After hitting the Harrisburg the night before, we made it to the IronPigs game the next night to check them out against the Durham Bulls. Tampa Bay’s top two prospects were on hand as Brent Honeywell (#1) started the game and Willy Adames (#2) was at short.
Honewell was tagged early when Jorge Alfaro crushed a no-doubter to left to give Lehigh Valley a 1-0 lead. That was all the Pigs could get off of the Rays #1 prospect. He pitched great, going 6 innings allowing that one run on 5 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts.
Former IronPig Taylor Featherston hurt his former team in the 3rd and 4th innings. He hit into a groundout that scored a run in the 3rd and then singled in a run in the 4th to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead. #2 prospect Willy Adames grounded out in the 5th, but scored Jake Hager in the process. Hager then hit a 2-run homer in the 7th to finish the scoring and give the Bulls a 5-1 victory.
Hager finished the night 2-4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs for Durham. Ben Lively started the game for the IronPigs, but was only able to go 4 innings after taking a liner off the leg in the 5th inning. He finished the game 4 innings giving up 3 runs (2 ER) on 5 hits with a walk and 4 strikeouts. Scott Kingery, Andrew Pullin and Alfaro each had two hits, but were the only ones to muster a hit on the night for Lehigh Valley. Pullin’s two hits were doubles.
We made it over to Harrisburg to check out a Senators game. The stadium is neat and is located on City Island, right in the middle of the river next to the city. We got Club seats right behind the plate for $35 and it included all you can eat in the club. It had the normal concession food, as well as fish, pork and some other good food.
Harrisburg got on the board first in the 2nd inning when Yadiel Hernandez sent a single to left that scored Osvaldo Abreu. They added to the lead in the 5th when Nationals #1 prospect and MLB’s #6 prospect Victor Robles doubled to left to score another run and give the Senators a 2-0 lead.
Portland took over the offense in the 6th. Cole Sturgeon singled in Joseph Monge to make it a 2-1 game. In the 8th, Monge homered to left to tie the ballgame. Red Sox #3 prospect Michael Chavis hit an RBI double to give the Sea Dogs the 3-2 lead. Harrisburg got it back in the bottom half of the 8th. Drew Ward hit an RBI single to tie the game and the Hernandez hit a sac fly to score Ward and give the Senators the 4-3 lead. Andrew Robinson came in and saved the game for the Sens.
Austin Voth pitched a great game for Harrisburg going 6 innings allowing a run on 5 hits with 6 strikeouts. The 5-8 hitters each had two hits on the night. Teddy Stankiewicz was solid for Portland. He went 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 7 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. He was hit by a comebacker in the leg in the 4th inning, but held on to make it through six. Sturgeon and Monge were the two Sea Dogs with multi-hit games.
July 8 – San Diego Padres @ Philadelphia Phillies
July 10 – Golf at Royal Manchester Golf Links
July 12 – Golf at Bulle Rock & Lynchburg Hillcats @ Wilmington Blue Rocks
July 13 – Rome Braves @ Lakewood Blue Claws (POSTPONED) & Rochester Red Wings @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs
July 14 – Rochester Red Wings @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs
San Diego Padres @ Philadelphia Phillies – July 8, 2017
It was a great day for baseball in Philly. After checking out the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Reading Terminal Market downtown, we made our way over to Citizens Bank Park for an afternoon matchup between the Padres and Phillies. The game was a pitcher’s duel for most of the game, but Philly’s Maikel Franco decided to finally put some runs on the board in the 5th inning when he took Jhoulys Chacin deep into the left-field bleachers. The blast gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Aaron Nola was dominant for Philadelphia, but ran into some trouble in the 7th inning. Hunter Renfroe led off the inning with a double to right. After retiring the next two batters, Nola gave up an RBI triple to deep center off the bat of Carlos Asuaje. Austin Hedges then came up and poked a base hit to right to give San Diego the 2-1 lead. After threatening in the 8th and 9th innings, the Padres were ultimately able to shut down the Phillies and take the 2-1 victory. The teams combined for only nine hits on the day and struck out 18 times. Chacin got the win after going 6 1/3 giving up only 3 hits and a run while allowing 2 walks and striking out 6. Nola pitched well, but took the loss after going 8 innings and giving up 2 runs on 4 hits with 2 walks and 9 strikeouts.
