While I like the format, I think, for ease of composure, I'll revert back to the regular format tomorrow morning. It does take longer to write it this way.
Okay, so the top teams had some close contests, while the A ballers were on separate ends of blowouts....
A+: High Desert Mavs vs Stockton
Marwin Vega hadn't pitched in 11 days before last night, so his rust was the x factor going into the matchup with Stockton's Trent Peterson, an unimpressive reliever making only his 3rd start, and coming off a 4 inning, 5 run shellacking from Lancaster six days before.
Cliff Pennington led off with a lined double to left, but Frank Martinez's bunt attempt was full of fail, popping up and into the glove of catcher Adam Moore for one out. Luke Appert's flyball found Michael Saunders in CF for two outs. Tommy Everidge drew a walk, and Javier Herrera grounded to short, but 1B Johan Limonta muffed the throw from Jeff Dominguez and everybody was safe, the bases loaded.
Steve Cleen grounded to 3rd, but Reed Eastley couldn't get a handle on it in time and Javier Herrera scored to make it 1-0 as the bases stayed loaded. Vega felt the heat... and walked Chad Boyd to force in a run, 2-0, two outs, bases still loaded. Anthony Recker imitated Cleen, smoking a grounder to Eastley at 3rd that Reed couldn't play, everyone safe, 3-0 Ports. Justin Sellers got to 3 balls, and HE walked to force in another run and make it 4-0, two outs, bases STILL loaded. Cliff Pennington came back up a 2nd time, but his liner found Casey Craig in RF for the 3rd out.
The Mavs got a leadoff single from Casey Craig, but after moving over on a Michael Saunders groundout, he got tagged out at 3rd on a Jesus Guzman grounder, and Johan Limonta grounded into the inning ending force at 2nd.
More fun for Marwin Vega: Frank Martinez led off the 2nd with a grounder down the middle for the single. Luke Appert, usually dangerous with the bat, flew out to left for one. Tommy Everidge's flyball to right got down for a base hit, moving Martinez to 3rd, then Javier Herrera ices the cake by taking Marwin Vega deep (or in High Desert's case, popped up to shallow center) to make it 7-0. Steve Kleen hit a Vega pitch pretty hard, but right to Jeff Dominguez at SS for two outs, and Chad Boyd grounded to 1st to end the inning.
Believe it or not, Vega settled down and got through the 5th without further incident. In the bottom 5th, still 7-0, Reed Eastley got plunked to lead off, and Jeff Dominguez hit a double to right that moved Eastley to 3rd. The newly arrived Edilio Colina, playing his first game in the States as an 18 year old from Venezuela, lined a single to left that scored Eastley and put the Mavs on the board while moving Dominguez to 3rd. Josh Womack grounded to short, and Cliff Pennington at SS took the easy out at 2nd for one out, while Jeff Dominguez came in to cut the lead to 7-2. Sound familiar?
With Womack on 1st, Casey Craig grounded to 1st, and the pitcher Peterson ran over to take the throw, but as he gloved it and stepped on the bag for two outs, Womack turned at 2nd and headed for 3rd. Peterson rushed his throw and threw it YIKES AND AWAY, allowing Womack to turn at 3rd and score easily to cut the lead to 7-3. Michael Saunders grounded to 2nd to end the 5th, but suddenly, there's hope in High Desert!
Nicholas Allen relieved Vega in the 6th and worked a 1-2-3 top 6th, but Trent Peterson was still tiptoeing through zeroes himself. Allen put down the side in the top 7th, and Peterson again responded with a 1-2-3 frame. Allen led off the top 8th by plunking Steve Kleen... but Kleen tried to steal 2nd and Adam Moore gunned him down for one out. Chad Boyd grounded to short and Jeff Dominguez threw YIKES AND AWAY to give Boyd 2nd base. Anthony Recker became the first man to hit Nicholas Allen, hitting a towering fly to center that fell between Saunders and the wall, scoring Boyd to make it 8-3 as Recker slid in with a triple. Cliff Pennington drew a walk to put men at the corners, and that was it for Nicholas Allen, ceding to the overworked Roman Martinez. Martinez, already a soft tosser to begin with, floated a pitch to Frank Martinez that Frankie blasted to Hollywood, if Hollywood were the base of the LF wall. Josh Womack did not relax, but he did go to it, and threw it back in as Recker and Sellers scored to make it 10-3, and recapping the remainder of this game is now a fruitless exercise. Trent Peterson pitched until the 8th and only allowed those 3 runs in the 5th.
