Results tagged ‘ Joe Filomeno ’

SAL Championship Game 1 Story: Asheville at Hickory

Game Story: Asheville Tourists at Hickory Crawdads (Game 1, SAL Championship)

The Hickory Crawdads never trailed in taking the first game of the best-of-five series by a score of 7-2 over the visiting Asheville Tourists Monday night at L.P. Frans Stadium. Game two of the SAL Championship will take place at Frans with the first pitch at 7 p.m. After a day of Wednesday, the series picks back up Thursday at McCormick Field in Asheville.

The Crawdads are two wins away for their third SAL title in club history, the first since 2004.

What Happened?:

The Crawdads took the lead in the second inning against Helmis Rodriguez when Edwin Garcia and Jairo Beras led off the inning with back-to-back doubles to the left field corner.

Luke Tendler made it 2-0 when he cranked his first homer of the playoffs, a towering shot to right over the billboards.

That was more than enough for Crawdads starter Pedro Payano, who threw a six-hitter over six innings and struck out eight. The right-hander struck out six straight at one point.

Hickory added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth with the key play coming on a defensive miscue. With one out and runners on first and second, Jairo Beras lifted a fly ball to Wes Rogers in deep center. As Tendler tagged and moved to third, the throw to the infield from Rogers was a high-arching throw. Seeing the throw, manager Corey Ragsdale coaching at third waved Tendler around and he scored without a throw home. Eduard Pinto then ripped a double to center to score Edwin Garcia from first and put the Crawdads up 4-0.

In the eighth, Dylan Moore reached on a three-base error when Max White dropped a routine fly ball in left. Jose Trevino singled up the middle through the drawn-in infield to score Moore and then scored on Tendler’s double to center. After Garcia struck out, Jairo Beras drove a triple to center to bring in Tendler for the final run.

Asheville broke through in the ninth when Shane Hoelscher homered to left-center against Dillon Tate. The homer broke a 21-inning shutout streak by Crawdads pitching.

Four-Pitch Pedro:

Payano, the 20-year-old from San Francisco de Macoris, D.R., continued a strong end-of-the season run for the Crawdads and is making a bid for a top-30 prospect spot. Along with catcher Trevino’s pitch selection, the two did a masterful job of mixing speeds and keeping the Tourists hitters off stride much of the night. Payano offered a fastball sitting 91-93 mph to go with a change, his most effective secondary pitch. He also threw a 12-to-6 curve and an occasional slider.

Payano needed 79 pitches to get through six innings, tossing 55 strikes. Of the 55 strikes, 17 missed bats on four different pitches, 15 of those on secondaries (8 CHs, 4 curves, 3 sliders). Both looking Ks came in the second with fastballs on the corner.

“He’s been a special kid ever since he got here,” said Ragsdale. “To be honest, I didn’t know a lot about him when he got here.  He’s exceeded my expectations and has been a real pickup. He’s fit right in with the rest of the starters that have been really good helped us out. He was very good tonight.”

Hustling Pays off:

I’m sure the players hear the same manager-speak about busting tail and I’m sure it gets old as routine play after routine play is made. On Monday, it paid off twice and was and the two plays were the turning points of the game.

On Jairo Beras’ fly ball in the sixth, Tendler sprinted from second to third in such a manner that when Ragsdale from the third-base coaches’ box saw Rogers make the lollipop throw back to the infield, he decided to take a chance to send Tendler.

“Very surprised, it kind of shocked me a little bit,” said Tendler when asked of his reaction at the time. “That was a big run to give us a three-run lead. It was game-changer for us.”

Ragsdale said that with two outs, it was worth taking a shot to get a third run against Helmis Rodriguez and give an additional cushion to the pen. It also seemed to increase the momentum for his team.

“It seemed maybe they got down a little bit and it seemed to pick our spirits up a little bit,” Ragsdale said. “We were able to go on from there and put another good inning together.”

In the eighth, Moore sprinted from the start as his fly ball sailed into medium left field. When White dropped the ball, Moore was already well past second base and easily slid into third. Trevino then worked a 3-1 count before bouncing a Jerad McCrummen fastball into center.

 

Heart of the Order at the Heart of Success:

The number 3-6 hitters reached base eight times with six hits – five for extra bases – with five runs scored and six RBI.

Trevino’s leadoff walk started the sixth inning rally and he singled and scored in the eighth.

Tendler homered in the fourth, walked and scored in the sixth, doubled and scored in the eighth.

Garcia doubled and scored in the second, reached on a fielder’s choice and scored in the sixth.

Beras put up an RBI double to left in the second, an RBI triple to center in the eighth and had the key sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Filomeno Performs Well:

Joe Filomeno’s fastball-slider mix overpowered the Tourists during his two innings. He struck out two in the seventh, missing bats for strike three on a slider and a fastball. The lone hit was a leadoff single in the eighth, a grounder up the middle by Josh Fuentes. A double play followed by Yonathan Daza to end the threat.

Tate mixed reviews:

It was a little surprising to see Dillon Tate pitch with a seven-run lead in the ninth. However, because he had warmed up in the eighth, rather than wasting him on Monday – and likely not have him available for Tuesday – the decision was made to use him.

Forrest Wall started the minor rally for the Tourists in the ninth with a broken bat, bloop single to shallow center. From there, Tate seemed to struggle with fastball command. Hoelscher blasted 96 mph middle and slightly up for a homer just to the left of straight-away center.

An error by Juremi Profar at third extended the inning. After striking out Roberto Ramos, LH hitter Max White turned on a fastball in for a single to right.

Tate’s slider ended the night when Josh Fuentes flied out to center.

