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6/18 Minor League Wrap-Up

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While not as long as yesterday's wrap-up, you've got a lot of action in today's wrap-up, featuring a couple of corresponding promotions involving two top prospects.

Pulaski's game wasn't the thriller of Opening Day, but they had an uphill battle, as did the VSLMs.

The Everett Aquasox had nowhere to go but up after their disastrous Opening Day: see if the arrival of a long man from a higher level in their rotation, and the season debut of one of the org's pitching projects, helped get them in the win column this time.

The Mavs and Rainiers got two surprisingly effective pitching performances, and the DIAMOND JAXX saw a letdown after their triumphant 1st half Title-sealing win on Tuesday.

On to the wrap-up!

VENEZUELA~!  VSL Mariners 8, VSL Astros 7
VSLMs:  19-11... VSL Astros:  15-17
(League:  262/346/361... 3.76 ERA)

Erasmo Ramirez:  3.2 IP, 9 H, 5 ER (HR), walk, 5 K (6 GS +2, 3.66 ERA, 32 IP, 2 HR, 8/26 BB/K)
Oberth Guanire:  1.1 IP, (1 R) 0 ER, 2 walks, wild pitch (grab a mop, kid)
Johalbi Chourio:  2 IP, 1 H, walk (7 app, 5.52 ERA, 14.2 IP, 8/5 BB/K)
Yoervis Medina:  2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, walk, 2 K, wild pitch (7 app, 2.41 ERA, 18.2 IP, 4/13 BB/K)
Roberto Velasquez:  2-5, double, triple, R (294/429/400)
Jorge Agudelo:  2-5, double, R (316/429/378)
Michael Acevedo:  1-5, R, RBI, K (276/368/388)
Jetsy Extrano:  4-4, double, 2 R, 2 RBI, walk (272/347/383)
Mario Yepez:  2-5, R, RBI, K (367/416/532)
Cesar Del Rio:  2-4, double, K (261/316/375)
Rafael Torrealba:  1-4, R, RBI, K (190/261/286)
Larry Gonzalez:  1-4, double, 2 RBI, K

You can thank Erasmo Ramirez for this thriller, as he had all 3 suck pitches working and the VSL Astros pounded him like fresh meat in prison for 5 runs before chasing him with two outs in the 4th.  If not for a Jetsy Extrano RBI single and a couple of Astros miscues, the VSLMs would have faced a hole but as it stood, they only trailed 5-2 once mop-up man Oberth Guanire, in only his 4th appearance of the year, escaped the 4th without further damage.

The Astros, with help from a bad fielding error at 1B by Cesar Del Rio, turned a walk into another run to make it 6-2, and it looked like they had this game in hand.  But the Astros actually have one of the VSL's poorer pitching/defense sets, their 185 runs allowed 2nd poorest in the VSL, and the bullpen is a big part of that problem.  After putting two men on in the 6th, the elbaorately named Gabriel de Jesus Garcia got Cesar Del Rio on strikes before taking a seat to reliever Pedro Gomez, who has nothing to do with Barry Bonds.

Rafael Torrealba got a grounder into left to cash in Jetsy Extrano and make it 6-3 with two outs and runners at 1st and 2nd.  Larry Gonzalez then hit a lofty double to left to cash in both runners to make it 6-5 Astros with a man on 2nd... but reserve Reginald Lampe grounded harmlessly to 3rd to end the rally.

The Astros got nothing in the 7th other than a single from one of Latin America's many Jose Lopezes.  No word on whether or not this one loafs.  In the bottom 7th, Roberto Velasquez led off with a triple... but Jorge Agudelo flew out to left and Velasquez could not tag up... Michael Acevedo grounded out to 3rd, where the 3B checked Velasquez back to the bag, and despite a walk from Jetsy Extrano, Mario Yepez grounded into an inning ending force out at 2nd to kill the rally.

