June 23, 2014
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
Cape Cod Baseball League
Matt Gonzalez, IF/OF, Harwich Mariners; A.J. Murray, 1B/DH, Chatham Anglers; Arden Pabst, C, Hyannis Harbor Hawks
Matt Gonzalez: Gonzalez started the week with a flourish, recording back-to-back multi-hit games, his first two of the summer, and helped lead Harwich to back-to-back wins, 6-3, at Hyannis on Tuesday then 6-5 against Chatham on Wednesday. The wins allowed him to go 2-0 vs. Jackets teammates Arden Pabst (Hyannis) and A.J. Murray (Chatham). He contributed an RBI single in Harwich’s three-run 11th to sink the Harbor Hawks, then, the next night, singled with two out and nobody on to start a game-tying, three-run, ninth-inning rally to force extras against the Anglers. On Sunday, his third-inning RBI single opened the scoring for the Mariners in their 6-0 whitewash of Falmouth. “Gonzo” drove in four runs last week and enters this week with a streak of three straight games with an RBI. His five RBIs are one off the team lead, while his eight hits rank fifth on the team.
A.J. Murray: Murray had a momentous week, as he bashed his first home run of the summer, drove in his first run, and had his first multi-hit, multi-run and multi-RBI games. On Wednesday night at Yarmouth-Dennis, Murray took an 0-1 pitch to out to right for a two-run dinger in Chatham’s 4-1 win, which gave the Anglers a two-game winning streak after losing four straight. On Thursday against Harwich, he had only one hit, but was involved in a pair of scoring rallies, with a productive groundout in the first inning, then was hit by a pitch in the eighth, scoring the second run in a two-run rally that extended the lead to 5-2 before Harwich rallied. The next night, he had an RBI single in the fifth inning of what would be a 3-3, 11-inning tie at Falmouth. Murray enters the week tied for the team lead in hits (8) and RBIs (4) and is one of three Anglers with a home run. He’s been productive at the plate, only striking out three times. He’s walked four times and reached via getting hit by a pitch three times.
Arden Pabst: The freshman catcher had a tough week at the plate, going 1-for-14, as his average dropped to .059 for the summer. But the one hit was a big one. It came in a pinch-hitting role in the 10th inning on Wednesday against Harwich. He carried the game-winning run to second but would be stranded there. While he doesn’t have a lot of hits to show for the summer he is putting the ball in play, as of his five K’s thus far, four came in his first three games. He’s also been flawless behind the plate defensively.
A 5-2 week allowed Harwich to extend its East-leading total to 18 points (9-3), seven points ahead of Chatham. The Anglers went 4-2 (one game ended in a tie) on the week — they’re 5-6 thus far — and have won two of three heading into the week. In the West, Hyannis is coming off a 5-3 week, including a pair of one-run wins on Sunday. They begin play this week with 16 points (8-4), two off the pace, and ride a three-game winning streak.
Brandon Gold, 3B, Harrisonburg Turks
Ben Parr, LHP, Harrisonburg Turks
Tanner Shelton, LHP, Harrisonburg Turks
Thomas Smith, 1B, Harrisonburg Turks
Brandon Gold: The freshman third baseman finished a tremendous week at the plate, in which he hit .333 (7-for-21), with a tremendous day, going 3-for-5, with two runs scored and an RBI. Gold hit in four of his team’s five games, also netting a two-hit game, in which he drove in a summer league-high three runs. The fireworks started Wednesday, when he had an RBI single in a go-ahead two-run rally in the fourth inning. The next day, in the first game of a double-header at Covington, an 11-8 win, he had a go-ahead three-run double, his second hit of the game, in a three-run third inning. He later walked and scored as part of a fifth-inning rally. In the nightcap, his leadoff single started a decisive three-run fourth inning, in which he also scored, in a 4-2 win. He finished the week with three hits, and saved the best for the final inning, as he had two hits, scored two runs and drove in a run in a nine-run, 11-hit ninth-inning uprising in a 13-3 win at Aldie. In the second game on Thursday, Brandon also showed he could do it on the mound, recording a save, and firing two scoreless innings, striking out four of the six batters he faced, throwing 20 of his 30 pitches for strikes.
