PBL Scores, 5/17/15

Today’s slate of games features three close contests and one big blowout.  The details await you below the fold…

Milwaukee Bear ClawsSalt Lake SamuraiMILWAUKEE BEAR CLAWS 6, SALT LAKE SAMURAI 4

The Salt Lake Samurai had a number of things go right for them in this game.  They had their most consistent starter, Logan Morris, on the mound.  Their biggest power threat, 1B Neal Thomas, went deep.  Their much-maligned defense made no errors and turned two double plays.  The Milwaukee Bear Claws’ closer, Oscar Buenaventura, wasn’t his usual bulletproof self.  But in the end, none of it mattered, as the red-hot Bear Claws held on for their seventh straight win, 6-4.

“There were a lot of positives for us in this game,” said Samurai manager Johnny Dugan.  “But when you have all those positives and still can’t get the win… well, that’s kind of distressing.”

The 3rd inning was where things went wrong for the Samurai.  Morris had faced the minimum through the first two innings, and looked to be on his game.  Meanwhile, Milwaukee starter “Stormin’” Patrick McNorman seemed vulnerable, and Salt Lake was poised took advantage.  The Samurai loaded the bases with nobody out, and had a chance to land a decisive blow against the struggling McNorman.

Unfortunately, DH Jamar Whitworth hit into a rally-killing double play that scored a run but virtually snuffed out Salt Lake’s momentum.  RF Trey Norden promptly flew out to end the frustrating inning.

“We knew we were in trouble,” said Thomas.  “Against a team as strong as the Bear Claws, you don’t get too many chances.  We had a big shot and we missed it.”

In the bottom of the inning, the Bear Claws promptly battered Morris (3-3) with four straight hits, driving him from the game.  Back-to-back doubles by CF DeRonde Maxwell and SS Red Petitt were the key hits in a four-run inning.

McNorman (6-1) went on to weather Thomas’ two-run blast in the 4th and posted 7 strong innings for the victory, despite yielding five walks.

“Not my strongest performance, but I got us through,” said McNorman.  “This is a fun team to pitch for, let me tell you.”

Milwaukee added to their lead in the 6th on another two-run double from Petitt, this time against Salt Lake reliever Rick Wilkins.  The Bear Claws would need that cushion later, as it turned out.

After McNorman finished his evening and Olen Abernathy put up a scoreless 8th, Buenaventura came on to finish it off.  The Bear Claws closer is as close to a sure thing as there is in the league, but today he was unexpectedly wobbly, and it nearly cost Milwaukee the game.  With one out, Buenaventura allowed a single to 2B Quincy Gaytan.  The swift second sacker moved up a base on a wild pitch, which allowed 3B Chris Davidson to drive him home with a single.  SS Moto Motonari drove one through the right side on the next pitch.  A visibly shaken Buenaventura bounced his first pitch to Whitworth, allowing the runners to move up and putting the tying run in scoring position.

Pitching coach Zane Stafford ambled out to the mound to calm Buenaventura down.  “He’d tied himself into knots,” said Stafford.  “He was jabbering at me a mile a minute in Spanish, which I don’t speak, and I could see his heart jumping around under his jersey.  So I put my hands real gentle on his shoulders, stared him in the eye, and said, ‘Calm down, Bunny.  You’re the best closer in the damn league, and these guys suck.  You got this.  Do your job and we’ll go knock back some Dos Equis in the clubhouse.’  That did the trick.”

They agreed to put Whitworth on intentionally, loading the bases.  Buenaventura then struck out RF Trey Norden and got CF Lee Cosgrove to ground out to end the game.  It was his 11th save of the year, and one of his hardest-earned.

Tomorrow features a matchup of aces as Milwaukee tries for the sweep.  The Bear Claws (29-11) start Lou Mallory, while the Samurai (8-32) send out Toshiie Maeda.

 

5/17/2015, SLC15-MIL15, High Life Stadium
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Samurai           0  0  1  2  0  0  0  0  1     4  8  0     9  2
2015 Bear Claws        0  0  4  0  0  2  0  0  x     6 14  0     7  1
 
Samurai              AB  R  H BI   AVG    Bear Claws           AB  R  H BI   AVG
Motonari          ss  3  0  2  0  .265    Petitt            ss  5  1  3  4  .309
Whitworth         dh  3  0  1  0  .250    Iddings           2b  4  0  1  0  .259
Norden            rf  5  0  0  0  .205    Mateo             1b  4  0  2  1  .329
Cosgrove          cf  4  1  0  0  .287    Suzuki            3b  4  0  1  0  .288
Thomas            1b  4  1  1  2  .253    Raine             dh  4  0  2  0  .310
Sparks            lf  4  0  0  0  .250    Dipalma           lf  4  0  0  0  .167
Turnbull          c   4  0  1  0  .157    Trumbauer         rf  4  1  1  0  .286
Gaytan            2b  3  2  1  0  .236    McGuigan          c   3  2  2  0  .281
Poncilar          3b  2  0  1  0  .102    Maxwell           cf  4  2  2  1  .318
 Davidson         ph  2  0  1  1  .211                         36  6 14  6
                     34  4  8  3
 