 

Defense Saves Tourists Early:

While their defense would let them down late, the Tourists kept the Crawdads at bay early with a couple of nice plays in the field.

With a runner at second with two outs in the first, Tendler smoked a sharp grounder up the middle. SS Luis Jean, playing near the bag to hold the runner Dylan Moore, made a quick pick of a short-hop at the cut of the outfield grass before a strong throw to first completed the out.

In the second with runners at the corner and one out, Ramos handled a one-hopper on the grass from Carlos Arroyo to start a 3-6-3 double play and save a run.

Base running Blunders Costly:

Rogers broke up Payano’s strikeout streak with two outs in the third when he fisted a changeup into shallow left for a hit. He then tried to stretch the play into a double, but was out easily as Eduard Pinto threw a bullet to Moore at second for the tag.

One inning later, Wall and Hoelscher each singled to start the fourth inning. With cleanup hitter Dom Nunez at the plate, Wall took off for third and was cut down easily on Trevino’s throw. The bigger blunder happened when Hoelscher stayed at first on the play. After Nunez struck out, the mistake was magnified when Ramos steered a slow bouncing single through the hole at second – a hit that with two outs would’ve likely scored Hoelscher.

Game Story: Hickory at West Virginia Game 1 SAL Playoffs

The West Virginia Power rallied with three runs in the fifth inning and went on to a 4-2 win over the Hickory Crawdads Wednesday night at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W. Va. With the win, the Power took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three South Atlantic League series.

The series shifts to Hickory’s L.P. Frans Stadium with the Crawdads needing to win game two on Friday night to force game three on Saturday.

What Happened?:

Hickory took a two-run lead after four innings. Jairo Beras slapped an opposite field homer in the second and Carlos Arroyo’s RBI grounder doubled the lead.

However, after Yohander Mendez dominated the Power the first four innings, a sloppy fifth inning was the turning point of the game. With one out, Chase Simpson doubled to left and Taylor Gushue powered a two-run homer to left. The inning continued when Tyler Filliben reached on a throwing error by shortstop Edwin Garcia. Mendez induced Kevin Newman to bounce into a comebacker. But, the potential, inning-ending double play fell apart the Mendez was slow to the bag at second and the Crawdads recorded only one out. Pablo Reyes singled to chase Mendez before reliever Joe Filomeno walked Kevin Kramer to load the bases. Filomeno struck out Michael Suchy, but the third-strike slider bounced away and allowed Suchy to reach and Newman to score the go-ahead run.

After posting seven hits over the first five innings, the Crawdads went into a funk at the plate following the Power’s rally. Three West Virginia pitchers retired the final 13 batters of the game.

The Power added an unearned in the seventh for the final tally of the game.

The Good:

Yohander Mendez plowed through the first four innings with only one hit allowed and struck out five.

Joe Filomeno struck out five over 2 1/3 innings and allowed just the one unearned run in the seventh.

Jeffrey Springs pitched a perfect eighth inning with one strikeout.

Jairo Beras was the lone Crawdads hitter with two hits and doubled in the fourth.

The Not-so-Good:

Missed Opportunities at the plate: The Crawdads put seven runners on over the first five innings and managed just a solo homer and an Arroyo’s RBI groundout after loading the bases with one out. Eric Jenkins doubled with one out in the third, but did not advance further. Jose Trevino doubled with two outs in the fifth and was stranded as Luke Tendler’s drive fell at the warning track.

Missed opportunities in the field: A short-hopped throw to first by Garcia opened the door to the go-ahead run in the fifth. Yet, it was Mendez’s hesitation on a throw to second on what was described on radio as a routine double play ball that proved to be the key. In the seventh, 1B Carlos Arroyo’s throw went behind Filomeno covering first and allowed Pablo Reyes to score from second with two outs.

The Opponents:

Tyler Gushue hit his sixth homer overall this season. Two of those have come against Hickory.

Pablo Reyes and Kevin Kramer each had two hits with a double each. Reyes doubled and scored an insurance run in the seventh. Kramer’s walk in the fifth loaded the bases for Suchy.

Austin Coley walked the tightrope during much of his six innings, but the right hander, who won 16 games during the regular season, minimized the damage during the crucial fourth inning.

Sam Street and Nick Neumann combined for three perfect innings with three strikeouts.

Hickory / West Virginia SAL Playoff & Game 1 Preview

South Atlantic League Playoff Series

Game 1: Hickory Crawdads (81-57) at West Virginia Power (87-52)

Site/ Time: Appalachian Power Park, Charleston, West Virginia

Crawdads Playoff History:  The Crawdads will make their tenth playoff appearance in 23 seasons since joining the South Atlantic League in 1993. It is the first appearance since 2011. This will be the third trip to the playoffs during the seven seasons the Crawdads have been affiliated with the Texas Rangers.

Hickory has won two SAL championships, both coming during the affiliation of the club with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2002 and 2004.  The Crawdads have not won a series since claiming the title in 2004, nor have they won a playoff home game since the clincher of that series.

Power Playoff History: West Virginia has made seven playoffs appearances since staring South Atlantic League play in 1987. The lone SAL title came in 1990 as the Charleston Wheelers – a Reds affiliate – swept the Savannah Cardinals in three straight. This is the fourth playoff appearance under the name of the West Virginia Power (beginning in 2005), the second as a Pirates affiliate (2013), which began in 2009.

Hickory/ West Virginia Playoff History: The Crawdads defeated the Charleston Alley Cats (Blue Jays) in two straight in the first round of the 2004 playoffs. The clincher of the 2004 sweep was the final game played at Watt Powell Park in Charleston.  West Virginia (Brewers) took a 2-1 first-round series win in 2007.

