Coastal Carolina and Arizona Force Second Game in College World Series

June 25th, 2016

Both Coastal Carolina and Arizona avoided elimination, forcing a second game by beating the teams sitting in the winner’s bracket in the NCAA College World Series. Arizona blasted an Oklahoma pitching staff that had pitched two 1-0 shutouts in Omaha. The Cowboys trotted out six different pitchers but the Wildcats exploded for nine runs in the 9-3 win. Zach Gibbons accounted for three hits and two RBIs and Cesar Salazar scored three runs in a 2 for 2 day, slapping a single and double to go with one walk to lead the offense. Closer Cameron Ming was asked to go five innings in relief so his availability for the final game is in question.

Coastal Carolina got a complete game from Andrew Beckwith to keep their season alive in their 4-1 win over TCU. Beckwith only allowed six hits, one of them an eighth solo shot from Dane Steinhagen to account for the only Horned Frogs run. Coastal Carolina only collected four hits in the game but they made them count. Two hits in the third, one a RBI bunt single by Anthony Marks led to two runs. Connor Owings driving in the other run with a sacrifice fly. Two hits in the seventh led to two more runs, Billy Cooke driving in one run with a sacrifice fly and David Parrett driving in the fourth run with a double.

Today both teams square off to see who will meet in the best two of three championship game.

Rondon has Monster Night

June 25th, 2016

The Tampa Bay Rays signed Rondon to a $2.95 million bonus back in 2014 as a 16 year old. His first year he hit .166 in the Gulf Coast League as a 17 year old, failing to hit a homerun in 145 at bats and striking out 57 times in just 43 games. Patience pays off.

The next year he worked on his swing at extended spring training and it all seems to have paid off after the results from his second game in the Appalachian League. In the first inning he went deep for his first professional homerun, a two run shot to give his team an early lead. In the sixth he blasted a three run bomb to extend the Princeton lead over Burlington to 8-1. There was a 30 minute rain delay in the seventh, but when play resumed Princeton loaded the bases for Rondon in the eighth and he cleared them with a grand slam. That is 9 RBIs, a career high for the teenager and a number most do not reach in their professional career.

Princeton won the game 16-2.

Myworld just returned from our Pennsylvania minor league tour. In one of the games we witnessed Tyler Austin hit a solo homerun to account for the only run in a 1-0 Scranton Wilks-Barre win over Toledo. Two days later he did two better slugging three homeruns, a three run shot in the first and solo shots in the fourth and sixth to account for all the Railriders runs in an early 5-3 lead. Austin now has four homers in three days and his last six hits have gone for extra bases (two doubles prior to the homer barrage).

The Railriders tied the game but then in the ninth Donavan Solano, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez went back to back to back to give the Railriders an 8-5 win.

Coastal Carolina Advances to Final Four

June 24th, 2016

The Chanticleers are the last Cinderella team in the College World Series, advancing to the final four with their 7-5 win over Texas Tech. They get a rematch against TCU and must beat them twice to advance to the finals.

David Parrett was the big bat for the Chanticleers, driving in three runs. His single in the second drove in the first run of the game. In the fifth his single drove in two runs to give Coastal Carolina a 7-3 advantage. Bobby Holmes retired the last seven hitters to seal the win.

Stephen Smith had a clutch three run double in the bottom of the second to give Texas Tech a 3-1 lead, but it did not last when Coastal Carolina erupted for three runs in the top of the third.

Five Games, Five Days, Five Parks - Day Five Crosscutters in Overtime

June 24th, 2016

The day before it took them 13 innings before the only run was scored by Williamsport in their 1-0 win over Mahoning Valley. This night it only took them eight innings before the two teams scored their first run. It again went into extra innings, Williamsport winning in ten, 2-1.

