Results tagged ‘ Kole Enright ’

Series Preview: Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies at Hickory Crawdads July 4-7

Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies (New York Mets) (31-49 overall, 7-7 second half, third place South Atlantic League Southern Division)

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (58-25 overall, 10-4 second half, tied for first place South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads and Fireflies play a four-game series at L.P. Frans Stadium.

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

WHERE IS IT?: 2500 Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:

Thursday: Columbia at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Independence Day Fireworks

Friday: Columbia at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Post-game Fireworks, 80s Night

Saturday: Columbia at Hickory: 7:00 p.m. Space Night (50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing), Catawba Science Center Night

Sunday: Columbia at Hickory, 5:00 p.m. Llamas de Hickory night, Church Bulletin Sunday (bring a church bulletin for a $6 ticket with $4 going back to the respective church), Hospitality Night (hospitality/ service industry workers receive a free ticket with ID), Mother/ Son Date Night

TICKETS: $9 tickets in advance, $10 at the gate. Children (12 and under) and seniors $8, $15 for VIP section.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

 

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:

Hickory took three of four at Columbia last weekend and is 6-2 overall against the Fireflies this year. The Crawdads had much of a four-game series cancelled at L.P. Frans Stadium last month, due to heavy rains. Hickory won the only completed game of the series.

Over the three-plus seasons since the Fireflies relocation to Columbia from Savannah (Ga.) prior to the 2016 campaign, the Crawdads are 21-11 overall, but just 8-6 at home.

Since 2009, when Crawdads-Texas Rangers affiliation began, Hickory is 49-36 overall in the series, 23-17 at L.P. Frans.

PROBABLES (Columbia/ Hickory)

Thursday:  RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (1-8, 5.12 ERA) vs. RHP Yerry Rodriguez (7-3, 2.13 ERA)

Friday: RHP Willy Taveras (4-7, 5.60) vs. RHP Hans Crouse (2-0, 2.82)

Saturday: RHP Jose Butto (3-7, 3.84) vs. RHP Ronny Henriquez (3-4, 3.50)

Sunday: RHP Christian James (2-7, 4.44) vs. RHP Cole Winn (1-3, 6.15)

 

ABOUT HICKORY

The Crawdads return home from a weeklong homestand after positing a 4-3 mark. However, they lost just their second series on the road when West Virginia claimed the rubber game of a three-game series on Wednesday.

Hickory is 25-13 at home after winning 10 of 12 at L.P. Frans in June and 14 of 17 overall.

 

Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)

Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):

RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 63 in top-100)

RHP Cole Winn No. 2 (No. 65 in top-100)

IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18

3B Sherten Apostel No. 22

RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 30

Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley (.226/.353/.298) or Melvin Novoa (.301/.376/.504); 1B Tyreque Reed (.286/.435/.600); 2B Jax Biggers (.274/.347/.369); 3B Sherten Apostel (.249/.329/.446); SS Jonathan Ornelas (.262/.325/.403); LF: Kole Enright (.250/.330/.464); CF: Miguel Aparicio (.263/.319/.434); RF: Pedro Gonzalez (.245/.304/.466)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Miguel Aparicio – Tied for 3rd triples (5), tied for 3rd sac hits (7)

Sherten Apostel – Tied for 8th home runs (12)

Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 4th home runs (14), 8th slugging pct. (.466)

Matt Whatley – Tied for 2nd walks, 8th stolen bases (19)

 

Individual pitching:

Grant Anderson – Tied for 7th saves (5).

Tim Brennan – Tied for 2nd wins (7), 3rd WHIP (0.96)

Yerry Rodriguez – 1st WHIP (0.92), 1st OBA (.175), tied for 2nd wins (7), 3rd ERA (2.13), 8th opponent’s batting avg. (.197)

 

Team Batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.247 (2nd)/ .320 (6th)/ .421 (1st)/ .741 (1st).

Other key rankings: 1st home runs, 2nd fewest strikeouts, 3rd total bases, 3rd runs, 11th walks, 12th doubles

Team Pitching: Fewest hit batters, 2nd ERA (3.22), 2nd fewest hits, 2nd fewest runs, 2nd fewest earned runs, 2nd fewest walks, 3rd WHIP (1.17),

 

ABOUT COLUMBIA:

The Fireflies bounced back after losing last weekend’s series and took two of three from in-state rival Greenville, including a 9-2 rout Wednesday night to cap their homestand. After a SAL-worst 10-19 record on the road in the first half, split four at Asheville to open the second half before winning two of three at Southern Division and defending SAL champs Lexington (Ky.).

Manager: Pedro Lopez (2nd season)

Prospects – Columbia (rankings by MLB.com):

SS Ronny Mauricio – No. 2 (No. 82 in top 100)

3B Mark Vientos – No. 4

2B Shervyen Newton – No. 5

RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson – No. 7

LHP Thomas Szapucki – No. 8

RHP Christian James – No. 24

Possible Lineups: C: Juan Uriarte (.195/.236/.299) or Hayden Senger (.251/.345/.394); 1B: Chase Chambers (.263/.324/.344) or Brian Sharp (.203/.280/.363); 2B: Shervyer Newton (.186/.267/.271) or Walter Rasquin (.148/.222/.200); 3B: Mark Vientos (.260/.309/.396); SS: Ronny Mauricio (.289/.326/.385); LF: Wagner Lagrange (.272/.314/.413); CF: Gerson Molina (.234/.331/.379); RF: Brian Sharp, Walter Rasquin or Zach Rheams (.231/.298/.346)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Ronny Mauricio – 3rd hits

Hayden Senger – Tied for 6th hit by pitch

Brian Sharp – Tied for 10th strikeouts

Individual pitching:  

Jose Butto – Tied for 5th losses (7)

Christian James – Tied for 5th losses (7)

Willy Taveras – 1st home runs allowed (15), tied for 5th losses (7), 7th runs allowed, tied for 7th earned runs allowed, tied for 8th runs allowed

Simeon Woods Richardson – Tied for 1st losses (8)

Team batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS): .229 (12th) / .296 (13th)/ .337 (13th)/ .633 (13th).

Other key rankings: 3rd fewest strikeouts, 12th home runs, 13th runs, 13th doubles, 13th total bases, last hits, last walks, last steals

Team pitching: 3rd runs allowed, 4th hits allowed, 11th walks allowed, 12th ERA (4.21), 12th WHIP (1.33), 13th Ks.

 

Series Preview: Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs at Hickory Crawdads June 20-23

Charleston RiverDogs (New York Yankees) (37-33, third place, South Atlantic League Southern Division)

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (41-25, third place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Hickory Crawdads start the second half of the season with a four-game series at L.P. Frans against the Charleston RiverDogs.

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

WHERE IS IT?: 2500 Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:

Thursday: Charleston at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Thirsty Thursday, Riverdale Night (Dress as your favorite character and receive a ticket for $6)

Friday: Charleston at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Postgame Fireworks, Disney Night featuring Elegance Princesses (VIP Meet and Greet tickets for $10)

Saturday: Charleston at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Jon Reep Night, T-Shirt Giveaway (first 1,000 fans), Black’s Tire Customer Appreciation Night

Sunday: Charleston at Hickory, 5:00 p.m. Church Bulletin Sunday (Bring a church bulletin to the ticket office and receive a $6 ticket with $4 from each ticket donated back to the respective church), Hospitality Night (free ticket to hospitality/ service industry workers with valid work ID).

