Day Tripping the Nats Affiliates: Woodbridge

Part Three of Four from Guest/Author, Walt Triebel

By Walter Triebel, Author of
Road-Tripping the South Atlantic League:
A Guide to the Teams, Ballparks, and Cities

Available on Amazon

Unlike most of the current Washington Nationals Minor League affiliates, Woodbridge, Virginia, home of their Potomac National advanced A class team in the Carolina League, does not have a long history of professional baseball. In fact, the first season in which a Minor League club played in Woodbridge was 1984. Prior to that season, the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to relocate their current Carolina League team, the Alexandria Dukes, approximately twenty miles south to the city. A new stadium was built, which was originally called Davis Ford Park, and ready in time for the debut of the Pirates new club—the Prince William Pirates—in their home opening day game of the 1984 Carolina League season.

Since 1984, five different teams have played in the city—the Prince William Pirates, Prince William Yankees, Prince William Cannons, Potomac Cannons, and Potomac Nationals—and all have been members of the Carolina League. Moreover, they have been affiliated with six different Major League clubs: Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and the Washington Nationals.

When the Montreal Expos were relocated after the 2004 season, the team was renamed the Washington Nationals and set up shop at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington, DC. As part of that transition, the Nationals changed leagues and/or renamed a number of their affiliates, including switching their High-A club from the Florida State League to the Carolina league to become the Potomac Nationals. Two thousand seventeen is the thirteenth consecutive season that the P-Nats, as they are known to local fans, have been affiliated with the Washington Nationals.

Over the years the name of the stadium also evolved. It was renamed Prince William County Stadium in 1986 and took on its current name G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in 1995. The ballpark is referred to by locals as “The Pfitz.”

The main seating area of G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, which is a very simple styled ballpark, is located behind the infield diamond and ranges from dugout to dugout. A narrow walkway traverses this seating section and separates the field-level box seats from a reserved seats section that rises upward from the walkway. A photo of the ball field as seen from the upper section of seats behind home plate is shown above.

Food concessions are located on a small covered concourse that is located behind this main infield seating area. Moreover, there are additional food services, picnic tables, and the team store in an open-air courtyard just inside the entrance gate of the stadium.

Since 2005, a number of players have made a stop in Woodbridge to play for the P-Nats and then advanced to make their Major League debut with Washington or another Major League club. While at the ballpark, check out the Potomac Nationals Wall of Fame in the covered concession area with pictures that honor former Washington Nationals prospects, including Drew Storen, Derek Norris, Steven Strasburg, and Bryce Harper, who played at The Pfitz and later made the jump to the majors.

As mentioned in Parts 1 and 2 of this post, a key goal of the Washington Nationals Minor League Baseball Road Trip is to see some of their 2017 top 30 prospects in action on the ball field at The Pfitz. The table above lists the five Nats 2017 MLB Top 30 Prospects who began the season as members of the Potomac Nationals.

On the 2017 opening day, which was an away game versus the Wilmington Blue Rocks, all four field players were in their starting lineup: Victor Robles (#) in center field and batting leadoff, Kelvin Gutierrez (#16) at third base and hitting cleanup, Edwin Lora (#28) played shortstop and hit eighth, and Telmito Agustin (#26) in left and batting ninth. On the other hand, Joan Baez (#24) made his debut in the P-Nats uniform as their starting pitcher in Game 4 of the new season, an away game versus the Frederick Keys.

As usual for fans of the Suns, Senators, and Washington Nationals, who need to travel a good distance to the ballpark, I recommend attending a day or early evening game. This would potentially allow some pre- or postgame daylight time to explore the stadium and local area. A check of the Potomac Nationals 2017 schedule on their official website shows that they play all of their Sunday home games at 1:05PM and they have one weekday game at 12:05PM in both July and August. Check the travel matrix in Part 1 for an estimate of the travel distance and time for your day trip to the Pfitz.

The city of Woodbridge is located in the northeast corner of Prince William County, at a point where the Occoquan River meets the Potomac River. The P-Nats ballpark is located just six miles and approximately a 15-minute drive from a very interesting historic riverfront villag – Occoquan, VA. I feel that this quaint waterfront village is a “don’t miss” destination on any visit to attend a Potomac Nationals game.

This former mill village is quite small and an ideal destination for a fun side trip. Just park and enjoy walking around the attractive village; exploring some of its interesting specialty, craft, and antique shops, and maybe having lunch or a snack at a riverfront restaurant or cafe.