Samurai                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Morris           L 3-3           2.0  6  4  4  0  0  41  23  4.69
Cruzado                          2.0  3  0  0  0  0  23  14  8.76
Wilkins                          2.0  4  2  2  0  1  48  32  6.48
Jones                            2.0  1  0  0  0  1  24  14  4.71
                                 8.0 14  6  6  0  2 136  83 
 
Bear Claws                       INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
McNorman         W 6-1           7.0  5  3  3  5  4 116  68  2.95
Abernathy        H 4             1.0  0  0  0  0  0   8   5  2.04
Buenaventura     S 11            1.0  3  1  1  1  1  19  11  1.80
                                 9.0  8  4  4  6  5 143  84 
 
SLC: Davidson batted for Poncilar in the 7th
     Davidson moved to 3b in the 7th
 
2B-Petitt 2(15), Maxwell(13). HR-Thomas(12). RBI-Thomas 2(29), Davidson(10), 
Petitt 4(21), Mateo(39), Maxwell(21). K-Motonari, Norden, Cosgrove, Thomas, 
Gaytan, Petitt, Raine. BB-Motonari 2, Whitworth 2, Cosgrove, Gaytan. 
HBP-McGuigan. HB-Wilkins. WP-Buenaventura 2. 
GWRBI: Petitt
Temperature: 61, Sky: clear, Wind: in from left at 3 MPH.

 

California SharksSilver City OutlawsCALIFORNIA SHARKS 5, SILVER CITY OUTLAWS 3

The California Sharks seem to have solved their problem with the Silver City Outlaws.  Today’s game wasn’t quite so dramatic as yesterday’s 14-0 blowout, but the Sharks used a middle-inning uprising and another strong outing from their rapidly improving starting rotation to send the reeling Outlaws to another defeat, this time by a 5-3 margin.

After yesterday’s rout, Outlaws manager John Jarha vowed to put his team through a grueling practice this morning.  But the weather proved to be so oppressive – it was a staggering 111 degrees at game time – that the skipper was forced to shelve his plan.  He did, however, order his team to run several laps around the stadium before batting practice.

Sharks manager Eduardo Aponte, with his team on the upswing, took a much more relaxed approach.  He allowed his team to take batting practice in shorts, and waved off the wind sprints that are normally part of California’s pregame regimen.

“On a day like today, you got to save your energy,” said Aponte.  “With this heat, you’re going to work up a sweat.  I didn’t want anybody dropping dead on me.”

Sharks ace Pierre LaRue (6-0) managed to beat the heat and the Outlaws, racking up eight strikeouts and displaying pinpoint control.  He struggled a bit with the longball – allowing a triple to Silver City RF Nathaniel Wason and homers to Wason and SS Carrol Burt – but suffered no other damage.

“The air’s thin up here anyway,” said LaRue.  “When it’s this hot, the ball’s basically strapped to a rocket launcher.  A couple of those balls would probably have died on the track at our park.  But overall, I felt good about my day.  Wason’s a beast, so he’s gonna get his.  Everybody else, I thought I handled.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to fill the whirlpool with ice.”

California closer Eugene Grace went on a bit of a wild ride in the 9th, allowing a double and two walks, but held on for his tenth save of the year.

Outlaws starter Cloyce “Hoss” Benson (5-3) struggled badly with the heat, clearly tiring as the game went on.  He survived the first 3 innings without incident, but began to labor in the 4th.  He allowed a double to Sharks SS Rubin Smyth and a two-run single to LF Kenneth Mader in that inning, and fell apart completely in the 5th, allowing three more runs, including a two-run homer by 1B Johnie Oller.  After leaving the game, Benson was diagnosed with heat exhaustion and was given intravenous fluids.  He is expected to make his next start.

Possibly spooked by Benson’s ordeal, Jarha took a cautious approach with his bullpen.  Rather than leaving one pitcher out to soak up innings, per his usual practice, the Outlaws skipper used a relay approach, sending out a series of relievers for shorter stints.  It was effective – the bullpen put up 4 2/3 scoreless innings – but the Silver City bats went quiet then, too, and they were unable to rally.