How Hickory Got Here: The Crawdads led the first-half Northern Division chase wire-to-wire, eventually finishing with a 44-24 mark, 7 ½ games ahead of second-place West Virginia.

How West Virginia Got Here: The Power bullied the SAL in the second half and finished 50-20. It was the first time a SAL club had 50 half-season wins since Augusta turned the trick in 2007. West Virginia finished ten games ahead of second-place Delmarva in the second half and 13 games ahead of fourth-place Hickory.

Game 1 Pitching matchup: Hickory-Yohander Mendez (LH, 3-3, 2.44) vs. West Virginia- Austin Coley (RH, 16-6, 3.66)

Hickory Pitching:

Mendez: After pitching in a piggyback arrangement with Ariel Jurado much of the season, Mendez split off on his own late in the season. After allowing more than two runs just once in his first 19 outings, the lefty gave up four in five innings to Greensboro on August 23 and five to Delmarva in 3.1 innings on September 1 to close out the regular season. He gave up one homer in each of those outings, the only long balls he allowed this season. Mendez finished the season with a 2.44 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. SAL hitters batted .230 against Mendez in 2015. His struck out 74 and walked 15 in 66.1 innings. Against West Virginia in 2015, Mendez allowed one unearned run on three hits, two walks and struck out seven in eight innings (two appearances, one start).

Relievers: Scott Williams likely will get the first look for a save situation. The right-hander picked up ten saves in the second half and built a 40-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 31.1 innings in the second half. In three outings vs. the Power in 2015, Williams allowed one run – a homer to Michael Suchy on June 19, on three hits and struck out two over four innings… Joe Filomeno gave up two runs to the Power late in a game on August 16… Shane McCain was roughed up in an outing vs. West Virginia on August 15 (2.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K…Having not pitched since September 2, it would not be unusual to see 2015 first-rounder Dillon Tate get an inning in the middle of the game.  Manager Corey Ragsdale indicated that Tate and Luis Ortiz would be available for action in the series… Adam Dian (5 saves) threw an inning on Monday’s win. He has pitched out of the pen on one day’s rest just once.

West Virginia pitching:

Coley: The 23-year-old right-hander made all 27 starts this season and seemed to finish strong as he allowed one earned run in each of his last four starts (26 innings). Coley has showed good command with 111 Ks to just 25 walks in 147.2 innings. A fly ball pitcher, – He holds a 0.88 GO/AO ratio – Coley is susceptible to the long ball, having allowed a SAL-high 18 this season. The Crawdads touched him up for three in a loss back on August 14. Hickory has had perhaps the best luck against the 16-game winner tagging him for 20 hits over 11 innings in two starts. Among Crawdads hitters, Carlos Arroyo is 4-for-6 this season with a homer and Luke Tendler has doubled and homered in four plate appearances. Jairo Beras went 2-for-2 with a double.

Relievers: Nick Neumann is the Power close with 17 saves in 19 chances. He threw two perfect innings against Hickory this season, both coming in the first half… Other key relievers will likely include Sam Street, Jared Lakind and Julio Vivas. Of the trio, only Lakind (1 IP) has faced Hickory this year.

Hickory lineup:

Late season injuries to Josh Morgan and Michael De Leon put the Crawdads into a mix-and-match mode on the infield. Catcher Jose Trevino and third baseman Juremi Profar are the two likely certainties around the diamond. Ragsdale indicated that Edwin Garcia will likely play short and newcomer Dylan Moore will place second. Carlos Arroyo, who played second most of the season, was stationed at first the final two games of the season and handled the position without a problem. With his output against Coley (4-for-6) this season, and his success against the Power this season Arroyo may get the first look with Chuck Moorman and Jonathan Meyer available off the bench. Arroyo is the lone active Crawdads player to hit over .300 (6-for-15) against the Power in 2015.

In the outfield, the arrival of 2015 second-round Eric Jenkins gives Ragsdale a different wrinkle in the lineup with his speed. He went 7-for-18 during his five-game audition last week and he may well have earned some at bats in the series. The likely lineup will be Luke Tendler in left, Jose Cardona in center and Jairo Beras in right. Tendler ended his season fourth in the SAL in RBI and total bases. Beras had a pair of homers and five RBI during a mid-June series in Charleston. However, he went 0-for-7 against the Power in August. Eduard Pinto may get a look at first on in the DH slot.

Power lineup:

The Power had only 18 position players on their roster this season with eight players taking the field for 99 or more games (Hickory has three in the expected lineup, though Pinto has 98 games). The team finished the season at the top of the SAL with a .269 batting average and a .347 on-base percentage. It’s a team that will play classic National League small-ball (90 sacrifices) to scratch out runs for what has been a shutdown pitching staff. They are very patient at the plate. West Virginia leads the SAL in walks and has the second fewest strikeouts this season.

Behind the plate will likely be Taylor Gushue with Connor Joe – the Pirates No. 29 prospect (mlb.com) at first. Pablo Reyes and 2015 first-round pick Kevin Newman will play second and short respectively. Rounding out the infield at third will likely be Tyler Filliben, who has filled in for the injured Jordan Luplow.

A talented group is stationed in the outfield with SAL all-star Michael Suchy starting in right. Suchy, the fifth-round pick of the Pirates in 2014, finished the season second in the SAL in runs scored and in RBI.

A combination of Tito Polo, Elvis Escobar and Jerrick Suiter split up left and center, with Suiter getting many of the DH starts.  Suiter and Esocbar finished fifth and eighth in the SAL in batting avg. with Escobar third in hits.

