The story advising young players on handling umpires develops for Junior Baseball- I'm getting a lot of chuckling when questioned on that subject. In the meantime, I was able to see tremendous pitching by the Harrisburg Senators and Trenton Thunder Thursday.
Brad Myers took the hill for the Senators in game one and while he had to pitch out of some jams, Harrisburg's offense (7th in the league) pounded Thunder starter Wilkin De La Rosa. De La Rosa entered the game with a 3.84 ERA. Harrisburg made the most of their 12 hits, with Edgardo Baez, Michael Daniel and Matt Whitney knocking in a run a piece. Ofilio Castro knocked in three runs with a base-clearing hit to break the game wide open for the Senators.
Both games were seven innings, but game one went extras. With a 6:05 start for game one, you can probably do the math. But you'd be wrong. Because game one went into extra innings and lasted three hours and nineteen minutes. The name Bill Rinehart will invoke a smile from me forever. With his pinch hit he broke the tie, eventually leading to an 8-4 victory over the Thunder.
Following that one, I was able to talk to Senators reliever Clint Everts, who pitched in the eighth to close out the game for the win.
"Tonight my fast ball command was there and I was throwing my curve ball for strikes. And the guys behind me were making pretty good plays."
As for his take on Harrisburg's success over Trenton?
"Our whole [pitching] staff is just working ahead of hitters. If you fall behind in the count as a hitter, you become real defensive. We've kept them on their heels."
Trenton had lost six straight, all to Harrisburg until....
Paul Bush pitched game two and attacked hitters, pounding the strike zone fearlessly. Every pitch just looked hard and fast. This time, the Thunder offense did all the right things. Despite several of the guys arguing called strikes with home plate umpire Matthew Hansel, they made Harrisburg pitcher Erik Arnesen pay early and consistently. Arnesen struggled with control for much of the time, allowing six hits, two walks and four earned runs over six innings. He's 6-4 on the season and 4th in the league.
Thunder shutout Harrisburg 5-0.
Trenton needed that win before heading out on their week long road trip. If nothing else, they were able to gain some confidence back.
Thunder manager Tony Franklin seemed a bit weary (hello, early morning bus ride!), but also upbeat post-game.
"There were a couple plays that hadn't gone our way, but I'm not crying about it," Franklin said after the game two victory. "We haven't gotten any breaks, largely because we haven't created any for ourselves. Tonight we did."