The Sharks (22-14) will try to finish the sweep tomorrow behind right-hander Kevin Conner.  The Outlaws (20-19) will hope that veteran Linus Pauling can keep them above the .500 mark.

 

5/17/2015, CAL15-SCO15, The Corral
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Sharks            0  0  0  2  3  0  0  0  0     5  9  0     4  1
2015 Outlaws           1  0  0  1  1  0  0  0  0     3 10  1     8  1
 
Sharks               AB  R  H BI   AVG    Outlaws              AB  R  H BI   AVG
Corona            rf  4  0  1  1  .319    Barkan            2b  4  0  0  0  .286
Suarez            cf  4  1  1  0  .205    Burt              ss  5  1  2  1  .250
Smyth             ss  4  1  1  0  .370    Brewmaker         3b  4  1  1  0  .277
Mader             lf  4  0  1  2  .331    Wason             rf  4  1  3  2  .339
Nix               dh  4  0  0  0  .351    Elliott           1b  4  0  2  0  .291
Mote              3b  3  1  1  0  .252    Ivey              lf  3  0  0  0  .261
Oller             1b  3  1  2  2  .352     Jeffreys         ph  1  0  0  0  .190
 Lassen           1b  0  0  0  0  .162    Cardona           cf  4  0  0  0  .197
Lockley           c   4  1  2  0  .301    Watson            c   4  0  2  0  .206
Strachan          2b  3  0  0  0  .224    Olivas            dh  3  0  0  0  .191
                     33  5  9  5                               36  3 10  3
 
Sharks                           INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
La Rue           W 6-0           8.0  9  3  3  0  8  96  68  3.09
Grace            S 10            1.0  1  0  0  2  0  17   6  4.30
                                 9.0 10  3  3  2  8 113  74 
 
Outlaws                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Benson           L 5-3           4.1  7  5  5  1  0  45  32  4.23
Sapp                             1.2  2  0  0  1  0  25  12  0.90
Humphrey                         1.0  0  0  0  0  3  17  13  3.38
Menard                           1.0  0  0  0  0  0   9   5  3.63
Spradlin                         1.0  0  0  0  0  1  14  10  5.68
                                 9.0  9  5  5  2  4 110  72 
 
CAL: Lassen inserted at 1b in the 9th
SCO: Jeffreys batted for Ivey in the 9th
 
E-Barkan. 2B-Smyth(12), Lockley(6), Watson(9). 3B-Wason(3). HR-Oller(5), 
Burt(2), Wason(21). RBI-Corona(15), Mader 2(32), Oller 2(23), Burt(8), 
Wason 2(42). K-Corona, Suarez, Smyth, Lockley, Barkan, Ivey 2, Cardona, 
Watson 2, Olivas 2. BB-Mote, Oller, Barkan, Olivas. SH-Strachan. 
GWRBI: Oller
Temperature: 111, Sky: clear, Wind: out to left at 4 MPH.

 

Jacksonville DragonsKnoxville SmokiesJACKSONVILLE DRAGONS 4, KNOXVILLE SMOKIES 1

One pitch.  The story of this game turned on a single pitch.  It was the bottom of the 1st inning.  The Jacksonville Dragons were ahead 1-0 with one out and a runner on second.  DH Rob Hartley was at the plate, a 3-1 count in his favor.  Knoxville Smokies starter Todd Warrant, trying to avoid a big inning, was trying hard to avoid a walk.  So when C Prince Carlo called for a knuckleball, Warrant shook him off.

“I felt like the game might get away from me if I walked him,” said Warrant.

Warrant instead chose to throw his 84 MPH fastball.  It wound up going right over the heart of the plate, and Hartley was ready for it.  The mammoth slugger crushed the ball and sent it soaring high and far.  It eventually landed in the top of the upper deck, a two-run blast that traveled an estimated 513 feet.

As it turned out, Warrant’s fear came true.  With that pitch and Hartley’s mighty blow, the game got away from Warrant and the Smokies, as they fell into hole from which they couldn’t climb out.  The Dragons went on to a 4-1 win.

Warrant (3-3) had a strong game overall.  He allowed only four more hits over his 6+ innings of work, and racked up six strikeouts.  But it didn’t matter; the damage was done.

“Looking back, I should have trusted the knuckler,” said Warrant.  “That’s my best pitch, and if you’re going to get beat, you should get beat with your best.  Not a room-service meatball down the pipe.”