Golf at Royal Manchester Golf Links in Mount Wolf, PA – July 10, 2017
The course was incredible. This was the first links-style course I’ve played and it did not disappoint. The course was open, but a lot of very narrow fairways with two-foot tall fescue waiting outside of them. This was the 2016 Golf Advisor #1 Course in Pennsylvania and #42 Best Course in America. It had everything. In addition to the fescue, it had lakes, tons of bunkers and lots of long holes. It was very challenging up also incredibly fun, as there was something different to look for on each hole. The 9th and 18th holes come back to the clubhouse which gives a very picturesque view of the surrounding wilderness. The 18th, especially, gives a great view with a small rock formation waterfall that slides into a lake just in front of the green. It’s a great finishing hole after a long day on the course. I hit the ball well, but didn’t score as well as I would’ve hoped for. I shot a 95 overall. A few bad holes hurt me and the water on the course wasn’t very kind.
Golf at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace, MD – July 12, 2017
Bulle Rock might be my favorite course that I have played. It ranks as the #52 Public Course in America by 2017-18 Golf Digest. The pro shop was large and had a wide variety of items. The staff was extremely nice and helpful. While we were in the pro shop before our round, one of the staff members said the Vijay Singh just golfed there on Monday and Ron Jaworski played it last week. If those guys are playing this course, it’s got to be very well-known and kept up. It didn’t disappoint. We started our round on Hole 10 due to a in-house tournament that started in the morning. We came up to the starter and he was very helpful. Having never played there before, he went through some rules and tips of the course. The course had a ton of bunkers and also had some water holes. It was very challenging yet very unique and friendly to the average golfer. The course featured a lot of long holes, as well as some major doglegs. The rough was thick and most holes had fescue just off of the rough as well. I hit the ball pretty well, but did have some rough holes. I ultimately shot a 93 and even birdied Hole 6. I hit a decent tee shot into the first cut on the left side. My second shot was put up onto the ridge of the left side of the green about 30-35 feet from the hole. Playing a big break, I was able to sink the putt to card a three on the Par 4.
Lynchburg Hillcats @ Wilmington Blue Rocks – July 12, 2017
We finished our round of golf at Bulle Rock and then hopped in the car to head up to Wilmington. This was a Class A-Advanced matchup between the Hillcats (Indians) and Blue Rocks (Royals). It started out with a lot of hitting a scoring through the first few innings. Lynchburg got the scoring started in the first when Sicnarf Loopstok homered deep to left field to give Lynchburg the 1-0 lead. Wilmington matched that in the bottom half when Chris DeVito hit an RBI single and then surpassed it when Roman Collins singled later in the inning. The Blue Rocks held the lead 2-1 after one. They then added to it in the 2nd when Nick Heath singled in Jodd Carter to give the Blue Rocks a 3-1 lead. Lynchburg tied the game in the top of the 3rd on a Gavin Collins RBI double followed by a Connor Marabell RBI single. The score stayed tied until th 8th when Jodd Carter homered to give Lynchburg a 4-3 lead. Down to their last inning, Wilmington tied it at 4-4 when D.J. Burt hit a sac fly scoring Roman Collins. The game made it all the way to the 13th. With two outs, Carlos Diaz walked. He then took 2nd on defensive indifference and then 3rd on a wild pitch. A couple of pitches later, he scored on another wild pitch to give the Blue Rocks a 5-4 walk-off win. Lynchburg’s Willi Castro finished 3-6 with a walk and three others had two hits. Wilmington’s Roman Collins finished 3-5 with a 3B, walk, run and RBI.
