Here’s a look at the top 20 stat lines from the 2023 Atlantic League season:
Ben Aklinski , High Point vs. Spire City, May 5, 2023
Aklinski was the first of seven players in the ALPB to have a five-hit game in 2023 and the only one with two. In addition, Aklinski posted the only five-hit game of the first half vs. Spire City on May 5. The High Point right fielder was five-for-five with a pair of doubles, two homers, three runs scored and four RBI. He singled in the first, doubled and scored in the third, hit a two-run homer in the fifth, an RBI double in the sixth and a solo homer in the eighth. Aklinski’s four extra base hits in the game tied for the league season-high.
Ben Aklinski, High Point at Spire City, July 29, 2023
The Rockers put up a franchise record 14 runs in the 9th inning to finish off a 22-2 win over the Ghost Hounds. No. 3 hitter Ben Aklinski went five for seven with three runs scored, a homer and six RBI. Aklinski singled and was stranded in the first, lined out in the third before singling and scoring to lead off the fifth. He added a single in the sixth, lined out to the pitcher in the eighth, hit a two-run single in his first at-bat in the ninth then hit a grand slam off second baseman Scott Kelly in his second AB of the ninth inning.
Bret Clarke, Lancaster vs. Spire City, July 9, 2023
Mainly a reliever, Clarke was pressed into starting duty for the Barnstormers and made three starts. His longest outing came against Spire City on July 9. He went eight innings, allowing eight runs on 12 hits with three walks and five strikeouts. But what made this remarkable is that Clarke threw 141 pitches during his eight innings. It marked the most pitches in a game by an ALPB pitcher since Southern Maryland’s Carl Brice made 146 pitches at Lancaster on Sept. 24, 2021.
Andretty Cordero, Lancaster vs. Spire City, July 8, 2023
Cordero went five-for-six in a 17-4 win over Spire City on July 8. He had three doubles and two RBI yet somehow did not score a run, though Melvin Mercedes tallied four of them. Cordero doubled in the first, grounded out in the second, hit an RBI double in the third, singled in the fourth, doubled in the sixth and added an RBI double in the seventh.
Braxton Davidson, Gastonia vs. Long Island, July 29, 2023
Davidson set the league season-high with seven RBI; collecting three hits, a double, two homers and scoring four times. Davidson walked and scored in the second, hit a three-run homer in the third, added an RBI double in the fifth, and a three-run shot in the sixth.
Thomas Dillard, Lexington vs. Charleston, June 25, 2023
Dillard made a splash in his first year in the Atlantic League, leading the league with 39 homers and being named to the Postseason All-Star team. On this night vs. Charleston, Dillard slammed three homers and a double while driving in four runs. After a first inning double, he drilled a two-run homer in the third, a solo homer in the sixth, and another solo shot in the seventh. Additionally, Dillard’s 14 total bases were the most in a game by an ALPB player in 2023.
Jack Elliott, Staten Island at Gastonia, July 16, 2023
Elliott carried a modest four-game hitting streak into Staten Island’s series finale at Gastonia on July 16. He was three-for-nine in the first two games vs. the Honey Hunters before recording the ALPB’s only cycle of the season. Elliott hit a solo homer in the second inning off Orlando Rodriguez, hit a two-run triple off Rodriguez in the third, and doubled off Sal Romano in the fifth. Needing just a single to complete the cycle, Elliott grounded to third vs. Todd Van Steensel in the seventh before singling off Bryan Blanton in the ninth. Elliott finished the game four-for-five with two runs scored and three RBI.
Jesus Liranzo, Lancaster vs. Charleston, June 17, 2023
Liranzo and his 98 mile-per-hour fastball made a brief two-week stop in Lancaster, enough to make eight appearances before the Yankees purchased his contract. Liranzo allowed just one run and 10 hits over his 10 innings while striking out 18. But on June 16 at home against Charleston, Liranzo threw an immaculate inning. Liranzo entered the game in the eighth with the game tied at four. He struck out Justin O’Conner swinging on three pitches, fanned Diego Goris swinging on three pitches and then set down Clayton Mehlbauer looking on three pitches. Charleston would go on to win 5-4 in 11 innings.
Kyle McGowin, Staten Island vs. Charleston, April 28, 2023
McGowin only made one start for Staten Island but it was enough to convince the Houston Astros to purchase his contract. On the ALPB’s Opening Weekend, McGowin made his first and only start against Charleston. In his five innings of work, McGowin did not allow a hit or a walk and struck out 11 of the 16 batters he faced. He struck out the side in the first and fourth innings. He hit a batter with one out in the first then retired the final 14 batters he faced.
Drew Mendoza, York vs. High Point, July 3, 2023
Mendoza led the Atlantic League with a .346 batting average in 2023 and that’s because nights like this were not that out of the ordinary for the York first baseman. On this night, Mendoza was four-for five with three doubles, a homer and four RBI. Mendoza doubled to lead off the second, hit a two-run homer in the third, a two-run double in the seventh and another double in the eighth in the Revolution’s 11-6 win over High Point.
Zach Mort, Gastonia, vs. Staten Island, June 23, 2023
Mort improved to 6-0 on the season with a 7-1 win at Staten Island on June 23. Facing just two batters over the minimum, Mort went seven innings, allowed three hits, no runs and did not walk anybody while striking out 11. He retired the first 15 batters he faced and carried a no-hitter into the sixth before Deibinson Romero singled to lead off the inning. After a caught stealing, Mort struck out the final two batters of the inning and allowed just one runner to reach second base.