Stockton 11, High Desert 3
Marwin Vega: 5 IP, 8 H, (7 R) 3 ER (HR), 3 walks, K, wild pitch
Nicholas Allen: 2.1 IP, 1 H, (3 R) 2 ER, 2 walks, K, hit batter
Roman Martinez: 1.2 IP, 3 H (1 R) 0 ER, 2 K
Casey Craig: 1-3 (.305)
Michael Saunders: 1-3, double (.276)
Jesus Guzman: 0-4, K (.311)
Johan Limonta: 0-3, walk (.331)
Adam Moore: 0-3, walk (.238)
Jeff Dominguez: 1-3, double, R, walk (.254)
Edilio Colina: 1-4, RBI
Josh Womack: 0-3, R, RBI (.212)
Funny note about today's game: Gametime is scheduled for 3:05 pm, which follows our second Coca Cola Kids' Clinic of the season. At 9 am, all youngsters under the age of fifteen are welcomed to take part in our $5 clinic where they will receive excellent fundamental instruction on the field from the Mavericks themselves.
"Hey kids... what Johan Limonta did at 1st base yesterday? Don't do that."
A: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers vs Peoria
Anthony Varvaro, after a brief trip to the <s>inactive</s> Everett roster, got the start against Mike Billek, making his 1st start of the season after only recently arriving in Peoria. His 1st outing didn't so well, allowing 2 runs in 2 relief innings. Billek's been getting hit harder than Jeff Weaver since 2006, so peoria ran him out there with great trepidation.
Alfred Joseph, Peoria's leading hitter, got cute in the top 1st, reaching on a two out walk, then stealing 2nd, then stealing 3rd. But Yusuf Carter grounded to short and Phenom calmly threw him out to end the frame.
Alex Meneses drew a leadoff walk, then Triunfel shows us some TEENAGE EXTRA BASE POWER, smoking a grounder down the LF line to move Meneses to 3rd on a double. Leury Bonilla flew to right for one out, but James Adduci got it in quickly enough to prevent Meneses from tagging up and scoring. Carlos Peguero hit a towering shot to left that dropped in to score Meneses and Triunfel and make it 2-0 as Peguero slid in with a double. Greg Halman swung and missed at strike three for two outs, and despite a walk from Alex Liddi, Kuo Hui Lo grounded to short to end the frame.
Varvaro induced three groundouts in the top 2nd, a very positive sign in his 1st start back. Juan Beltran led off the bottom left by lining a shot into center for a single. Gavin Dickey got plunked to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Alex Meneses bunted the runners ahead for one out. Triunfel lined a shot into center that hit the grass and scored Beltran and Dickey to make it 4-0 T-Rats. Leury Bonilla followed with a lined single of his own, moving Phenom to 2nd. Carlos Peguero snuck a grounder into right to score Triunfel and move Bonilla to 3rd, 5-0 T-Rats. Greg Halman drew a walk to load the bases, and Alex Liddi hit a worm-burner down the LF line that scored Bonilla and Peguero to make it 7-0 as Halman took 3rd. Kuo Hui Lo hit a grounder that got through into left to score Halman and Liddi, making it 9-0. Juan Beltran and Gavin Dickey both flew out to end the inning, but the T-Rats had the game firmly in hand by this point, and Mike Billek was done for, getting yanked for Charles Platt. Meanwhile, Justin Souza's recovery from craptitude continues with three shutout innings in relief, and Rollie Gibson atones for his previous meltdown with a scoreless 9th.