The Scrappers started the skinny Tristan McKenzie, the Indians first round pick in 2015 in the competitive balance round. In his first start he had lost but only gave up one unearned run. In this start he did not give up any runs in less than five innings of work, taken out with runners on first and second with two out, but again the Scrappers did not score for him. McKenzie is one of those players who is so skinny he could be represented as a stick like figure. He got a lot of swings and misses with his fastball, striking out five, or one each inning he worked. Myworld did not see much of a breaking pitch.

The Crosscutters countered with Ranger Suarez. He was equally as effective, not giving up a run in five innings of work. He also struck out five, one of those in the second inning with runners on first and third with two out.

The Scrappers finally pushed across their first run in the eighth inning, gift wrapped by the Crosscutters infield. First shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa had a ball slip out of his glove after he ranged left to reach the ball. A wild pitch advanced Gabriel Mejia to second. It appeared he was picked off when he broke for third and the pitcher had yet to pitch the ball. Randy Alcantara stepped off the mound and threw to third. Third baseman Lucas Williams ran Mejia back to second, tossed the ball but too high for the second baseman to catch it. Mejia advanced to third where he scored on a Alexis Pantoja infield in single that skirted past the glove of Gamboa.

The Crosscutters rallied in the ninth off Scrappers closer Henry Martinez, Jesus Alastre rolling an infield single to third and Lucas Williams lining a single up the middle for a hit. Darick Hall struck out but Luis Encarnacion was able to coax a walk on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Arquimedes Gamboa atoned for his error with a fly ball deep enough to right field to score Alastre.

The Scrappers handed the game to Williamsport in the bottom of the tenth after a two out throwing error by Jonathan Laureno put Jose Antequera on second, where he scored on a Jesus Alastre single.

Williamsport Musings

The city was built by the lumber industry. In the late 19th century they were known as the lumber capital of the world. That lumber would be transformed into baseball bats if they didn’t use aluminum bats in the Little League World Series. Now, many television sets are tuned into Williamsport to watch 12 year old kids compete in baseball.

At one point in the city’s history they had more millionaires per capita than any place in the world. The high school team nickname was the Williamsport Millionaires to reflect that. That is not so anymore now that the lumber barons have few trees to chop.

Williamsport native Joe Lockard, stationed in Oahu is said to have warned his superiors of an impending Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Those superiors dismissed his readings, stating they were American B-17 bombers coming from the mainland.

The top employer for Williamsport is another health industry, Susquehanna Health, further evidence that our economy is geared toward our population not staying well. Sickness or staying healthy seems to drive many municipalities. The second biggest employer is the State Government, further evidence there is very little manufacturing industry driving our cities.

The only famous person of note is Mike Mussina, unless you include the name of Carl Lutz, who invented Little League baseball in Williamsport.

Game/Stadium Notes: Bowman Field is the second oldest minor league park in the country, built in 1926. Except for a modern scoreboard in right field Bowman Field would look like any pony league field, with the card board fences stacked up in the outfield. They are doing some construction on the first base side of the dugout to enhance the stadium…The original Little League field is across the street from Bowman where they played the first Little League World Series with mostly United States teams from 1947-1958. A game was being played there when myworld stopped by. You can still play baseball there, but the field is like a grandfather with hip and joint pain when compared to the newer fields on the other side of Williamsport…During each inning a couple round boys on each side of the field walk up and down the first and third base side of the field holding up a sign telling the fans what inning it is. Of course these round or inning boys are sponsored…There was a 45 minute rain delay. Tires were used to hold down the two tarps that covered the field…The bleacher seats are covered which is nice during a drizzle. It would probably provide some shade during a day game…They advertised a Dominican Plate at a local hotel with the food served by some of the Dominicans on the team. The Crosscutters roster is filled with Dominican players…It is a long trek from the dugout to the on deck circle. The person myworld feels sorry for is the bat boy, who must pick up the bat, run to the dugout to return the bat and then run about twenty yards to the home plate area where he waits to retrieve foul balls or another bat…The retired numbers of 59, 41 and 36 appear in the centerfield area. The lettering was too small to make out the names, but myworld will research that later…Logan Ice has one of the cooler names in baseball. He went 0 for 4 with three whiffs so his bat was as cool as his name. Emmanuel Tapia also struck out three times…The only real impressive player, hard to rate players on one game in rookie ball, is left fielder Enmanuel Garcia for his numerous defensive plays out there. He looked like a player who could play centerfield.

