Enormous Errors In Elizabethton; Sopko Was So-So

Thursday, July 14 2005 @ 09:19 AM EDT

Contributed by: Rob

The All-Star Games in AAA and AA took place last night, with JFG starting for the IL. Another Jays farmhand took the mound in the AA game and his performance was indicative of his fall from grace so far. Oh, and nobody else won a game, and that includes some awful 9th-inning D from the PBJ's.

Syracuse did not play yesterday. However, John-Ford Griffin started for the International League. He appeared to be the only SkyChief at the game, and he got a single in his only official AB. He flew out (a sac fly RBI) in the top of the first, and the ball was caught in CF by Ty Godwin, making the start for the Pacific Coast League team. Godwin, now that we've mentioned him, made his big league debut with the Nationals on May 27 and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in three games over four days. He's having a nice year with New Orleans (.325/.405/.439) with 38 walks against 45 strikeouts, but only 16 steals in 27 attempts, a poor percentage. He was a better basestealer last year with New Hampshire, but he's improved his pitch selection substantially.

New Hampshire also had the day off, as the North All Stars played the South All Stars. One of two Fisher Cat pitchers I can find in the boxscore is Josh Banks, who took over in the sixth inning of a 5-4 lead for the South team and promptly gave up three hits, including two homers to lose the lead and put North up 6-5. Lee Gronkiewicz showed how much he loves the Eastern League (sarcasm, boys) by picking up the save after the South took an 8-6 lead. Ryan Roberts got the start at 2B and went 0-for-2 with a pair o' walks.

Now, on to the real games. Brevard County 7, Dunedin 5 was the final in the FSL.

Kurt Isenberg started and went 4.2, giving up 3 runs on 3 walks and 3 strikeouts along with three hits...well, four hits. But it sounded better the other way. He left the bases loaded, but Jeremy Harper stranded all three runners and pitched a scoreless sixth to boot. However, Mark Sopko faced five batters and gave up four hits and a walk. Yeah. Anyway, let's give some love to Justin James, who pitched three amazing innings.

Manny Mayorson (3-run) and Carlo Cota (2-run) provided the runs in the five-run fourth with a homer each. It was part of a three-hit night for Mayorson.

Guillermo Quiroz update: struck out in the second, walked in the fourth and scored on the Mayorson homer, grounded out in the fifth, popped out to the catcher in the seventh. Then he singled in the ninth -- a ground ball through the right side -- for his first hit since 2004. He was lifted for a pinch runner when he reached second on the walk and that was it.

Lansing and Southwest Michigan: Rain

Lightning stopped this one, and that might be a good thing for the Lugnuts. After scoring five runs in the top of the third, Russell Savickas threw approximately 300 pitches in the second and third, letting the D-Rays score 8 runs, four in the second and four in the third (before the rain started). A brutal start for Savickas, who gave up 8 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks in less than three innings.

Joey Reiman and Christian Snavely each drove in two runs in the 5-run first. Reiman's RBIs came on a single and Snavely hit a homer with Reiman on base to put the 'Nuts up 5-zip. Alas, the storm started -- and then the weather turned nasty! This one was postponed, obviously.

Vermont 13, Auburn 2

The sadly-named Vermont Expos kept the D-Days silent. Craig Stammen in particular, through seven innings. The only hitter that did anything significant in those innings was Ryan Patterson, who is the leading hitter on the Auburn team so far. And by far, for that matter.

Cory Patton left the game after being hit by a pitch in the top of the 8th. We'll see if this puts him out for any length of time. Auburn scored two in the bottom of the eighth (Joey Metropoulos' triple the highlight of the inning) to break the ice, but Vermont apparently didn't appreciate that, and beat poor Brian Grant like a gong in the top of the ninth: single-double-single-error-single-single-walk-single-single-walk. Gee, do you think the Auburn manager could have put someone else in? Who was managing, Sweet Lou? Grant's final line: 1 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 K. At least he didn't give up a homer! If Grant comes back and throws a scoreless inning tomorrow, give him the first star. He deserves it.

Elizabethton 2, Pulaski 1

Oh, so close. A terrific pitcher's duel, tied at one entering the bottom of the ninth. Jesse Litsch was good, but the opposing Eduardo Morlan had a no-hitter through seven innings and was lifted for a reliever! (The P-Jays scored on a HBP-sac bunt-groundout-wild pitch combo, taking small ball to the extreme.)

The fateful bottom of the ninth unfolded like so: two quick outs, then an error by third baseman Anthony Hatch. A single advanced the runner to third after another error, this time by Heliezer Aguilar in left field. Connor Falkenbach replaced Hector Delgadillo and prompty gave up a line drive single. Game over. Tough loss, bad defence, bad hitting. Ugh.

Three Star Selection:
3. Adrian Martin (who went 4.2 innings in relief for Auburn; no runs and no walks, only two hits)
2. Manny Mayorson
1. Jesse Litsch

Today's Games:
Syracuse (Rosario) vs Norfolk, 7:00.
New Hampshire (Jackson) @ New Britain, 7:00.
Dunedin vs Brevard County, 7:00.
Lansing @ Southwest Michigan, 7:05.
Auburn vs Vermont, 7:05.
Pulaski @ Elizabethton, 7:00.