Against the Crawdads, Escobar hit .355 (11-for-31) to lead the team among active players. The injured Luplow had two of the five homers struck against Hickory and he is tied with Suchy with five RBI.

Other things to know: This is likely to be a pitching-and-defense series. Hickory and West Virginia finished tied with the fewest errors committed in the SAL and went 1-2 in WHIP. The Crawdads finished second in ERA (3.19) with the Power fourth at 3.38…  Defending bunts had been a downfall for the Crawdads prior to their injuries and against a team that likes small ball, the revamped defensive alignment – especially with the likelihood of inexperience at first – could be a point worth watching… Both teams expect to win when they score first. The Crawdads went 54-14 when scoring first – tops in the SAL – and West Virginia was 59-16, which was second… Hickory has held up well under pressure as it was 71-4 when leading or tied after seven innings. In one-run games, the Crawdads are 27-16 with the Power at 19-22.

Series Preview: Hickory at Greensboro July 4-7

The Hickory Crawdads (48-29 overall, 4-5 second half) make their second of three trips this season to NewBridge Bank to take on the Greensboro Grasshoppers (31-47, 2-7) in a four-game series.

Probables (Hickory/ Greensboro):

Saturday: Yohander Mendez (LH, 0-1, 1.03) vs. Tyler Kolek (RH, 4-4, 4.65)

Sunday: Collin Wiles (RH, 8-3, 2.36) vs. Luis Castillo (RH, 3-3, 3.04)

Monday: Austin Pettibone (RH, 1-1, 3.86) vs. Michael Mader (LH, 3-7, 5.43)

Tuesday: Nick Gardewine (RH, 4-5, 4.20) vs. Ben Holmes (LH, 2-5, 5.25)

Recent Series History:

The Crawdads are 5-1 against Greensboro in 2015, including a 2-1 series win at NewBridge Bank Park. Since the Hickory Crawdads – Texas Rangers affiliation began in 2009, the Grasshoppers (Miami Marlins affiliate) hold a 49-45 advantage. Greensboro is 47-31 against the Crawdads since NewBridge Bank Park opened in 2005.

Entering the Series:

The Crawdads finished a disappointing 4-5 home stand by dropping the final two games to Greenville. The lineup continues to mount inconsistent run-production. During the last 77 innings of the home stand, the Crawdads scored in just 12 of them. The bullpen is still sorting itself out in the wake of promotions and the insertion of two members into the rotation. After opening the season 42-0 when leading or tied after seven innings, Hickory dropped two such games last week, including its first when leading after eight.

Greensboro (18-16 at home) lost the first six straight of the second half before taking two of the last three at Hagerstown (Md.). The Grasshoppers have struggled to score runs, posting 23 in nine games. However in an offensive-friendly ballpark, the Grasshoppers have a .272/.321/.409 slash (.223/.294/.302 road) at NewBridge Park as well as 30 of their team’s 44 homers. For the season, the Grasshoppers have been shut out a South Atlantic League-high 11 times.

Players to watch- Hickory:

SP Yohander Mendez: Gave up his first earned runs of the year in his last start (2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER vs. Lakewood) before a benches-clearing incident abbreviated his turn. Has made only two starts with a high of three innings. Mendez has 40 strikeouts and seven walks in 26.1 innings with only 23 baserunners allowed.

SP Collin Wiles: He continues to knife through South Atlantic League competition. Currently leads the SAL in fewest baserunners allowed (67 in 63.1 innings). He is third in OBA (.225), fourth in WHIP (1.05), and fifth in ERA (2.36). Wiles has not faced the Grasshoppers this season.

RP Ariel Juado: Will pitch on the back end of a piggyback with Mendez for now. He leads the SAL in WHIP (0.94), is third in ERA (2.11) and fifth in OBA (.228). He has 14 Ks in 13 innings versus the Grasshoppers this season.

RP Erik Swanson: For now, it appears that he will get looks to close out games. He earned the save vs. Lakewood on June 29 (2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K), but then gave up a run-tying hit in the ninth inning Thursday vs. Greenville. He went on to strike out four over three scoreless innings.

RP Joe Filomeno: Has also been given key late-game situations during the second half. He gave up three runs on four hits in his first save opportunity on June 27 vs. Lakewood, then threw two scoreless outings (4.1 innings) in the series with Greenville.

2B Carlos Arroyo: Went 0-for-4 in Friday night’s game, but hitting .303/.324/.485 in the second half. He has hits in 14 of his last 19 games, seven of those multi-hit games.

UT Juremi Profar: Currently in the midst of a five-game hitting streak (7-for-19). Crashed his first homer of the season on Friday.

CF Jose Cardona: Is 3 for his last 17, but two of the hits were homers. Cardona is the lone player on the current roster who has homered against the Grasshoppers and is hitting .346 in six games.

Players to watch- Greensboro:

SP Tyler Kolek: The 2014 first-round pick (second overall) of the Marlins is currently the 21st best overall prospect (mlb.com) and the eighth-best RHP. The Marlins have limited him to more than four innings in just seven of 14 starts, though one of those was five shutout innings against Hickory in late April. Has just 40 Ks in 62 innings with 28 walks and 14 wild pitches.

SP Michael Mader: The Marlins third-round selection in 2014 (Chipola College) is the Marlins No. 12 prospect. Mader is third in the SAL with 39 walks in 71.1 innings (15 starts). He walked five and allowed six hits in 3.2 innings during his lone start against Hickory. Mader four-hit Hagerstow over six innings in his last start.

RP Josh Hodges: The closer (7th round, 2009) for the Grasshoppers is second in the SAL in games finished and has ten of the team’s 19 saves. Has posted 42 Ks in 38.1 innings and a 1.17 ERA.

