Atlantic League Results, Saturday, April 29, 2023

Southern Maryland 8, Lancaster 3
Southern Maryland 2, Lancaster 1

WALDORF, Md. - After getting knocked out of the playoffs by the Lancaster Barnstormers in 2022, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs were able to exact a small measure of revenge in the first games of 2023.

Mitch Lambson held Lancaster hitless for the first five innings  of the nightcap, and the Blue Crabs took advantage of some ‘Stormers miscues in the opener for an 8-3 and 2-1 sweep of a doubleheader on a delayed start to the season at Regency Furniture Stadium.

Lambson (1-0) did not need much support in the nightcap.  He got the required amount from Michael Wielansky who plated Ian Yetsko with an unearned run in the third off Jared Lakind (0-1) and tripled into the right field corner to score Felix Aberouette in the fifth off Cole Aker.

Through the first five innings and over 90 pitches, Lambson kept the Lancaster bats in check on five walks and four strikeouts.  Crabs manager Stan Cliburn left him in, but pitch 97 was sent screaming over the clubhouse beyond the left field wall by Andretty Cordero to cut the deficit to 2-1.  Ariel Sandoval reached on a one-out infield hit off Jacques Pucheu and stole second, but that was as close as Lancaster would get.  Former Astro Andre Scrubb retired the side in order in the ninth for the save.

An RBI double by Cedar Crest’s Joseph Carpenter put the first run of the season on the board off three-time defending Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year Daryl Thompson (1-0) in the top of the third inning in Game One.

Brandyn Sittinger (0-1), who retired the first six batters of the game, raced to cover first on a right side dribbler by Fox Semones but could not find the bag with his foot on an awkward throw by Carpenter.  Sittinger walked two to load the bases with one out.  Wielansky stroked a line drive right at left fielder Trayvon Robinson, who seemed to lose it at the last second, with the ball rolling to the wall for a three-base error.  One out later, David Harris snuck a grounder up the middle to make it 4-1. 

A home run by Ryan Haug in the fourth stretched the lead to 5-1.  Lancaster fought back with an RBI double by Sandoval, who went 4-for-5 on the night, and a sac fly by Jake Hoover.  Southern Maryland closed the door with three runs in the bottom of the sixth without the benefit of a base hit.

Lancaster will send right-hander Dominic DiSabatino to the hill on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 against lefty Sandro Cabrera.  The game may be seen on FloSports, beginning at 2:00.

NOTES:  Cordero, who just arrived on Thursday evening, sat out Game One, the first game as a Barnstormer that he has not started…He has homered in four straight regular season games…Lancaster pitchers struck out 11 in the nightcap, six by Lakind in three innings and three by Brian Marconi in four batters.



High Point Rockers 10, Long Island Ducks 1

HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point starting pitcher Ben Braymer tossed a no-hitter through six innings and catcher Beau Taylor drove in six runs as the Rockers defeated Long Island 10-1 on Saturday night in front of a crowd of 3,447 at Truist Point.

The Rockers celebrated Coy Williard Night by nearly throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history.

Braymer, who pitched in the Major Leagues with the Washington Nationals, faced just one batter over the minimum through six innings before turning it over to the bullpen. The Ducks got their first hit with one out in the eighth and finished with two hits on the night.

“Ben was only going to go five innings but after five, he’d only thrown 51 pitches so we decided to let him go one more,” said Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. Braymer finished with six innings of work, no hits, one walk and two strikeouts while throwing just 63 pitches.

“I felt good tonight,” said Braymer following his first appearance as a Rocker. “I thought Beau did a great job of calling the game. I have a lot of confidence pitching to him. And our defense was really good. They made some great plays behind me. Michael Russell at third base was a vacuum. And D.J. (Burt) ran down some balls in center. I thought it was a good collective effort tonight.”

While Braymer was shutting down the Ducks, the Rockers offense was out shooting ducks on the pond. Daikan Yoh, in his first at-bat as a Rocker, hammered a home run to right in the second inning to put High Point up 1-0. Russell, who had two doubles on Friday night, added a nother in the third and then came around to score on a sac fly by John Nogowski.

The Rockers maintained a 2-0 lead until blowing up for five runs in the seventh, sending 10 men to the plate. Taylor delivered the big blow with a bases loaded double scoring three. Ryan Grotjohn knocked home a run with a single and Ben Aklinski drew a bases loaded walk for an RBI.

Taylor added a three-run homer in the eighth inning to give him six RBI on the night, one off the franchise record.

