Monthly Archives: August 2013

Mickey Pena debuts in 4-2 Portland Sea Dogs win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Peter Hissey hustles to beat the throw to first enabling the Portland Sea Dogs to score their first run.

Derrik Gibson hustles to beat the throw to first enabling the Portland Sea Dogs to score their first run.

Christian Vazquez had three hits and drove in the 4th Portland run

Christian Vazquez had three hits and drove in the 4th Portland run

(Portland)  They fought like cats and dogs.

I’m sorry, I just had to use that.  Why? Because it was true.

Tight game this afternoon with the Portland Sea Dogs getting three runs in the eighth inning on their way to a 4-2 win over the visiting New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

The Wednesday noon start brought out over six thousand fans and they saw the home team win an important game.  The Sea Dogs are currently in 4th place in the Eastern Division of the Eastern League.

The top two teams will make the playoffs.  Binghamton will get first but the race for second place is tightening up.  Second place Trenton (Yankee farm team) leads Portland by 4 ½ games with 13 games left.  However, by the luck of the schedule, the two teams will meet a remarkable nine times the rest of the way including the last five at Hadlock Field.  The opportunity to move up in the standings is certainly there for the taking for the Sea Dogs.

Many of today’s attendees were disappointed to learn yesterday that phenom Henry Owens would not be pitching in today’s game.  Henry has pitched once at Hadlock and that was after a two-hour rain delay.  Let’s just say that not too many have seen him pitch in person at the AA level in Portland.

Mickey Pena made his AA debut pitching seven shutout innings

Mickey Pena made his AA debut pitching seven shutout innings

Mickey Pena got the start today for Portland and the lefty looked very good.  There was no indication that this was his AA debut.  He has been with Salem (A) this season.  Mickey went seven innings giving up only five hits and no runs.

Marcus Walden of the Fisher Cats was just as effective as Mickey was.  Marcus came in with the deceiving 6-12 record but he had won four games against Portland with a very impressive 1.56 ERA.

The Sea Dogs scratched out a run in the 4th inning.  Christian Vazquez (three hits/1 run/1 rbi) scored from third as Derrik Gibson’s hustle prevented an inning ending double play.

That 1-0 looked safe after reliever Jeremy Kehrt retired the first two batters in the eighth inning but then the wheels came off.  Jeremy gave up six hits to the next nine batters he faced.  He did manage to escape with only one run given up in the eighth but the score was now tied.

Michael Almanzar had a two-out, two-run triple in the eighth inning.

Michael Almanzar had a two-out, two-run triple in the eighth inning.

A hit batsman and a walk surrounded two outs for Portland in their half of the eighth.  Out went Marcus Walden and in came Evan Crawford.  That switch did not go well!  Michael Almanzar tripled to right bringing both runners home.  That was the 24th run this season that Michael has delivered with two outs.  Christian Vazquez followed with a single and Portland had a 4-1 lead.

In the ninth Jeremy Kehrt continued to struggle.  He gave up a run (now 4-2) and he left with two outs and the bases loaded.  Noe Ramirez came on to save the game getting Andy Burns to pop to shortstop Derrik Gibson along the left-field line.

I will have to admit that I was a bit disappointed not to see Henry Owens in action. However, maybe I’ll look back in a few years and say I saw Mickey Pena debut in AA ball.  He could be a good one.

Deven Marrero

Deven Marrero

With Henry out of the mix, I was left to get recently called up Deven Marrero.  Would you believe that he wasn’t playing either!

I did, however, get some shots of Deven before and during the game……but not any action shots.

Minor league baseball is a great take for the family.  There certainly is plenty of entertainment for everyone.  I did notice the there were few buses in front of Hadlock so obviously camps are over and the resumption of school is at hand.

I continue to be disappointed with the Sea Dog mascot Sluggo.  How many times can he lose to opponents ¼ his size?  He always gets a bad start and usually falls down, which gives him no chance.  I wonder if he’s heard of the Washington Generals??

Sluggo loses to another youngster

Sluggo loses to another youngster

Thanks to Portland Sea Dogs media director Chris Cameron for arranging my visit.  I may try to get back to Hadlock during their five-game series with Trenton that ends the season.  There is a big if.  Henry Owens has to be pitching.  I would like to think that in a five-game series, that might mean something, the 20-year-old would get a start.