C Arturo Rodriguez: Was the starting catcher for the Northern Division in the SAL all-star game. Hit .406 in April, but just .248 in May and .261 in June. He has just 6 hits in 32 at bats in the second half. Rodriguez blasted two homers against Hickory this season.

SS Justin Twine: The athletic Twine was the second round pick of the Marlins in 2014. A quarterback in high school (had a scholarship to Baylor) and won a gold medal in long jump in the Texas state championship. The Marlins 11th best prospect (mlb.com) is looking to transfer his athleticism to the baseball field. Currently carrying a .186/ .211/.277 slash, Twine is 5-for-25 against Hickory with a double and a triple, but with 10 Ks

LF Austen Smith: Started in the SAL All-Star Game is second in the league with 12 homers and fifth in slugging (.481). Smith is batting .207 (6-for-29) in nine games to start the second half.

RF John Norwood: Is 9-of-20 in his last five games.

Game story: Greenville at Hickory July 3

The Greenville (S.C.) Drive took advantage of three unearned runs – two of those in the seventh – to edge the Hickory Crawdads 4-3 in front of a sellout crowd of 4,623 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium on Friday.

The win by the Drive (43-36 overall, 5-4 second half) forged a split with the Crawdads by winning the final two games of the series.

Hickory (48-29) ended its second-half, opening homestand at 4-5. They travel to Greensboro Saturday to start a four-game road series before a five-game series in Lakewood, N.J.

 

What Happened?:

The Drive put up a run just three batters into the games. Yoan Moncada led off the game with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Bethea.

A botched pickoff contributed to Greenville’s second run in the second. After Mike Meyers singled and moved to second on Brett Martin’s wild pitch, a subsequent pickoff throw sailed into center to put Meyers at third. From there, Meyers scored on Bryan Hudson’s grounder to short.

The Crawdads cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third when Jose Cardona smacked his eighth home run of the season.

Later in the third, Josh Morgan and Jonathan Meyer each singled before Luke Tendler doubled in Morgan to tie the game.

It appeared in the fourth that in-climate weather might become an issue and the Crawdads took a step to claim a win just in case of a rain-shortened contest. Juremi Profar drilled a first-pitch fastball from Jalen Beeks over the wall in left to put Hickory on top 3-2.

The rain eventually stopped in the fifth and Martin settled in on the mound. He retired 12 in a row at one point and faced the minimum of 15 hitters over a five-inning stretch.

But the game fell apart for the Crawdads in the seventh. It started ominously as Martin walked Bethea on four pitches. The final pitch was in question as it appeared that home plate umpire Kyle Wallace had called time before ball four was delivered. But the pitch stood and Bethea went to first.

Nick Longhi botched a sacrifice bunt to force Bethea, but moved to second on Jonathan Meyer’s passed ball. The game changed with Martin struck out Meyers on a breaking ball in the dirt. The catcher Meyer missed tagging Meyers on the dropped third strike, and then on the ensuing throw to first airmailed the ball down the line in right. Longhi scored from second and Meyers wound up at third.

Martin got Carlos Mesa to ground out to first for the second out to hold the runner. Joe Filomeno was brought in to face Hudson, who greeted Filomeno with a run-scoring single that broke the tie.

The Crawdads last opportunity in the ninth came when Jairo Beras doubled and moved to third on a grounder. But Jamie Callahan got Profar to fly to right to end the game. He completed the three-inning save (1) in relief of Jalen Beeks (7-4), who threw the first six innings.

The Good:

Brett Martin: Had a rough start with his change as he left a 1-2 offering up that Moncada sent out for the triple. Left another one up to Meyers – again on 1-2 – that went for a single, which came back to bite him in a run scored.

Otherwise, it was the second-straight start in which Martin averaged around 11 pitches per innings. In his previous start last Saturday against Lakewood, Martin needed only 54 pitches to complete five innings. Friday night, he needed only 60 to get through six innings and with a quick seventh could have gone out for the eighth. However, his four-pitch walk likely squashed that idea.

Martin finished with 75 pitches (55 strikes), throwing first-pitch strikes to 16 of 24 hitters. His fastball ran in the 92-94 range. The opening inning aside, his change and a curveball in the 80-82 range contributed to quick outs on grounders. He had single-digit pitch totals of 10 or fewer in five of his seven innings.

Joe Filomeno: After a couple of liners to end the seventh, settled down to retire six of the last seven batters he faced. The lefty throws a lively 92-94 mph fastball that gets onto hitters quick, thought it can be straight . But it was the slider that missed bats on Friday (at least four in the last two innings).

Jose Cardona and Juremi Profar: Both mashed pitches that should be mashed. Cardona ripped a high change out of the park while Profar crushed a first-pitch fastball down the middle.

Josh Morgan: Back on track after an 0-for-5 night Thursday. Stayed with a change from Beeks for a bloop single in the third . Then added a sharp one-hopper to third on a fastball in the eighth for a single.

The Not-So-Good:

The offense: Has lost its way in manufacturing runs as of late. In the 40 innings vs. Greenville, the Crawdads scored only seven of them – three of those home run innings. Hickory had nine hits, but scored only three.

Jonathan Meyer: A tough night for the recent, free-agent signee, who is catching his first games as a pro this week. A wild pitch by Martin in the second likely should have been stopped as the short hop hit the glove. But his passed ball and throwing error on a dropped third strike in the seventh were huge.

It appeared that he panicked on the throwing play. Having collected the curveball in the dirt on the strikeout, Meyer tried to tag Meyers out of the box but missed the runner. Meyer quickly checked the runner at second before rushing his throw to first which went into the right-field corner.

