(Portland) It was a fall-apart inning of immense proportions.
The Portland Sea Dogs suffered through the disastrous frame, and it cost them as the Somerset Patriots took Game 1 of the Eastern League Playoffs, 9-4, on Tuesday night at Hadlock Field.
The Sea Dogs giddy-stepped into the top of the fourth inning with an impressive 3-0 lead.
Consecutive homers by Niko Kavalas (two-run) and Hudson Potts (solo) in the bottom of the second inning had the Hadlock faithful feeling good about the team’s chances.
But then came the top of the fourth inning.
One reporter said that it lasted thirty-five minutes!
We saw three Portland pitchers. We also saw four walks and eleven straight Somerset batters reach base. An error and an unturned double play were also on display.
It was indeed a regrettable/forgetable inning.
Somerset starter Randy Vasquez was about to make an early exit after Portland’s three-run second inning but found new life after his teammates raised the eight-spot on the scoreboard in the fourth inning. Randy retired eleven Sea Dogs in a row to keep the home team from getting any comeback ideas.
When the Sea Dogs did get a runner in scoring position, a call to the Somerset bullpen brought in the relief required.
Certainly, a different atmosphere at Hadlock tonight. The usual crowd comes to be entertained. Tonight’s crowd was there to actively support the Sea Dogs, a team that hadn’t been in the EL Playoffs since 2014.
Devern Hansack from the 2006 Sea Dogs EL Championship team threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The two-out-of-three series moves to Somerset on Thursday and possibly Friday night.
I like the Sea Dogs’ chances. That bad inning is over with. The team has won 17 of their last 21 games. Last week they won 4 of 6 games at Somerset.
If Portland can get by the Patriots, there will be one and possibly two EL Championship games played at Hadlock starting next Tuesday.
No question the Somerset roster is loaded with New York Yankees’ prospects. Six of their top nine prospects are on the team.
Nineteen-year-old Jasson Dominguez tops the group as their second-best prospect. #1 prospect Anthony Volpe was with Somerset for part of the season but has moved up to AAA.
Ceddone Rafaela is Boston’s #3 prospect and he is the only one of their top-ten prospects to be at Portland. I see the exciting fielder/hitter starting at AAA Worcester next season.
Very disappointed with Slugger tonight. It had been ten days since he had raced at Hadlock. I assumed he would have trained during those days off. Severely doubt he did that after watch tonight’s race. He started the race almost on third base and looked good until he crossed first. His eyes told him that he could win (and he had a good lead) but his body said otherwise, and he went down in a heap as his two opponents ran home winners.
It’s not pretty to watch when you see your hero disintegrating into a season-long loser.
September brings earlier darkness and despite the 6PM start the artificial lights of Hadlock had to be relied on for any of the game pictures. Trust me, it’s a challenge.
Continued thanks to Chris Cameron for enabling me to be on hand for an EL Playoff game. I hope to return next week when the stakes will be even higher.