Ben Parr: The freshman righty made a dynamite second appearance, although he did not enter into the decision. Parr fired seven innings, allowing only two runs (both earned) and five hits, striking out four while walking one in what would be a 13-3 win. The game was actually tied at 2-2 when he left. He threw 86 pitches, 57 for strikes. While he wouldn’t be around for Harrisonburg’s two-run eighth or nine-run ninth, to gain his first win, he did lower his ERA to 3.86 and lowered opposing batting average to .255 from .333.
Tanner Shelton: The hard-throwing freshman righty made only one appearance. He was charged with three runs on two hits in one inning of work. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Shelton entered the game to relieve Duke starter Kevin Lewallyn, with second and third and two out in the bottom of the fourth at Covington, with the Turks clinging to a 5-4 lead. He blew away DH Mikael-Ali Mogues to get out of that inning but had troubles of his own in the next inning, as with two out he allowed a triple and a walk. He was pulled after that, but by the time the inning was over, he’d be charged with three runs. Harrisonburg did come back to win, 11-8, courtesy of a four-run ninth. The three runs in 1.0 innings jumped his summer league ERA to 6.35.
Thomas Smith: Smith cooled off a little bit, hitting .235 (4-for-17), to put his average at .244, but added another multi-hit game, in which he also had his second multi-RBI game of the summer and then, on Sunday, had his second multi-run game. He singled and scored in a three-run third, hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth to extend Harrisonburg’s lead to 7-4, then, drove in the final run of a four-run ninth, with an RBI single in the 11-8 win at Covington. In Sunday’s game at Aldie, Smith had a most unusual day. He reached via error by the Senators’ shortstop Derek Evans in both the sixth and eighth innings, scoring both times, but did not score in the nine-run ninth, although he did have an RBI single, as he was thrown out at second trying to advance.
The Turks are 11-6, in third, 2 ½ games out of first and ½ game out of second, following a 4-1 week, and head into the week on a four-game winning streak. Four of the five games played last week were decided by three-or-fewer runs, including a pair of one-run affairs, which they split to raise their record to 6-2 in one-run games, The other game saw them score a season-high 13 runs.
Coastal Plain League
Matthew Gorst, RHP, Asheboro Copperheads
Connor Justus, SS, Asheboro Copperheads
Matt Phillips, RHP, Asheboro Copperheads
Ben Schniederjans, RHP, Columbia Blowfish
Matthew Gorst: The freshman righty made one appearance, taking a loss on Thursday, in a 4-3 loss to Gastonia. As in his first start, Gorst went five innings, allowing two runs, both earned, but this time he allowed seven hits, struck out four and walked three. He allowed single runs in the first and fifth inning but showed a lot of grit in limiting the damage. He allowed at least one hit in every inning, but stranded five runners. He left trailing 2-0. While he’s 0-2, he’s pitching to a 3.60 ERA, having struck out 11 while walking six. His opposing batting average sits at .294.
Connor Justus: The freshman shortstop struggled at the plate, managing one hit in nine at-bats, as his average fell to .103. He did drive in an important run on Monday at Martinsville, with a fourth inning sacrifice fly that gave them a 3-1 lead, although they would fall, 5-3. He’d add a ninth-inning single against Martinsville on Wednesday, in their 5-2 loss. Connor did not play on Sunday and was a defensive replacement in their 10-4 win on Tuesday. Defensively, Justus remains perfect, having successfully fielded all 31 chances.
Matt Phillips: The freshman right-hander did good work in two relief appearances covering 2 2/3 innings, allowing only one unearned run and three hits, striking out two. He threw a scoreless sixth in the Copperheads 5-3 loss on Monday, allowing one hit, striking out one and walking one. On Wednesday, he was charged with a tough-luck loss, as he went 1 2/3 innings, allowing the one unearned run and two hits at HP Thomasville. In the sixth inning, he allowed an RBI single, before getting out of the inning. In the seventh, he allowed a one-out double then was hurt by an error, which allowed a run to score before he pitched out of trouble. Phillips is pitching to a 4.50 ERA, but is holding opponents to a .235 batting average.
