PBL Scores, 6/8/15

Another getaway day in the Patriot League.  Who leaves town in triumph?  The answers lie below…

California SharksJacksonville DragonsCALIFORNIA SHARKS 2, JACKSONVILLE DRAGONS 1

The last thing you’d expect from a game between the California Sharks and the Jacksonville Dragons is a pitcher’s duel.  But that’s what happened, as the Sharks’ Brian Goreman and the Dragons’ Tony Harris came out firing.  It was a game that definitely could have gone either way, but the home team prevailed in the end, as the Sharks used a pair of sacrifice flies to pull out a 2-1 win.

“Today was a difficult game, and we needed a total team effort to take the victory,” said Sharks manager Eduardo Aponte.  “I am proud that our players rose to the occasion.”

For Goreman (6-1), the game validated his bounceback from the mini-slump he encountered a couple weeks back.  Although he had to battle control issues, issuing five walks in the game, he baffled Jacksonville’s hitters with a good mix of pitches, blending a lively mid-90s fastball with a well-disguised changeup and a biting, diving slider.

“Corky really called a great game,” said Goreman, referring to Sharks C Corky Carpenter.  “I don’t think I shook him off once.  If I’m out there on the mound trying to think, we’re screwed.  Corky had a great feel for keeping the hitters off balance.  He handled the heavy lifting; all I had to do was hit his glove.”

Harris (1-3) had his best start since being called up from the Dragons’ minor-league affiliate last month.  He pitched a complete game, allowing only seven hits and striking out six.

“I feel like I’m rounding into midseason form,” said the veteran right-hander.  “My breaking pitches are sharper than they have been, and I think my heater’s even up a tick or two.  Obviously, I’m disappointed we didn’t get the W, but I pitched well enough to give us a chance, so I’m proud of that.”

The Sharks snatched the victory by cashing in on a couple of middle-inning opportunities.  In the 5th, California loaded the bases on a walk and two singles, and RF Jessie Corona’s sac fly to left brought 1B Johnie Oller in to score.  In the 6th, after the Dragons had tied the game, Sharks LF Kenneth Mader stroked a one-out single, and DH Eddie Nix’s double moved him to third.  This time, it was 3B Karl Mote’s turn to loft a fly to left field, plating Mader with what proved to be the winning run.

“I feel awful for Tony,” said Dragons manager Harlan Davidson.  “Best job any of our starters has done in weeks, and our hitters pick today to go on vacation.  I don’t know how pissed off he is, but I sure as hell would be.”

Despite Goreman’s strong performance, the true story of this game was the Dragons’ missed opportunities.  After getting very little to hit over the first 5 innings, Jacksonville finally broke through with a one-out rally in the 6th, with three straight singles to plate the tying run.  With runners on the corners and C Jan Esquivel at the plate, DH Rob Hartley shocked everybody by stealing second base.  Suddenly, the Dragons had two runners in scoring position and a chance to break the game open.  Carpenter came out to the mound to discuss strategy.

“We decided that we weren’t giving Esquivel anything to hit,” said Goreman, “and if that meant putting him on, that was okay.”

Esquivel wound up working a walk to load the bases.  That brought struggling LF Willis Parker to the dish as the Sharks drew their infield in.  Goreman got Parker to hit a two-hopper to SS Rubin Smyth, who fired home to get the force-out.  Carpenter alertly gunned the ball to first and turned the double play to end the inning, then jumped around excitedly and hugged Smyth and Goreman on his way back to the dugout.

“Corky’s kind of like a little puppy,” said Goreman.  “When he’s not playing, he’s always bouncing around the dugout and cheering.  I think Eduardo puts him in games whenever he gets sick of it and needs a break.”

The Dragons had another shot in the 7th.  After recording the first two outs in the inning, Goreman’s command suddenly went south, and he walked the bases loaded.  With dangerous RF Roderick Hopps coming to the plate and reliever Jan Arzola warming in the bullpen, Aponte went out to talk to his starter.