Zach Mort, Gastonia vs. York, August 17, 2023
Mort, who would lead the ALPB with 147 strikeouts in 2023, recorded the league-high in 2023 with 14 in a 5-2 win over York on August 17 at CaroMont Health Park. Over seven innings, Mort allowed just one run on five hits and a walk while fanning 14 hitters. Mort struck out the side in the first, fanned two in the second and added two more Ks in the third. He struck out the side again in the fourth and added a pair of strikeouts in both the fifth and seventh innings. Remarkably, 13 of the 14 strikeouts were swinging strikeouts.
Anthony Quattrocchi, Staten Island vs. High Point, July 13, 2023
Quattrocchi took the loss in a 9-3 defeat at High Point. Quattrocchi went two innings, allowed just two hits but yielded seven runs on four walks without getting a strikeout. But it was a four-batter stretch in the first inning that made this appearance remarkable. After retiring the lead-off hitter, Quattrocchi hit Michael Russell with a pitch, then plunked Zander Wiel. With runners on first and second, each runner moved up on a stolen base before Beau Taylor was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Quattrocchi then hit his fourth consecutive batter, Ben Aklinski, to force in a run.
Trayvon Robinson, Lancaster vs. Staten Island, Sept. 16, 2023
On the next to last day of the regular season, Trayvon Robinson led the Barnstormers’ 22-hit attack in a 19-4 win vs. Staten Island. Robinson was five-for-six with a double, homer and five RBI. After going down swinging in the first against Nick Beardsley, Robinson delivered an RBI double in the second, hit a solo homer in the third, , punched a run-scoring single in the fifth, lined an RBI single in the seventh and ended his night with an RBI single in the eighth. On this night, Robinson also set the league season-high by collecting four hits with runners in scoring position.
Kit Scheetz, Charleston vs. Staten Island, August 15, 2023
Scheetz tossed a nine inning complete game, allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out 12 Ferry Hawk hitters. After issuing a first inning walk, Scheetz retired 12 straight before giving up back-to-back singles to Luis Castro and Jack Elliott. Scheetz then set down 10 straight Ferry Hawks before a ninth inning walk was erased on a double play.
Fox Semones, Southern Maryland vs. Staten Island, May 21, 2023
Semones’ line from the Blue Crabs’ 15-1 win over the Ferry Hawks looks pedestrian at first glance. Two-for-two, two runs scored. But look deeper and you’ll find the real story. Semones, hitting in the eight hole, led off the second inning vs. Staten Island’s Jordan Simpson following a three-run outburst by the Blue Crabs in the first. Simpson hit Semones with a pitch and the left fielder would score on a double by Michael Baca. Semones lined a single to left in the third and stole second then lined another single to left in the fifth before scoring on a Braxton Lee single. In the sixth, Semones was hit by a pitch by Patrick Quinn. In the eighth, Staten Island reliever Kelsie Whitmore hit Semones with a pitch, tying the ALPB record by being hit by a pitch three times in a single game.
Dwight Smith, Jr., Charleston, at Lexington, Sept. 12, 2023
Smith, Jr. had five hits in six at-bats, scored four runs and knocked three doubles while driving in two in a 14-9 win at Lexington. Smith’s night started with an RBI single in the first, a fly ball out in the third, a ground-rule double in the fifth, line drive doubles in the seventh and eighth with the latter driving in a run. For good measure, he added a single in the ninth.
Spire City vs. Lexington, Sept. 10, 2023
In the second game of a doubleheader vs. Lexington, the Ghost Hounds got off to perhaps the greatest start to a game as has ever been recorded. In the bottom of the first facing Lexington starter J.C. Sulbaran, Eddie Diaz staked the Ghost Hounds to a 1-0 lead with a solo homer. That was followed by a Craig Dedelow homer, a Jose Marmolejos homer, and a Kole Cottam homer. A mere 14 pitches into the game, Spire City held a 4-0 lead. After a mound visit, Luke Becker clubbed the fifth consecutive homer with a shot to right. Spire City finished with six homers in the game as Cottam added a two-run shot in the second off Joe Dougherty.
Robert Stock, Long Island at Southern Maryland, July 18, 2023
Stock was making his second consecutive start vs. the Blue Crabs and coming off an 8-6 loss in which he allowed nine hits and seven runs over six innings. But that did not forecast what would happen on a Tuesday night at Regency Furniture Stadium. Stock went nine innings and struck out six in throwing just the sixth complete game no-hitter in league history. In addition, it was the first CG no-no in the league in over 10 years. Staked to a 3-0 lead in the first, Stock allowed a runner in each of the first three innings on a pair of HBP and a walk before retiring 14 straight Blue Crab hitters until K.C. Hobson drew a walk in the eighth. The ninth inning was interesting with Matt Hibbert being hit by a pitch and Khalil Lee drawing a walk but Stock finished with a 4-6-3 double play to complete the no-no.
Justin Twine, Staten Island vs. Lancaster, May 18, 2023
Twine’s stat line hides the real story of this game: zero at-bats, one run scored. But what made this remarkable was that Twine became the first player in baseball to pinch-run twice in the same inning. With the ALPB using MLB’s experimental rules, Twine entered the game as the designated pinch-runner for Cristian Santana in the ninth inning. After scoring on a triple by Jack Elliott, Twine pinch-ran again, replacing Kevin Krause at first base. Though he was forced at second base, Twine set a new standard in professional baseball.
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