the sole batter to reach base twice with a double and a walk.

DSL Mets1 7 DSL Nationals 2
• Bermudez (L, 1-3) 4IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 6K, 2HR
• Agustin 3-4, R, HR, RBI
• Je. Baez 3-4, R

A three-run 6th broke open a 2-1 game as the D-Mets leveled the D-Nats, 7-1. Juan Bermudez fell short for the third time, giving up two solo HRs and five hits total over four innings. He walked one and struck out six. The clutch hit also went missing as the D-Nats racked up 11 hits, with Telmito Agustin and Jeyner Baez both going 3-for-4 with a run scored, but scored just twice as they left on eight runners and went 0-for-6 with RISP.

Jul 042014
 


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

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 51-35, 1st place I.L. North, 2½ games ahead

Good Steve Souza .333 in April, .359 in May, .353 in June; .354 overall
Bad Josh Roenicke 6.18 ERA, 1.63 WHIP over last six starts
Interesting Emmanuel Burris .459/.565/.649, 4SB over last 10G



HARRISBURG SENATORS 33-51, 5th place E.L. West, 16½ games behind

Good John Simms 2-0, 1.35 ERA, 0.90 WHIP since promotion from Potomac (2GS)
Bad Adrian Sanchez 0-for-16 in last 10G played
Interesting Team #2 in batting HR’s, BB’s, K’s



POTOMAC NATIONALS 6-6, T1st place C.L. North, 1 game ahead (44-37 overall)

Good Mike McQuillan .344/.488/.625, 2HR, 13RBI in June (16G)
Bad Kylin Turnbull 0-2, 8.44 ERA, 2.25 WHIP in seven appearances
Interesting Tied for fewest SBs allowed, 2nd in most CS, fewest PBs in C.L.


HAGERSTOWN SUNS 9-6, 4th place Sally North, 4 games behind (53-32 overall)

Good Lucas Giolito 1.84 ERA, 0.85 WHIP since return to rotation on June 3 (6GS)
Bad 213 team batting BB — 13th in 14-team Sally Lg.
Interesting Rafael Bautista 43SB in 48 attempts, 15BB, .322 OBP



AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 8-11, 4th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 4½ games behind

Good Raudy Read .300/.435/.420, 7RBI in 15G
Bad Matt DeRosier 8.49 ERA, 1.46 WHIP in 11⅔ IP (4 appearances)
Interesting 18 pitching HBP in 19 games (2nd most in NYPL)



DSL NATIONALS 16-13, 3rd place Boca Chica South, 4 games behind

Good 19-y.o. Juan “Shorts” Bermudez 1-2, 1.46 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 24K in 24⅔ IP
Bad 17-y.o. Neivy Pilier .122/.146/.163, 4E in 11G
Interesting 20-y.o. Luis Vilorio 1BB, 6K in 50PA