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#TGW: Still Going...

July 14, 2014

By Jon Cooper

The Good Word

Cape Cod Baseball League

Jackets Playing:

Matt Gonzalez, IF/OF Harwich Mariners

A.J. Murray, 1B/DH,Chatham Anglers

Arden Pabst, C, Hyannis Harbor Hawks

Matt Gonzalez: Gonzalez heated up, and hovered around the .300 mark over the last two weeks, hitting .294 (10-for-34), with a two-hit game, his fifth of the summer, and a three-hit game, his first. He also had a pair of homers, going yard in back-to-back games (he’d homered once in his first 18 games) and drove in six runs, getting an RBI in six of eight games played. On July 2, against the Bourne Braves, he had three hits, all singles and was a part of all three innings in which the Mariners scored, in a 7-6 loss. On July 7, Gonzo went deep leading off the bottom of the fourth against Brewster, breaking a 3-3 tie in a 7-3 Mariners win. It was his first homer six games. The next day, he went deep again, this time leading off the fifth against Chatham, giving Harwich a 5-0 lead in a 13-8 win. Gonzalez entered the week reaching via hit in four of his last five games. His 14 RBIs are third on the team and tie him for 15th in the league, while his 22 hits rank fifth on the team.

A.J. Murray: Murray continued to sizzle, hitting .385 (15-for-39), and that was with a rare hitless game and going 1-for-9 to end last week, which lowered his average to .337. He hit in nine of 11 games, with five more multi-hit games, including a pair of three-hit efforts. On July 2 at Cotuit, Murray had three hits, scored twice and drove in three runs in a 7-2 rout. He came within a triple of hitting for the cycle and set the tone in the first inning, blasting a two-run homer, his team-high-tying fourth. He followed that up with a two-hit, two-run effort in the 9-3 win over Orleans. Over four games (July 2 through 6), Murray batted .667 (8-for-12), with six runs scored, four more driven in and six walks. He finished play with a .370 batting average, a .568 slugging percentage and a 1.042 OPS, all summer highs. His current .337 batting average leads Chatham and is 12th in the league. He also leads the team in hits (35), runs (19) and RBIs (19) and is tied for the team lead in homers (4). He ranks 12th in the CCBL in average, is tied for the league lead in homers, is tied for second in RBIs and is sixth in runs.

Arden Pabst: The freshman catcher had one hit in 11 at-bats over six games, but it was an RBI single in the fourth inning on July 7, which gave the Harbor Hawks a 3-1 lead at Yarmouth-Dennis. They would eventually drop the slugfest, 10-8. Pabst continues to excel defensively behind the plate, having made only two errors and fielding.986.

Harwich has gone 6-3-2 over the last two weeks, scoring 54 runs in their wins — they scored 16 in the losses and ties — and continues to lead the East with 36 points (17-9), good for a three-point lead. Chatham lost some ground, thanks to their current six-game losing streak (they were 4-7 overall), and at 12-15, sits in fourth, 11 points off the pace. In the West, Hyannis begins play this week with 24 points (12-16), and finds itself in fourth, 14 points back, having stumbled at 2-9 of late. The pitching really struggled, allowing at least seven runs eight times, losing seven of the eight games. They ended the week on a good note, however crushing Wareham, 10-1.

Valley League

Jackets Playing:

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 played in the Valley League All-Star Game (he took over at third in the fifth inning, and went 0-for-1) for the winning South squad then finished the week strong, hitting in three straight games — he went 5-for-11 in the three games, with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs — to get his average for the summer up to .259. He enters the week at .250, following a 0-for-3 Sunday. His two-hit game last Wednesday was his fifth multi-hit game of the summer, snapped a three-game hitless streak and accounted for 40 percent of the Turks’ hits in a 6-1 loss at the Charles Town Cannons. The next day, his eighth-inning double drove in Harrisonburg’s only run in a 6-1 loss to the Staunton Braves. On Thursday, against the Aldie Senators, he did it all, especially late. His ninth-inning single, on a 3-2 pitch, with two out in the ninth and the Turks trailing 6-4, scored the game-tying runs (he received credit for one RBI). He proceeded to take over on the mound, hurling three scoreless innings, allowing only a walk and facing one batter over the minimum to get the win. He also scored the winning run, leading off the12th with a walk and coming around to score the winning run two batters later. Brandon’s 14 RBIs rank third on the team, while his 22 hits rank sixth. The three-inning stint against Aldie doubled Brandon’s IPs for the summer. His ERA is still at 0.00, while his opposing batting average dropped to .100. He has now allowed only three base runners (two hits and a walk), while striking out six.