Williamsport Little League Museum

June 23rd, 2016

Myworld is in Williamsport to watch the Williamsport Crosscutters play on the fifth day of our Pennsylvania tour. It is still a couple weeks away from the Little League World Series but myworld stopped by the museum and the field to see them prepare for the event. The museum is a worthwhile visit if you happen to find yourself in Williamsport. Watching them prepare the field for the big televised event that will be overflowing with spectators, cameras and players is fascinating. There is a lot of work that goes into trimming those hedges from the bushes that the cameras will pan so millions can see in the television screen “Little League World Series”.

When myworld played Little League it was always a thought that if we made the All Star team we could compete against other Little Leagues and appear in the World Series. As a kid there was no thought process of where the event was or how difficult it would be to get there. Myworld never got there. Until now. Another bucket list fulfilled, but we still want to come back when they are playing games.

Some of the facts you get from visiting the museum:

Little League was begun by Carl Lutz in 1939 in Williamsport. They have only been playing the Little League World Series at their current park since 1959. Prior to that they played the first World Series at their old park at Original Field, which is nearby the Crosscutters stadium.

In 1950 Panama was the first country outside the United States to participate in the Little League World Series. In 1957 Monterrey, Mexico was the first non-United States team to win the World Series. They were led by pitcher Angel Macias who pitched the first and only perfect game in Little League World Series history.

Maria Pepe is given credit for allowing girls to play Little League. She played for her New Jersey charter back in 1972 and Little League was going to revoke that charter if they continued to have her play. The National Organization for Women (NOW) challenged that decision, girls were allowed to play and in 2004 she threw out the first pitch at the 2004 Little League World Series.

Some celebrities noted for playing Little League:

Vice President Joe Biden played for the Green Ridge Little League of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Other celebrities who have played Little League include Tom Selleck, George W. Bush, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Dick Vitale, Dan Quayle, Governor Chris Christie, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Bruce Springsteen and Kevin Costner. Those are names of individuals who appear on the Wall of Fame. There are more but you have to go there to see the rest. Or google Little League World Series and a Wikipedia page will update you with the names.

Arizona Eliminates Gauchos from CWS

June 23rd, 2016

The clock turned midnight for UC Santa Barbara. After eliminating Louisville and Miami from the College World Series they were eliminated by Arizona. JC Cloney pitched seven innings of five hit shutout ball and steady bullpen mate Cameron Ming finished the game off with two shutout innings in a 3-0 Wildcat win. Arizona scored all their runs in the third inning, Ryan Aguilar driving in the first run with a sacrifice fly and Jared Oliva finishing the inning off with a two run homer. Arizona gets a rematch with Oklahoma State and must beat them twice to advance to the finals. The Cowboys beat the Wildcats 1-0 in the finals of the winner’s bracket.

Five Games, Five Days, Five Parks - Day Four Tyler Tater Only Run in Railriders Victory

June 23rd, 2016

The pitchers dominated in the game tonight. Chad Green of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders threw 95 mile per hour heat tacking up swings and misses to the tune of nine strikeouts in seven innings. His fastball lost a tick or two in the later innings but the only hits he gave up were the two singles to Tyler Collins in the first and third innings. Tyler Austin, whose prospect status has disappeared provided the only run of the game when his blast bounced onto the walkway in left field that straddles the bullpen area, taking one hop and hitting the scoreboard. It was all the Railriders needed in their 1-0 win over the Toledo Mudhens.

Lefty Chad Bell pitched well for the Mudhens. He didn’t allow a run in his six innings of work, giving up just three hits. Preston Guillmet served up the Austin homerun to take the loss.