Yoervis Medina came in to pitch the 8th and immediately ran into trouble.  After back to back seeing eye singles, Yoervis uncorked a wild pitch to move the runner on 2nd to 3rd.  The next batter walked to load the bases, but manager Russell Vasquez left Yoervis in to battle, and Ricardo Garcia grounded to 3rd, where 3B Jorge Agudelo, well off the bag and with the runner on 3rd well en route to home, threw to 2nd for the force, allowing Luis Alvarez to score and make it 7-5 with runners at the corners and one out.  The Astros wanted to apply pressure, so Ricardo Garcia on 1st tried to steal 2nd on a pitch, but Larry Gonzalez gunned him down at 2nd for the 2nd out... and Ernesto Genoves, a catcher that probably lacks footspeed, stayed put at 3rd.  Raymer Lopez then grounded harmlessly to 2nd for the 3rd out, as Yoervis and the VSLMs got out of a pretty bad jam without much damage at all.  ¡Muy bien!

The VSLMs managed nothing in the 8th, but Yoervis put the Astros down 1-2-3 in the 9th.  With three outs to make up a 2 run gap, Yidid Batista pinch hit to lead off the bottom 9th... and lined right to the 3B Oscar Figueroa for one out.  Roberto Velasquez's flyball to center found no one and he slid into 2nd with a double.  Jorge Agudelo grounded out to 1st for two outs, as Velasquez took 3rd.  Michael Acevedo's grounder up the middle got through into center and Velasquez scored to make it 7-6.  Jetsy Extrano blasted a flyball past the center fielder, Acevedo came chugging around... and beat the throw home to TIE THE BALLGAME as Acevedo slid into 2nd with a double, now representing the winning run!

Extrano left the game for pinch runner... Nolan Diaz?  Nolan, as you might remember, is one of the VSLMs' relief pitchers, but with the bench thin and possessing some footspeed, and with his only job being to run 180 feet without getting tagged out, he was as good an option as any to represent the winning run.

Leading hitter Mario Yepez came up and gave him al the help he could, smoking a groundball into right as Nolan chugged around 3rd and slid home... SAFE and the VSLMs walked off with an 8-7 win!

Dominican:  DSL Mariners 6, DSL Cardinals 1
DSLMs:  11-4... DSL Cards:  3-10
(League:  231/335/321... 3.69 ERA)

Anthony Fernandez:  6 IP, 1 H, 6 K, hit batter
Bruno Mercedes:  2 IP, K
Julio Antigua:  1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, walk, K, hit batter
Hassiel Jimenez:  2-4, double, 2 R, K
Mario Flores: 1-3, 2 R, RBI, walk, K, SB
Rudy van Heydoorn:  1-3, 3 run HR, 2 K
Rey Lebron:  1-4, RBI, K

Rudy van Heydoorn cashed in a 3 run, two out bomb in the 1st to put the DSLMs up 3-0. After that, Anthony Fernandez cruised, no-hitting the DSL Cards through five before allowing a leadoff single in the 6th for his only hit.  But no big deal: he struck out the next batter, then got the next to ground into a 3-6-3 inning ending double play before calling it a day.  For the hell of it, the DSLMs pounded the Cards bullpen for three more runs in the 9th.  The Cards rallied for a token run in the bottom 9th before going quietly.

Rk+:  Pulaski 6, Princeton 4
(new faces will have their 2007 team or draft position listed parenthetically)

Kyle Haas:  4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 walks, 2 K (46th rd 2007... pro debut)
Jose Rios:  3.2 IP, 1 H, walk, 3 K (VSLMs)
Brandon Pullen: 1 IP, walk (37th rd 2008)
Mario Martinez:  3-5, triple, 2 R, K, SB
Jose Rivero: 1-3, 3 RBI, K

Kyle Haas was moving right along, but so was P-Rays starter Joe Cruz, and signs of trouble for Has first appeared in the 3rd, as a one out flyout from Elias Otero was followed by a two out triple from some guy named Burt Reynolds.  Fortunately, Eli Sonoqui grounded out to end any notion of a threat.

Haas worked a quick, quiet 4th, but the wheels came off with no score in the bottom 5th.  Tomas Francisco smoked a grounder up the middle to lead off, then took 2nd on a Diogenes Luis groundout for one out.  Dustin Biell continued to not make contact, and Haas rewarded him with a walk.  Elias Otero grounded a ball into right to cash in Francisco and Biell to make it 2-0, as the ball got by RF Jose Rivero to give Otero 3rd base.  And just in time, Burt Reynolds came to the plate, and the fear of Stroker Ace caused Haas to uncork a wild pitch that allowed Otero to score, before Burt drew a walk.  Eli Sonoqui dropped a flyball into left for a base hit, and that was it for Haas.