“I asked Brian if he felt he could keep going,” Aponte recalled.  “He said yes.  I asked Corky if he felt Brian should stay in.  He said, ‘He’s still got the good stuff. I’d bet my life on it.’  So I left him in.”

Aponte and the Sharks had a tense moment when Goreman fell behind Hopps 3-1.  “I knew I’d better tighten up and get him,” said Goreman.  “After all, Corky’s life was on the line.”

Goreman came back with a fastball at the knees.  Hopps hit a high fly to right, but it died short of the track, and the Sharks escaped their last serious threat.  Goreman pitched a hitless 8th, and closer Eugene Grace set the Dragons down in the 9th for his 12th save.

The Sharks (34-21) now prepare to welcome the Jackson Hammerheads for a three-game series.  The Dragons (22-34) head east to face the Salt Lake Samurai.


6/8/2015, JAX15-CAL15, Blue Note Stadium
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Dragons           0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0     1  6  0     8  1
2015 Sharks            0  0  0  0  1  1  0  0  x     2  7  0     7  1
Dragons              AB  R  H BI   AVG    Sharks               AB  R  H BI   AVG
Leon              cf  3  0  0  0  .269    Corona            rf  3  0  0  1  .317
Kapoor            3b  3  1  2  0  .320    Suarez            cf  4  0  0  0  .256
Hopps             rf  4  0  2  0  .291    Smyth             ss  4  0  0  0  .383
Hartley           dh  3  0  1  1  .255    Mader             lf  4  1  2  0  .350
Esquivel          c   3  0  0  0  .282    Nix               dh  4  0  2  0  .323
Parker            lf  4  0  0  0  .210    Mote              3b  3  0  0  1  .234
Herdt             ss  4  0  0  0  .251    Oller             1b  1  1  1  0  .303
Canez             1b  4  0  0  0  .215    Strachan          2b  2  0  1  0  .250
Popejoy           2b  3  0  1  0  .217    Carpenter         c   3  0  1  0  .244
                     31  1  6  1                               28  2  7  2
Dragons                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Harris           L 1-3           8.0  7  2  2  3  6 116  71  4.91
                                 8.0  7  2  2  3  6 116  71 
Sharks                           INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Goreman          W 6-1           8.0  6  1  1  5  3 118  64  3.27
Grace            S 12            1.0  0  0  0  0  0   9   6  4.79
                                 9.0  6  1  1  5  3 127  70 
2B-Nix(7), Oller(8). RBI-Hartley(42), Corona(25), Mote(45). SB-Hartley(2). 
CS-Hartley. K-Hartley, Parker, Canez, Suarez 2, Mader, Mote 2, Carpenter. 
BB-Leon, Kapoor, Hartley, Esquivel, Popejoy, Oller 2, Strachan. SF-Corona, 
Temperature: 64, Sky: clear, Wind: left to right at 1 MPH.


Salt Lake SamuraiOrlando CalrissiansSALT LAKE SAMURAI 8, ORLANDO CALRISSIANS 7

Today’s game was a rubber match between the Patriot League’s two worst teams, and it unfolded in fitting fashion.  The Salt Lake Samurai and Orlando Calrissians locked horns in a wild and strange game in which both starters got shelled, the Calrissians held and lost multiple leads, and the winning run was scored on a balk.  Although the Samurai officially received credit for the 8-7 victory, entropy was the true winner.

“I don’t know, did we really win this one?” said Salt Lake manager Johnny Dugan.  “I mean, we’ll take it, definitely.  But it was a really crazy game.”

20-year-old left-hander Grant Fore made his first start in a Samurai uniform since being acquired from Knoxville last week.  He was hoping for a fresh start with Salt Lake, but he struggled just as badly in this game as he did with the Smokies.  Fore lasted only 4+ innings, and he gave up six runs on six hits.  The biggest blow was Calrissians 1B Brooks Defoor’s three-run homer in the 3rd.  Despite his rough outing, Fore said in his postgame interview that there were reasons for optimism.