The Opposition:

Jamie Callahan: The second-round pick of the Red Sox in 2012 (Dillon High, S.C.) showed a hammer of a 12-6 curveball (two Ks with it in the seventh) to go with a 93-95 heater. Jairo Beras squared up a fastball for a double just after Tendler lined one hard to right.

Yoan Moncada: Went 2-for-13 in the series – one of those hits a bloop single – with three strikeouts. Lined Martin’s high changeup to deep center and showed a good burst of speed to leg out the triple. None of the scouts I talked with were enamored with him. Other than maybe the speed on the triple and the ensuring run on the sac fly, there was nothing I saw that made me say, “I want to spend $31.5 million on him.” But he’s 20 and is still feeling his way in this country. There is a solid build in the 6-3, 205-pound (seems low) physique.

Game Story: Lakewood at Hickory June 27

The Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws scored four runs over the final two innings to claim a 6-3 win over the Hickory Crawdads Saturday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The win for the BlueClaws (35-36 overall, 1-2 second half) was the second straight in the five-game series and dealt the first lost of the season to the Crawdads (45-26, 1-2) when they led or were tied after seven innings. Hickory was 40-0 when leading after seven.

What Happened?:
The Crawdads scored all of their runs during two-out rallies. In the first, Eduard Pinto singled and Jose Trevino doubled before Jonathan Meyer singled in both.

After Emmanuel Marrero cut it to 2-1 in the third with his first pro homer, Hickory added a run in the fourth when Jairo Beras walked with two outs and scored on Carlos Arroyo’s triple.

Lakewood made it 3-2 in the fifth. Cord Sandberg reached on a bloop single to left, moved to second on a wild pitch, to third on a deep fly to right, and then scored when Joel Fisher lined a single to center.

The decisive rally came in the eighth against Crawdads reliever Joe Filomeno. With one out, Gustavo Martinez legged out an infield hit to short. Marrero sneaked a grounder just inside the bag at third for a double. Filomeno held runners at second and third when he struck out Drew Stankiewicz, but both scored as Scott Kingery ripped a double between third baseman Josh Morgan and the bag. Kingery then scored on Herlis Rodriguez’s double off the wall in right-center.

Lakewood’s final run in the ninth came when Kyle Martin homered to right against reliever Erik Swanson.

The Good:

Brett Martin: Arguably his best start of the season. The homer he served up was a curveball down that Marrero went down to get. Threw 40 strikes out of 54 pitches, using mostly a fastball (89-92) –slider mix. He fanned two in the first – both on sliders – and two more in the second, one swinging on a slider, the other a fastball looking. Was definitely an outing to build upon.

Chris Dula: After giving runs in five straight outings and six out of seven, Dula kept the sinker (93-96) down for three groundballs – two for outs, the third an infield hit.

Jose Cardona: Went 2-for-4 with a double, lining a pair of fastballs for hits, including a 95 mph heater for a double.

Rock Shoulders: Went 0-4, but crushed the ball three times, only to see them die at the wall. Just not his night.

Josh Morgan: Had one hit – a dribbler up the middle in the fifth – but had two other hard hit liners that left fielder Cord Sandberg snagged. Like Rock Shoulders…

The Not-So-Good:

Joe Filomeno: Given the first chance to close out a tight game after the bullpen rearrangement, he had a tough night. Fastball was lively sitting around 93, but breaking balls were not close enough to the plate to entice swings, or sharp enough to miss bats when swung at. Kingery and Rodriguez both sat on first-pitch fastballs for back-to-back doubles that accounted for three runs. He struck out two in the inning, but needed eight pitches each to do so.

Late innings slump: Put only three runners aboard over the final four innings. Had only one runner in the same span in the previous game.

The Opposition:

Kyle Martin: The Phillies fourth-round 2015 pick out of South Carolina hit his first pro homer in the ninth.

Manny Martinez: After Cardona slammed a fastball off the wall in the seventh, Martinez went predominantly to his curve to retire Michael De Leon on a grounder to first and Morgan on a popup to first.

Austin Smith: The left-handed reliever threw an explosive mid-90s fastball to strike out two, the second against Jairo Beras, who froze on a 91 mph heater on the inside corner.

Series Preview: Lakewood at Hickory June 25-29

The second half of the South Atlantic League’s 2015 season begins after a three-day break for the all-star game. Hickory will host the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws for five games at L.P. Frans Stadium, the only series of the year between the two teams at L.P. Frans. Hickory will travel to Lakewood a total of three times this season.

Probables (Lakewood/ Hickory):

Thursday: Tyler Viza (RH, 4-2, 3.69 ERA) and Nick Gardewine (RH, 4-5, 3.73)

Friday: Ranfi Casimiro (RH, 2-5, 3.64) and Cody Buckel (RH, 0-1, 1.77)

Saturday: Chris Oliver (RH, 3-5, 4.12) and Brett Martin (LH, 3-2, 2.83)

Sunday: Elniery Garcia (LH, 4-6, 3.77) and Yohander Mendez (LH, 0-0, 0.00) / Ariel Jurado (RH, 9-0, 2.07)

Monday: Yoel Macias (LH, 0-1, 6.00) and Collin Wiles (RH, 7-3, 2.13)

Recent Series:

The Crawdads and BlueClaws split four games at Lakewood early in June. Since the Crawdads became a Texas Rangers affiliate in 2009, Hickory holds a 31-25 advantage overall, including a 12-9 mark at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Entering the Series:

Hickory (44-24) closed out the first half with a 3-2 road trip to Rome (Ga.) and West Virginia to finish 7 ½ games ahead of the second place Power. The Crawdads have the fifth-best record out of 120 full-season minor league teams. Hickory went 24-10 at home in the first half.