Rome Braves @ Lakewood Blue Claws – July 13, 2017
We got to the stadium around 5:45 for the 7:05 game. As soon as we pulled up, we noticed there were some dark clouds rolling in as well as some pretty major lightning strikes pretty close to us. We got our tickets from Will Call and just then it started to rain. It was Maikel Franco Bobblehead Night, so we were able to get into the stadium just in time for two reasons: the rain and the fact there was only one box of bobbleheads left! We got our things from the Pro Shop and then waited around and checked out the stadium a little bit. The concourse was pretty crowded since everyone was packed up there waiting for the rain to stop. It was announced around 6:15 that the game would start in a delay, but around 7:00, the game was ultimately postponed. We didn’t get to see the game, but at least got to see the stadium and grab some goodies before heading out.
Rochester Red Wings @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs – July 13, 2017
After getting rained out in Lakewood, we made the two hour drive back to Allentown. We noticed on the way back that the IronPigs game was being delayed and was in line for an 8:45 start. Knowing we’d be making it back around 9:00, we figured why not make it over there and catch some of the game? We made it right after the first inning. The main draw was Bartolo Colon pitching for Rochester. His first start of any kind after being released by the Braves and picked up by the Twins. We missed the Pigs scoring once in the bottom of the first, so it was 1-0 as we were walking into the gates. J.P. Crawford took Colon deep to right in the 3rd to give Lehigh Valley a 2-0 lead. Andrew Pullin added to it in the 4th when he doubled home Dylan Cozens and Pedro Florimon to give the Pigs a 4-0 lead against Bartolo Colon and the Red Wings. We left in the top of the 7th knowing we were heading back to the game the next night. The Red Wings scored later in the inning on a bases-loaded walk and then Lehigh Valley scored two in the 8th. Lehigh Valley got the 6-1 victory. Colon only finished 3 2/3 innings giving up 4 runs on 4 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. Mitch Garver was the only Red Wing with multiple hits (2-4, 1 BB). Ben Lively was brilliant for the IronPigs. He went 6 strong innings only giving up 4 hits and 2 walks with no runs and 8 strikeouts. Crawford (2-4, 1 HR, 2 R) and Rhys Hoskins (2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R) were the two Pigs with multiple hits.
Rochester Red Wings @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs – July 14, 2017
We were back for night two of the Red Wings and IronPigs. It was “Molten Friday Night,” a theme the IronPigs use on Friday nights where they were their black jerseys with orange lettering. It was actually a “Color Rush” night as well, in which Rochester wore their red jerseys. It was primed to be a good pitching matchup as Justin Haley started for Rochester and Zach Eflin started for Lehigh Valley. The scoring got started in the 3rd. After allowing a single and a walk, with two outs and men on 1st and 3rd, Eflin threw a wild pitch that allowed Bengie Gonzalez to score from 3rd and give Rochester a 1-0 lead. They added to it in the 5th when Gonzalez scored Edgar Corcino on a sacrifice fly and made it 2-0. Corcino then reached on an error in the 7th by Rhys Hoskins at first which scored Matt Hague and ByungHo Park. The Red Wings now led 4-0. Lehigh Valley threatened in the 9th in hopes of winning or sending it to extras. Jorge Alfaro poked an RBI single to right to score Herlis Rodriguez and make it 4-1. After a walk to Dylan Cozens, Rhys Hoskins came up as the tying run, but went down swinging to end the game. Hoskins struggled on the night going 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. Justin Haley got the win for Rochester going 5 innings giving up only 3 hits while striking out 2. Eflin took the loss going 6 innings giving up 2 runs on 2 hits with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. J.B. Shuck had two of Rochester’s five hits, while Scott Kingery and Jorge Alfaro each added two hits for the IronPigs.
My parents were in town, so that meant hitting up another Pigs game. The RailRiders were back in town. Being a rivalry, it feels like they are in town every other series.
A 2-2 game going into the 7th inning, the RailRiders kicked on in the offensive firepower. Dustin Fowler hit a 2-run bomb to right to make it a 4-2 game. Dylan Cozens singled in the bottom half for the Pigs to make it 4-3, but then it was back to work for the SWB offense. The 8th inning saw four runs scored for the RailRiders. Kyle Higashioka drew a bases-loaded walk, Donovan Solano and Cito Culver hit RBI singles and Tyler Wade hit a sac fly.