“The pitch to Defoor was a mistake, no question,” said Fore.  “Total gopher ball.  But that was the only really bad pitch I made.  I almost got out of the inning on the before before [2B Erasmo Crofoot].  I had him 1-2, and he hit a good pitch and found a hole.  If it hadn’t been for that, this would have been a different game.  I can’t call it a good game, but I feel like I’m going to turn the corner.  And knowing that I’m going to get chances and regular starts and not get jerked around, that helps.  I’m in a good place, as crazy as that sounds.”

Fore departed in the 5th after allowing a leadoff single to Orlando LF Lauren Hartl, and Dugan brought in right-hander Jimmy Okamura.  The Salt Lake reliever is notoriously slow to the plate, and the fleet-footed Hartl took advantage.  He stole second on Okamura’s first pitch to DH Bart Law.  On the next delivery, he stole third.  A clearly shaken Okamura bounced his next pitch, and the following one was a room-service fastball that Law drilled out to right for a two-run homer.  The blast put the Calrissians ahead 7-3.

“It felt like the game was ours at that point,” said Law.

If Orlando felt certain of victory, though, they hadn’t reckoned with the shaky performance of their own starter, Charles McNally.  After the 37-year-old righty appeared visibly drunk during recent starts and gave semi-coherent and hostile interviews, manager Logan Bothan and pitching coach John Smoltz read him the riot act.  They made it clear to McNally that he was on a short lease, and if he didn’t get his pitching and personal behavior under control, he would be facing demotion or outright release.

The good news is that McNally showed no signs of intoxication during or after the game, and that he threw one of his longest starts of the season.  The bad news is that he still couldn’t get out of the 5th inning.  McNally gave up several hard hits to the Samurai, including a two-run homer by LF Chip Sparks in the 2nd and a long double by DH Jamar Whitworth in the 3rd.  But in the 5th, McNally suffered death by a thousand cuts.  The Samurai loaded the bases on three straight Texas leaguers, all of which found grass and went for singles.  McNally retired the next two hitters but gave up runs on both, as 1B Neal Thomas lofted a sac fly and Sparks dribbled an RBI groundout to short.  C Winston Regner punched a hit through the right side to score yet another run, and Bothan made the move to pull McNally at that point, bringing in top reliever Aron Filippi to try and preserve Orlando’s lead.  But Samurai 2B Quincy Gaytan dropped yet another shallow single, allowing Regner to score the tying run as Calrissians RF Magnus Larson’s peg to the plate went wide.

“It was a frustrating game, for sure,” said McNally.  “I had an opportunity to turn the corner and get us on the right track, but I couldn’t close the deal.  I’m mad at myself.  I know I’ve still got a lot to prove, and I’m determined to do it.”

As strange as things had been to that point, Salt Lake’s winning “rally” in the 7th was even odder.  Calrissians reliever Ian Grazier opened the inning by allowing a booming double to Sparks.  The ball seemed as though it might have been catchable, but Hartl took a poor route and didn’t have a shot.  Regner then bunted Sparks over to third, bringing Gaytan to the plate.  As Grazier prepared to pitch to Gaytan, he stepped and made a quicky feint toward third.  Home plate umpire Mike Milner called it a balk, allowing Sparks to trot home.  The Orlando dugout went ballistic; Bothan went out to protest the call vigorously and was ejected.

“I still have no idea what I supposedly did,” said Grazier (0-2).  “I’ve looked at the tape and I don’t see anything.  I mean, I looked up to check on the runner.  Maybe I did a little head-fake.  But that’s not a balk.  I don’t get it.”

Milner was not available for comment after the game.

Okamura (1-0) settled down after allowing the Law homer, and got through the rest of the 5th, as well as the next three innings, without allowing another hit.  Closer Dean Gamble worked a scoreless 9th for his 8th save.

The Samurai (13-49) open their series with the Jacksonville Dragons tomorrow.  The Calrissians (17-41) go down to New Mexico to take on the Silver City Outlaws.