Wisconsin 11, Peoria 1
Anthony Varvaro: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 walks, 3 K, wild pitch
Justin Souza: 3 IP, 3 H, 3 K
Rollie Gibson: 1 IP, walk, K
Alex Meneses: 0-2, R, 2 walks
Carlos Triunfel: 3-5, 2 doubles, 3 R, 2 RBI (.281)
Leury Bonilla: 1-5, R (.283)
Carlos Peguero: 3-5, double, R, 4 RBI, K (.265)
Greg Halman: 0-3, R, walk, 2 K (.216)
Alex Liddi: 1-3, double, R, 2 RBI, walk, K (.214)
Kuo Hui Lo: 1-4, 2 RBI, K (.189)
Kalian Sams: 1-2, solo HR (.253)
AA: West Tennessee DIAMOND JAXX vs Montgomery
The comeback of Justin Thomas continues, as he gets the start for the DIAMOND JAXX, and not one of those dinky rehab starts either! Montgomery countered with lefty Chris Seddon, demoted to AA after a ho-hum subpar season with Durham in AAA, and looking okay but not too impressive with Montgomery (5.2 K/9, 2.33 K/BB, 4.31 ERA). He'll keep it in the yard and throw strikes, but he's at the mercy of his opposition's hitting ability and his defense.
In the top 1st, Justin plunked Jason Pridie and surrendered two flyballs that found fielders, but Greg Norton (yes, THAT Greg Norton) took strike three to end the frame.
West Tenn first threatened in the bottom 2nd. Marshall Hubbard drew a leadoff walk, but Tui grounded into the 4-6-3 double play. Okay... maybe 'threatened' wasn't the right word. Charlton Jimerson lasered a triple to center, but Erick Monzon popped up to end the inning.
Okay, HERE's a threat. Josh Arhart leads off the top 3rd with a soft liner into center for a single. Josh Asanovich grounds to 3rd for one out as Arhart took 2nd, and Jason Pridie bunts the runner over... except Rene Rivera couldn't even get the out at 1st, everybody safe, one out. Brooks Badeaux flew to right for two outs, and Prentice Redman got it in fast enough to hold the runner at 3rd, as Pridie tagged up and took 2nd in the melee. But Reid Brignac grounded to 3rd to end that threat.
Both sides went quietly until the bottom 4th. Chris Minaker led off with a lined single to center. Prentice Redman smoked one down the LF line to move Minaker to 3rd as Redman slid into 2nd with a double. Marshall Hubbard grounded to short for one out, but the runners moved over and Minaker scored to put the DIAMOND JAXX on the board. If this were Safeco Field, Hubbard would get a 2 minute standing ovation for his groundout.
Tui flied to left for two outs, but Redman tagged up and scored to make it 2-0 West Tenn. Charlton Jimerson drew a walk, and Erick Monzon lined a single to left to move him to 2nd... but Rene Rivera's arms are made of cast iron. 3 outs.
The Biscuits (speaking of silly nicks) went quietly in the 5th with 3 groundouts, and that was it for Justin Thomas, who threw 5 impressive shutout innings, allowing only 4 baserunners while recording 9 groundouts and a couple Ks. Juan Sandoval relieved him in the top 6th with a 2-0 lead, and got two quick outs, but Greg Norton, yes, THAT Greg Norton, drew a walk, and Evan Longoria doubled, though Norton's slow ass only made it to 3rd. Sandoval got Chris Nowak to ground out to end the threat.
Both teams went quietly through the 7th. Erick Monzon did lead off the bottom 7th with a walk, but CoachOwens' favorite waste of space grounded into the 6-4-3 double play to kill that dead.
Jason Pridie led off the top 8th with a lined single to right. Brooks Badeaux watched Rene Rivera pass a ball and give Pridie 2nd... which I suppose is better than passing a kidney stone. Badeaux grounded to 2nd for one out as Pridie took 3rd, and that was it for Sandoval, ceding to closer Craig James. Reed Brignac flew to right for two outs, but Pridie tagged up and scored to get the Biscuits on the board, cutting the lead to 2-1. Greg Norton... yes, THAT Greg Norton, drew another walk. Pinch runner Patrick Breen came on as Evan Longoria stepped to the plate, and took Craig James DEEP for his 8th HR of the year, to give the Biscuits a 3-2 lead. Craig James, coming on to make a Putz-like 5-out save, instead got Putzenbombed. Chris Nowak flew out to end the top 8th but still.