Attractions Near Woodbridge
• Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, 14050 Dawson Beach Rd., Woodbridge, VA
• Historic Occoquan Village Visitors Center, 200 Mill St., Occoquan, VA

Dining In or Near Woodbridge
• Ornery Beer Company & Public House, 14389 Potomac Mills Rd., Woodbridge, VA
• Bungalow Alehouse, 2840 Prince William Pkwy., Woodbridge, VA
• The Electric Palm Restaurant, 12745 Sea Ray Ln., Woodbridge, VA
• Frostie Moose Soft Ice Cream Store, 12581 Milstead Way, Woodbridge, VA
• Madigan’s Waterfront Restaurant, 201 Mill St., Occoquan, VA
• Cock and Bowl Belgian Bistro, 302 Poplar Alley, Occoquan, VA
• The Virginia Grill, 301 Mill St., Occoquan, VA
• The Blue Arbor Café, 201 Union St., Occoquan, VA
• The Secret Garden Café, 404 Mill St., Occoquan VA

In the fourth and final part of this post, I will look at the Harrisburg Senators and their stadium FNB Field. Also, I will review the Washington Nationals 2017 Top 30 Prospects on the Senators’ current roster and suggest some travel plans for attending a Senators home game as well as attractions and eateries in or near Harrisburg, PA.

Tuesday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 4-3
(10 inn.)
vs. Charlotte,
6:35 p.m.
Voth (1-5, 4.89) vs.
Giolito (2-5, 5.44)
Harrisburg Won, 1-0 vs. New Hampshire,
6:30 p.m.
Williams (1-5, 7.17) vs.
Greene (1-4, 3.96)
Potomac Won, 3-2 OFF DAY N/A
Hagerstown Lost, 8-4 vs. Hagerstown,
7:05 p.m.
Watson (4-1, 3.42) vs.
Dietz (0-4, 5.62)

Gwinnett 4 Syracuse 3 (10 inn.)
• G. Ross 7IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 3K, 2WP; 1-2, RBI
• Cotts (L, 1-2) 1+ IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 2K
• Martin 1BF, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 3-1 IR-S
• Robinson 2-4, 2B, 2RBI
• Raburn 2-4

Syracuse delayed the inevitable with a run in the 9th but gave it right back in the bottom of the 10th for a 4-3 loss and a four-game sweep. Starter Greg Ross did his part with three runs let in on seven hits and three walks over seven innings and an RBI single at the plate. Neal Cotts took the loss with an assist from Rafael Martin, who let in the gamewinner with a single allowed to the first and only batter he faced. Clint Robinson went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI while Andrew Stevenson got the sole hit by the three Chiefs batters under the age of 30. Roster move: LHP Matt Grace optioned from Washington.

Harrisburg 1 Richmond 0
• Eitel (W, 1-1) 6IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 6K, HBP
• Robinson (H, 1) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• N. Soto 1-3, 2B
• Hernandez 1-1, RBI

Four Senators pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout of the Flying Squirrels, 1-0. Derek Eitel picked up the win with six innings pitched, one hit and one walk allowed, and six whiffs. The save went to Wander Suero, who worked around two walks in the 9th, while R.C. Orlan and Andrew Robinson both turned in a goose egg to earn a hold. Yadiel Hernandez’s 6th-inning pinch-hit single plated Alec Keller for the game’s only run. Roster move: OF Chris Heisey assigned from Washington for MLB rehab.

Potomac 3 Wilmington 2
• Silvestre (W, 5-1) 6IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 4BB, 1K
• Mendez (SV, 5) 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 1K, 3=1 IR-
• Robles 1-3, R, HR, 2RBI, 2BB
• Davidson 2-4, 2B, BB, RBI

Potomac’s three-run 5th was enough for the pitchers to work with as they edged Wilmington, 3-2 in the series finale. Hector Silvestre got his 5th “W” with six-plus innings of one-run ball on four hits and four walks while setting down one (1) on strikes. Gilberto Mendez got the last five outs for his fifth save. Victor Robles homered for the 6th time, drove in two, and walked twice while Austin Davidson walked, singled, and doubled while driving in the final Potomac run.

Delmarva 8 Hagerstown 4
• Pena (L, 3-3) 1⅔ IP, 3H, 4R, 1ER, 3BB, 2K, HBP
• VanVossen 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Noll 3-4, R, 2-2B, BB
• Perkins 2-5, 2RBI

The Shorebirds scored in each of the first four innings as they doubled up the Suns in the series opener, 8-4. Carlos Pena was chased after an inning and 2/3rds, charged with four runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks as he lost for the third time. Jake Noll reached base four times with a single, walk, and two doubles to lead the Hagerstown offense.