Lakewood (33-35) lost seven in a row – six of those at home – in the final days of the first half. However, the BlueClaws played a spoiler role on Sunday when they defeated Greenville (S.C.) to knock the Drive out of the Southern Division title chase. Lakewood finished in fifth place in the Northern Division, 11 games in back of Hickory. The BlueClaws are 18-15 on the road.

Players to watch – Hickory:

RF Jairo Beras: After struggling to a .204/.271/.241 slash through June 7, the lanky 20-year-old has begun to see pitches – especially breaking pitches – better as of late. He had at least one hit in eight of the last ten games – four of those multi-hit games – with three homers, a double, nine RBI and ten runs scored. His slash for June: .308/.373/.538.

SP Yohander Mendez: Made his first start of the season during the Crawdads last home stand against Savannah on June 14 (3 IP, 2 H, 4 K). He was a starter for Hickory in 2014, but missed much of the year with shoulder/ oblique issues. Mendez has yet to allow an earned run in 24.1 innings with 37 strikeouts to only 17 base runners allowed. SAL hitters are batting just .110 against Mendez.

SP Ariel Jurado: Will pitch on the back half of a tandem with Mendez for now. He adjusted well to his first non-starting role with Mendez against Savannah and allowed one run on four hits and struck out five in five innings. Jurado has 54 strikeouts to only seven walks in 61 innings.

OF Luke Tendler: After a nearly two-month drought in homers, Tendler jumped a first-pitch fastball for a two-run shot in the all-star game on Tuesday.  Had at least one hit in five of his last seven games to close out the first half.

RP Joe Filomeno: With the Crawdads missing their top three relievers (John Fasola, Adam Parks, David Perez) to promotions, Filomeno might be the one to look to at the back end of games. He has thrown six straight scoreless appearances (8.1 innings) with nine strikeouts.

RP Shane McCain: Assigned to Hickory from high-A High Desert, he signed with the Rangers as a non-drafted free agent in 2014 out of Troy (AL) Univ. Although he posted a 0.50 GO/AO ratio, he survived the pinball-machine like atmosphere of High Desert, giving up a reasonable four homers in 19 innings. However, control was an issue, as he gave up 13 in 32.1, including six in 2.2 innings on June 8. McCain gave up 12 earned runs on 16 hits over a stretch of four appearances from May 27 to June 13.

3B Juremi Profar: Played infrequently at High Desert (13 games) and will likely fill the utility role vacated by the departure of Isiah Kiner-Falefa

3B Jonathan Meyer: Was a former third-round pick of the Astros out of Simi Valley (CA) High in 2009. Meyer played in the Texas League All-Star game in 2013 while with AA Corpus Christi. Made it to AAA Oklahoma City in 2014, but was released after the season. Will likely spell Rock Shoulders at first.

Players to watch- Lakewood:

SP Yoel Macias: Currently ranked by mlb.com as the Phillies No. 19 prospect, he is still recovering from “Tommy John” surgery late in 2013. Made four appearances with high-A Clearwater before returning to the BlueClaws for a third straight season.

SP Chris Oliver: Currently ranked by mlb.com as the Phillies No. 20 prospect. The Austin, Tex native was the fourth round pick of the Phillies out of the Univ. of Arkansas in 2014. Has walked 26 in 59 innings over 11 starts.

SP Elniery Garcia: Ranked as the 27th best prospect in the Phillies chain by mlb.com. The SAL hitters are batting .293 against Garcia, who has walked 20 over 62 innings in 11 starts.

RP Joey DeNato: The 19th round pick (2014) by the Phillies out of Indiana, DeNato pitched in the SAL all-star game. Has a 0.89 WHIP and a .196 OBA in 22 outings. Is a strikeout machine with 34 Ks in 32.2innings.

CF Herlis Rodriguez: Was named the SAL hitter of the week last week when he put together a slash line of .407/.484/.741 in nine games. His .479 slugging pct. is sixth in the league while his .309 average is eighth.

2B Scott Kingery: The Phillies second round pick earlier this month out of Arizona will make his pro debut with the BlueClaws. He was the Pac-12 batting champion this season.

1B Kyle Martin: The Phillies 14th round pick in the first-year-player draft this June will make his pro debut this weekend. The native of Simpsonville, SC attended the Univ. of South Carolina.

Game Story: Savannah at Hickory June 12

In a see-saw affair, the Savannah Sand Gnats continually answered the Crawdads throughout the night and took an 8-6 win at L.P. Frans on Friday night.

Savannah (34-27) won its tenth in a row and stayed tied with Greenville (S.C.) atop the South Atlantic League’s Southern Division chase. The Drive defeated Rome 10-8.

Despite the loss, the Crawdads (38-22) held onto a 4 ½ game lead over West Virginia, as the Power dropped a 5-4 decision at home to Augusta.

What Happened?:

The Crawdads scored twice in the first to take the early lead against starter Scarlyn Reyes. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Josh Morgan both walked. After Eduard Pinto’s bounce out moved them up 90 feet, Jose Trevino hit a dribbler up the first base line that Reyes ran past as he attempted to cover first. Kiner-Falefa scored on the play with Morgan going to third. A walk to Marcus Greene reloaded the bases with one out before Jairo Beras’ grounder to third scored Morgan.

However, in what turned out to be the theme for the night, Savannah answered in the next half inning. In the second, against starter Nick Gardewine John Leroux singled and scored on John Mora’s triple. One out later, Thomas Nido slapped a liner to left to score Mora.