Brent Johnson led off the 8th with a liner... that Josh Asanovich gloved at 2nd for one out. Chris Minaker lined a shot to center for a base hit. Prentice Redman smoked a grounder to short that Reid Brignac couldn't turn the DP with, so he threw to first and COULD NOT get Redman in time! Everybody safe, one out! Marshall Hubbard lined a shot to left, OVER the head of Brooks Badeaux! Minaker scores! Redman scores! 4-3 DIAMOND JAXX and Marshall Hubbard is CLUTCH!
Reliever Nick Debarr was getting lit up, and having learned from Mississippi a couple days back, intentionally walked Tui to give them the force at 3rd and bring up Charlton Jimerson, who was gonna have to show them that his inconsistent power is to be feared. Jimerson lined a shot that Reid Brignac reached up and somehow gloved for two outs, and with Tui way off the bag, Brignac threw to 1st for the 6-3 DP to end the inning. Not much fault to go around here, as it looked good for a single off the bat until Brignac's nice catch. But still, West Tenn stole the lead back after losing it in the 8th, and Craig James was sent back out to finish it up in the top 9th.
Shaun Cumberland's lined found Marshall Hubbard for one out. Josh Arhart hit a flyball to center, but Jimerson got under it for two outs. John Jason came up to pinch hit for Asanovich, and paid it off with a lined single to right... but Jason Pridie grounded to 1st to end the ballgame. Craig James saves the win he vultured off of Sandoval!... okay, you don't get a save for that, but still.
West Tenn 4, Montgomery 3
Justin Thomas: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, walk, 2 K, hit batter
Juan Sandoval: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, walk, 2 K
Craig James: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER (HR), walk (ERA: 8.78)
Brent Johnson: 1-4, K (.289)
Chris Minaker: 2-4, 2 R (.252)
Prentice Redman: 2-4, double, 2 R (.318)
Marshall Hubbard: 1-3, double, 3 RBI, walk (.246)
Matt Tuiasosopo: 0-2, sac fly RBI, walk (.322)
Charlton Jimerson: 1-3, triple, walk, K
Rene Rivera: 0-3 (.194)
AAA: Tacoma Rainiers @ Albuquerque
In Alburquerque, the baseballs fly like isotopes. Brad Thomas made his 1st start of the season, hoping to overcome the negative variance he's faced so far this season (21/6 K:BB and only 1 HR surrendered in 15.1 IP, yet a 6.89 ERA). Meanwhile, Jeff Fulchino is mediocre AAA rotation filler.
Tacoma jumped all over that mediocre AAA rotation filler in the top 2nd. Rob Johnson led off with a lined single to right. HEY, it's Ronnie Prettyman! He lines a single to left that lets Johnson take 3rd. Oswaldo swings at strike three for one out to instill a false sense of security in that retread pitcher, and Adam Jones lines a single to left to score Johnson and move Prettyman to 2nd, 1-0 Rainiers, one out. Then Jeremy Reed hits a deep flyball and... it's Albuquerque, so guess where it landed? 4-0 Rainiers, one out. WLAD grounded to second for two outs and Bryan LaHair flew to center for three outs.
The Isotopes tried to rally in the 2nd. Scott Seabol led off by grounding up the middle for a base hit. Brett Carroll tapped back to the pitcher, who threw out the lead runner for one out. Chris Ashby drew a walk, but Josh Labandeira grounded to 3rd, where Prettyman stepped on the bag for two outs. Eric Reed went down on strikes to end the inning.
With one out in the top 3rd, Jeff Clement smoked a grounder into right. Rob Johnson came up and Fulchino, clearly confused seeing two opposing catchers on the field at once, uncorked a wild pitch to give Clement 2nd. Johnson eventually flew to center for one out. Prettyman lined a single to right to score Clement ahead of the throw, which allowed Prettyman to take 2nd. 5-0 Rainiers. Oswaldo scorched a liner into left, past Frank Moore, scoring Prettyman to make it 6-0 as Navarro slid in with a double. Adam Jones tapped to the pitcher to end the inning but Brad Thomas had a huge cushion to work with.
Thomas started to tire in the bottom 5th. Josh Labandeira led off with a grounder through the hole into right for a base hit. Eric Reed grounded to 1st for one out as Labandeira took 2nd. Robert Andino lined a single to center, scoring Labandeira as Andino took 2nd on the throw home from Adam Jones and putting Albuquerque on the board. Brad Thomas floated a pitch to Frank Moore, who flew to left and got it past Jeremy Reed for a double that scored Andino, cutting the lead to 6-2, and that was it for Brad Thomas. From one rehabbing pitcher to another, as Thomas ceded to The Return Of TRAVIS CHICK, making his 1st appearance of the season.