Ben Parr: The freshman righty went the distance in his lone start, on Saturday, but took the loss in a 4-2 at Strausburg. Parr went six innings, allowing four runs (all earned) and seven hits, with a walk and four strikeouts. He threw 82 pitches, 60 for strikes, but was hurt by the long ball, as he allowed three homers, a pair of solo shots in the fourth and sixth innings, sandwiching the decisive two-run shot in the fifth. They were the first home runs he’d allowed all summer. His ERA went up slightly to 5.75 from 5.65, and his opposing batting average rose to .286 from .283. It was the Turks first loss in his four starts.

Tanner Shelton: The hard-throwing freshman righty made two appearances, including his first start of the summer. He allowed five runs in his combined six innings of work, but only three of them were earned. On July 5, Shelton relieved in the sixth inning of Harrisonburg’s 13-7 win. With the score 8-2, he retired the side in order, including getting an inning-ending strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play. But in his next inning, he ran into difficulties with his control. He walked the bases loaded before leaving the game. Two of those runners would come in. It was only his second multi-walk appearance of the summer and first since his first game, on June 8. On Friday, Shelton made his first start and was effective. He allowed only one earned run (three overall) and four hits, walking four batters. He left in the sixth, down 1-0, with runners at first and second (both reaching via error) and none out. Both of his runners would come in, as Harrisonburg would trail 6-0 after 5 ½, before the Turks rallied late, winning, 7-6, in 12. Jackets teammate Brandon Gold ended up getting the win in relief and the hit that got Shelton off the hook for the loss. He also had his first at-bat of the summer, striking out swinging in the third. He heads into the week with a 4.32 ERA, but is one walk in the red in strikeouts-to-walks ratio (13Ks vs. 14 BBs).

Thomas Smith: Smith made the Valley League All-Star Team (he started at second, played five innings and went 1-for-2 at the plate) and afterward, heated back up, hitting .318 (7-for-22), with four RBIs and three runs scored. He finished the week swinging a searing stick, hitting .667 (6-for-9), including going 4-for-4 on Sunday. On Friday, against Aldie, he led off the bottom of the sixth, after the Senators had scored five runs in the top of the inning, with a double, and his run jumpstarted a comeback from 6-0 down. He’d single and score the tying run on teammate Brandon Gold’s two-out, two-run the ninth. He ended the week with a 4-for-4 game, in the 4-2 loss at Strausburg. Smith had singles to left, center and rightfield as well as an infield hit. Starting at short, he also helped turn a pair of double plays. Smitty’s His 17 runs, six doubles and .398 on-base percentage rank third on the team, while his . 318 average and 28 hits rank fourth. His 13 walks tie for the club lead (with Gold).

The Turks have a had a tough time, going 2-4, including losing four of five. They had as tough a time just getting games in, as the weather forced three cancellations and two more postponements (one of those games was played on July 7). They lost two games in the standings on front-running Front Royal but still sit in second place at 18-11, 2 ½ games out of first. Three of their games were decided by two-or-fewer runs but the Turks won only one. They did win their lone one-run game to raise their record to 9-2 in one-run affairs.

Coastal Plain League

Jackets Playing:

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 once again pitched effectively but also in hard luck in his lone appearance. On July 4, he took a loss in a 2-1 defeat against Forest City, dropping his record to 0-3. For the second straight start Gorst pitched a summer-high, this time going eight innings, allowing two runs (both earned), on seven hits, striking out four while walking two. He included a pair of 4-6-3 double plays in each of the first two innings. He lowered his ERA to 2.52, has struck out 22 against nine walks, and lowered his opponents’ batting average to .297 from .323.