TICKETS: $9 tickets in advance, $10 at the gate. Children (12 and under) and seniors $8, $15 for VIP section.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

 

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:

Hickory took 2 of 3 from the RiverDogs during a home series back in May. The Crawdads are 33-25 against the Yankees affiliate at home since 2009, 59-50 overall.

 

PROBABLES (Charleston/ Hickory)

Thursday: RHP Harold Cortijo vs. RHP Tyree Thompson

Friday: RHP Luis Medina vs. LHP Tim Brennan

Saturday:  TBD vs. RHP Yerry Rodriguez

Sunday: TBD vs. LHP Grant Wolfram/ RHP Hans Crouse

 

ABOUT HICKORY

The Crawdads finished off a solid first half with a four-game split at Delmarva (Md.) to cap a 4-3 road trip. Hickory wound up in third place in the Northern Division, but had the third-best record overall in the SAL.

Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)

Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):

RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 64 in top-100)

RHP Cole Winn No. 2 (No. 66 in top-100)

IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18

3B Sherten Apostel No. 22

RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 30

Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley (.213/.314/.262) or Melvin Novoa (.274/.343/.442); 1B Curtis Terry (.268/.333/.570); 2B Frainyer Chavez (.239/.320/.256); 3B Sherten Apostel (.251/.332/.441); SS Jonathan Ornelas (.263/.330/.403); LF: Kole Enright (.297/.366/.486); CF: Miguel Aparicio (.263/.323/.425) RF: Pedro Gonzalez (.254/.316/.478)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Pedro Gonzalez – tied for 5th homers (12), 9th slugging pct. (.478)

Curtis Terry – 1st doubles (24), 2nd total bases, tied for 2nd home runs (15), 3rd RBI (47), 4th slugging pct. (.570), 4th OPS (.904)

Matt Whatley –10th stolen bases (14)

Individual pitching:

Grant Anderson T-5th saves (5)

Tim Brennan – 4th WHIP (0.97)

Yerry Rodriguez – 3rd ERA (2.00), tied for 4th wins (6), 5th WHIP (1.00)

Team Batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.245 (3rd)/ .314 (8th)/ .412 (2nd)/ .727 (2nd).

Other key rankings: 1st home runs, 2nd total bases, 3rd runs, 12th doubles, 12th walks, 12th strikeouts

Team Pitching:

4th WHIP (1.20), 5th ERA (3.46), fewest hit batters, 3rd fewest runs allowed, 4th fewest earned runs allowed.

ABOUT CHARLESTON:

The RiverDogs dropped six of their final 10 games in the first half, which dropped them out of the South Division title. Charleston wound up in third, but a half-game behind Lexington (Ky.), the defending SAL champions.

Manager: Julio Mosquera (2nd season)

Prospects – Charleston (rankings by MLB.com):

C Anthony Seigler No. 6

RHP Roansy Contreras No. 10

RHP Luis Gil No. 13

RHP Luis Medina No. 14

RHP Tanner Myatt No. 27

RHP Harold Cortijo No. 29

Possible Lineups: C: Anthony Siegler (.368/.520/.474) or Eduardo Navas (.139/.248/.157); 1B: Mickey Gasper (.257/.364/.425); 2B: Kyle Gray (.239/.329/.397); 3B: Max Burt (.248/.298/.394); SS: Eduardo Torrealba (.251/.329/.287); LF: Canaan Smith (.309/.399/.498); CF: Brandon Lockridge (.251/.316/.461); RF: Frederick Cuevas (.234/.296/.363)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Kyle Gray – Tied for 4th triples (4), tied for 9th strikeouts

Brandon Lockeridge – 3rd total bases, tied for 5th runs scored, tied for 9th hits, tied for 9th home runs (10), tied for 10th RBI (34)

Tied for 3rd doubles (21)

Canaan Smith – 3rd on-base pct. (.399), tied for 4th walks, 697 OPS (.897), 7th batting avg. (.309), 8th slugging pct. (.498), tied for 9th doubles (16)

Individual pitching:

Luis Gil – 1st ERA (1.81), tied for 3rd strikeouts

Luis Medina – 1st walks, 9th earned runs allowed

Team batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS): .240 (6th) / .318 (6th)/ .377 (4th)/ .695 (4th).

Other key rankings: 2nd strikeouts, tied for 2nd hits, 4th doubles, 4th HRs, 4th total bases, 5th runs,

Team pitching:

Fewest HRs allowed (31), 4th strikeouts, 5th WHIP (1.21), 9th ERA (3.63)

 

Series Preview: Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies at Hickory Crawdads June 6-9

Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies (New York Mets) (23-35, seventh place, South Atlantic League Southern Division)

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (37-22, third place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)

The Crawdads will wrap up the home portion of the season’s first half with four games against the Fireflies.

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

WHERE IS IT?: 2500 Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:

Thursday: Columbia at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Thirsty Thursday, 50th anniversary of Woodstock

Friday: Columbia at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Llamas de Hickory night, Post-game fireworks, Catawba Science Center Night

Saturday: Columbia at Hickory: 6:30 p.m. Llamas de Hickory night, Conrad Riding a Llama Bobblehead giveaway (first 1,000 fans)

Sunday: Columbia at Hickory, 3:00 p.m. Llamas de Hickory night, Church Bulletin Sunday (bring a church bulletin for a $6 ticket with $4 going back to the respective church), Father’s Day Celebration, Hospitality Night (hospitality/ service industry workers receive a free ticket with ID).

TICKETS: $9 tickets in advance, $10 at the gate. Children (12 and under) and seniors $8, $15 for VIP section.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

 

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:

Hickory won two of the three games against the Fireflies this season at Columbia back in April.

Over the three-plays seasons since the Fireflies relocation to Columbia in 2016, the Crawdads are 17-11 overall, but are just 7-6 at home. Last year, Hickory held a 4-3 edge in the season series which included a 2-1 series win at L.P. Frans.

 

PROBABLES (Columbia/ Hickory)

Thursday:  RHP Colin Holderman vs. RHP Tim Brennan

Friday: RHP Christian James vs. RHP Yerry Rodriguez

Saturday: RHP Jose Butto vs. RHP Grant Wolfram

Sunday: RHP Simeon Woods Richardson vs. RHP Cole Winn

ABOUT HICKORY

After taking two of three from West Virginia to open the homestand, the Crawdads will close out the home portion of the first half and face elimination from the first-half Northern Division race. Hickory’s elimination number is four. The Crawdads are 18-12 at home this season.

Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)

Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):

RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 69 in top-100)

RHP Cole Winn No. 2 (No. 71 in top-100)

IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18

3B Sherten Apostel No. 22

RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 30

Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley (.226/.329/.280) or Melvin Novoa (.256/.330/.372); 1B Curtis Terry (.270/.329/.583); 2B Frainyer Chavez (.228/.311/.247) or Jax Biggers (.174/.269/.217); 3B Sherten Apostel (.237/.306/.412); SS Jonathan Ornelas (.283/.355/.439); LF: Pedro Gonzalez (.263/.312/.474) or Kole Enright (.389/.421/.722; CF: Miguel Aparicio (.263/.320/.442); RF: Jose Almonte (.178/.225/.306)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Miguel Aparicio – Tied for 10th triples (3)

Frainyer Chavez – Tied for 9th caught stealing (5)

Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 6th homers (10), tied for 10th triples (3)

Curtis Terry – 1st total bases, tied for 1st doubles (21), tied for 2nd home runs (15), 2nd RBI (46), 3rd slugging pct. (.583), 4th OPS (.912), tied for 8th runs.

Matt Whatley – Tied for 8th walks, tied for 10th stolen bases (13)

 

Individual pitching:

Grant Anderson – Tied for 4th saves (5), tied for 6th wins (5), tied for 6th games pitched (19).