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Rich Gedman

Rich Gedman

Deven Marrero

Deven Marrero

pre-game chat

pre-game chat

Deven Marrero

Deven Marrero

JC Linares and Michael Almanzar

JC Linares and Michael Almanzar

loose ball

loose ball

Derrik Gibson

Derrik Gibson

Christian Vazquez gets high five from Shannon Wilkerson after scoring first run

Christian Vazquez gets high five from Shannon Wilkerson after scoring first run

sea of green

sea of green

Marcus Walden

Marcus Walden

Kenny Wilson takes second

Kenny Wilson takes second

sliding results

sliding results

Ryan Schimpf

Ryan Schimpf

Mickey Pena throws to first

Mickey Pena throws to first

Kevin Heller

Kevin Heller

Ryan Dent steals second - he had two steals in the game.

Ryan Dent steals second – he had two steals in the game.

Garin Cecchini

Garin Cecchini

Gary Allenson and Garin Cecchini

Gary Allenson and Garin Cecchini

Mickey Pena

Mickey Pena

Deck McGuire

Deck McGuire

Richie Hebner signs

Richie Hebner signs

Travis Shaw

Travis Shaw

Garin Cecchini

Garin Cecchini

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Filed under New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs

My trumpet vine is blooming

Peter first trumpet

The first trumpet blooms (on the right) many years after the trumpet vine was planted.

The first trumpet blooms (on the right) many years after the trumpet vine was planted.

(North Bridgton ME) Today (August 16, 2013) was a remarkable day.  Why?  Our trumpet vine in North Bridgton produced its first yellow trumpet.

I wish I could tell you how long that trumpet vine has been in our backyard.  It could have been ten years with never a flower.

During the bloomless years the plant suffered a full dose of verbal abuse.  It’s existence has been threatened on an annual basis.  Lucky for my TV (trumpet vine), it is located in a garden I set up called, The Cook’s Garden, and its future was in my hands.

As the years went by it was become harder and harder to convince myself that my trumpet vine would ever bloom.  I knew from gardening articles that the trumpet vine was finicky about when it bloomed.  I just decided to hang in there with it and hope for the best.

My TV had more leafy growth than usual in 2012, so I decided in the fall to set up some support for it to hang on.  I put a trellis in place supported by birdfeeder poles.  I didn’t add anything to the soil or prune it at all.

That support seemed to make the difference.  The leafy growth was noticeable this summer but the lack of blooms went on as usual.  We had flowers all over the yard that had bloomed and some of them were still blooming as we moved into August.  But the TV continued with its “leafy” look and I thought another year was about to roll by without flowers.

Then last week, while I was in the TV’s area deadheading lilies, I saw a bud on the trumpet vine.  I couldn’t believe it!

I watched that bud carefully for several days as it became closer and closer to being a flower.  In my daily watching, I noticed that the plant had several other buds.

Well, the big day finally came, today.  My wife was the first to notice that the bud had opened and the first trumpet had appeared.

My advice to those of you who have a bloomless trumpet vine is not to be discouraged.  It will take it’s time blooming.  It could be years.  But if there is an increase of leaves each year, there will sooner or later be trumpets blooming.

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Rowley evens ITL finals with 6-5 win over Manchester-Essex

Drew Carter crosses home with the eventual game-winner in the sixth inning

Drew Carter crosses home with the eventual game-winner in the sixth inning

Rams coach Jeff Wood congratulates closer Joe Martin after the final out

Rams coach Jeff Wood congratulates closer Joe Martin after the final out

(Rowley)  The Rowley Rams evened their Intertown Twilight League final series with Manchester-Essex, 6-5, on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Eiras Field.

The ME Mariners won the opener of the championship series in Essex, 3-2, thanks to a seventh-inning walkoff run on Saturday afternoon.  Caulin Rogers’ single drove across the game winner.

In Game 2, the Mariners battled back from a three-run deficit and went up 5-4 in the fifth inning.  But the #2 seed Rams tied the score in the bottom of the 5th and tallied the unearned game-winner in the sixth.

The best-of-five series resumes on Wednesday evening in Essex.

Third baseman Alex Ray chases a deflected ball as Drew Carter approaches third base.