Connor Justus: The freshman shortstop reached base in all but one game, finishing with four hits, including a multi-hit game July 5, and walking eight times, scoring six runs while driving in two more. He had a multi-hit game on July 5, going 2-for-4, with an RBI. He took a two-game hitting streak into the week, and had an offensive bonanza on Saturday, going 1-for-2, reaching on a walk and scoring three times in the 12-11 win over Martinsville. Defensively, Justus had a real busy night on the 5th, making a putout and converting five other chances.

Matt Phillips: The freshman right-hander had a tough time, allowing at least two runs in each of his three appearances, eight runs overall, in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed 14 hits and walked eight. He struck out nine hitters in the three appearances, whiffing five on July 8, in a 9-6 loss to Edenton. Phillips saw his ERA for the summer jump to 5.52 from 2.25 and opponents’ batting average go up to .328 from .226.

Ben Schniederjans: The freshman righty had the Midas touch, going 3-0 and allowing only four earned runs in 17 2/3 innings (a 2.03 ERA) in three appearances. On July 1, Schniederjans went 7.0 innings, shutting down Gastonia, allowing only one run and seven hits. He shut the Grizzlies down, allowing only a first-inning run and limiting them to 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. On July 5, he came in to start the 10th inning and threw four scoreless frames at Martinville. He allowed three hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out six. He got the win when the Blowfish got a walk-off homer in the 13th. Thursday night, he again pitched into the seventh, going 6 2/3, against Forest City. He allowed three runs (two earned) and got the win in the 8-3 Columbia victory.  In his three appearances, Schniederjans bore down with runners in scoring position, holding opponents to a .217 average, (5-for-23). He lowered his ERA to 2.78, from 4.00 ERA, and has a.250 opponents batting average. He’s pitched 35.2 innings, second-most on the team and has one of the team’s three complete games.

Asheboro went 4-5, but head into the week on a two-game winning streak, having scored 20 runs in the two games. The Copperheads, who finished the first half 12-15, tied for fourth place in the West, 2 ½ games out of first and a half game out of third. Columbia, which finished the first half 9-19, in seventh place in the West, have gone from worst to first, as the Blowfish lead the West with a 7-3 mark. They looked to snap a two-game skid as the week began.

Northwoods League

Jackets Playing:

Zac Ryan, RHP, Battle Creek Bombers

Zac Ryan: The freshman righty has moved into the rotation and had mixed results in his first two starts. He won his first appearance, on July 5, throwing seven masterful innings at Madison, allowing only one run and five hits in Battle Creek’s 7-1 win. Ryan struck out three and walked two in earning his second win of the summer in a game that was a tight 2-1 pitcher’s duel until the Bombers erupted for five in the top of the ninth. His next start on Friday was a rough one, as he struggled with control early and allowed four runs in the first, then, after settling down over the next two, was touched for a single run in the fourth then a four in the fifth. He’d leave having allowed nine runs (eight earned) and seven hits in 4 1/3. He struck out four and walked three. The latter outing raised his ERA to 5.92, and opposing batting average to .230.

The Bombers, which finished the first half 16-19, 8 ½ games back in the South Division, started 4-9 in the second half, and are ninth in the South.

Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League

Jackets Playing:

Grant Wruble, C, Southern Ohio Copperheads

Grant Wruble: The junior catcher has had it going at the plate, hitting in four of his last five games, including getting his first three-hit game of the summer, and driving in a run in three of the last four. His second-inning RBI double drove in the team’s only run in a 2-1 July 4 loss at the Cincinnati Steam. He steamed up Cincinnati again two nights later, doubling in a run then scoring the tying run in a two-run eighth, although Cincy would walk off, 6-5, in the 10th. In his last game on Thursday, he’d drive the Lima Locos loco, going 3-for-3, including an RBI single in Southern Ohio’s 9-1 drubbing. Wruble begins the week hitting .281, sixth on the team, with a .379 on-base percentage and a .712 OPS both fifth on the team. His nine RBIs are fourth and his nine walks are tied for fourth.

The Copperheads went 3-2 and begin the week 9-9, in fourth place, but only 2 ½ games behind the first-place Stream.