Logan Kensing faced three Railriders in the eighth inning and struck all three hitters out. The Railriders rallied against Diego Moreno with a walk and single putting runners on first and third with only one out. Dixon Machado hit the ball hard but right at the third baseman, who easily turned two to end the threat. Gonor Mullee closed out the game for the Railriders, retiring the side in order, the last two on whiffs.

Scranton Facts

There is not a city named Scranton Wilkes-Barre. The name is a combination of two city names located close to each other, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Scranton is the larger city, the sixth largest in Pennsylvania.

Scranton could be the most powerful city in the world. Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States was born in Scranton and Hilary Clinton spent her childhood here, with her father buried in Scranton. Don’t know if the two ever crossed paths while living in Scranton.

Scranton was built on iron and steel. When that production moved overseas the city stopped growing. In 1962 a retailer named Thrif D Discount Center opened in Scranton. This was the beginning of the Rite-Aid drugstore chain.

Wilkes-Barre

This is the 13th largest city in Pennsylvania. It was built on coal. When coal was replaced as an energy source the city downsized with it.

There is no person that catches my eye that was born in Wilkes-Barre. It is the birthplace of Planters Peanuts Co.

Legend has it that Babe Ruth hit one of the longest homeruns ever in an exhibition game here. It was measured at 650 feet. It was witnessed that the ball was still rising as it cleared the 400 foot fence. Don’t know if they measured it where it stopped or where it landed.

Game and Stadium Notes: The ballpark does not have a lot of personality to it. PNC was built in 2013 so it is a new park. History can build personality, but it doesn’t appear they wanted to bring any of the history of the old park to the new park. PNC has all the bells and whistles of a modern park, with a nice scoreboard, a kids fun zone and a couple bar areas in the outfield where the adults can spend money on expensive alcoholic beverages. There are no statues of great players or plaques recognizing the achievements of great players, at least what I could find…The food choices are not as varied as Reading but they have nachos and tacos, pannini sandwiches, sausages, hamburgers, Texas style barbecue in right field and chicken tenders. Myworld tried the pierogis, a staple in Pennsylvania. We’ve had better in Pittsburgh at the Pirates park…It is best to buy tickets on the third base side. You are looking into the sun for the first three innings on the first base side…In the fourth inning they have a legend’s race with Thurman Munson, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Billy Martin. Joe won the race tonight. Billy Martin never wins…Streamed along the right field fence PNC has an International League scoreboard in addition to a major league scoreboard…The town of Hazelton, which is as far from Scranton as Wilkes-Barre, likes to point out that Joe Maddon, the manager of the Cubs was born in Hazelton…There is a walk ramp that passes the bullpen area in left field. Tyler Austin hit a homerun to score the only run of the game tonight. The ball landed on the ramp passing the bullpen, bounced up and hit the scoreboard…The stadium has a nice backdrop with the trees and the hill. The restaurant Non’Nos sits atop the hill looking down at the ballpark…Mark Teixeira made a rehab start in the game at the DH spot. He singled his first time up, grounded out and walked…Aaron Judge seems to have trouble making contact at pitches thrown near the knees. At 6′8″ he has a large strike zone. His last two at bats he swung and missed at three pitches travelling near the knees…Chad Green had a lot of swings and misses to his 95 mile per hour fastball. The Yankees briefly called him up and he struggled in two appearances. The Yankees acquired Green from the Tigers in the Justin Wilson trade…Jacoby Jones has trouble making contact on balls with a break. He struck out in three of his four at bats. Anthony Gose struck out all three times he batted. After Diego Moreno had thrown six straight balls to start his appearance Gose had a check swing strike on a pitch that appeared to be out of the strike zone. Two more pitches and he was a strikeout victim for the third time. If he continues to have at bats like that myworld would predict his return to the major leagues is doubtful…The Railriders shift against Dean Green paid off when Green lined one to the shortstop who was playing on the first base side of the base…Nick Swisher does not have a lot of speed to be playing outfield. Tonight he was playing right field and Judge was playing left.