Tim Brennan – Tied for 6th wins (5),

Yerry Rodriguez – 6th ERA (2.20), tied for 6th wins (5), 8th opponent’s batting avg. (.197), 10th WHIP (1.02)

Nick Snyder – Tied for 10th saves (4)

 

Team Batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.248 (3rd)/ .314 (7th)/ .420 (1st)/ .734 (3rd).

Other key rankings: 1st home runs, 1st total bases, 2nd hits, 3rd runs, T-3rd triples, 3rd stolen bases, 11th walks

Team Pitching:

Tied for 2nd fewest hit batters, 3rd WHIP (1.18), 3rd fewest runs allowed, 5th ERA (3.40),

WHO’S HOT

Hitting (Last 10 games): Curtis Terry (.333/.400/.778/1.178, 5 HR, 8 RBI); Kole Enright (.389/.421/.722/.1.143); Sherten Apostel (.211/.300/.639/.939 3 2B, 4 HR, 3 BB)

Pitching (last 30 days): Abdiel Mendoza (7 games, 1.29 ERA, 21 IP, 14 H, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 HB, 5 BB, 20 K, 0.90 WHIP, .203 OBA); Yerry Rodriguez (5 starts, 28 IP, 16 H, 8 ER, 2.57 ERA, 12 BB, 39 K, 1.00 WHIP, .163 OBA); Kelvin Rodriguez (6 games, 1.23 ERA, 14.2 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 HB, 5 BB, 16 K, 1.02 WHIP, .204 OBA)

 

ABOUT COLUMBIA:

The Fireflies take a quick road trip up to Hickory four for games before returning home for the final seven games of the first half. Columbia won both games of a shortened series against Rome (Ga.) and claimed wins in three of the last four. The Fireflies are 10-18 on the road. Though they are in last place, Columbia is still officially alive for the first-half Southern Division title, but the elimination number is three.

Manager: Pedro Lopez (2nd season)

Prospects – Columbia (rankings by MLB.com):

SS Ronny Mauricio – No. 2

3B Mark Vientos – No. 3

2B Shervyen Newton – No. 4

RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson – No. 6

LHP Thomas Szapicki – No. 8

RHP Christian James – No. 24

Possible Lineups: C: Juan Uriarte (.203/.246/.305) or Hayden Senger (.184/.301/.263); 1B: Chase Chambers (.274/.331/.398); 2B: Shervyer Newton (.205/.281/.311); 3B: Mark Vientos (.249/.297/.386); SS: Ronny Mauricio (.284/.327/.355); LF: Wagner Lagrange (.263/.318/.401); CF: Hansel Moreno (.283/.368/.500); RF: Gerson Molina (.217/.330/.373)

SAL Rankings:

Individual Batting:

Ronny Mauricio – Tied for 6th hits, tied for 6th caught stealing

Brian Sharp – 7th strikeouts

Individual pitching:

Jose Butto – 1st losses (7)

Simeon Woods Richardson – Tied for 2nd losses (6)

Willy Taveras – Tied for 2nd home runs allowed (10), tied for 6th losses (5), tied for 7th innings

Team batting:

Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS): .220 (last) / .289 (last)/ .323 (13th)/ .612 (13th).

Other key rankings: Tied for 11th home runs (29), 13th runs scored, 13th total bases, last hits, last doubles, last walks, last strikeouts, last steals (20)

Team pitching: 2nd fewest walks, 4th runs allowed, 5th hits allowed, 8th WHIP (1.27), 10th ERA (3.98), 13th Ks.

WHO’S HOT

Hitting (Last 10 games): Shervyen Newton (.343/.410/.514/.925, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 BB); Hansel Moreno (.250/.308/.500/.808, 2 HR, 5 RBI)

 

Late Rally for Crawdads Douse Fireflies

The Hickory Crawdads rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth Thursday night to defeat the Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies 4-3 in the first of a four-game, weekend series in the South Atlantic League.

The Crawdads (38-22) won their second straight and are now 3-1 during the final homestand of the first half. Despite the win, the first-half, Northern Division title hopes continued to fade as Delmarva (Md.) took a 3-2 win in extra innings over in-state rival Hagerstown. Hickory remains 7.5 games out with ten to play and the elimination number dropped to three.

Ronny Mauricio, who plagued Hickory throughout the night, capped a 3-for-4 night with his second home run of the season in the eighth to put the Fireflies up 3-2.

Facing reliever Jose Moreno (2-2), the Crawdads got even when Sherten Apostel hit a high, arching shot just over the fence in right for his eighth of the season to tie the game. Moreno then hit Pedro Gonzalez with a pitch before Matt Whatley joined Gonzalez on the bases with a single.

Melvin Novoa was given the task to advance the runners on a bunt, but fell into a 1-2 hole, with the second pitch hitting his hand on the bat as he tried to avoid a pitch up and in. Novoa hit the next pitch down the line and off the wall in the left-field corner for a double that scored Gonzalez to end the game.

Pitching by both sides dominated much of the game, although Columbia had a quick spurt at the start. Mauricio pulled a 1-2 pitch into the right-field corner for a double and went to third when Pedro Gonzalez bobbled the play. Hansel Moreno cashed in the unearned run with a sacrifice fly to left.

From there, Crawdads starter Tim Brennan retired the next 13 in a row. The right-hander allowed struck out six and allowed five hits over 6.2 innings.

Columbia starter Thomas Szapucki worked around a bases-loaded jam in the first. Kole Enright singled before Miguel Aparicio and Apostel each walked. A quick mound visit settled Szapucki, who then struck out Gonzalez and induced Whatley to hit into a double play.

Colin Holderman took over in the third and Hickory put up single runs the next two innings. Enright and Aparicio singled to place runners on the corners before Apostel’s sacrifice fly brought in Enright.

The Crawdads manufactured a run to take a 2-1 lead and it started with a walk to Whatley. The Crawdads catcher stole his 14th base of the season before moving to third on a wild pitch. Jose Almonte’s single put the Crawdads ahead.

Columbia got even in the sixth with Mauricio against playing a role. With one out, he split the gap in left-center for a double and scored on Hansel Moreno’s single.

Brennan ran into trouble in the seventh, as Columbia threatened to take the lead. After two outs, Brian Sharp and Hayden Senger each singled, which ended Brennan’s night.

Kelvin Gonzalez was brought in, and after three straight balls to Taylor Lane, a grounder to third put down the threat.

Other than Mauricio’s homer, Kelvin Gonzalez held the Fireflies to just a walk and struck out two over 2.1 innings for the win (2-0).

Tyree Ties Up Shorebirds: Hickory wins 5-1.

Tyree Thompson pitched a masterpiece, Sam Huff and Kole Enright supported him at the plate as the Hickory Crawdads defeated the Delmarva (Md.) Shorebirds 5-1 at L.P. Frans Stadium Tuesday night.

The win was the second straight by Hickory (16-24) to open the four-game series, which continues Wednesday night at 6 p.m. Delmarva (26-17) lost its third straight game and has dropped six of the last eight overall. The Shorebirds now trail first-place Kannapolis by two games in the first-half Northern Division standings.

It was the Tyree Thompson show from the start as the right-hander kept the Shorebirds off balance throughout the game. The New Orleans native allowed just six baserunners over a pro career high of 7.1 innings and struck out three.

Meanwhile, the Crawdads, led by Huff and Enright, supplied the runs Thompson (2-3) needed early. Facing starter D.L. Hall, Austin O’Banion doubled and scored when Huff also doubled off the left field wall. In the fourth, Huff doubled with two outs and Enright swatted his third homer of the season to left-center to make it 3-0.