Nick Gardewine delivers a pitch Friday night vs. Savannah (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

Nick Gardewine delivers a pitch Friday night vs. Savannah (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

The Sand Gnats retook the lead in the third as Jonathan Johnson (3-5) tripled just under the glove of Tripp Martin at first and scored on a single by Luis Guillorme (2-4).

Trevino’s homer (8) in the third tied it at three, but an error on a pickoff attempt at second by Gardewine lead to a run as J.C. Rodriguez scored from third on a ball in the dirt when Thomas Nido struck out.

Jose Trevino crushed his 8th homer of the season for Hickory (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

Jose Trevino crushed his 8th homer of the season for Hickory (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

Hickory again tied it in the fourth when Tripp Martin (2-4) doubled and was joined on the bases after Jose Cardona was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch advanced both the runners and Martin scored on Kiner-Falefa’s fielder’s choice However, the promising inning ended with Cardona was thrown out at third on the play.

With Kelvin Vasquez replacing Gardewine in the fifth, a passed ball by Greene led to a run in the fifth for Savannah as, Wuilmer Becerra scored on Leroux’s single to make it 5-4.

The Crawdads took what turned out to be their last lead of the night in the sixth when Martin crushed a hanging curveball for a two-run homer (8).

The Sand Gnats answered for the last time in the seventh. Johnson crushed a Vasquez (3-2) fastball over the fence in right for his second homer of the season. After Guillorme singled hard to left, Becerra smacked a two-run shot (8) to right for what turned out to be the final margin.

Paul Paez gave up one hit over two relief innings and Jimmy Duff retired the side on ten pitches in the ninth for his fifth save.

The Good:

*Jose Trevino continued a solid homestand with an RBI single and a homer. He’s now hit in six straight (8-for-22) with three extra-base hits, three runs scored and seven RBI. Trevino’s locked in on the fastball at the moment, and for the most part seeing breaking balls well by either letting them go, or spoiling them.

**Tripp Martin took out the first curveball of the game from Reyes in the sixth – a hanger that gave the Crawdads their last lead of the game at 6-5. He also drove a fastball up and away to the wall in right-center field and was robbed of a hit earlier in the second.

Tripp Martin doubled and smacked a 2-run HR (8) on Friday (Photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt

Tripp Martin doubled and smacked a 2-run HR (8) on Friday (Photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

**Joe Filomeno retired all nine batters he faced over the final three innings. Showed a good sinking fastball (91-93) with a slider that had some bite and a change that stayed down. Recorded five groundouts and K’d two.

Joe Filomeno delivers a pitch vs. Savannah on Friday (Photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

Joe Filomeno delivers a pitch vs. Savannah on Friday (Photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

** Eduard Pinto did his job and it saved a run in the first. Johnson stole third with relative ease. When the throw from catcher Marcus Greene went into left, Pinto had already charged in from left to back up the play. The throw went straight the Pinto in shallow left and Johnson had to hold at third.

The Not-So-Good:

**One of the uglier games the Crawdads have played in awhile. Had Reyes on the ropes early, but let him off the hook. Played a bit loose on the bases and got burned. Gave away bases. Unable to hold leads, etc. etc. The post-game locker room was not a happy place following.

**Base running miscues took the Crawdads out of a potential big inning in the fourth With one out and a runner on second and third. Kiner-Falefa hit a roller into the hole at short. Martin easily scored from third, but with no play at first, Guillorme was able to catch Cardona – who had the play in front of him – trying to advance to third. Kiner-Falefa was then caught trying to advance to second on a pitch in the dirt that stayed within a couple of feet of the catcher Thomas Nido, who collected the easy out at second. Pinto singled with two outs in the seventh, but was easily picked off by lefty reliever Paul Paez. It turned out to be the last hope for the ‘Dads in the game.

**Jairo Beras, who was solidly on the ball all night Thursday, was anything but on Friday. Of his three Ks, two came on sliders and the final one was looking at an 89 mph fastball down the middle.

**Nick Gardewine had little consistency with his breaking pitches and paid the price as the Sand Gnats hitters waited for a fastball they could handle and slapped it around the field. Gardewine gave up nine hits, seven on fastballs.

** Kelvin Vasquez had a good slider at times and gassed his fastball 95-97 during his two-plus innings. But the fastball had little movement and so the two homers in the decisive seventh came on 97 and 96 mph pitches down the pike.

**The Crawdads made Reyes throw 30 pitches in the first and loaded the bases twice. They picked up two in the inning, but it seemed like more should’ve been scored. It turned out to be an ancillary theme to the anti-shutdown thread from the pitching staff this evening. It felt like the Crawdads had a chance to blow the game open early, yet didn’t.

The Opposition:

**He’s old (26) for this league, but to his credit, Jonathan Johnson is doing what he should do against younger, more inexperienced pitchers, and that’s smack the ball around the field (.333/.430/.474). Has a short stroke that can irritate a pitcher as he did in the first when the lefty slapped a up-and -away fastball to left. He barreled up a couple of fastballs for XBHs, including Vasquez’s 97 offering that went well into the night.

**Patrick Biondi made one of the better catches in center at LP. Frans by a player not named Brinson or McCutchen that I’ve seen in 11 seasons. Tracking a sharp, slicing liner from Martin in the second, he made a sprint to his left and then pulled off a full extension dive with the glove making the catch just above the grass.

** Savannah didn’t exactly play textbook baseball either. Reyes ran over (literally over) Trevino’s dribbler to cover first. Meanwhile, the first baseman Leroux was already at first awaiting a play. On another play, Guillorme got caught off first on a routine fly to center in the third.