Monday’s News & Notes

Click the image above to learn the difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-1 @ Gwinnett,
1:05 p.m.
G. Ross (2-3, 6.97) vs.
Weigel (1-1, 7.71)
Harrisburg Lost, 3-2 vs. Richmond,
12:00 p.m.
Eitel (0-1, 6.75) vs.
Coonrod (1-5, 4.76)
Potomac Lost, 4-3 @ Wilmington,
12:05 p.m.
Silvestre (4-1, 4.66) vs.
Castillo (3-2, 2.61)
Hagerstown Won, 7-2 vs Hagerstown,
7:05 p.m.
C. Pena (3-2, 6.39) vs.
Muckenhirn (1-5, 4.66)

Gwinnett 6 Syracuse 1
• O’Sullivan 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Satterwhite (L, 0-2) 3IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Falu 2-4
• Solano 0-1, 3BB

The Chiefs broke up the shutout bid early to take a 1-0 lead but allowed six unanswered runs to drop a 6-1 decision to the Braves. The newest Syracuse pitcher tossed three scoreless innings before giving way to Cody Satterwhite, who gave up a run in each his three innings thrown. Irving Falu singled twice while Jhonatan Solano walked three times but the rest of the Syracuse lineup was just 2-for-27 with a walk. Roster move: RHP Sean O’Sullivan assigned from Washington.

Richmond 3 Harrisburg 2
• Hill 6⅔ IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 3K, HR, HBP
• Brinley (L, 3-3) 2IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 2K, HR
• Read 2-4, R, 2B
• Abreu 1-3, 2B, BB, E(8)

Richmond answered Harrisburg’s rally to tie in the bottom of the 7th with a solo HR in the 8th to win it, 3-2. Taylor Hill got the start and only let one ball leave the yard as he allowed two runs on seven hits over six and 2/3rds innings, with a big assist from Jimmy Cordero, who stranded three while getting the last out of the 7th. Ryan Brinley took the loss with the aforementioned HR allowed over the final two innings. Raudy Read singled, doubled, and scored a run while Osvaldo Abreu walked and doubled as the Sens were held to six hits total.

Wilmington 4 Potomac 3
• Crownover 5⅔ IP, 7H, 0R, BB, 6K
• Rivera (H, 1) ⅓+ IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 0K
• Schepel (BS, 2; L, 1-1) 2IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 3K, 3-3 IR-S
• Robles 2-4, R, RBI, SB
• Gushue 2-3, BB

The wheels came off the bus in the 7th as the Blue Rocks scored all four of its runs in a 4-3 win over the P-Nats. Matthew Crownover started and tossed five and 2/3rds scoreless, scattering seven hits, walking one, and fanning seven. Mariano Rivera III got the last out of the 6th, but put on three straight in the 7th before turning the ball over to Kyle Schepel who gave up three straight singles to empty the bases and let in one of his own for the loss. Victor Robles stayed upright except for his 9th steal and singled twice as did Taylor Gushue (minus the steal, natch) to lead the Potomac offense.

Hagerstown 7 West Virginia 2
• Bourque (W, 1-3) 6IP, 4H, R, ER, 0BB, 7K
• Fuentes 2⅔ IP, 5H, 1R, 0ER, 2BB, 1K
• Perkins 2-5, 2R, HR, 2RBI, SB
• Corredor 2-4, R, 2RBI, HBP
• Johnson 2-5, R, 2B

Hagerstown scored five times in three innings to take an early 5-1 lead and cruised to a 7-2 win over West Virginia. James Bourque won his first game with six innings of one-run ball on four hits with no walks and seven K’s. Steven Fuentes nearly closed it out with two and 2/3rds innings pitched before the Power got to him for an unearned run in the 9th. Table-setters Blake Perkins and Aldrem Corredor scored three times and combined for four hits and four RBIs to lead the Suns’ 11-hit parade.

Sunday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-4 @ Gwinnett,
1:05 p.m.
TBD vs. Newcomb (2-2, 3.09)
Harrisburg Lost, 8-4 vs. Richmond,
6:30 p.m.
Hill (1-0, 12.00) vs.
Suarez (3-3, 3.09)
Potomac Lost,7-6 @ Wilmington,
6:05 p.m.
Crownover (3-1, 2.21) vs.
Puckett (5-3, 3.54)
Hagerstown Won, 3-1 @ West Virginia,
2:05 p.m.
Bourque (0-3, 5.45) vs.
Anderson (3-2, 3.23)

Gwinnett 6 Syracuse 4
• McGowin 5+ IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 1K, 2HBP
• Snyder 4-4, 3R, 2-2B, CS
• Robinson 2-4, RBI

Brandon Snyder went 4-for-4 and scored three times but it wasn’t enough to prevent another Syracuse loss, 6-4 to Gwinnett. Kyle McGowin lost for the third time in six starts as he failed to retire the three batters he faced in the 6th and was charged with four runs on seven hits and two walks over five-plus innings. Snyder singled twice and doubled twice and scored three times to lead the Chiefs’ offense. Roster move: OF Ryan Raburn assigned from Washington.