Former VSLMs starter Jose Rios came in and David Genao smoked a grounder into left that allowed Stroker Ace to score, 4-0, and put runners at 1st and 2nd.  DJ Jones channeled the end of Tuesday's game and struck out, but Ramon Novas walked to load the bases.  Thankfully, Tomas Francisco's 2nd AB of the frame ended with him swinging and missing strike three to end the disaster inning.

The PMs continued having trouble getting anything until Mario Martinez led off the 7th with a triple to center (already his 2nd of the short year), and Jose Rivero's flyout to left allowed Mario to tag up and score to cut the P-Rays lead to 4-1.  Deybis Benitez and Tommy Johnson (27th rd 2008) went quietly to end the frame, but progress still.

Jake Shaffer led off the 8th with a walk, and Anthony Phillips got a grounder into right to put runners at the corners.  With one out, Kris Sanchez grounded to 3rd, where Burt Reynolds... lost the handle and allowed Shaffer to score!  Sanchez was safe and runners were at 1st and 2nd with one out and the score 4-2.  Kalian Sams capitalized, grounding to 3rd and watching Burt's throw go YIKES AND AWAY to score Phillips and cut the score to 3rd as runners stood at 3rd and 2nd with one out.  Karma was paying back Stroker Ace, and Mario Martinez grounded to 3rd, only for Burt to throw THAT YIKES AND AWAY, though the throw didn't get far and all that happened was Mario getting aboard to load the bases, as Juan Santana got the hook for the P-Rays and reliever Jose De La Cruz, NOT the Aircraft Carrier but one of the many Jose De La Cruzes of the Latin world, came in and watched Jose Rivero single to left to cash in two more and give the PMs a 5-4 lead!  Deybis Benitez flew out to left, but Mario Martinez tagged up and scored to make it 6-4 PMs.  JDLC uncorked a wild pitch to tempt more damage, and Tommy Johnson walked... but the man who started the big inning, Jacob Shaffer, struck out to end it.

Deflated, the P-Rays went 1-2-3 in the 8th, and newcomer Brandon Pullen came in to shut down the 9th.  Pinch hitter Mayobanex Acosta drew a one out walk before getting lifted for pinch runner Brian Bryles, but Elias Otero grounded out and, appropriately enough, Burt Reynolds flew out harmlessly to right to end the comeback win.

A-:  Everett 4, Spokane 1

Walter Suriel:  7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER (HR), 6 K
Johnny DuRocher:  2 IP, K
James Davenport:  1-4, double, RBI, K (236/311/330 in 2007 with Everett)
Nate Tenbrink:  1-4, R, 2 RBI

That's much better, Aquasox!  Two interesting pitchers today: former DSLer Walter Suriel started the year mopping up for the T-Rats, and now gets his shot as a high-end starter for the Aquasox.  He threw seven strong innings, his only real blemish being a solo HR in the 3rd, and the Aquasox backed him up with a Nate Tenbrink RBI single in the 1st, a ground in run from Nate Tenbrink after Tenbrink got a break on an infield throwing error, a bases loaded suicide squeeze by James Davenport that cashed in Bennett Billingley in the 5th, and a rally leading to a sac fly RBI from Tenbrink that cashed in Tyson Gillies.

The M's favorite backup quarterback, UW alum Johnny DuRocher, made his 2008 debut with two perfect relief innings, four of his six outs coming via groundball, and one coming via strikeout.

A:  The T-Rats had their last day off of the All Star break.  They resume play tonight against the Burlington Bees.  More T-Rats info is below in the High Desert recap.