6/8/2015, ORL15-SLC15, Desert Edge Stadium
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Calrissians       1  1  3  0  2  0  0  0  0     7  7  1     4  1
2015 Samurai           0  2  1  0  4  0  1  0  x     8 14  0     7  0
Calrissians          AB  R  H BI   AVG    Samurai              AB  R  H BI   AVG
Gilmartin         ss  4  1  1  0  .247    Motonari          ss  5  0  1  0  .248
Hartl             lf  4  1  1  0  .286    Whitworth         dh  4  2  2  0  .279
Law               dh  4  1  1  2  .294    Cosgrove          cf  5  1  2  0  .269
Larson            rf  2  1  1  1  .281    Martinez          rf  2  1  1  1  .273
Crofoot           2b  4  1  1  0  .219    Thomas            1b  3  1  1  1  .246
Defoor            1b  4  1  1  3  .232    Sparks            lf  4  2  3  3  .259
Figeroa           3b  3  1  0  0  .263    Regner            c   2  1  1  1  .177
Lesher            c   4  0  0  0  .224    Gaytan            2b  4  0  2  0  .242
Elias             cf  4  0  1  1  .214    Davidson          3b  4  0  1  0  .207
                     33  7  7  7                               33  8 14  6
Calrissians                      INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
McNally                          4.2 11  7  6  2  1  82  53 16.29
Filippi                          0.1  1  0  0  0  0   5   3  2.08
Grazier          L 0-2           2.0  2  1  1  0  2  32  20  9.35
Quesara                          1.0  0  0  0  0  2  11   9  5.74
                                 8.0 14  8  7  2  5 130  85 
Samurai                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Fore                             4.0  6  6  6  2  4  61  39  8.76
Okamura          W 1-0           4.0  1  1  1  2  2  68  37  9.64
Gamble           S 8             1.0  0  0  0  0  1  11   8  5.16
                                 9.0  7  7  7  4  7 140  84 
E-Larson. 2B-Whitworth(5), Sparks(14). HR-Law(8), Defoor(14), Sparks(1). 
RBI-Law 2(19), Larson(29), Defoor 3(39), Elias(6), Martinez(18), Thomas(43), 
Sparks 3(24), Regner(8). SB-Hartl 2(7), Figeroa(3). CS-Gaytan. K-Gilmartin, 
Hartl, Law, Larson, Crofoot 2, Elias, Motonari, Cosgrove 2, Thomas, Davidson. 
BB-Gilmartin, Hartl, Larson, Figeroa, Whitworth, Regner. SH-Regner. 
SF-Larson, Martinez, Thomas. HBP-Martinez. HB-Grazier. BALK-Grazier. 
Temperature: 96, Sky: cloudy, Wind: out to right at 10 MPH.


Milwaukee Bear ClawsJackson HammerheadsMILWAUKEE BEAR CLAWS 6, JACKSON HAMMERHEADS 2

The Jackson Hammerheads are in trouble.  They took over first place in the East in the middle of last month when the Knoxville Smokies went into a 10-game nosedive.  Now, the Hammerheads are on a skid of their own, and the Smokies are poised to take the lead right back.  After starter Luke Danton continued his uneven performance since coming back from injury, the Hammerheads dropped another game to the Milwaukee Bear Claws, 6-2.  The Hammerheads have now lost seven in a row, and their division lead over Knoville is down to one game.

After the game, Hammerheads manager Lou Hayes held a 20-minute closed-door meeting in which he reportedly excoriated his team for a lack of hustle and a defeatist attitude.  According to team sources, he felt the Hammerheads were down about the trade of popular teammate Eddie Battin and came into Milwaukee expecting to lose, which infuriated him. “Let’s jack it up a little!” Hayes reportedly told his players.  “It’s not your job to make excuses.  That’s all you guys do good!”

It’s unknown whether Hayes has any plans to shake up the team, but with the team looking to slot recently-acquired lefty Yu Chen into the rotation, Danton might be a candidate to be sent to the bullpen.  If Hayes does have any ideas about bumping Danton, the veteran lefty’s performance today would do nothing to dissuade him.  Danton (1-3) was knocked out after 5 1/3 innings, allowing 6 runs and 12 hits and striking out no one.  Bear Claws SS Red Petitt did the most damage against Danton, going 4-for-4 with a triple, a homer, and 4 RBI.