Richmond 8 Harrisburg 4
• Long 6IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 6K, HR
• Fedde (H, 1) 2IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• N. Soto 3-5, 2R, 2B, HR, 2RBI
• Read 1-3, 2BB, RBI

Folks who left after the 8th may be shocked to learn the Senators blew a 4-1 lead; readers here, not so much. Three relievers combined for seven runs coughed up on four hits (no homers), three walks, a hit batsman, and a passed ball in the 8-4 loss. The incineration ruined a quality start by Jaron Long and Erick Fedde’s first career hold. Neftali Soto was a triple shy of the cycle and drove in two to lead the Harrisburg attack.

Wilmington 7 Potomac 6
• Reyes 5IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 8K, HR
• R. Pena (BS, 1; L, 2-2) 1+ IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 1K, 1-1 IR-S
• Sagdal 2-4, R, HR(GS), 4RBI
• Gutierrez 0-1, 3R, 3BB

Ian Sagdal’s grand slam went to waste as the Potomac bullpen melted down in the 8th to turn a 6-4 lead into a 7-6 loss. Luis Reyes labored through five innings (92 pitches) and was charged with three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks. He struck out eight. Ronald Pena took the loss with his first blown save and three runs let in (two of his own) on two hits and an error. Kelvin Gutierrez walked three times and scored three times as the P-Nats collected seven hits total.

Hagerstown 3 West Virginia 1
• M. Mills 6IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 6K, HR, HBP
• Simonds (W, 3-0) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Franco 2-4, R
• Reetz 2-4, RBI

The Suns scored single runs in the 8th and 9th innings as they shorted the Power, 3-1. McKenzie Mills gave up a solo home run in the 3rd and three hits total in a six-inning no-decision. He walked one and struck out six. the win went to Kyle Simonds for two perfect innings of relief. Sam Held did with a 1-2-3 ninth and his first save. Anderson Franco and Jackson Reetz both went 2-for-4 to lead Hagerstown’s 11-hit parade. Roster move: RHP Mick VanVossen activated from the 7-day DL; RHP Sterling Sharp placed on the 3-Day TIL.

Saturday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 6-2 @ Gwinnett,
6:05 p.m.
McGowin (1-2, 4.38) vs.
A. Albers (3-1, 3.27)
Harrisburg Won, 5-2 vs. Richmond,
6:00 p.m.
Long (4-4, 2.79) vs.
Johnson (2-3, 3.10)
Potomac Won, 3-2; Lost, 4-2 @ Wilmington,
7:05 p.m.
Reyes (3-5, 5.26) vs.
Rodgers (1-2, 3.03)
Hagerstown Lost, 2-1; Won, 5-2 @ West Virginia,
6:05 p.m.
M. Mills (4-2, 2.32) vs.
Cederlind (2-0, 3.75)

Gwinnett 6 Syracuse 2
• Cole (L, 1-2) 7IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, BB, 8K; 1-3
• Ramsey 1-3, BB
• Green 1-3, BB

The Chiefs led 2-1 after four but couldn’t answer three Barves rallies to lose the opener, 6-2. A.J. Cole was adequate over seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out a season-high eight batters. Gwinnett went George McLelland on Mike Broadway with three runs in the 8th to put the game away. The Chiefs managed just six hits and three walks, with Caleb Ramsey and Grant Green the only two batters to reach base twice.

Harrisburg 5 Richmond 2
• Simms 6IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 6K, HR
• Brinley (W, 3-2) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB, 0K
• Suero (S, 8) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB, 0K
• Ward 2-4, 2-2B
• Herndandez 2-4, 2B, RBI
• Abreu 2-4, R, 2B

Mario Lisson homered to tie it at 2-2 in the 5th and Neftali Soto homered to begin a three-run rally in the 8th for a 5-2 Harrisburg win. John Simms allowed both Flying Squirrel runs on five hits over six innings. He walked none and fanned six in his fifth no-decision in nine starts. The win went to Ryan Brinley, the save to Waner Suero; both worked around two baserunners in the 8th and 9th innings respectively. Drew Ward doubled twice, Yadiel Hernandez and Osvaldo Abreu once to account for all four doubles and six of the 12 hits by the Senators.