Sunbelt Baseball League

Jackets Playing:

Syd Hopkins, RHP, Prospect Braves

Kyle Leach, RHP, Gwinnett Tides

Ryan Peurifoy, OF, Home Plate Chukars

Joe Wiseman, RHP, Windward Braves

Syd Hopkins: Pitching for the Prospect Braves in the four-team Sunbelt Prospects Division, the freshman has not pitched since June 25. He has an 0-1 record, but is pitching to a Division-best 1.35 ERA (two earned runs in 13 1/3 innings) and holding opponents to a .217 batting average (seventh). He’s allowed 10 hits. In his first two starts Syd pitched 10 innings allowing three runs (only one earned), but received three total runs of support. He took a loss in his last outing, on Wednesday, only lasting 1/3 of an inning, allowing one run on two hits. 

Kyle Leach: The junior right-hander had mixed results in two appearances. On Thursday, he pitched brilliantly, recording his second save of the summer, nailing down Gwinnett’s 1-0 win over Windward. But two days later, he struggled with his control and allowed three runs (all earned), and two hits, in a 3-2 loss to Douglasville. After getting out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the seventh — primarily of his own making, as he walked a batter then hit back-to-back hitters — Leach ran out of luck in the eighth. He again loaded the bases with another hit batsmen and two walks. This time he surrendered a run-scoring single to what would be his last hitter, then watched as two of his inherited runners came in to score. The last outing continued a trend in which his fourth appearance has been his nemesis. Kyle has allowed seven runs during the summer, with three of them coming in his fourth appearance, and three coming in his eighth. His ERA went up to 9.00. His opposing batting average is at .320.

Ryan Peurifoy: The freshman outfielder has had his difficulties at the plate in July, as he began the week with three hits in 16 trips to the plate in six games. But his hits, including his first homer of the summer, were mostly productive ones. He singled in an insurance run in the 5-1 win July 1 over the Windward Braves. He doubled as part of a two-run, sixth-inning rally, against the Atlanta Crackers, although the game was out of reach, and on Saturday, he homered, leading off the second inning in a 2-1 win over the Phenix City Crawdads. Ryan’s .319 average is third on the Chukars team, while his .435 slugging percentage ranks fourth. He’s second on the team with 22 hits, and is second on the team with 11 RBIs. Defensively, he still is perfect and leads the team with six outfield assists.

Joe Wiseman: The sophomore righty reliever had mixed results. He had a tough two-inning stint on July 2, going 2.0 innings, allowing eight runs, although only four were earned, and took the L in a 12-9 loss to the East Cobb Patriots. Wiseman carried a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the fifth, but allowed eight runs, on three hits. He wasn’t helped by his defense, which committed three errors, two while he was in the game. He bounced back in his next appearance on Thursday, putting up a scoreless eighth inning in the 1-0 loss to the Gwinnett Tides. Joe begins the week with his ERA at 7.27. Wiseman (0-2) has allowed 13 runs in his seven appearances, covering 8 2/3 innings, but only seven of the runs have been earned.

Gwinnett had a tough week, going 2-6, with four of their losses came by one run. The 10-13 Tides remain in third place in the East, but are 6 ½ games out of first and 6.0 out of second. Windward is 10 ½ games back at 7-18, after a difficult 10-game stretch that has seen them go 3-7. Home Plate went 4-4, including a three-game stretch during which they were outscored 36-7. At 9-15, the Chukars sits in third place in the West, six games out.

The Prospect Braves begin the week at 7-11, fourth in a tight four-team race, 5 ½ games out of first, but are only 3 ½ games out of second and half a game out of third.

California Collegiate League

Jackets Playing:

Elliott Barzilli, IF, Los Angeles Brewers

Elliott Barzilli: The freshman infielder cooled a little bit, hitting .263 (5-for-19), but is still hitting .357, with 20 hits, including a pair of doubles and a pair of triples. Barzilli, who drove in two more runs over the last week and has scored a dozen, still has an on-base percentage of .400 and an .864 OPS. He’s hit superbly in the clutch, batting .300 with runners in scoring position (6-for-20). Defensively, he’s been solid, fielding .932, with three errors in 41 chances, helping turn six double plays.

The Brewers began the week 14-6 record and on top of the CCL South by 4 1/2 games over the Southern California Catch.

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