Smokies Hang on for Win

With a 10-3 lead the Tenessee Smokies brought on Gerardo Concepcion to mopup against the Mobile Baybears. Concepcion could retire only one of the six hitters he faced, giving up a grand slam homerun to pinch hitter Gerson Montilla. P.J. Francescon came in to close out the game but he gave up a walk and a single to put the tying run on base. Brandon Drury lined one into the left centerfield gap, but Alberto Almora Jr. was able to track it down to end the game. Smokie fans all gave a sigh of relief after that catch.

Myworld was impressed with two players for the Cubs not considered top prospects, though they may be higher rated on other teams. The talkative Wilson Contreras is always gabbing with someone, whether it is the umpire or the third base coach, but he looked good at the hot corner and at the plate sending one over the fence for a two run homer that proved to be the difference in the game. Elliot Soto had two good bunts, one for a sacrifice and another he beat out for a single. He also played excellent defense at shortstop, looking very smooth when fielding the ball, but doesn’t stand much hope of playing there with the Cubs depth.

The Baybears struck first after a single by Socrates Brito and a stolen base. Brandon Drury drove him in with a single. A strike him out throw him out double play ended the inning earlier than expected for the Baybears.

The Smokies answered back with a leadoff single by Elliot Soto and a line shot double by Kyle Schwarber down the right field line. Soto showed his speed by scoring on the hit. When Schwarber makes contact everything is a line drive.

Both starters Braden Shipley and Corey Black seemed to settle down after that. Shipley had the bullpen on its toes throughout the game, loading the bases in the second and put two runners on in the third. In the fifth a Wilson Contreras one out single and Billy McKinney double put two runners on again and ended the day for Shipley. Seth Simmons gave up a slow line drive infield single up the middle to Anthony Giansanti. Baybears shortstop Sean Jameson made a nice play to keep the ball in the infield but McKinney was streaking home as Jameson flipped the ball to the pitcher as his momentum carried him into right field. McKinney scored easily.

The Smokies appeared to break the game open in the sixth, scoring five runs. McKinney had the big hit with a two run triple after back to back walks put two runners on. Three walks, two wild pitches and four hits created the chaos.

The Baybears bounced back with two runs in the seventh. Zach Borenstein crushed a ball to the wall in centerfield that Albert Almora Jr. was just short of reaching. Two runs scored on the triple. The Baybears could not bring Borenstein home for the third run after a strikeout and double play grounder ended the inning. Starling Peralta came in from the bullpen after a walk and got the double play grounder with his first pitch.

Wilson Contreras got the runs back in the bottom of the inning crushing a ball into centerfield for a two run homer. It was his second hit of the game with two walks. It did not seem that big a hit at the time, expanding the score to 10-3.

The Smokies brought in Cuban Gerardo Concepcion to mop up in the ninth. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for pinch hitter Gerson Montilla, who deposited a ball into the left field patio area to make the score 10-7. After giving up another single Concepcion was asked to take a shower and P.J. Francescon came on to close. He walked one to put the crowd on edge but got the final two outs to close out the victory for the Smokies.

Game Notes: Myworld had a fried bologna sandwich at the game. We had a late lunch and wasn’t really hungry but it is not everyday you see a fried bologna sandwich at a ball game. It’s been a long time since myworld has even had bologna in a sandwich. Don’t know if my lack of appetite influenced my taste for the sandwich. It is pretty messy so bring napkins…Billy McKinney was playing right field and made a nice sliding stop of a ball heading for the gap, turning a double into a single. He has centerfield skills but may not have the power for right field…Starling Peralta was throwing the ball 96…The Baybears manager was tossed in the ninth after the second called third strike. He was walking toward the home plate umpire after the second called third strike of the inning. The home plate umpire put up the stop sign with his hand but the manager continued his stride toward home. The umpire tossed him. That got the manager into a sprint to home plate and a heated argument ensued over the umpires strike zone…Corey Black had a solid outing for the Smokies, going five innings and allowing just three hits and the first inning run. He struck out six, including the side in the fourth…Everything Kyle Schwarber hits is a line drive…Baybear shortstop Sean Jameson made the defensive play of the trip with a diving catch on a line drive in the hole.

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