Potomac 3 Wilmington 2 – COMP.
• Silvestre 3⅓ IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 3K (May 18)
• Borne (W, 1-0) 4⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Robles 2-3, R, 2B, BB, SB
• Davidson 2-4, R, RBI, SB, CS

They picked up where they left off last week and the P-Nats scored single runs in the 4th, 5th, and 7th innings to take a 3-1 lead and survived a 9th inning rally by the Blue Rocks for a 3-2 win. Grant Borne got the win in relief with four and 2/3rds innings pitched, two baserunners allowed, and three set down on strikes. Gilberto Mendez got two quick out, gave up a homer and a single, and then finally closed it out for the save. Victor Robles singled, walked, doubled, and stole a base while Austin Davidson singled twice, scored a run, and drove in a run to lead the Potomac offense.

Wilmington 4 Potomac 2 – GAME TWO
• Baez 5IP, 5H, 2R, 1ER, 2BB, 7K
• Sanburn (L, 0-1) 1IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 2K
• Sundberg 1-1, R, 2BB
• Robles 1-1, SAC, HBP, CS

Potomac took advantage of two miscues by Wilmington to take a brief 2-1 lead but gave up a run in the 5th to tie, and two in the 6th to lose, 4-2 and split the de facto doubleheader. Joan Baez was charged with two runs (one earned) on five hits and two whiles while fanning a season-high of seven. Nolan Sanburn took the loss with the final two Blue rocks runs surrendered on four hits and a walk. Jack Sundberg singled once, scored once, and walked twice while Victor Robles took first without the benefit of a hit, walk, error, fielder’s choice, dropped third strike, or catcher’s interference for the 9th time in 34 games.

West Virginia 2 Hagerstown 1 – GAME ONE
• Sharp (L, 2-3) 6IP, 6H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 8K, HBP
• Johnson 1-3, R, HR(10), RBI
• Corredor 1-2, 2B(15)

The Power bullpen outdueled Sterling Sharp for a 2-1 win in the opener. Sharp went the distance and gave up six hits, now walks, and struck out eight but lost for the third time. Daniel Johnson homered for the tenth timewhile Adrem Corredor connected for his league-leading 15th double to pace the Suns offense.

Hagerstown 5 West Virginia 2 – GAME TWO
• Bogucki 4⅓ IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 2K, HR
• Howard (W, 2-0) 2⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 4K, 2-0 IR-S
• Neuse 1-3, 2R, 2B, HR, 3RBI
• Perkins 1-3, 2R, 2B, BB
• Beckwith 1-3, R, HR, RBI

Sheldon Neuse’s Earl Weaver special gave Hagerstown an early 3-0 lead that they held for a 5-2 win to split the twinbill with West Virginia. A.J. Bogucki scattered seven hits and walked three over four and a 1/3rd innings in his season debut. Hayden Howard closed it out with two and 2/3rds scoreless innings pitched, two inherited runners stranded, one hit allowed, and four strikeouts. Neuse also doubled and scored while Tyler Beckwith homered for the second time as the Suns made the most of their six hits and two walks.

Day Tripping the Nats Affiliates: Hagerstown

Part Two of Four from Guest/Author, Walt Triebel

By Walter Triebel, Author of
Road-Tripping the South Atlantic League:
A Guide to the Teams, Ballparks, and Cities

Available on Amazon

Hagerstown, Maryland has a long history relative to professional baseball and is the home of one of the historic ballparks of the South Atlantic League—Municipal Stadium. Professional teams have called the city home as early as the mid-1890s and the first game played in Municipal Stadium was on May 8, 1930.

Two thousand and seventeen is the thirty-seventh consecutive year that a Suns team has played at the ballpark. Those teams played in the Carolina League, Eastern League, and today the South Atlantic League. During the South Atlantic League years, the Hagerstown Suns have been the Minor League affiliate of the Blue Jays, Giants, Mets, and for the last eleven baseball seasons, the Washington Nationals

Municipal Stadium ranks as the third-oldest ballpark in the United States to be actively used by a Minor League baseball club. The stadium has undergone many renovations over the years and is an old, but quite interesting venue to view a ballgame. The area behind home plate from which the photo above was shot is a classic covered grandstand seating area.

Food concessions and the team store are on a concourse located behind that grandstand. Toward the left field end of the concourse is an area without formal seating that permits you to watch the game from the outfield fence. That is the location of a Beer Garden, which is an interesting area set up with high tables and picnic tables. This is a nice vantage point from which to casually watch the play of the game on the field.