Franklin Rollin’s speed played a large part for a run in the seventh. He reached on an infield hit, stole second and moved to third on an error from where Tyreque Reed doubled him in.

The right-hander was economical all-night, needing just 65 pitches to get through seven innings. No Shorebirds hitter saw more than four pitches in a plate appearance before the game reached one out in the eighth. That batter, Arlington (Tex.) native Jaylen Ferguson, lined a 3-2 pitch over the fence in left for his first homer in the second game since joining the Shorebirds. After Thompson walked Kirvit Moesquit, the Crawdads brought in reliever Alex Speas, who recorded the final two outs.

Hickory added a run on a bases-loaded walk in the eighth. Speas returned with a dominant ninth, striking out the final two batters of the game for his fourth save of the season.

 

More on Tyree Thompson:

When the Shorebirds Moesquit hit the second pitch of the game, a middle-in fastball, hard to Reed at first, it looked ominous. As it turned out, it was the last hard-hit ball by the Shorebirds against Thompson until Jean Carrillo lined out to center in the fifth.

Thompson’s fastball started the night topping at 93 mph, but he stayed around 89-91 much of the night and spotted it well. It was the second strong start in a row for the 20-year-old – he allowed one run on four hits and three walks over six innings last week against Rome (Ga.)  – which he said has been the result of a mechanical adjustment.

“I’m just tweaking some simple things with my hands, as far as movement,” Thompson said. “It helped me as far as conviction wise and command wise to be able to throw the ball wherever I want.”

That command was with three pitches: the fastball, change and an occasional curve. Thompson broke his first curveball off to strike out Trevor Craport in the second. After a walk and an error put two on in the second, Thompson got Carrillo to bounce a changeup into a force play.

The changeup got a lot of play by Thompson and it was largely responsible for the ten groundball outs recorded.

Overall, Thompson threw 53 strikes out of 82 pitches, starting 17 of the 28 hitters with first-pitch strikes.

“They’re a good hitting team,” said Thompson of the plan of attack. “But once you get ahead early in the count, they’re protecting. My strength is getting ahead of batters and getting them out in four pitches or less.”

A couple of defensive plays aided Thompson’s gem. In the first, Thompson tried to make a backhand stab of a comebacker. The ball deflected to the first-base side of second, where shortstop Cristian Inoa made a quick charge of the play and threw to first for the out.  Playing center on Wednesday, Rollin saved a hit in the fifth with a full-out dive and catch to his left.

The defensive plays along with the early runs boosted Thompson’s confidence.

“If I get a run ahead, that’s a plus for me because I know what kind of pitcher I am, and I know my strengths. When I get a run ahead, it makes me compete more, knowing my defense is behind me. I throw strikes and do what I have to do, knowing my defense will make plays.”

Tyree Thompson

Tyree Thompson allowed a run on three hits over 7.1 innings vs. Delmarva on Tuesday (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

 

The game’s turning point:

D.L. Hall, the Baltimore Orioles No. 4 prospect, had spotty control early, but got into a groove into the third. Gassing around 94-95 with increasing command of the changeup, Hall had retired eight in a row after Huff’s RBI double in the second. He was ready to make it nine with two outs in the fourth and Huff back at the plate.

The Shorebirds went after Huff in the second with three straight secondary pitches, the third of which was a hanging curve that Huff roped off the wall. So in the fourth, Hall came with two straight fastballs that put Huff in an 0-2 hole. A third fastball missed just inside and before Hall went back to two straight changeups. Huff spoiled both.

The final pitch of the AB was a 93 mph just off the plate – too close to take – that Huff not only spoiled, but got enough of the pitch off the end of the bat to bounce the ball past first for a double.

Enright followed with a homer on a 2-0 fastball and that turned out to be the game.

 

Alex Speas ninth:

The dude was gassing.

After a 4-3 grounder, Speas made Ryan Ripken uncomfortable in the box. A 98 mph heater had the left-handed hitting Ripken stepping towards first on a swing-and-miss. Ripken flicked a second 98 into the stands. Expecting another heater, Speas fooled him with an 89 slider that closed into the hitter’s hands. A half-hearted swing completed the strikeout.

Then to Ben Breazeale: 99, 99, 99, 100, 98, 98.

Ball game.

Crawdads Cap Tough Month with a Walk-off Win

On the brink of another loss to Delmarva (Md.) to end a dreadful homestand on the final game of a tough month, the Hickory Crawdads on Sunday erased a five-run deficit over the final three innings, which was capped by a wild pitch that scored a runner from second base to end a three-run, ninth-inning rally and beat the Shorebirds 7-6 at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The win for Hickory (8-14) ended both its four-game losing streak and the Shorebirds (16-8) four-game winning streak. The Crawdads also avoided the first sweep by the Shorebirds at L.P. Frans Stadium since July 2008.

The walk-off win was the first by Hickory since defeating the Shorebirds on July 9, 2017 on a solo homer by Blaine Prescott. It was also the first walk-off win by a wild pitch for Hickory since May 23, 2013 when the Crawdads capped a five-run 12th innings as Jordan Akins scored against Kannapolis.

The Crawdads entered the game with a total of six runs over the first five meetings with Delmarva and it looked like they would be snake bit again. After Seamus Curran put Delmarva ahead with a two-run single in the third, the Crawdads cut the deficit in half when Melvin Novoa doubled in Miguel Aparicio. Novoa went to third on the throw home and it appeared he would score the tying run when Sam Huff lined a single up the middle. However, Huff’s liner struck the base umpire and Novoa was sent back to third. Yohel Pozo then fouled out to right to end the inning.

Delmarva’s 2-1 lead increased by four in the seventh when the Shorebirds put the first four on base against reliever Dario Beltre. Jean Carrillo homered, Branden Becker and TJ Nichting both singled and scored on Mason McCoy’s triple. Josh Advocate entered and struck out the first two he faced before Will Robertson lined an RBI double to make it 6-1.

Hickory cut the lead by a run in the seventh but missed a chance for more after loading the bases with one out. The Crawdads settled for an Eric Jenkins RBI grounder.

In the eighth, Scott Burke walked Novoa and Huff to open the inning. Both runners advanced on Pozo’s deep fly to right and scored when Tyler Ratliff got enough on a soft liner to left for a single. Reliever Alex Katz entered and induced Kole Enright to ground into a double play.

The Shorebirds had a chance to increase the 6-4 lead in the ninth as they worked two walks and a hit batter. However, Grant Zawadzki started a 1-6-3 double play during the inning and he struck out Ryen Ripken to get through unscathed.

Delmarva entered the game statistically as the best defensive team in the South Atlantic League but it was its defense that played a hand in the decisive ninth. With one out, Yonny Hernandez and Jenkins walked. Aparicio chopped a bouncer back to Katz on what appeared to be a game-inning double play. Katz initially dropped the ball but recovered and threw to second on time only to have the shortstop McCoy drop the ball allowing Jenkins to reach to load the bases.

Reed Hayes was brought in to face Novoa, who lined a hard single to left to bring in Hernandez and Jenkins to tie the game. On the play, Delmarva missed a chance for an out as when the throw from left fielder Zach Jarrett skipped away past home, Novoa was caught between first and second as Aparicio remained at second on the overthrow. A throw to first from Hayes, who had backed up the play, was in plenty of time to get Novoa, but Ripken never turned to apply the tag as Novoa sneaked by.