Third baseman Alex Ray chases a deflected ball as Drew Carter approaches third base.

No one person ever loses a team game.  However, I’m not sure Mariners third baseman Alex Ray was buying that after his two-out boot enabled the Rams to push across their sixth run.  CJ Ingraham’s grounder to Alex deflected off his glove and down the third baseline.  Rowley’s Drew Carter, who had singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on Marco Luisi’s fielder’s choice, was on the move with two outs.  If Alex cleanly fielded the grounder he had an easy, final-out, force out at third but the error occurred and Drew’s hustle allowed him to beat the throw home with the eventual game winner.

Joe White went the first four innings for Rowley.  Adam Newell (winning pitcher) covered the fifth and sixth while Joe Martin earned the save with a hitless seventh.

Nate Bertolino slides in with the fifth ME run

Nate Bertolino slides in with the fifth ME run

Anyone at Eiras Field will tell you that the seventh had its moment of drama as Mariners’ second batter Brett Cahill hit a long out to right that was close to home-run distance.  In an earlier at-bat the ME catcher had doubled off the rightfield fence.  There was a bit of an incoming breeze in the seventh inning and instead of tying the game, a putout was recorded by Rams rightfielder Justin Bolla.

Manchester-Essex scored first (in the first) as Rory Gentile led off with a double to the leftfield corner, stole third, and came home on Caulin Rogers sacrifice fly.

The Rams (15-6-2 during the regular season) put up four runs in the second inning.  Rowley turned a first-and-third situation into an unearned run.  Catcher Brett Cahill’s throw to second (trying to get Cam D’Agostino) was low and Justin Bolla scored from third.  An RBI double by Drew Carter and RBI singles by Mike White and CJ Ingraham delivered the other three runs for the home team.

ME (19-4-1 during the regular season) erased the 4-1 deficit in the fourth inning.  Adrian Frattini doubled in two runs before an error by Rowley third baseman Koby Thibault (he threw wild to home) produced the tying run.

The Mariners (defending ITL champs) went in front in the fifth.  Nate Bertolino reached third after a walk, steal, and fielder’s choice and scored on Mike Cain’s fly-out to center.

Down a run (5-4) in the fifth, it was Rowley’s turn to rally.  A couple of two-strike hits (CJ Ingraham and Dmitri Hunt) did the damage.  CJ led off with a single and stole second before Dmitri’s RBI single.

Cam DAgostino

Cam DAgostino

If Brett Cahill’s fly to right in the 7th was the longest out, Cam D’Agostino’s rope to center in the Rowley fifth was the hardest hit for an out in the game.  Cam’s laser to center was right at CF Rory Gentile and he made the catch for the final out.

In the sixth, Rowley got the unearned game-winner and the series now becomes best two-out-of-three.

Ryan Marques went 5 2/3 innings allowing four earned runs for Manchester-Essex.  Adam Philpott recorded the final out in the sixth inning.

Ian Buckley and Adrian Frattini paced ME with two hits apiece.  CJ Ingraham, Cam D’Agostino, and Drew Carter did the same for Rowley.

Rowley had runners on second and third in the fourth inning but Ryan Marques retired Mike White, Nick Liguori, and Joe Esposito to escape damage.

The Mariners stole five bases while Rowley stole two.

The biggest outburst against an umpire was in the ME sixth when a very close play at first ended the inning without the runner from third scoring.

Drew Carter - 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 rbi

Drew Carter – 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 rbi

The last time I saw Drew Carter play (June 18, 2011) was at Fraser Field in Lynn at the D3 state title game that Newburyport won over Pioneer Valley.  Drew made a huge defensive play at third in that one.

The last time I saw Rowley play was at Eiras Field two years ago when they defeated Rockport, 5-2, to win their first (?) ITL title.

The last time I saw Adrian Frattini he pitched Manchester-Essex past Newburyport to end the Clippers 18-game winning streak early in the 2012 season.