As mentioned in Part 1, a key goal of this Washington Nationals Minor League Baseball Road Trip is to see some of the Nationals top prospects tuning their fielding, batting, and pitching skills on the field at Municipal Stadium. During the Nationals years, a number of future Major Leaguers played for the Suns and advanced to become successful in the majors. For example, both Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were on the roster of the Hagerstown Suns during the 2011 season.

The table above lists the nine Washington National 2017 MLB Preseason Top 30 Prospects that began the season on the Hagerstown Suns roster. The table includes their MLB WSH prospect ranking, position, whether they throw right- or left-handed, bat from the right or left side of the plate or switch hit, the team or teams for which they played during the 2016 season, and the class and league of that/those team(s). For example, right hand hitting right fielder Juan Soto, who is the Nationals’ #3 ranked prospect, played for both the GCL Nationals in the Gulf Coast League (rookie class) and Auburn Doubledays in the New York-Penn League (short-season class A) during the 2016 season. Note that two more of the Nats top 10 prospects, shortstop Carter Kieboom and third baseman Sheldon Neuse are also members of the Suns roster.

In Hagerstown’s 2017 season opener at Municipal Stadium on Friday April 7th, the Suns had seven field players from the MLB.com Nats Top 30 prospects list in the batting order and an eighth as their starting pitcher. The top of their batting order was Blake Perkins (#14) leading off and playing center field, Carter Kieboom (#4) at shortstop and hitting second, Juan Soto (#3) in the number three slot and playing right field, and Sheldon Neuse (#6) at third base and batting cleanup. Meanwhile, left hander Tyler Watson (#17) took the mound as their starter.

As the 2017 season unfolds, Hagerstown Suns and Washington Nationals fans will have the opportunity to see those nine top 30 prospects continue to work on refining their game on the field at Municipal Stadium with the goal of advancing up through the Nationals’ Minor League organization and eventually make their Major League debut.

For Suns fans that live in or near Hagerstown, it is quite simple to attend a home game of the Suns at Municipal Stadium on any day during the season that fits their plans. However, for those that are traveling from a location near the Potomac Nationals, Harrisburg Senators, Washington Nationals ballparks, or possibly another area, my recommendation is to try to see the Hagerstown Suns playing a day game. This would give you some daylight time to explore the area and ballpark. Check the travel matrix in Part 1 of this post for an estimate of the travel distance and time for your day trip to attend a Suns game at Municipal Stadium.

A quick look at the Suns schedule on their official website shows that they play all of their Sunday home games at 2:05PM. Moreover, they have one weekday game during each month of the season either in the morning (10:35AM.) or afternoon (2:05PM or 4PM). Check the 2017 schedule on the Hagerstown Suns official website for specific dates and visiting teams.

For Washington Nationals, Potomac Nationals, and Harrisburg Senators fans making a day trip to Hagerstown to attend a Suns home game, here is a short list of attractions to see in the city and a few interesting places to stop for lunch or dinner. Similar information will be provided for the Potomac Nationals and Harrisburg Senators in Parts 3 and 4, respectively.

Attractions In Hagerstown
• Public Square/Historic Downtown Hagerstown, 12 Public Square
• Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, 296 S. Burhans Blvd.
• Discovery Station, 101 W. Washington St.

Dining In Hagerstown
• Rhubarb House, 12 Public Square
• Schmankerl Stube Bavarian Restaurant, 58 S. Potomac St.
• Stadium Grill and Tavern, 401 S. Cannon Ave.
• Public Square Café, 2 W. Washington St.
• Benny’s Pub-Antietam Brewery, 49 Eastern Blvd.

In the next post, I will look at the Potomac Nationals, their home ballpark G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, the Washington National 2017 Top 30 Prospects who started the season on the P-Nats roster, and some travel plans to attend a home game at their ballpark.

Friday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 4-0;
Won, 8-4
@ Gwinnett,
7:05 p.m.
Cole (1-1, 6.59) vs.
Blair (2-3, 5.79)
Harrisburg Postponed vs. Richmond,
7:00 p.m.
Simms (2-2, 3.50) vs.
Gage (1-4, 4.23)
Potomac Postponed @ Wilmington,
5:35 p.m.
Baez (1-2, 5.50) vs.
Blewett (2-4, 4.41)
Hagerstown Postponed @ West Virginia,
5:05 p.m.
TBD and TBD vs. TBD and TBD

Charlotte 4 Syracuse 0 – GAME ONE
• Voth (L, 1-5) 6IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 2K, 3HR
• Snyder, Severino, Joseph 0-2, BB

Former Nats uber-prospect Lucas Giolito tossed a seven-inning no-hitter against Syracuse; must have been the underwear. It also helped facing the 10th-best (4th worst) offense in I.L. Austin Voth went six innings but lost for the fifth time in nine starts with all four Charlotte runs allowed on six hits, including three homers. He walked three and struck out two. The Chiefs drew three walks but Giolito still needed just 87 pitches to get 21 outs from 24 batters faced.