With Huff at the plate, a wild pitch by Hayes skipped away from the catcher Carrillo. With the runners taking off, Novoa was caught in a rundown on his way to second. Though he was tagged out after the fourth throw of the play, Novoa stayed in the rundown long enough to allow Aparicio to sprint from second to home to score the winning run.

 

Novoa’s day: The 21-year-old returned behind the plate for the first time since taking a pitch off the right knee in a game against Greensboro on Wednesday. He certainly played a big part of the outcome on Sunday in the batter’s box and defensively.

Novoa went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a walk. (The one out was a hard liner to short.) He had two of the four hits allowed by Hall, including a run-scoring hit in the third.

“He’s a good pitcher,” said Novoa. “But when I go up to home plate and I make good contact I can have a good moment. I want to help my team for at bat and every pitch. It was a good moment for the team and we want it to continue.”

Novoa threw out McCoy attempting to steal in the fifth, the fifth runner nailed out of six trying to steal this season. Manager Matt Hagen said that Novoa blocked seven balls in the dirt as well.

On the game’s final play, Novoa said, “When I got into the rundown, I think I was able to cause some confusion and Miguel was able to score and win the game. “

Trusting the Process: The Development of a Low-A Hitter

After a brutal season-opening road trip that saw the team score 10 runs in six games, the Hickory Crawdads scored four runs in the first on the way to a 6-2 victory over the West Virginia Power Thursday night. It was the team’s initial win of the season.

The Crawdads came home holding up the bottom of the South Atlantic League in most offensive statistics. The .182/.239/.251 slash was easily the worst in the league in all three categories. Yet, in talking with the coaches, the collective feeling is that the team performed well overall and they were in a period where they couldn’t catch a break.

As one looks at where the team is at the plate, the big picture of how they will perform ultimately at the plate is still coming into focus and it will develop over a longer period of time than a week. The bad start perhaps has skewed perception of what this team will be eventually. Put the slump in the middle of July and the average fan will shake it off as a bad week. Yet, we see the numbers what they are and panic.

Fans must remember that class Low-A is a laboratory of minor league baseball. The guys have showed potential at rookie and short-season level – that’s why they are even at Hickory – but now the real work begins: the process of becoming a professional hitter.

I took some time Thursday to talk with Crawdads hitting coach Chase Lambin about the mindset of the hitters coming off the road trip and about “The Process” of learning about hitting at a professional level.

 

I know it’s a long season and I know this isn’t the way you wanted to start, but you and I talked prior to this, that it was a little bit of a perfect storm with Delmarva (Md.) throwing some guys, the cold weather, etc. Take me through the week of your hitters and the mindset of where they are at the moment.

Lambin: Yeah, it was tough. It’s challenging for them and it’s even challenging for us as a staff. Through it, it was remarkable to see the resilience the guys had and how their work didn’t change and how their attitude didn’t change.

We had some meetings where guys said powerful things and every day the energy in the dugout and the clubhouse was strong. It’s a resilient bunch, but it’s a young bunch. So. They’re going to have their bumps, especially early. Maybe, we didn’t expect it to be this early and this big of a bump, but it’s part of it and part of the process. It’s part of what the maturation process is about and learning how to handle adversity and especially in an environment they’ve never been in.

 

You guys always talk about “the process”. Jose Jaimes (Crawdads pitching coach) will talk about “the process” and (Crawdads manager Matt) Hagen, and so on. What is the biggest part, as far as your hitters, of getting them to understand the process of getting from here to the next level and on up to Arlington, or wherever they are going?

Lambin: It’s understanding the routine, understanding their body, understanding their mind and all those things have to come together. If one is missing, you’re going to struggle. You’ve got to know what you’re doing before the game. You’ve got to have a plan in your approach when you go to the plate. You’ve got to understand your movements. It takes time to learn those things.

They’ve all been successful at lower levels, but that level doesn’t ask you to do as much. Each level you go up has new challenges where you have to be a little more dialed in with each one of those things. That’s what they’re doing. They’re young. They’re 18, 19-years-old and they’re trying to figure out themselves and their approach and their plan, and they will because they’re tremendous athletes.

 

What’s the biggest hurdle in getting them to trust that process?

Lambin: The adversity that baseball puts on them, and the doubts and fears and anxiety that the game puts in your mind. I mean the game is a great equalizer and it will challenge you and it will rip your guts out and make you feel miserable. So, how do you take that pain and turn that into good?

On the other side of pain is growth. That pain is a part of it, like you’re being hardened from the inside-out. You have to explain it like, “I don’t want you to struggle, but this is a part of it and it’s better now than in Arlington.”

This is what you have to do and the game will expose you. It’s exposing some of them that they don’t have a clear plan. They don’t have a clear approach. They don’t trust the routine. They don’t understand their swing. This will show you that you need to make these adjustments because until then, if they’re batting .330 every year, they’ll be like, “This coach doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

 

Who is the person right now – and I get it, it’s six games in – that has the best understanding of where they are in that process?

Lambin: That’s a good question. There are some cerebral guys that are good thinkers. (Kole) Enright has been pretty good in the conversations I’ve had with him mid-game. Pedro Gonzalez is a sharp tack. He talks through what he’s feeling, what he’s seeing from the pitcher and what he going to do in the next at-bat. Chad Smith is another smart one. Justin Jacobs and (Ryan) Dorow are the college kind of veterans. They are the guys that are lower end on talent but they’re higher end on approach and plan and the mental toughness. So, combining all those together, they each have their shortcomings, but they’re all getting better.

 

Who is the person right that you think in the long run will get through that process? Maybe they don’t understand right now, but you talk to them and you see – maybe it’s not the ability necessarily – but you see they’ll have a chance to work through that?

Lambin: I think Pedro is a combination of talent and the mind and the deliberate work ethic. He asks questions and he’s hungry to learn and he’s humble enough to know that he needs to learn.

Some of these guys are so talented that that humility hasn’t hit yet. This six-game losing streak and batting .180 will give you some of that humble pie. Pedro stands out for me. (Miguel) Aparicio’s got a really good feel for hitting. (Yohel) Pozo is a tremendous, instinctual hitter. He’s still learning the thought process that goes behind it, but he’s the type that is just going to hit and hit and hit. He’s an unbelievable barrel finder.

There’s a lot of guys on this team. For me, my job is not to pick who’s going to be a big leaguer. Some are more advanced that others, but my job is to teach them up to be big leaguers.

 

What’s the biggest hurdle for you as a coach to help them get over that?

Lambin: Building trust as a coach is always difficult. I feel like that’s one of my strong suits. I teach with empathy and kindness and service, and I’m not a dictator.

I get with them on their level. I understand the struggles they’re in, I’ve been through it. I’ve been down that road and back 100 times. This game has ripped my guts out. So, I get on their level and I let them know this is going to be hard, but I also know how to work. I show them how to get after it and to have clarity and to have the right intentions with their work and in their process. In doing so, they start to listen to me more.

It’s challenging because they’re still young and their retention level. They may understand it for one day, but to get them to understand it the next day, it’s like they forgot everything when they fell asleep. It’s like a blank slate again the next day. It’s like, “Man, I need you to remember what I told you yesterday.” But at this level, you’ve got to tell them over and over again.”

 

Is there a point as a coach were you guys as coaches step back and let the failure be a part of the process? You see what they’re doing and let them get the golden sombrero.

Lambin: Failure is a gift. It’s part of being a baseball player. It’s going through the failure and rebuilding, fail, rebuild. The way you’re rebuilding your mind, and then your body and your routine.