A+:  High Desert 5, Lancaster 2
(League:  266/337/398... 4.40 ERA)

Alfredo Venegas:  5.2 IP, 3 H, 3 walks, 6 K, hit batter (13 app, 5 GS, 4.09 ERA, 50.2 IP, 3 HR, 17/52 BB/K)
(THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF) Ricky Orta:  1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 walks (7 GS +2, 4.60 ERA, 31.1 IP, 4 HR, 11/24 BB/K)
Steve Uhlmansiek:  1 IP, 1 H, K (14 app, 0.56 ERA, 16 IP, 1 HR, 8/12 BB/K)
Steven Richard:  1 IP, walk, hit batter
Kuo Hui Lo:  1-3, solo HR, 2 R, walk, K (247/301/389)
Chris Minaker:  1-4, double, 3 RBI (287/323/456... league leading 29 doubles in 272 ABs)
Ogui Diaz:  2-4, double, R, K (270/311/330)

Alfredo Venegas pitche done of his best games this season, and the Mavs gave him all the help he needed in the 4th and 5th.  Kuo Hui Lo led off the 4th by continuing his recent power surge, going deep to center to make it 1-0, while Carlos Peguero's two out, bases loaded grounder to short was thrown YIKES AND AWAY by SS Argenis Diaz, cashing in a run, leaving the bases loaded, and setting up Chris Minaker's bases clearing double that made it 5-0.  Venegas got the first two batters in the 6th before Josh Reddick got a single into center.  Venegas then got the hook after an outing where he allowed NO flyballs.  He did allow a line drive and two pop ups, and no other balls in play were well hit in the air.

Groundballs:  9
Flyballs:  0
Line Drives:  1
Pop Ups:  2
Walks:  3 (plus 1 hit batter)
Strikeouts:  6

His notable replacement: Ricky Orta, fresh off yet another DL stint but healthy and ready to go, got a groundout to finish the 6th, but got bombed out of the gate in the 7th, allowing a double and a triple to bring in the 1st Jethawks run.  Argenis Diaz walked and Matt Sheely's sac fly cashed in another run, but Orta caught Diaz off the bag and he was run down for the 2nd out, and despite walking Daniel Nava, Orta got Jorge Jimenez to pop up for the 3rd out.  Busy, shaky inning for Orta, but not disastrous.

Steve Uhlmansiek pitched the 8th without much incident, and despite allowing two baserunners in the 9th, Steven Richard finished it off for his 1st save wth the Mavs.

News on Kyle Parker: though he was named to the Cal League All Star Team, he is out due to his inury, so Aaron Cotter, having a great season as the current closer, will take his place.  Still no word on his arm injury.

J at Mariners Minors has some more news: Donnie Hume, having pitched effectively in the T-Rats rotation, will join the rotation in High Desert.  Down in Wisconsin, he reports, Jake Wild is now permanent: he will replace Hume in the rotation, and rehabbing reliever Natividad Dilone, who pitched in 11 games last season in Wisconsin, will rejoin the T-Rats bullpen.

AA:  Huntsville 7, West Tenn 5
(League:  261/340/394... 4.17 ERA)

Doug FISTER:  4 IP, 8 H, (5 R) 4 ER, walk, 3 K, balk (15 GS, 4.07 ERA, 84 IP, 8 HR, 35/65 BB/K)
Brodie Downs:  3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, walk, K (24 app, 4.76 ERA, 39.2 IP, 3 HR, 17/28 BB/K)
Marwin Vega:  1 IP, 1 H, K (23 app, 4.97 ERA, 38 IP, 2 HR, 29/23 BB/K)
Jeff Dominguez:  2-3, double, R, walk, SB (223/291/291)
Jon Nelson:  3-5, solo HR, 2 run HR, K (322/377/459)
Mike Wilson:  1-5, double, RBI, 2 K (267/349/535)
Luis Valbuena:  2-3, solo HR, walk (301/373/488)

So while the DIAMOND JAXX won the 1st half battle, Huntsville took their 1st step towards winning the 2nd half war, by jumping on THE FIST for 2 runs in the 4th, and chasing him in the 5th before he could record an out.  The DIAMOND JAXX had a 2-0 lead thanks to a 1st inning Mike Wilson RBI double, and Jon Nelson's 1st HR of the season in the 3rd... but the Stars tied it in the 4th.  The DIAMOND JAXX got Jon Nelson's 2nd home run of the season, this time with a man on, in the 5th to make it 4-2 West Tenn, but three straight lined singles to lead off the bottom 5th cashed in a run and were all manager Scott Steinmann needed to see, as he pulled the FIST for Brodie Downs right away.