Syracuse 8 Charlotte 4 – GAME TWO
• Arias 4IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 1K, HR
• Gott (W, 2-0) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Robinson 3-4, R, HR, 2RBI
• Green 3-4, 2R, 2B, RBI
• Sanchez 2-4, R, 2-2B

After falling behind 2-0 in the 1st, the Chiefs offense woke up in the nightcap and doubled up the Knights, 8-4. Gabriel Arias let in two runs over four innings in the spot start on six hits without a walk. Trevor Gott threw two scoreless innings to pick up the win in relief while Neal Cotts cleaned up Joe Nathan’s mess (2R, 2H, BB in ⅔ IP) in the 7th for a save. Clint Robinson and Grant Green both went 3-for-4 to lead the Syracuse offense.

Harrisburg vs. Erie – PPD
Rain sent the Senators home early as the game was postponed until next Saturday, when they’ll shoot to make this one up with a twi-night doubleheader. Roster move: C Nick Rickles traded to Philadelphia.

Potomac vs. Frederick – PPD
SSDL, but the makeup game will be in Frederick on June 5 as the Keys will not return to Woodbridge before the end of the first half. Roster moves: IF David Masters activated from the 7-Day DL; OF Telmito Agustin placed on the 3-Day TIL.

Hagerstown vs. West Virginia – PPD
It’s been a rough week in West Virginia as the Power had its fourth straight rainout. Unlike the previous three games, they’ll have a chance to make this up with a doubleheader tonight. Roster move: RHP A.J. Bogucki activated from the 7-day DL.

Thursday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Postponed @ Charlotte,
6:05 p.m.
Voth (1-4, 4.73) and Cole (1-1, 6.59) vs.
Giolito (1-5, 6.41) and Danish (1-3, 3.15)
Harrisburg Won, 6-5 @ Erie,
11:05 a.m.
Simms (2-2, 3.50) vs.
Lewicki (2-2, 4.54)
Potomac Won, 11-7;
Won, 7-4
vs. Frederick,
7:05 p.m.
Baez (1-2, 5.50) vs.
B. Gonzalez (2-3, 4.58)
Hagerstown Won, 4-0;
Lost, 2-1
@ West Virginia,
7:05 p.m.
TBD vs. Escobar (3-2, 4.54)

Syracuse vs. Charlotte – PPD
Wet grounds forced the postponement of last night’s game in Charlotte. They’ll try to make it up with a doubleheader tonight. Roster moves: OF Brian Goodwin recalled to Washington; OF Rafael Bautista placed on the 7-Day DL.

Harrisburg 6 Erie 5
• Williams 5IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 2K, HR
• Fedde (W, 3-3) 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Robinson (S, 1) 1⅔ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 1-0 IR-S
• Marmolejos 3-4, 2R, HR, BB, RBI
• Perez 2-4, 2R, BB, SB
• N. Soto 2-5, R, 2B, HR, RBI

Neftali Soto’s homer in the 7th proved to be the gamewinner in a 6-5 slugfest taken by Harrisburg. Austen Williams started but was ineffective, giving up all five Erie runs on eight hits and two walks over five innings. Erick Fedde got the benefit of the Soto shot, picking up the win for a single scoreless inning pitched in the 6th. It was his first clean outing as a reliever. Andrew Robinson stranded a runner while getting the last two outs in the 8th and pitched a scoreless 9th for his first save of the season. Jose “Orange” Marmolejos reached base four times and homered again to pace the Harrisburg offense.

Potomac 11 Frederick 7 – GAME ONE
• Silvestre (W, 4-1) 5IP, 11H, 7R, 7ER, BB, 5K, 4HR
• Schepel 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Davidson 3-4, 2-2B
• Lora 2-3, 2R, 2B, BB
• Sagdal 2-3, 2R, BB, RBI

A seven-run 5th papered over a horrific start by Hector Silvestre as the P-Nats took the opener, 11-7. Silvestre was strafed for 11 hits and four home runs while giving up all seven Keys runs over five innings. He still got the win, his fourth, while Kyle Schepel closed it out with two scoreless innings. Austin Davidson led the Potomac hit column with a single and two doubles, followed by Edwin Lora and Ian Sagdal, who both went 2-for-3 with a walk.