Rowley boxscore

Manchester-Essex boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

CJ Ingraham steals second

CJ Ingraham steals second

CJ Ingraham heads home as centerfielder Rory Gentile prepares to throw

CJ Ingraham heads home as centerfielder Rory Gentile prepares to throw

Dmitri Hunt reaches third

Dmitri Hunt reaches third

ME starter Ryan Marques

ME starter Ryan Marques

Caulin Rogers begins slide to third

Caulin Rogers begins slide to third

low throw to second

low throw to second

Nick Liquori

Nick Liquori

Rory Gentile

Rory Gentile

trouble at second

trouble at second

Ian Buckley beats pitcher Joe White to first

Ian Buckley beats pitcher Joe White to first

Alex Ray makes a nice play

Alex Ray makes a nice play

Ian Buckley steals

Ian Buckley steals

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Major league prospects Garin Cecchini and Joe Panik perform at AA Portland

Garin Cecchini

Garin Cecchini

Joe Panik

Joe Panik

(Portland)  Joe Panik drove in four runs as the Richmond Flying Squirrels defeated the Portland Sea Dogs, 4-1, on a muggy Thursday afternoon at Hadlock Field.

The Eastern League game featured two teams trying to get to second place and thereby make the EL playoffs.  After today’s game, Richmond is four games out of second in the EL West while Portland is 3 ½ games out of second in the EL East.  The regular season ends on September 2nd.

Olympian Julia Clukey

Olympian Julia Clukey

2010 Winter Olympian Julia Clukey of Augusta (Maine) addressed the large crowd of campers before the game and later tossed out the ceremonial first pitch.  Julia hopes to compete in 2014 Winter Olympics in the luge in six months in Sochi, Russia.

My goal at the games I attend is to get faces to go with the names of the players performing.  I am intent on getting prospects because the trip from the AA Portland team to AAA Pawtucket and then the Red Sox can happen fast.  In this season alone, fifteen players from Portland have moved up to a higher level.

Pitchers are the most difficult to get pictures of unless they’re actually pitching in the game.  I missed Anthony Ranaudo (he’s now at Pawtucket) and am hoping to get pictures of Matt Barnes and/or Henry Owens before the season is over.

Garin Cecchini makes a throw to first.

Garin Cecchini makes a throw to first.

The player I wanted to make sure I had photos of was Garin Cecchini.  This 22-year-old third baseman moved up from Salem (A) recently and has played well so far at Portland.  Garin had three walks in this game.  My hunch is that if Xander Bogaerts gets called up from Pawtucket to the Red Sox then Garin will move up to Pawtucket.

Joe Panik talks to third-base coach Ross Grimsley

Joe Panik talks to third-base coach Ross Grimsley

I thought that the most promising prospect on the visiting Richmond team was 22-year-old Joe Panik.  Joe was drafted in the first round in 2011 (29th pick) by San Francisco.  Joe is a middle infielder with some power.  His 3-run homer in this game was hit very deep to right center.

There were some excellent defensive plays today.  Flying Squirrel centerfielder Ryan Lollis took in a long shot just before running into the fence.

There was plenty of entertainment on the field between innings.  The Sea Dog mascot’s losing streak, running the bases against young fans, continues.

After several innings of picture taking from the ends of both dugouts I went up to the press box to thank Media Relations director Chris Cameron for making my visit possible.  While I was sitting up there chatting with Chris, I realized that Dwight Evans was to my right.  Some retired players put on weight and/or lose some hair but not Dwight.  He is apparently a roving instructor for the Red Sox.

mascots

mascots

I continue to recommend taking in a game at Hadlock Field.  It certainly is affordable and entertaining for everyone.  The Red Sox have some terrific young players.

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Javier Herrera

Javier Herrera

Derrik Gibson

Derrik Gibson

Travis Shaw

Travis Shaw

girls won a poetry contest

girls won a poetry contest

Garin Cecchini comes to work

Garin Cecchini comes to work

catcher Christian Vazquez

catcher Christian Vazquez

Mark Minicozzi - leading hitter in the EL

Mark Minicozzi – leading hitter in the EL

Garin Cecchini heads for second

Garin Cecchini heads for second

Heiker Meneses

Heiker Meneses

play at third

play at third

Joe Panik

Joe Panik

Ryan Lollis

Ryan Lollis

Richmond starter (and winning pitcher) Craig Westcott

Richmond starter (and winning pitcher) Craig Westcott

Sea Dogs starter Terry Doyle

Sea Dogs starter Terry Doyle

Richmond manager Dave Machemer

Richmond manager Dave Machemer

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Filed under Portland Sea Dogs, Richmond Flying Squirrels