After Braymer set the tone with his six hitless innings, lefty Gabriel Castellanos put the Ducks down in order in the seventh. Austin Ross allowed a walk and a single by Luis Guerrero, a slow roller through the right side of the infield as Lew Ford scored Long Island’s only run. Ross then retired the final two batters he faced. A.J. Cole gave up a single and then struck out a pair before Shed Long, Jr. recorded the final out by snagging a soft liner in shallow right-center.

“Fastball command was the key to my success tonight,” said Braymer who is now 1-0 on the season while the Rockers improved to 2-0.  “I had a few cutters and mixed in a few changeups and a few breaking balls here and there. My breaking ball wasn’t really there tonight so I had to stick with what was working and that was fastball command, moving the ball in and out all night.”

During pregame ceremonies, the Rockers honored Williard, a lifelong native of High Point and community leader for over 50 years. Williard was instrumental in the creation of the Rockers and the construction of Truist Point. He was recently diagnosed with ALS. Among the tributes given to him were a special contract that he signed, making him a Rocker for a day. Coy was given to the key to the city of High Point by Mayor Jay Wagner and it was revealed that Truist Point’s home plate gate has been renamed the Coy O. Williard Gate.

The Rockers and Ducks are scheduled to play the final game in the three-game series on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. High Point will send James Marvel to the mound as the righty makes his first appearance of the year. Long Island will counter with righty Stephen Woods, Jr.  

Gastonia 8, Frederick 6

In the bottom of the seventh inning in Gastonia’s second game of the season, left-handed batter Steven Moya demolished a ball over the left-center field wall. 

This might have seemed like déjà vu for Honey Hunters fans, who already saw Moya hit a two-run blast to the right of the yellow fence in the fourth inning. 

The two-run opposite field dinger in the seventh was hit 108.3 miles per hour off the bat, the exact same exit velocity as the first homer Moya hit.  

Both balls traveled over 400 feet. 

But the second bomb, Moya’s third in the first two games of the season, was the eventual game winner on Saturday night, as the Honey Hunters defeated Frederick 8-6 to win their opening series. 

In addition to the two homers and four RBIs, Moya walked in each of his other two plate appearances – reaching base safely every time he came up to bat in Game 2 of the three-game set. 

Gastonia manager Mauro “Goose” Gozzo said that Moya is “on fire,” as the former Detroit Tiger already has three two-run homers before the conclusion of the first series of the year. 

Gozzo was impressed by Moya’s approach at the dish in the weeks leading up to opening weekend. 

“[Moya was] so balanced when he was swinging during spring training,” Gozzo said. “You could just see that he has a balance there, it’s just gonna be a timing thing. But he’s not afraid to go the other way… and he’s got plenty of juice to do that.” 

A couple other hitters who followed up their great performances from Friday’s affair with another productive evening were Zach Jarrett and J.C. Escarra. The former 2021 Norfolk Tides (Baltimore Orioles Triple-A affiliate) teammates went back-to-back in the first inning to give Gastonia an early 3-0 lead.  

Jarrett’s was a two-run shot, as he once again gave the Honey Hunters a 2-0 lead in the first just like on Friday. He also singled and walked on Saturday night, and even picked up his first stolen base of the season. 

Escarra followed up going 2-4 in Game 1 with a 423-foot moonshot to straight away right field after Jarrett put Gastonia on the board. Although Escarra went 1-5 in the game, he looked great at the plate all night. He hit two deep fly outs to the wall in right field and center field, as well as two sharp lineouts to left and center. He had nothing to show for it on the box score after the homer, but Escarra took great swings and drove the ball a long way in all five at-bats. 

Right-handed returning starter Alex Sanabia got the ball on Saturday against Frederick, and his outing was really defined by the long ball as well. Just like Gastonia’s four and five hitters in the order, Craig Dedelow and Kole Cottom went back-to-back in the third against Sanabia. Those dingers accounted for three of the four earned runs Sanabia allowed in three innings of work. 

Between Sanabia allowing four earned in three innings, reliever Tyler Thomas giving up four hits in two innings and closer Jaime Schultz walking two batters despite getting the save, it was clear that the Question Marks were battling more against Gastonia’s pitching in Game 2 than they were in Game 1.  

Gozzo linked the pitchers struggling a bit to the limited amount of competition they had heading into the season. 

“I think these guys are still catching their stride,” Gozzo said. “It’s not them at 100% yet… as far as in tune and ready to go. One outing in spring training and lives doesn’t cut it… You gotta understand that competition is different than working out in a bullpen or throwing lives against your own team. Competition is something you can’t really replace.” 