Hector Gomez doubled in Nick Williams to make it 8-4 in the 8th, but Higashioka lifted a 3-run shot to deep left to give the RailRiders an 11-4 victory. Bryan Mitchell saw limited action as the starter for SWB, as he went 2 2/3 allowing a run on 4 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. Greg Bird was on rehab for the RailRiders and was 2-5 with and RBI and two doubles. Tyler Austin and Cito Culver both had two hits on the night. Solano finished 3-5 with a double, three runs and an RBI. Tom Eshelman pitched 6 1/3 innings for the Pigs allowing 3 runs (2 ER) on 7 hits with a walk and 6 strikeouts. Dylan Cozens went 3-5 with 2 RBI. Cam Perkins and J.P. Crawford each finished with two hits.
I went and saw the Louisville Bats against the Pigs. The Bats got on the board first on a Brandon Dixon sac fly in the 2nd to take a 1-0 lead. The Pigs took the lead in the 4th on a run-scoring fielder’s choice and an RBI single. Lehigh Valley now held the 2-1 lead.
Louisville added to their lead in the 6th. Phillip Ervin started it off with an RBI single. Reds #3 prospect Jesse Winker doubled home Ervin to take a 3-2 lead. Tony Renda then doubled in Winker to take a 4-2 lead. The IronPigs got it back on one swing from Nick Williams in the bottom of the inning, with a 2-run shot, tying up the game 4-4.
The 8th inning is where the IronPigs took over. The rain started to fall, but the baseballs started flying out. Taylor Featherston hit a 3-run shot and then Hector Gomez added a 2-run bomb to give the Pigs a 9-4 win.
Tom Eshelman started for the Pigs and went 6 2/3 allowing 4 runs on 7 hits with 6 strikeouts. Jorge Alfaro, J.P. Crawford and Nick Williams all had multi-hit games. Williams and Featherston added three RBIs on the night. Jackson Stephens went 6 innings for the Bats giving up 4 runs on 6 hits with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts. Renda went 2-4 with a run and RBI, as he was the only Louisville player with a multi-hit game.
I was back at Coca-Cola Park a week later to catch the Buffalo Bisons against the IronPigs.
This game had lots of scoring. Every inning had a run scored except for the 9th, so that means it all got started in the 1st inning. Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins each had RBI singles to give the IronPigs a 2-0 lead. The Bisons got an RBI double from Raffy Lopez and an RBI single from Roemon Fields to tie the game at 2-2. The bottom of the 3rd saw Nick Williams with an RBI single and Taylor Featherston reaching on an error to score a run. It was now a 4-2 IronPigs lead.
The 4th inning came around and Shane Opitz had an RBI groundout to cut the lead in half, but the Pigs got it back and then dome in the bottom half of the inning. Hector Gomez hit a solo shot to lead off the inning. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Hoskins unloaded them with a bases-clearing triple to make it an 8-3 game. Rowdy Tellez, one of the Blue Jays’ top prospects, doubled in the 5th to score Dwight Smith Jr. and cut the lead to 8-4. In the 6th, Christian Lopes and Tellez both doubled in runs to make it an 8-6 game. Fields added an RBI groundout in the 7th to make it an 8-7 game, but that’s all the closer Buffalo would get.
In the 8th, Hoskins doubled in Jorge Alfaro and then Williams singled to score Hoskins to give the IronPigs a 10-7 lead and victory. Both starters struggled mightily. T.J. House threw 5 innings for the Bisons allowing 8 runs (5 ER) on 9 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. Ricardo Pinto went 5 1/3 for the Pigs giving up 6 runs (5 ER) on 8 hits with 3 walks and 4 punch outs. The Bisons finished with 12 hits. Lopes, Tellez, Fields and Jason Leblebijian each had two hits on the night. Fields also added two stolen bases. Raffy Lopez went 3-4 with two doubles, a walk, RBI and two runs. Lehigh Valley finished with 15 hits and five players recorded multi-hit games. Jorge Alfaro finished 3-5 with a double and three runs scored. Hoskins went 4-5 with a double, triple, run and 5 RBI.