“I’m definitely not pitching like myself,” said Danton.  “I don’t think [the injury] is holding me back physically, but I’ve been a little reluctant to really cut it loose.  But I need to put all that out of my mind and just go out and let it rip.  You can’t pitch scared.”

New Hammerheads pitching coach Eddie Harris reportedly plans to work with Danton, hoping to restore his confidence to pre-injury levels.  He may also try to add a new pitch or two to the lefty’s repertoire.

While Danton struggled, Milwaukee starter “Stormin'” Patrick McNorman (8-1) was on top of his game.  In fact, the only person that could stop McNorman was Mother Nature.  After 5 shutout innings in which McNorman struck out four Jackson hitters, Bear Claws manager Poss Horton decided to remove his starter when the game was delayed by rain for over an hour.

“Just playing it safe,” said Horton.  “Patty wanted to go back out there and I’m sure he could have done it.  But we’ve got a good pen, and why risk something bad happening?  Patty’s been too valuable for us to take chances like that.”

Reliever Chris Karnik followed McNorman and allowed two runs over his 3 2/3 innings, but it was too little, too late for the Hammerheads.

The Bear Claws (44-16) will host the Hammerheads’ rival, the Knoxville Smokies, starting tomorrow.  The Hammerheads (35-24) will try to pull out of their dive against the California Sharks.


6/8/2015, JCK15-MIL15, High Life Stadium
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Hammerheads       0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  1     2 10  0     9  2
2015 Bear Claws        0  0  3  1  0  2  0  0  x     6 13  2     9  1
Hammerheads          AB  R  H BI   AVG    Bear Claws           AB  R  H BI   AVG
Deason            cf  5  0  2  1  .302    Petitt            ss  4  2  4  4  .333
Westerberg        ss  5  0  0  0  .346    Iddings           2b  4  0  2  2  .254
Fleitas           3b  4  1  1  0  .305    Mateo             1b  5  0  0  0  .352
Walcott           dh  4  0  1  1  .250    Suzuki            3b  4  0  1  0  .307
Doyle             c   4  0  1  0  .332    Mealey            lf  4  0  2  0  .308
Righter           2b  3  0  2  0  .341    Raine             dh  4  0  1  0  .228
Wilczynski        1b  3  0  1  0  .269    Trumbauer         rf  4  0  0  0  .249
 Cianciarulo      ph  1  0  0  0  .158    McGuigan          c   4  1  2  0  .264
Johnson           lf  4  1  1  0  .317    Maxwell           cf  2  3  1  0  .311
Arispe            rf  4  0  1  0  .246                         35  6 13  6
                     37  2 10  2
Hammerheads                      INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Danton           L 1-3           5.1 12  6  6  1  0  83  48  5.17
Seeman                           0.2  1  0  0  0  1  10   8  5.19
Turnbull                         1.2  0  0  0  3  0  29  15  3.65
Sircy                            0.1  0  0  0  0  0   3   2  1.64
                                 8.0 13  6  6  4  1 125  73 
Bear Claws                       INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
McNorman         W 8-1           5.0  4  0  0  1  4  65  44  3.21
Karnik           H 3             3.2  5  2  2  0  0  41  31  5.85
Buenaventura                     0.1  1  0  0  0  0   6   5  1.50
                                 9.0 10  2  2  1  4 112  80 
JCK: Cianciarulo batted for Wilczynski in the 9th
E-Suzuki, McGuigan. 2B-Deason(26), Doyle(20). 3B-Fleitas(3), Petitt(2). 
HR-Petitt(8). RBI-Deason(44), Walcott(3), Petitt 4(34), Iddings 2(31). 
K-Westerberg, Fleitas, Johnson, Arispe, Mateo. BB-Righter, Petitt, Iddings, 
Maxwell 2. WP-Turnbull. 
GWRBI: Petitt
Patrick McNorman was removed after a rain delay
Temperature: 61, Field: wet, Sky: threatening, Wind: right to left at 18 MPH, 
Rain Delays: 65 minutes.


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