In fairness to Warrant, the Smokies offense was an equal culprit in the loss.  During their current seven-game skid, Knoxville has struggled to put runs on the board, and today was no exception.  Their lone run came in the 4th on 3B Ronnie Aceuedo’s double.  Other than that, the Smokies were helpless against Dragons starter Randy Cannon (2-3).  The barrel-chested southpaw allowed only four hits and fanned five over his 6-inning stint.  Reliever Carrol Avallone worked two scoreless frames, and closer Razor Corridon slammed the door for his seventh save of the year.

Smokies manager Snuff Wallace has an idea of how to cure his flailing offense.  Wallace’s diagnosis of his hitters can’t be printed here, but his colorful metaphor suggested that his team was suffering the batting equivalent of erectile dysfunction.  “Maybe I just need to go around and put Viagra in everybody’s locker,” said Wallace.  “That oughta straighten ‘em out, if you know what I mean.”

The Dragons (15-20) will have a chance at the sweep tomorrow behind right-hander Tony Harris.  The Smokies (22-17) offer up Korean lefty Yu Chen.

 

5/17/2015, KNX15-JAX15, Tesla Field
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Smokies           0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0     1  5  0     8  1
2015 Dragons           3  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  x     4  8  2     5  0
 
Smokies              AB  R  H BI   AVG    Dragons              AB  R  H BI   AVG
Blair             cf  4  0  0  0  .298    Leon              cf  3  2  2  0  .275
Campo             2b  3  0  0  0  .289    Kapoor            3b  4  1  2  1  .324
Campo             rf  4  0  1  0  .236     Taliaferro       3b  0  0  0  0  .173
Bryant            1b  3  1  1  0  .298    Hopps             rf  4  0  0  1  .262
Moriarty          ss  4  0  2  0  .287    Hartley           dh  4  1  2  2  .241
Jaramillo         dh  4  0  0  0  .285    Mount             2b  4  0  0  0  .205
Aceuedo           3b  2  0  1  1  .313    Herdt             ss  4  0  0  0  .246
 Gomez            ph  1  0  0  0  .179    Canez             1b  2  0  0  0  .212
 Ortiz            3b  1  0  0  0  .286    Esquivel          c   3  0  1  0  .283
Sisco             lf  4  0  0  0  .277    Parker            lf  3  0  1  0  .313
Carlo             c   4  0  0  0  .147                         31  4  8  4
                     34  1  5  1
 
Smokies                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Warrant          L 3-3           6.0  7  4  4  1  6 101  61  3.24
Tile                             2.0  1  0  0  1  2  25  16  0.61
                                 8.0  8  4  4  2  8 126  77 
 
Dragons                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Cannon           W 2-3           6.0  4  1  1  1  5  92  61  4.27
Avallone         H 1             2.0  0  0  0  1  1  33  19  3.65
Corridon         S 7             1.0  1  0  0  0  0  16  11  4.30
                                 9.0  5  1  1  2  6 141  91 
 
KNX: Gomez batted for Aceuedo in the 7th
     Ortiz inserted at 3b in the 7th
JAX: Taliaferro inserted at 3b in the 8th
 
E-Herdt, Canez. 2B-Aceuedo(10), Leon(5), Kapoor(14). HR-Hartley(8). 
RBI-Aceuedo(19), Kapoor(26), Hopps(24), Hartley 2(26). K-Blair, Campo 2, 
Campo 2, Jaramillo, Leon, Hopps 2, Herdt 3, Canez, Esquivel. BB-Campo, 
Bryant, Leon, Canez. WP-Tile. 
GWRBI: Hopps
Temperature: 81, Sky: partly cloudy, Wind: in from left at 15 MPH.

 

Jackson HammerheadsOrlando CalrissiansJACKSON HAMMERHEADS 16, ORLANDO CALRISSIANS 0

First place seems to agree with the Jackson Hammerheads.  Now that they’ve got their jaws around the top spot, they don’t have any plans to let go.  A day after blitzing the Orlando Calrissians in an 8-0 shutout, they dropped an even bigger bomb in today’s game, breaking it open early and piling on more pain late on the way to a 16-0 shellacking of the Calrissians.

The Hammerheads didn’t wait long to start battering Calrissians starter Charles McNally (0-2), who showed no signs of shaking off the rust from his initial start.  Jackson led off the 2nd inning with four straight hits that scored two runs.  McNally forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk, and then another when he plunked Hammerheads 3B Kim Fleitas.  The next batter, RF Lacy Wilcztnski, cleared the bases with a booming double.  McNally was driven from the game, and Jackson held a 7-0 lead.

As McNally stalked off the field, the Hammerheads bench was heard to shout, “Yo, bartender, Charley needs a refill!”  This was a reference to McNally’s past struggles with alcoholism.  After the game, the veteran vented his ire at the remark.  “They got a lot of big mouths in that dugout,” said McNally.  “And once I work myself back into game shape, I’m gonna come back here and shut them up.”

