Minor-League Update: July 10

Saturday, July 10 2004 @ 09:23 AM EDT

Contributed by: Jordan

A twinbill sweep, another Doubledays victory, and a very welcome debut by a player who was a Batterís Box favourite even before he suited up in his first game.

Syracuse 2-5 Toledo 1-4

Box score 1

Box score 2

Game story

The only thing rarer than a Skychiefs doubleheader sweep, perhaps, is a series of great pitching performances, which is what Syracuse received last night in winning two close matches. Game One went 11 innings, thanks to superb pitching from Sean Douglass (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K), Kevin Frederick (4 Ks in 2 perfect innings) and newest Skychief Adam Peterson (2 Ks, 1 H in 2 innings). Another ex-Toronto Jay, Simon Pond, made a winner of Peterson with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the 11th. Pondís second consecutive game-winning hit was part of a homer-double-single-walk evening at the plate. Gabe Gross did him one better, reaching base 5 times with a double, single, 3 walks and an RBI. Stubby Clapp doubled, singled and scored a run.

The nightcap went only 7 innings, but the starter was again effective: this time, Josue Matos threw 6 solid innings on the board, allowing 2 runs (neither of them earned) on 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out 4. Aquilino Lopez came on with a 4-1 lead for the save but nearly botched it, giving up a 2-run homer before settling down and ending the game. Keep in mind that this wasnít an easy opponent to pitch around: the Mud Hens have the second-ranked offence in the International League. Offensively, the other Matos, Julius, doubled twice and scored twice, while Glenn Williams singled and cranked his 20th HR of the season, a total that leads the entire Jays organization by a whole lot. Pond singled in three trips, while Gross went hitless.

Bonus article: Anthony Sanders is back for his second go-round as a Skychief, and couldnít be happier. The article goes on to talk about how several Syracuse players will be leaving the team early next month to fly to Athens for the Olympics. The Skychiefs will be severely weakened not only by the loss of Simon Pond, Stubby Clapp and Jeff Guiel, who will all take the field for the Canadian team, but also slugging third baseman Glenn Williams, whoís going to play for his native Australia. Good for all four of them, who are thrilled to have the chance to be Olympians. Hereís the question: which Fisher Cats will be promoted to take the places of these 2 outfielders, third baseman and DH/1B/OF? Or which Blue Jays will be demoted?

New Hampshire 7 Harrisburg 3

Box score

Game story

The league patsies from Harrisburg were in New Hampshire last night, and the Fisher Cats disposed of them with an uncharacteristic display of power in their hitter-hostile home park. Aaron Hill, John-Ford Griffin and Justin Singleton all homered, while Mike Snyder and Maikel Jova chipped in with doubles. The offence was spread evenly: every starter recorded one hit, though only catcher Paul Chiaffredo had two. But the peripheral numbers werenít quite as rosy: the slugging Fisher Cats struck out 10 times in the game and walked only once.

On the hill, the normally reliable Todd Ozias struggled through 4 difficult innings, allowing 3 earned runs on 5 hits and 4 walks, though he did strike out 4. The gold star (and the W) went to Travis Thompson, who fired 3 shutout innings in relief, with 2 hits, 1 walk and 1 strikeout. You may remember Thompson as the pitcher acquired from the Reds organization in exchange for another future Canadian Olympian, Matt Logan. Jordan DeJong pitched a great 2 innings (1 H, 1 K) for his second save.

Bonus article: Odds and ends from New Hampshire.

Tampa 5 Dunedin 3

Box score

Game story

After a string of good starts, Vince Perkins suffered a setback against the T-Yanks, getting drilled for 5 runs in 5 2/3 innings. Perkins was mosquito-bitten to death: 4 hits and 4 walks, although with 6 strikeouts. I donít have access to the numbers, but Iíll bet he threw a lot of pitches last night, which is probably a good sign, actually. The offence was largely shut down: the slumping Jayce Tingler had the best night of any D-Jay, reaching base 4 times (2 singles, 2 walks) and scoring a run, but that only brought his average up to .251. Raul Tablado walked twice and hit a sacrifice fly.

Delmarva 12 Charleston 4

Box score

Game story

Call it the Revenge of the Shore Birds. After getting hammered by the Alley-Cats four times at home last weekend, Delmarva flew into Charleston intent on returning the favour. Davis Romero started for the Alley-Cats and received little support from his teammates: of the 4 runs Romero allowed in 5 innings, only 1 was earned. Romero allowed 5 hits (including a homer) in those 5 frames, walking 2 and striking out 4. Brad Esaray was also let down by his defence, but his final line (1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K) was pretty unattractive by itself. Jordy Templet, in a competition with Mark Sopko for the available closer spot, did himself no favours by giving up 3 hits and 3 runs in 1 2/3 innings. David Smith rattled a home run off the foul pole, while Christian Snavely doubled, singled, walked and scored twice. Jermy Acey chipped in with 2 hits and an RBI.

Bonus article: Odds and ends from Charleston.

Auburn 5 Jamestown 1

Box score

The Doubledays just keep on rolling. The extremely impressive Mike MacDonald fired another solid 6 innings, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, walking no one and striking out 6 batters; his ERA now sits at a tidy 0.60. Even better news: Chris Leonard came in to record 2 perfect innings, with one strikeout. After 8 appearances in Auburn, Leonardís line stands at 0-0, 1.23, 2 Sv, 14 IP, 7 H, 6 BB, 17 K. Once that command settles down, heíll be more than ready for a trip to Charleston. Offensively, left fielder Erik Nielsen had 3 singles, centerfielder Aaron Mathews doubled and singled, and 3B Eugenio Velez singled twice, scored and drew a walk. But for my money, this was the best line of the night:

Thigpen, C 5 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 .200

Welcome to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, Curtis.

Bonus article: Thanks to Gerry for this item about Erik Ricoís conversion to the mound from the outfield.

Pulaski 3 Bluefield 0

Box score

We all know the perils of drafting high-school pitchers, as the Jays took on by selecting Brian Grant with the 7th pick of the 2002 draft. And indeed, Grant has struggled so far, with ERAs of 4.59 and 4.80 in his first two pro seasons. But he was drafted for his potential, and that potential is starting to show. The 19-year-old Grant won his 3rd game of the year, firing 6 shutout innings, striking out 5 in the process. But he also dodged a hail of Bluefield bullets, giving up 7 hits and 4 walks in the process. That was probably not a happy Bluefield clubhouse after the game. Canadian James Pidutti kept the ball rolling with 1 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit and 2 walks, while Scott Roy closed with 1 1/3 1-hit innings and his second save.

Offensively, Luke Hetherington paced the hitters with a single and his 3rd homer of the season, while Mike Macaluso, Yuber Rodriquez and Emmanuel Sena also chipped in with 2 hits each.

Your Three-Star Selection:

The Third Star:Simon Pond, Syracuse: on base 5 times in a twinbill, with a game-winning HR to boot.

The Second Star: Mike MacDonald, Auburn: 6 more shutout innings.

The First Star: Sean Douglass, Syracuse: 7 innings of 3-hit ball.

Honourable mention: Gabe Gross, Jayce Tingler, Brian Grant and a big happy Hello to Curtis Thigpen.