Potomac 7 Frederick 4 – GAME TWO
• Estevez (W, 3-3) 6IP, 7H, R, ER, 2BB, 3K
• Mendez (S, 3) ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K, 2-0 IR-S
• Page 2-2, BB, RBI
• Gutierrez 2-3, R
• Sundberg 2-4, 2R, SB

Edwin Lora’s grand slam powered a five-run 4th as the P-Nats took the nightcap, 7-4. Wirkin “For the Weekend” Estevez spun six innings of one-run ball on seven hits and two walks while setting down three on strikes. Jorge Pantoja cut the Potomac lead in half with three runs given up on three hits and a walk in 2/3rds of an inning before Gilberto Mendez came on to strike out the final batter in the 7th and earn his third save. Matt Page, Kelvin Gutierrez, and Jack Sundberg each had two singles in an eight-hit, three-walk offense.

Hagerstown 4 Delmarva 0 – GAME ONE
• Watson (W, 4-1) 6IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 5K
• Peterson 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Neuse 3-4
• Johnson 2-4, 2R

Tyler Watson and Tommy Peterson combined on a three-hit shutout of the Shorebirds, 4-0. Watson picked up his fourth win with six innings pitched, two hits and one walk allowed, and five whiffs. Peterson worked around a single in the 7th to put up the final goose egg. Sheldon Neuse singled three times while Daniel Johnson singled twice and scored twice to lead the Suns attack.

Delmarva 2 Hagerstown 1 – GAME TWO
• Ramirez 4IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 1K
• Fuentes (L, 2-1) 2⅔ IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 1K
• Perkins 2-4, R
• Neuse 2-3, 2B

The Shorebirds walked off in the second game for a 2-1 win to split the doubleheader and prevent the three-gam sweep. Yonathan Ramirez made the spot start and limited Delmarva to one run over three innings on three hits. Steven Fuentes followed and was handed the loss with a run let in with two outs in the 7th, He gave up five hits and two walks total. Blake Perkins and Sheldon Neuse each had two hits but the rest of the team was just 1-for-19. Roster move: RHP Mick VanVossen placed on the 7-day DL retroactive to May 19.

Wednesday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-2 @ Charlotte,
7:05 p.m.
Voth (1-4, 4.73)
Giolito (1-5, 6.41)
Harrisburg Lost, 2-1 @ Erie,
11:05 a.m.
Williams (1-5, 6.89)
Alexander (2-3, 4.24)
Potomac Postponed vs. Frederick,
4:00 p.m.
Silvestre (3-1, 3.83) and
Estevez (2-3, 5.13) vs.
Sedlock (4-2, 6.18) and
Alvarado (2-4, 6.93)
Hagerstown Postponed @ Delmarva,
10:35 a.m.
Watson (3-1, 3.89) and TBD
vs. Muckenhirn (1-4, 4.91) and TBD

Syracuse 6 Charlotte 2
• G. Ross (W, 2-3) 7IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 4K
• Martin 2IP, 2H, R, ER, BB, 0K, HR
• Robinson 2-4, 2R, 2HR, 4RBI
• Snyder 2-4, 2R, HR, RBI
• Severino 1-4, R, HR, RBI

Yesterday, a blind squirrel found a nut. In a related story, Syracuse homered four times and tripled up Charlotte, 6-2. Greg Ross needed just 95 pitches to get through seven innings of one-run ball on five hits. He walked two and struck out four while winning his second AAA game of ’17. Clint Robinson drove in four with two longballs while going 2-for-4 to lead the Chiefs’ offense. Roster moves: RHP Joe Ross recalled to Washington; OF Brian Goodwin optioned from Washington.

Erie 2 Harrisburg 1
• Eitel 5IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 5K
• Cordero 3IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Brinley (L, 2-2) ⅔ IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 1K
• Keller 2-5, RBI
• Hernandez 2-3, R, 2B, BB, OF assist at HP

Turnabout is fair play as the Seawolves walked off in the 9th for a 2-1 win over the Senators. Derek Eitel let in the first run on five hits and two walks while fanning five for a no-decision. Jimmy Cordero followed with three scoreless before Ryan Brinley was bitten for a run on two hits in the 9th to take the “L.” Yadiel Hernandez doubled, singled, walked, threw out a runner at home in the 3rd and was thrown out himself on a 7-2 DP to end the 7th. Roster move: RHP Phillips Valdez activated from the 7-Day DL.

Frederick vs. Potomac – PPD
Officials pulled the plug on this one about 2½ hours before first pitch. They’ll try to make it up today with doubleheader this afternoon. Baseball America clarified yesterday in its weekly transaction report that RHP Whit Mayberry was indeed released last week.

Hagerstown vs. Delmarva – PPD
Rain also washed away the Suns-Shorebirds matchup, which they’ll try to make up with a twinbill this morning.