Yeah, it’s hard, because I want them all to go bat .330 from start to finish and have a great year. But, the reality of it is that you sometimes have got to let them – it’s just like a young kid learning how to walk. If you’ve never let them fall, then they’ll never learn how to walk. You got to let them fall like a parent would let a child fall. They’re like my children in that sometimes I want to make it easy on them and make the fall stop, but sometimes pain is a great teacher. Nobody wants to go to its class, but pain will let you know.

It’s hard on me sometimes, because every time they get out, I feel it in my heart. It hurts me, but I want to grow and get better, too.

 

Melvin Novoa

Melvin Nova strokes a double during the Crawdads 6-2 win over West Virginia Thursday night (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

Series Preview: West Virginia at Hickory April 12-15

West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates) (3-4, Tied for 4th SAL North) at Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (0-6, 7th SAL North)

The Hickory Crawdads start the 2018 home scheduled with a four-game series against the Power, who are making their first road trip of the season.

 

If You Plan to Go:

GAME TIMES: Thursday and Friday, 7:00 p.m., Saturday, 6:00 p.m., Sunday, 3:00 p.m.

 

Promotions:

Thursday – Thirsty Thursday, Fill the Frans Night (If the Crawdads have 4,000 in attendance all fans receive a free ticket to another game.), Magnet Schedules to first 1,000 fans.

Friday – Post-game Fireworks

Saturday – Texas Rangers night, Poster Schedules to first 1,000 fans

Sunday – Jackie Robinson Day, Church Bulletin Sunday (Bring church bulletin for a $6 ticket, $4 goes back to the bulletin’s organization), Fun in the Sunday

 

TICKETS: $9 dollars for regular seats, $14 for VIP section.

 

Where is it?: Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

 

PARKING: All parking is $3.

 

CONCESSIONS: L.P. Frans Stadium has two main concession areas plus the Crawdads Café. The concession stands have your basic ballpark food: Hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwich, BBQ, etc. Here is that menu http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20130627&content_id=51970362&sid=t448&vkey=team4

The Crawdad Café has a menu that features more diverse items, including the Mac & Crawdog, Banana Foster Bites, Fried Pickles, Sloppy Burger, and more. Click here for the menu http://www.milb.com/documents/3/3/4/185907334/cafe_menu_6eeko6n2.pdf

 

Probables (West Virginia / Hickory):

Thursday: RHP Travis MacGregor vs. TBA

Friday: RHP Gavin Wallace vs. RHP Jean Casanova

Saturday: RHP Evan Piechota vs. A.J. Alexy

Sunday: TBA vs. Reid Anderson

 

Recent Series History:

The Crawdads were 3-7 against the Power in 2017, with West Virginia sweeping Hickory in the only three games played at L.P. Frans. Hickory has not won a home series against the Power since 2014, which is also the last time it won a season-series. West Virginia is 17-9 against the Crawdads the last three years, 4-9 at Hickory. Both teams switched affiliates prior to the start of the 2009 season – the Pirates moved from Hickory to West Virginia and the Rangers aligned with Hickory. Since those partnerships began, the Crawdads own a 44-40 edge in the series, 22-20 at home. The clubs faced each other in the 2015 SAL Northern Division Playoffs when Hickory took 2-of-3 en route to the championship

 

About the Crawdads:

The 2018 season started about as poorly as could be imagined. Hickory was swept in three games at Greensboro and then suffered the same fate at Delmarva (Md.)…The bats have shoulder much of the blame, putting up ten runs in the six games. Among the 14-team South Atlantic League, Hickory is last in batting avg. (.182) on-base percentage (.239), slugging pct. (.251), runs scored (the next team has double the number of runs), hits, total bases and walks … On the mound, the Crawdads have held their own. The 4.13 ERA is 11th in the SAL, but the Crawdads have allowed the fewest hits in the league and have surrendered just two homers…Defensively, Hickory has committed just four errors, three of those on either pickoffs or a catcher’s interference. Behind the plate, catchers have nailed half the runners (4 of 8) trying to steal with Melvin Nova catching all three of the attempted base-stealers.

 

Prospects to watch- Hickory (rankings are by MLB.com):

CF Pedro Gonzalez (No. 10): 2018 stats: 4-for-20, two-run HR, 2 steals, 11 Ks. Came to the Rangers in a trade for C Jonathan Lucory. Originally signed with Rockies in 2015. Native of Santo Domingo, D.R.

RHP AJ Alexy (No. 17): 2018 stats: 1 start, 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K. Joined the Crawdads after a trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers. Originally 11th round pick of Dodgers out of Twin Valley HS, Elverson, Pa.

RF Miguel Aparicio (No. 18): 2018 stats: 5-for-21, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 1 BB. Signed with the Rangers in 2015. Native of San Carlos, Venezuela.

RHP Alex Speas (No. 23): 2018 stats: 2 games (both in relief), 2.1 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 3 K. Second round pick of Rangers in 2016 out of McEachern HS (Powder Springs, GA).

C-1B Sam Huff (No. 25): 2018 stats 2-for-17, solo HR, 6 K. Seventh round pick of Rangers in 2016 out of Arcadia HS (Phoenix, Ariz.).

 

Others to watch – Hickory:

RHP Alex Eubanks: 2018 states: 1 game (start), 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 7 K. Was 14th-round pick 2017 out of Clemson. Native of Duncan, S.C.

RHP Jean Casanova: 2018 stats: 1 game (relief), 2 IP, 1 K. Was 35th-round pick by the Rangers in 2016 out of Waukeegan (Ill.) High. Born in the Dominican Republic but moved to the states in fifth grade.

RHP Reid Anderson: 2018 stats: 2 games (1 start), 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R (unearned), 2 BB, 4 K, OBA .158, 0.83 WHIP. Was 17th round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Millersville Univ. Native of New Egypt, N.J.

OF Eric Jenkins: 2018 stats: 5-for-24, 1 BB, 9 K, 2 steals in 4 attempts. Native of Cerro Gordo, N.C. Was the 2nd-round pick of the Rangers in 2015 out of West Columbus High.

2B Kole Enright: 2018 stats: 3-for-15, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 SB. Is the lone Crawdads everyday hitter slugging over .350.

 

About the Power:

Managed by Wyatt Toregas in his second season (72-71). The Power opened the season with a weeklong homestand. Split a four-game series with the defending SAL champs Greenville (S.C.) before they dropped the final two of a three-game series against Lakewood (N.J.)…Not to the extent of the Crawdads, but West Virginia has also struggled at the plate, posting a .211/.304/.417. The Power is 12th in batting avg. and 11th in OBP. They are tied for the SAL-lead with Lexington (Ky.) with 8 HRs, but all of them came during a three-game stretch when the Power scored 26 of their 34 runs… The Power has struggled on the mound with a 5.21 team ERA and a 1.61 WHIP, both of which are next to last in the SAL. They have given up 71 hits in seven games, and the defense has contributed to 13 unearned runs already.

 

Prospects to watch – West Virginia:

CF Lolo Sanchez (No. 10): 2018 stats: 6-for-26, 3 doubles, 1 HR, 3 BB, 10 K. Native of Santo Dominguez, D.R. Was signed as an international free agent in 2015.

SS Oneil Cruz (No. 14): 2018 stats: 2-for-21, 1 HR, 4 BB, 12 K, Native of Nizao, D.R, Originally signed as an international free agent by the L.A. Dodgers in 2015. Traded to the Pirates last summer for former Crawdads LHP Tony Watson.

LF Calvin Mitchell (No. 16): 2018 stats: 6-for-22, 2 triples, 1 HR, 4 BB, 3 K. Native of San Diego, Calif. Was second-round pick of the Pirates in 2017 out of Rancho Bernardo HS.