The Hammerheads didn’t let up at that, either.  Between the 5th and 7th innings, Jackson pummeled the Calrissians bullpen for nine more runs.  All of it came without a home run; the Hammerheads just kept stringing together singles and doubles and drubbing Orlando into submission.

“If there is a bright center to the universe,” said Calrissians manager Logan Bothan after the game, “we’re on the planet it’s farthest from.”

While Jackson’s bats kept piling up runs, Hammerheads starter Sylvester Lighty (3-2) was keeping Orlando’s bats silent.  Although Luke Danton (the injured starter whom Lighty replaced) is due to return soon, Jackson may not be able to remove Lighty from the rotation.  Lighty followed up Wallace’s six-hit shutout from yesterday with one of his own, a 93-pitch gem that had his teammates offering a standing ovation as he walked off the mound each inning.

“I just go where they point me,” said Lighty of his future after Danton’s return.  “I like to start and I think I’m suited to it, but if they want me in the pen, I’ll be there.  I’m not making waves.”

After today’s game, Hammerheads pitchers have now thrown 22 straight scoreless innings.  Of course, most of those are against the last-place Calrissians and their badly struggling lineup.  Jackson owner/GM Steven Butler summed up Orlando’s talent level pithily.  “I’ve never heard of half these guys,” said Butler, “and the ones I do know are way past their prime.”

The Hammerheads (25-14) have the undefeated Jordan Bergman on tap for tomorrow.  The Calrissians (12-26) will give the ball to right-hander Nate McGowan.

 

5/17/2015, JCK15-ORL15, Bespin
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Hammerheads       0  7  0  0  3  5  1  0  0    16 15  1     6  1
2015 Calrissians       0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0     0  6  2     6  0
 
Hammerheads          AB  R  H BI   AVG    Calrissians          AB  R  H BI   AVG
Deason            cf  4  1  0  0  .270    Hartl             lf  4  0  1  0  .273
 Johnson          ph  1  0  0  0  .000    Defoor            1b  4  0  2  0  .234
Westerberg        ss  5  2  1  2  .306    Buendia           ss  4  0  1  0  .293
Fleitas           3b  5  1  0  1  .327    Crofoot           2b  3  0  1  0  .233
Wilczynski        rf  5  4  4  3  .333     Elias            ph  1  0  0  0  .500
Doyle             c   5  3  4  2  .312    Law               rf  3  0  1  0  .277
Righter           2b  5  3  4  3  .302     Larson           ph  1  0  0  0  .256
Battin            1b  5  1  1  2  .240    Figeroa           3b  4  0  0  0  .245
Johnson           lf  2  1  0  1  .291    McCormack         c   3  0  0  0  .177
Arispe            dh  4  0  1  1  .210    Nabors            dh  3  0  0  0  .189
 Behrens          ph  1  0  0  0  .000    Carquinez         cf  3  0  0  0  .156
                     42 16 15 15                               33  0  6  0
 
Hammerheads                      INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Lighty           W 3-2           9.0  6  0  0  0  4  93  67  3.98
                                 9.0  6  0  0  0  4  93  67 
 
Calrissians                      INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
McNally          L 0-2           1.2  5  7  7  2  2  53  27 19.50
Filippi                          1.0  0  0  0  1  0   9   4  0.00
Turbeville                       2.2  4  6  6  2  0  48  28  8.05
Quesara                          0.0  2  2  0  0  0   8   6  4.32
Smith                            1.2  4  1  1  0  1  34  22  6.00
Geis                             2.0  0  0  0  0  0  18  12  0.00
                                 9.0 15 16 14  5  3 170  99 
 
JCK: Behrens batted for Arispe in the 8th
     Johnson batted for Deason in the 8th
     Johnson moved to cf in the 8th
ORL: Elias batted for Crofoot in the 9th
     Larson batted for Law in the 9th
 
E-Fleitas, Crofoot, Figeroa. 2B-Westerberg(8), Wilczynski(4), Doyle(9), 
Righter(3), Arispe(3), Defoor(8). RBI-Westerberg 2(23), Fleitas(40), 
Wilczynski 3(23), Doyle 2(10), Righter 3(22), Battin 2(22), Johnson(22), 
Arispe(16). K-Fleitas, Battin, Arispe, Crofoot, Law, Figeroa, Elias. 
BB-Deason, Westerberg, Wilczynski, Johnson 2. SF-Johnson. HBP-Fleitas. 
HB-McNally. WP-Smith. 
GWRBI: Righter
Temperature: 70, Wind: none.

 

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