One reliever who had a great outing for the Honey Hunters was southpaw Gunnar Kines. The returner, who got the win in Game 3 of the Atlantic League South Divison Championship Series last year, pitched three scoreless innings as the first man out of the bullpen.  

Kines had great command with his fastball and changeup, not walking a batter in his three innings – the fourth, fifth and sixth. His game plan was to work on his command, and he executed the plan to perfection. 

“It was mostly just trying to get the fastball across early, and then work off of the changeup as well to be able to go up in the zone,” Kines said. “I didn’t throw any off-speed pitches today just because I was trying to make sure my fastball location was there.” 

Kines is planning to become one of Gastonia’s starters in “a few weeks,” and Gozzo said he should be in the rotation by late May or early June. The reason for this is because Kines threw 99 innings last season between Gastonia and the Lake Erie Crushers of the Frontier League. He also threw 56.2 innings for the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League. 

“We’re kind of being cautious with him,” Gozzo said. “He’s a left-handed pitcher that’s gonna constantly throw strikes… He’ll pile up strikeouts, he’ll change speeds off of his changeup, he’ll change speeds off of his fastball.” 

Kines threw over 40 pitches on Saturday night. He said once he throws over 70 pitches in an outing, he should be ready to make a start for the Honey Hunters. 

Kines and the offense, which got 10 hits, led the team to its 8-6 victory over Frederick.  

Gastonia improved to 2-0 on the season, while Frederick fell to 0-2.    

Returner Zack Godley likely gets the ball for the Honey Hunters in the last game of the series, looking to help them sweep the Question Marks. First pitch is Sunday at 3:35 p.m. 

Lexington 6, York 3

The York Revolution dropped game number two of the season and its opening weekend series to the Lexington Counter Clocks, 6-3 on Saturday night at Counter Clocks Field.

Veteran Jorge Martinez (0-1) got the start for the Revs who were trying to respond after an opening night loss.

Martinez gave up a leadoff home run to Ronnie Dawson in the first, and another solo homer to Jake Gitter in the bottom of the second as the Counter Clocks took an early 2-0 lead. Thomas Dillard hit a third solo home run for Lexington in as many innings, but Martinez finished strong as he fought through five innings of three-run ball to keep the Revs in it.

Offensively, the Revs mustered only two singles against Lexington starter Yeudy Garcia (1-0) who began the game with four consecutive strikeouts. York scratched across its only run against Garcia after a bases loaded walk to Drew Mendoza to make it 3-1 in the fourth. 

Both teams went to the bullpen in the sixth. Ean Walda pitched only a third of an inning and walked two, giving the Revs another scoring opportunity with first and second and only one out, but Raymells Rosa came on to get a strike out and a ground ball to first base to end the threat.

JP Woodward retired the first two in the bottom half of the sixth before an infield hit and a hit-by-pitch, then turned the ball over to Will Carter who stranded both runners to get the Revs out of the inning.

Rosa stayed on in the seventh and got the first two outs of the inning before Ryan January singled to right field and Trent Giambrone smoked one to the warning track, but Giambrone’s drive was tracked down by Dawson in center to end the threat.

Carter stayed on for the bottom of the seventh and walked three, forcing in a run to make it 4-1. J.D. Osbourne grounded softly to bring in another run, and a wild pitch by reliever Tom Sutera plated one more as Lexington scored three runs on one hit in the inning to extend the lead to 6-1.

Justin Goossen-Brown settled things with a 1-2-3 eighth inning for the Revs.

Logan Saylow pitched a scoreless eighth for the Counter Clocks but gave up a run on two straight wild pitches as Troy Stokes Jr. scored in the top of the ninth. Josh Martin came on to try to close the door for Lexington with runners on first and third and walked Giambrone to bring the tying run to the plate with only one out. Trey Martin poked a ball on the right side for an RBI fielder's choice cutting it to 6-3 with two outs. Nellie Rodriguez made a bid at extending the rally but lined out hard to left field to end the game as the last at-bat push came up short.

The Revs will aim for their first win of the season on Sunday afternoon in the series finale at 2:05 p.m. as Nick Raquet squares off against Lexington’s Pat Ledet. Revs fans can catch the action live on SportsRadio 98.9 FM & 1350 WOYK,, The New WOYK app, and FloBaseball.TV beginning at 1:45 p.m. with Darrell Henry on the call.

Charleston at Staten Island, postponed



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