RHP Travis MacGregor (No. 25): 2018 stats: 1 game (start), 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 12 K. Native of Tarpon Springs, Fla. Was second-round pick of the Pirates in 2016 out of East Lake HS.

1B Mason Martin (No. 26): 2018 stats: 5-for-20, 2 doubles, 2 HRs, 5 BB, 9 K. Native of Kennewick, Wash. Was 17th-round pick of the Pirates in 2017 out of Southridge HS. Was Gulf Coast League MVP in 2017.

LHP Braeden Ogle (No. 29): 2018 stats: 1 game (start), 3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 HR, 4 BB, 4 K. Was fourth-round pick of the Pirates in 2016 out of Jensen Beach HS (Fla.)

 

Others to watch – West Virginia:

RHP Gavin Wallace: 2018 stats: 1 games (start), 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R (3 ER), 2 BB. 4 K. Native of Staten Island, N.Y. Was 15th-round pick of the Pirates in 2017 out of Fairfield Univ.

RHP Evan Piechota: 2018 stats: 1 game (start), 5 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 7 K. Native of Livonia, Mich. Signed with the Pirates as a non-drafted free agent in 2016. Pitched in college at Madonna Univ. (Mich.)

 

Series Preview Hickory at Delmarva April 9-11

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (0-3) at Delmarva Shorebirds (Baltimore Orioles) (4-0)

The Crawdads play the second series of a two-city, season-opening road trip with three games at Arthur W. Purdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md.

If you plan to go:

GAME TIMES: Games Monday and Tuesday are at 7:05 p.m., then Wednesday morning at 10:35 a.m. All games are streamed live on the web through milb.com or the Delmarva Shorebirds website.

TICKETS: Ticket prices range from $8-$13 in advance, $1 more on game day. Upper reserved are $2 on Monday.

PARKING: Parking at the ballpark is $4.

CONCESSIONS: Purdue Stadium offers standard ballpark fare (hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, etc. The Bird’s Eye Café has BBQ sandwiches, crab dip and shrimp salad. The Angus Stand serves Angus Burgers, BBQ sandwiches and steak subs. Vegetarian, gluten-free options are also available.

Where is it?:

From Salisbury, take U.S. 50 east towards Ocean City. Turn right onto Hobbs Rd.

 

Probables (Hickory/Delmarva):

Monday: RHP Reid Anderson vs. LHP Zac Lowther

Tuesday: RHP Tyree Thompson vs. LHP DL Hall

Wednesday: RHP Tyler Phillips vs. RHP Michael Baumann

 

Recent Series History:

Hickory took the 2017 season-series 7-4, which included a 4-3 advantage at Purdue Stadium. During the Crawdads affiliation with the Rangers, Hickory is 72-45 overall, 33-26 at Delmarva. The Crawdads have lost one season series to Delmarva since 2009. Oddly that came in 2015, the season Hickory won the SAL title.

 

Entering the series:

While Hickory was swept by Greensboro in a rain-shortened, three-game series over the weekend, Delmarva punished Asheville in a four-game sweep by a 40-17 margin. The 40 runs are the most scored by a SAL team over the weekend while the Crawdads scored a SAL- low of 7. Four of the seven runs by Hickory came on homers.

 

Prospects to watch- Hickory:

CF Pedro Gonzalez (No. 10): 2018 stats: 4-for-12, two-run HR, 7 Ks. Came to the Rangers in a trade for C Jonathan Lucory. Originally signed with Rockies in 2015. Native of Santo Domingo, D.R.

RHP AJ Alexy (No. 17): 2018 stats: 1 start, 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K. Joined the Crawdads after a trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers. Originally 11th round pick of Dodgers out of Twin Valley HS, Elverson, Pa.

RF Miguel Aparicio (No. 18): 2018 stats: 4-for-14, 2 K. Signed with the Rangers in 2015. Native of San Carlos, Venezuela.

RHP Alex Speas (No. 23): 2018 stats: 1 game, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 K. Second round pick of Rangers in 2016 out of McEachern HS (Powder Springs, GA).

C-1B Sam Huff (No. 25): 2018 stats 1-for-7, 1 HR, 2 K. Seventh round pick of Rangers in 2016 out of Arcadia HS (Phoenix, Ariz.).

 

Others to watch – Hickory:

RHP Tyler Phillips: 2018 stats: 1 start, 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER,l 2 BB, 4 K. Native of Lumberton, N.J. 16th round pick in 2015 by the Rangers out of Bishop Eustace, Pennsauken , N.J.

C/1B Yohel Pozo: 2018 stats: 3-for-12, 2B, 2 K. Native of Maracaibo, Venz.

LF Eric Jenkins: 2018 stats: 4-for-12, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 SB. Second round pick of the Rangers out of West Columbus HS, Cerro Gordo, N.C.

2B Kole Enright: 2018 stats: 3-for-10, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2K. Third-round pick of the Rangers out of West Orange, HS, Winter Garden, Fla.

RHP Reid Anderson: 2017 stats: 28 games (13 starts) 88.1 IP, 32 BBs, 65 Ks, 5.30 ERA, .272 OBA, 1.45 WHIP with Hickory. 17th round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Millersville Univ.

RHP Tyree Thompson: 2017 stats: 13 games (all starts) 68.2 IP, 22 BBs, 44 Ks, 3.15 ERA, .245 OBA, 1.24 WHIP at Spokane. 26th round pick by Rangers in 2016 out of Edna Karr HS in New Orleans, La.

Notes of interest: This was the second-straight season the Crawdads lost 3-for-4 in the opening series of the year at Greensboro,

 

Prospects to watch-Delmarva:

LHP D.L. Hall (No. 5): 2017 stats: 5 games (all starts), 10.1 IP, 10 BBs, 12 Ks, .263 OBA, 1.94 WHIP with rookie GCL Orioles. First-round pick (21st overall) of the Orioles in 2017 out of Valdosta (Ga.) High. Signed away from a commitment to Florida St.

RHP Brenan Hanifee (No.10): 2017 stats: 12 games (all starts), 68.2 IP, 12 BBs, 44 Ks .249 OBA, 1.12 WHIP at SS-A Aberdeen. Fourth-round pick of the Orioles in 2016 out of Ashby High in Bridgewater, Va. Signed away from a commitment to East Carolina. Named to New York-Penn League All-Star Game and tabbed as an Orioles organizational all-star by MILB.com.

RHP Michael Baumann (No. 15): 2017 stats: 11 games (10 starts), 42.1 IP 19 BBs, 43 Ks .175 OBA, 1.09 WHIP between GCL Orioles and Aberdeen. Third-round pick of the Orioles in 2017 out of Jacksonville Univ. Native of Mahtomedi, Minn. and pitched in HS there. In his opening night start, threw four-hit shutout over five innings with 10 Ks and a walk.

LHP Cameron Bishop (No. 16): 2017 stats: 9 games (all starts), 37.2 IP, 16 BBs, 39 Ks, .162 OBA, 0.98 OBA between GCL Orioles and Aberdeen. Was 26th-round pick of Orioles in 2017 out of Univ. of California-Irvine. Attended Brea-Olinda HS (Calif.). Allowed two runs (1 earned) on four hits and three walks with 6 Ks over 6 innings on Friday. Named Atlantic Sun Conference pitcher of the year in 2017.

LHP Zac Lowther (No. 17): 2017 stats: 12 games (11 starts) 54.1 IP, 11 BBs, 75 Ks, .182 OBA, 0.85 WHIP at Aberdeen. Was Orioles second pick in competitive balance round in 2017 out of Xavier. Was Baseball America short-season all-star and New York-Penn League All-Star. Led Big East in Ks in 2017.