Down goes Chad Hermansen (now with his 5th organization!) on strikes, two outs. Val Pescucci drew a walk, and Scott Seabol drew a walk to load the bases. UH OHS... but Brett Carroll swung at strike three to end the inning.
Adam Jones led off the top 6th with a triple to center, and Jeremy Reed singled him in to make it 7-2. WLAD grounded to short and they got the lead runner for one out. That was it for Jeff Fulchino, who ceded, 5.1 IP, 12 hits and 7 runs later, to Ben Julianel, who is awful. Bryan LaHair grounded to first, but 1B Val Pascucci threw to Robert Andino to get the lead runner at 2nd for two outs. Mike Morse grounded to 3rd to end the inning.
Travis Chick continued to struggle, and Chris Ashby grounded through the hole into left to lead off. Josh Labandeira flied to right and found grass for a single to move Ashby to 2nd. Eric Reed lined a single to center to score Ashby and move Labandeira to 3rd, cutting it to 7-3. Andino bunted deep to 2nd and Oswaldo, playing 2B today, had no play, as Labandiera scored to make it 7-4. Frank Moore bunted down the 1B line, Bryan LaHair tried to do too much and misplayed it, leaving everybody safe and loading the bases. Travis Chick received counseling for the five consecutive baserunners, and some more trouble, as Chad Hermansen was pulled for a pinch hitter named... Jeremy Hermida. Hermida put a charge in one to center, but Adam Jones got under it and made the catch for one out, as Eric Reed tagged up and scored to cut the lead to 7-5. Val Pascucci put a charge in one to left and got it behind Reed for a double, scoring Andino as Frank Moore only made it to 3rd, 7-6. Day one of the 2007 Travis Chick Experience was declared an immediate failure and Jon Huber came in to stop this madness.
Scott Seabol flew to center for two outs, but Moore tagged up and score to tie the ballgame at 7. Brett Carroll popped up to end the inning, but what was a blowout had now become a tie ballgame, and they needed Huber to work some solid relief (after netting a blown save that was largely thanks to Chick). Despite back to back two out singles from Ronnie Prettyman and Oswaldo Navarro that chased Ben Julianel from the game and brought in Ross Wolf, Adam Jones flew to left to end that threat.
The Rainiers came back in the 8th. Jeremy Reed led off with his 10th double of the season, on a lined past past Brett Carroll in right. WLAD dropped a flyball in front of Carroll, which then bounced behind Carroll, allowing Reed to score and give the Rainiers a new 8-7 lead. Bryan LaHair flew to center for one out, but Mike Morse lined a single to center to move WLAD to 2nd, and that was it for Ross Wolf. Justin Miller came in and got Jeff Clement on strikes, though WLAD took advantage of the distraction and stole 3rd, his 8th swipe of the year. With Rob Johnson at the plate, Mike Morse stole 2nd base, likely a double steal attempt that didn't fool the Isotopes given Morse's foot'speed'. Johnson struck out swinging to end the threat.
The Isotopes went quietly again, as did the Rainiers. Huber came out for the 9th, and got three successive groundouts to end the ballgame and net a vultured win.
Tacoma 8, Albuquerque 7
Brad Thomas: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, walk, 4 K, wild pitch
Travis Chick: 1 IP, 5 H, (5 R) 4 ER, 2 walks, 2 K
Jon Huber: 3.2 IP, 3 K
Adam Jones: 2-6, triple, 2 R, RBI, K (.297)
Jeremy Reed: 4-4, double, 3 run HR, 2 R, walk (.275)
WLAD: 1-5, SB (.319)
Bryan LaHair: 1-5, K (.219)
Mike Morse: 2-5, K, SB (.318)
Jeff Clement: 1-5, R, 3 K (.222)
Rob Johnson (DH): 1-5, R, 2 K (.242)
Ron Prettyman!: 3-5, 2 R, RBI
Oswaldo Navarro: 2-5, double, RBI, 2 K (.202)