Groundballs:  10
Flyballs:  2
Line Drives:  6
Walks:  1
Strikeouts:  3

Freddy Parejo got the bunt down and Brodie candyarsed the ball, allowing Mat Gamel to score and tie the ballgame at 4as runners stopped at 2nd and 3rd.  Cole Gillespie's groundout thus cashed in Salome to make it 5-4 Stars before Brodie got groundouts from the next two batters to escape.

Huntsville piled on more runs in the 8th off Downs.  Mat Gamel walked and Angel Salome doubled him in to make it 6-4.  Cole Gillespie later doubled in Salome to make it 7-4 Stars.  Luis Valbuena did homer in the 8th to make it 7-5, but that was all the noise the DIAMOND JAXX were able to make.

Also notable was he AA debut of Greg Halman in CF, who went 0 for 5 with 3 K's and only recorded one putout in center.  Notable was the absence of the man he replaced in CF, Michael Saunders.

I'll tell you to read on, but given that, you probably already know what's up.

AAA:  Tacoma 7, Las Vegas 4
TAC:  36-36... LVG:  41-33
(League:  273/345/433... 4.72 ERA)

Joe Woerman:  6 IP, 3 H, (2 R) 1 ER, 4 walks, 5 K, wild pitch (9 GS +5, 7.96 ERA, 46.1 IP, 4 HR, 45/36 BB/K)
Jake Woods:  1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, hit batter (22 app, 4.58 ERA, 39.1 IP, 6 HR, 13/28 BB/K)
Scott Williamson:  one out, 1 H, walk (17 app, 5.89 ERA, 18.1 IP, 3 HR, 6/20 BB/K)
Tracy Thorpe:  1 IP, K (10 app, 6.35 ERA, 11.1 IP, 3 HR, 6/13 BB/K)
Yung Chi Chen:  1-5, double, 2 RBI (246/307/322)
THE not so TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF WLAD:  1-4, 2 R, walk (254/333/597)
Victor Diaz:  2-4, double, 2 R, 2 RBI, K (293/378/476)
Shawn Garrett:  2-4, R, 2 RBI (278/321/411)
WELCOME Michael Saunders:  1-3, double, R, RBI, walk, K

Game time temperature in Las Vegas: a nice, brisk 104 degrees.  Also, Cashman Field has no awnings or overhangs, so anyone who buys a ticket to a game there is out in the open sun, until the sun goes down.  You can imagine that crowds at Cashman are a bit sparse for this reason.

You can also imagine that the oppressive dry heat counters any enjoyment the hitters have of the advantages provided by the dry air, bandboxian dimensions down the LF and RF lines, the relatively high altitude (about 1200+ feet above sea level) and a jet stream that usually has Vegas' trademark gusty winds blowing out to center or right field.

That said, the Rainiers hadone game to get acclimated, Tuesday's loss, and promptly jumped on the 51's for 7 runs before the end of the 3rd, putting this game to bed.  Joe Woerman's alien-like features confounded the 51's hitters despite their logo'd identities, and he allowed little damage over 6 innings as he's starting to turn the corner after a disastrous start to 2008.  The only real facepalming moment came in the 5th when Woerman walked three straight batters, but he still only escaped that inning with a lone run allowed.

Groundballs:  9
Flyballs:  3
Line Drives:  2
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  4
Strikeouts:  5

Mystic Tan plunked the leadoff hitter in the 8th, but promptly got Xavier Paul to ground into the 3-6-3 double play, and it looked like he would finish an easy 8th... except Terrible Terry Tiffee singled to right, and John Lindsey hit a laser over the debuting Michael Saunders in center to cash him in and make it 7-3.  John-Ford Griffin lined a single to center to cash in Lindsey and it was 7-4 before Daren Brown lifted Woods for the veteran retread du jour, Scott Williamson, who allowed a lined single to Angel Chavez and walked Sergio Garcia before finally getting an AJ Ellis pop up to end the frame.

The rather sizable Tracy Thorpe pitched like he eats... well... and worked a 1-2-3 9th for the save.