RHP Gary Fenter (No. 23): 2017 starts: 11 games (all starts), 30.1 IP, 10 BBs, 34 Ks, .187 OBA, 0.99 WHIP.  Seventh-round pick of the Orioles in 2015 out of West Memphis (AR) High. Signed away from commitment to Mississippi St.

SS Mason McCoy (No. 29): 2017 stats:.301/.382/.409 slash with 15 XBHs in 53 games at Aberdeen. Sixth-round pick in 2017 out of Univ. of Iowa. Named to New York-Peen A native of Peoria, Ill.

RHP Matthew Dietz (No. 30): 2017 stats: 26 games (all starts) 129.2 IP, 50 BBs, 92 Ks, .282 OBA, 1.50 WHIP at Delmarva. Second-round pick of Orioles out of John A. Logan CC (Ill.). In first start on Saturday: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.

Others to watch-Delmarva:

C Ben Breazeale: 2017 stats: .318/.428/.467 slash with 19 XBHs in 57 games at Aberdeen. Seventh-round pick of Orioles in 2017 out of Wake Forest. New York-Penn player of the month in July 2017. All-Star game selection in that same league and named Baseball America SS-A all-star.

1B Ryen Ripken: 2017 starts .287.323/.378 slash with 11 XBHs in 51 games at Aberdeen. Signed free agent deal with Orioles in 2017. Played previously in SAL with Hagerstown (Washington) in 2016. Son of Cal Ripken, Jr.

RF Zack Jarrett: 2017 stats: /.201/.252/.288 slash with 8 XBHs in 45 games at Aberdeen. 28th-round pick of the Orioles in 2017 out of UNC Charlotte. Played his high school ball at Hickory High.

 

Notes of Interest: Both of the Shorebirds assistant coaches have ties to the Crawdads. Hitting coach Bobby Rose served in the same role with Hickory in 2014. Justin Lord made two starts for the Crawdads in 2004…Shorebirds manager Buck Britton is the brother of Orioles close Zach Britton. Buck was the hitting coach for Delmarva in 2017…TJ Nichting was a teammate of Jarrett at UNC Charlotte. Will Robertson played college ball at Davidson… Delmarva’s sweep over the week is the first to open the season since at least 2005. However, it is the 10th time in 14 seasons the team won at least 3 games in the opening series of the season.

Unlucky Seventh Dooms Crawdads

The line will show that Hickory left-hander Sal Mendez had a rough seventh inning, and certainly he contributed to his demise on the mound. However, a couple of unlucky breaks did him in, and in turn it proved to be the difference in a 4-3 loss to the Greensboro Grasshoppers Sunday afternoon at First National Bank Field.

 

What happened?:

Hickory took a 3-1 lead into the seventh-inning stretch and after Sal Mendez dominated Greensboro in the sixth, the Grasshoppers got their revenge when they sent eight to the plate to score the decisive three runs.

JC Millan started the inning with a solidly lined single to right. With the middle infielders playing at double play depth, Micah Brown hit a medium-speed grounder to the hole at second. Kole Enright from his second base position ranged far to his left, made a diving stop of the ball, but from the seated position he wasn’t able to get enough on the throw to first for the out.

Michael Hernandez then line a shot through the box – I thought it might have hit Mendez – and zoomed into center to score Millan. Zach Sullivan’s sacrifice put runners at second and third before Mendez walked Aaron Knapp.

The tying run scored when Sam Castro hit a checked-swing grounder between the mound and first. First baseman Sam Huff charged the ball but he had no play at home for the force. He turned to get the out at first, however no one covered the bag and the bases remained loaded. That proved crucial as the next hitter Isael Soto hit a high chopper that the 6-4 Huff leapt to snag and then step on first for the out.. However, that made it only two outs and Hernandez score the go-ahead and subsequent deciding run.

The Crawdads took a 2-0 lead in the first on Pedro Gonzalez’s two-run blast to right off the scoreboard.

Hickory started Noah Bremer but was pulled after the first with an oblique injury. A.J. Alexy entered in the second and gave up a lone run on a double play grounder in the fourth. Huff’s first homer of the season accounted for the Crawdads other run in the sixth.

After the blast, Hickory had just two more baserunners. Yohel Pozo doubled to start the seventh. From there, Remey Reed, RJ Peace and Tyler Frohwirth combined to retire the next seven straight, which ended with Gonzalez’s check-swing single. Pozo hit the next pitch for a 6-4-3 double play.

 

The offense is offensive: Just five hits on Sunday, two of those left the yard, and the Crawdads leave First National Bank Field with a .214/.267/.337 slash. Hickory fanned 11 times today and have Ks in over 25% of its at-bats.

I do wonder how different this weekend would have been had the team scored in the first two innings of the opening game of the season. Having the bases loaded twice, the Crawdads came up empty both times and needed a ninth-inning HR by Enright to avoid the shutout. After going 5-for-20 RISP, they only had three opportunities Sunday afternoon and went hitless.

There are a couple of members struggling to make contact. Gonzalez is 4-for-12, but 7 of his 8 outs are Ks. Tyler Ratliff is 0-for-10 with 5 whiffs and Chad Smith is 0-for-7 with 4 Ks. But strikeouts aside, the issue I saw on Thursday and a little this afternoon, is the inability to take advantage of opportunities. When Greensboro starter Brady Puckett got into those opening-inning jams, Hickory went first-pitch hacking and let him off the hook.

This afternoon, speedy Eric Jenkins in the eighth went up 3-0, then swung through three straight pitches. In the ninth after Pedro Gonzalez reached on a checked-swing single, Yohel Pozo went first-pitch hacking and hit into a game-ending double play.

I think this team will hit and do it well and score some runs. But, they need that spark. Unfortunately, guys are trying to force the issue.

AJ’s day: I’m guessing Alexy had planned to pitch today, but not as early as the second inning and perhaps he wasn’t loose, etc.

According the Marlins pitch fx guy, Alexy was around 92 mph with the fastball. He appeared to have trouble spotting the pitch consistently, especially from the stretch. By my count – there was no stringer for Greensboro today, so I kept my own pitch count – Alexy threw just 43 strikes out of 75 pitches in four innings. He missed 10 bats, only one on the fastball (at least it appeared to be a fastball from my vantage point in the pressbox, located in the ionosphere. The curveball seemed to have good bite to it.

Sal Mendez: I’m guessing I like Sal Mendez more than most and it’s because of innings like the sixth that appeal to me. The lefty breaks a bat on a fastball to start the inning. He then gets back-to-back strikeouts on a swing-through change and a curveball for a called third-strike. Then there are those moments like the seventh when weird things happen and he is unable to minimize the damage.

He is able to get outs, but his stuff is such that there is a small margin of error to get outs or to get hit. Crawdads pitching coach Jose Jaimes loves Mendez’ changeup and it is an outstanding pitch when he can keep it down and miss bats. When he misses his spots, he’s very vulnerable.

Defensive gems: Hickory has been almost flawless in the field. Through the first three games, the lone two errors have come of pickoff throws by pitchers. The group covers a lot of ground and, at least to this point, are sure-handed.

Jenkins in left went back and to his left to make a diving catch of a liner off the bat of Millan in the second. SS Yonny Hernandez bailed out catcher Yohel Pozo’s off-line throw on a steal attempt. Hernandez had to cross the bag and avoid the sliding runner, but he managed to make the catch and slap a tag on Sullivan, who was sliding in.