Gators Eliminated from CWS; TCU Advances

June 22nd, 2016

There were two college world series games in the second bracket played last night, one in the losers round and the other in the winners round. TCU beat Coastal Carolina 6-1 to advance to the winners round. Brian Howard quieted the Carolina bats until the sixth inning when he gave up a run. A walk put the tying run at the plate and brought in Ryan Burnett, who got the last out of the sixth inning and was perfect the last three innings, retiring all the hitters he faced to cinch the win for TCU.

Luken Baker was the big bat for TCU with a 3 for 3 day, tagging a ball over the left field fence to lead off the second to score the first run for the Horned Frogs. TCU would never look back, taking advantage of two Coastal Carolina errors to score three unearned runs. They will wait in the winners bracket for the game between Coastal Carolina and Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders eliminated the Florida Gators with a 3-2 win. Davis Martin quieted their bats to three hits in his seven innings of work. Eric Gutierrez slugged a two run homer in the fourth and the way both pitchers were working it appeared the score would hold up. Texas Tech scored a critical insurance run in the ninth after a throwing error allowed a run to score. Peter Alonso hit a two run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Hayden Howard to close the gap to 3-2. A two out single by Jonathan India could have gotten another rally started but he got greedy attempting to take second base and he was thrown out by left fielder Tyler Neslony to end the game.

TCU and Oklahoma State sit in the winners slot in the two brackets. The winner of the UC Santa Barbara/Arizona game will play Oklahoma State and must beat them twice to advance to the finals. Coastal Carolina and Texas Tech will do battle to see who will match up against TCU.

Five Games, Five Days, Five Parks - Akron Over Reading

June 22nd, 2016

The two teams were in first place in their respective divisions. Reading had the best record in professional baseball at 49-20, a couple games better than the Cubs. The Akron Rubber Ducks used a couple two run homeruns in the opening two frames to beat the Reading Fightin Phils 5-2.

The Fightin Phils had recently called up Tyler Viza from Clearwater. This would be his third start at AA, winning his first and getting a no decision in his second. The big bats got to him early in his third AA start with Clint Frazier bombing a pitch into straight away centerfield to give Akron an early 2-0 lead. Todd Hankins pulled a pitch into the leftfield bleachers for another two run homer to extend the Akron lead to 4-0.

Viza settled down for the remaining five innings, giving up just two hits, both of them in the fifth inning. Todd Hankins led off the inning with a single but was thrown out by five feet trying to steal second. Clint Frazier roped a two out double into right centerfield but when he slid into second he bounced off the bag and the Phillies Valentin was there to make the tag for the third out.

D.J. Brown did not allow a hit in the first three innings, walking one. In the fourth he gave up a leadoff single to Jesmuel Valentin. Jorge Alfaro lined one into the left field bleachers to score the Fightin Phils first two runs. A walk to Dylan Cozens, who is leading the minor leagues in homeruns with 19 sent slugger Rhys Hoskins to the plate representing the tying run. He skied one into left field, raising gasps of expectations from the fans, but falling short of the fence, caught by Jordan Smith at the warning track.

The Phillies had one more opportunity to score in the sixth, loading the bases with one out on two walks and a single. Christian Marrerro grounded a ball to second, and despite a bobble by Ivan Castillo prior to his flip to second Akron was still able to complete the double play. For the fans in the deck head section of the left field bleachers, there would be no free pretzels tonight. They had a couple two out hits in the seventh and eighth but their day was done after the sixth.

Akron scored an insurance run off Joely Rodriguez in the eighth. A one out walk to Bradley Zimmer led to the run. Clint Frazier grounded what could have been a double play ball to third but Harold Martinez dropped the ball. He was able to pick the ball up quickly to get Frazier at first, but Zimmer advanced to second. Zimmer scored on a single by Nellie Rodriguez, who beat the shift by grounding a single just to the right field side of the second base bag.