Ben Schniederjans: The freshman righty fell to 0-3 but deserved better. Schniederjans went 7.0 innings for the second straight start, this time, allowing one run and four hits, striking out three and walking one. But Columbia, which has scored a total of three runs in his three starts, could not score, in dropping a 1-0 decision. Ben retired 12 of the last 13 hitters he faced after a fourth-inning single, with the only batter reaching in the sixth after getting hit by a pitch. Schniederjans, is pitching to a 4.00 ERA, with a .254 opponents batting average.
Asheboro went 1-4 last week, having scored 10 runs in their win and nine total in their three losses. They are on a three-game losing streak. The Copperheads are 10-12, in fifth place in the West. Columbia had an up-and-down week, going 3-5 — with a pair of two-game losing streaks sandwiching a two-game winning streak. They start the week 9-16, in seventh place in the West. The Blowfish were competitive, playing six one-run games, but went 2-4 in those games.
Zac Ryan, RHP, Battle Creek Bombers
Zac Ryan: The freshman righty had a tough week, allowing five runs (all earned) in four innings in his two appearances. On Monday night, he entered the game with Green Bay in the eighth inning, with a 2-0 lead, but suffered his first blown save of the summer. He pitched a summer-high three innings in the game that the Bombers lost, 6-5 in 13. Ryan allowed two earned runs, despite allowing only one hit, as the five walks (one intentional) he allowed did him in. He walked the bases loaded in the eighth (the third was intentional), then nearly got out of the jam, but a two-out, two-run single brought in the runs. After walking the first batter in the eighth, he retired the final six batters he faced, three of the last four by strikeout. He next appeared on Saturday, allowing three runs (all earned) and three hits with two more walks in one inning, in a 5-4 win over Wisconsin Rapids. For the week, Zac threw 84 pitches, 51 for strikes. He saw his ERA rise to 5.87.
The Bombers went 2-4 for the week, with two losses by one run and two losses in which they allowed eight runs. They sit in sixth in the South Division, with an 11-15 record, seven games out of first.
Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League
Grant Wruble, C, Southern Ohio Copperheads
Grant Wruble: The junior catcher continued to hit well, batting .300 (3-for-10) in three games, including his third multi-hit game of the summer. On Saturday, he went 3-for-7, with a pair of RBIs, as the Copperheads swept a double-header from the Grand Lake Mariners. He had an RBI single as part of a two-run third in the 4-0 opener win, then, in the nightcap, his second hit of the game, a lead-off single in the sixth, began a four-run inning, in which he’d also score in a 6-4 win. Wruble begins the week with a .360 batting average, a .484 on-base percentage and a .884 OPS, all second on the team, with a team-high-tying six walks, and four RBIs, tied for fifth on the team.
The Copperheads went 3-2 for the week, with both losses coming by one run. They begin the week 6-7, in fifth place, but only three games back of first-place Hamilton.
Sunbelt Baseball League
Kyle Leach, RHP, Gwinnett Tides
Ryan Peurifoy, OF, Home Plate Chukars
Kyle Leach: The junior right-hander had a frustrating outing in his one appearance last week, allowing three earned runs and three hits in 1/3 of an inning on Thursday in the 15-12 slugfest win against the Atlanta Crackers. Starting the ninth, Leach allowed three straight singles and a sacrifice fly, then fell behind 2-0 before he was relieved. He threw only eight of his 18 pitches for strikes. The outing blew up his ERA to 7.36 — it had been at 0.00 — and raised his opposing batting average to .357 from .167.
Ryan Peurifoy: The freshman outfielder continues to terrorize opposing pitchers. He hit hit .375 (3-for-8) in the two games he played last week, and enters the week having hit in all 10 games he’s played. His single and resulting run in the sixth inning on Friday gave the Chukars a 4-3 lead, but the lead would not hold up, as Home Plate fell, 10-4. His .381 batting average is second on the team, while his .452 slugging percentage ranks fourth. He leads the Chukars with 16 hits, is second on the team with 7.773 runs created and is tied for second on the team with seven RBIs. Defensively, Ryan is perfect in the field and leads the team with five outfield assists.
Gwinnett went 2-2, including winning a wild 15-12 game against the Atlanta Crackers. The 5-7 Tides remain in third place in the East, 1 1/2 games out of second and 4 ½ out of first. Home Plate went 0-3 during the week and, at 4-8, having fallen to fourth place in the West, five games out.
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