Reading Phacts (at least from Wikipedia)

Reading is the fifth largest city in Philadelphia. The 2010 census showed they had the largest share of citizens living in poverty in the nation. A drive around Reading by myworld shows this may be changing as there a number of nice housing developments in the city.

John Phillip Souza died here in 1932 but Taylor Swift was born here. Wikipedia shows she was born in Berks County where they have Dieffenbacks potato chips, which began in 1964, 15 years before Taylor was born. Someone at the ballgame confirms that Taylor lived in two houses in Reading before the family moved to Nashville.

Wal Mart is the seventh largest employer in the city. The largest is Reading Hospital. A lot of cities seem to depend on hospitals or medical facilities for their employment, relying on the fact that in this day and age people will seek medical care when they are sick. The medical industry seems to be thriving on our abilities not to stay healthy.

My favorite candy bar, the York Peppermint Patty was invented here. Vanity Fair was also founded here in 1899 but under the name Reading Glove & Mitten Manufacturing Company. They changed their name to Vanity Fair in 1911. They are not listed as one of the top ten employers in the city since all of their manufacturing base has moved to China or the Caribbean. Now they are just an outlet mall where they sell their clothes that are now made overseas.

Game and Stadium Notes: Reading may not be a pretty stadium but it has beautiful ambience. It is like the plain girl who has the great personality. You just have to love her despite all her faults. The food selections are more varied than at the Phillies major league park, even though they have less room for concessions. Where is the imagination of major league parks. They have soup, corn on the cob, stuffed pretzels and your typical fare of hot dogs, hamburgers and cotton candy. Myworld tasted the ham and cheese stuffed pretzel since one of the things Reading is known for is their pretzel manufacturing. It was good but myworld would have taken more ham and cheese and less pretzel…It was Ryan Howard bobblehead night. They also handed out a bag of potato chips from Dieffenbacks, a local potato chip manufacturer (Berk County)…The park has a pool out in right field, but it is reserved for groups who pay a little extra to splash in the water and watch the game from the right field pool area…They have a number of small free parking lots surrounding the ball park. It is recommended you get there early to get a prime parking spot. Exiting the stadium can take awhile because they only have two ways you can leave and a number of cars feeding into the same area…If you go to a day game the only shade in the stadium appears to be behind home plate in the upper levels. They also have left field bleacher seating. The 67 club, along left field has a number of picnic tables where you can sit and eat while you watch the game. There is also a deck head in the left field bleachers. If the left fielder gets on base every fan in the bleachers gets free pretzels. A homerun and one fan gets a special gift pack…There are a number of team pictures over the last 50 years behind the home plate area, including the 1955 team who had a player by the name of Roger Maris on the team…The hot dog man rides out in his toy ostrich once an inning and throws skinny hot dogs out into the stands. Today he went out in the second inning…Clint Frazier appeared smoother gliding toward the ball than Bradley Zimmer. Myworld thinks Zimmer will fit better at a corner outfield…Clint Frazier has a lot of flowing hair stuffed under his hat…There was a veggie race in the fifth inning. Lettuce defeated carrot, cauliflower and broccoli.

For Cowboys and Benge a Little De Ja Vu in Second 1-0 Win

June 21st, 2016

The runs are not coming in bunches, but as long as the Cowboys score one run they have a good shot of winning. Tyler Buffett pitched eight innings of shutout ball and for the second game in Omaha Oklahoma State won 1-0 over Arizona. Trey Cobb tossed the last inning of relief to pick up the save. The Cowboys did not allow a Wildcat runner to get beyond first base.

The Wildcats had a nice game from Bobby Dalbec, who also went eight innings, but he gave up one run on five hits. The Cowboys had trouble making contact off him with 12 whiffs. In the fourth inning Donnie Walton led off with a double and scored on a single by Garrett Benge. Benge drove in the lone run for the Cowboys in their opener, a single in the fourth inning.