Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
I can not remember the last time when the weather has played such havoc during the preseason. This season it has caused disruption in getting games played or making last-minute adjustments in start time just to get a game in. I have missed several games, 5 to be exact, because of the rains that have overwhelmed the preseason. Today was just my third game and I felt that not only myself, but the players seem like they are in catch-up mode. The fielding has improved from day one but still needs a lot more work before they are ready for prime time. Pitching is what preseason is all about and with the four pitchers that were are the mound today, I am still unimpressed with the product. Two were freshmen (Ryan Fry, Sebastian Perez) one returning sophomore Rafe Schlesinger, and a transfer sophomore Brian Walters. They each threw three innings and if the radar guns had been out, none would have risen to the level of WOW. I heard that Andrew Walters, no relation to Brian, pitched yesterday and he was in the WOW category. Understand no decision as to whether Andrew will be utilized as Friday’s starter or once again as closer. Unfortunately, he can not play in both positions. It is going to be tough enough to find three quality pitchers for the weekend rotation, plus having a strong bullpen to help in relief. As I earlier stated, I have missed 5 preseason games due to weather time changes so I am definitely behind the power curve trying to get to know this year’s team better and who’s in and who’s not. Of What I have seen to date as to the newbies, Blake Cyr, freshman, continues to prove he is ready to move into the starting nine along with Dario Gomez. Blake might have to wait, being an infielder, with no slot apparently open except possibly second, but Dario has a place waiting for him in center field if he continues to show the hitting power he has shown. With 10 outfielders bidding for three slots, it will be interesting as to who will we see come opening day. My concern, which is a major one, is our pitching as with who realistically is available coming in from the bullpen.
With that said, let’s get on with today’s scrimmage. Starting just prior to noon, Rafe Schlesinger opened today and gave us three scoreless innings. He had runners on base each of his three innings but managed in keeping anyone from crossing home plate. A double play got him out of the first inning and a pick off of Edgardo Villegas at first in the second helped his cause. Of the four, Rafe probably I would give as having the best outing, but like I said earlier none of today’s pitchers were overwhelming.
Brian Walters pitching opposite to Rafe also utilized the DP to get him out of a jam in the opening inning after Jacoby Long executed a beautifully laid-down bunt single to open the bottom half of the first. Yoyo followed two batters later with a solid single through the left side only to have Gabby Guttierrez hit into a 4-6-3 DP. Second inning, a pair of hit batters and a single by Renzo Gonzalez to load the bases before CJ Kayfus striking out to get him out of a very shaky second inning. His final inning again, off to a bad start walking Carlos Perez who eventually made it to 3rd with a pass ball and WP but Brian manage getting the 3rd out before Carlos could make it home.
The second crew of pitchers, Sebastian Perez and Ryan Fry, were not as fortunate in preventing runners from crossing home plate. Perez managed to work himself out of trouble in his first inning after leading off with a double to Zach Levenson down the right field line. Zach only managed to proceed to third but no further. The 5th, a pair of singles To Dorian Gaonzalez and Blake Cyr with a walk squeezed between the two hits to Edgardo Villegas only saving grace was Dorian being thrown home on a relay throw from right to catch him at the plate. A coach at third would have held Dorian at third. Blake after reaching first on a single, stealing second, made his way to third sliding under the tag at third being caught in a rundown from a grounder by Carlos Perez to third. Blake would score with the next batter. Things came crashing down in the 6th with the first three batters loading the bases on a pair of walks (Long, Morales) and a hit batter (Dario Gomez). Gabby SF to right brought in the first run with a Lorenzo Carrier single in the second run. With runners still on base with one out, his day was concluded with the 5th batter. During preseason, they use a 5 man rule per inning.
Sebastian’s counterpart was Ryan Fry, who literally got fried in his outing. The 4th started off Fry’s troubles when Zach Levenson, a veteran in playing RF, totally misjudged a fly ball by Yoyo Morales dropping in for a double which should have been a routine out. Gabby followed with an RBI single which was followed by a Carrier single. Striking out Dominic Pitelli would be his only out of the inning. In the 5th batter he faced JD Jones he struck ending his 4th. The 5th, a 2-run homer off the top of the scoreboard by CJ Kayfus dampened the three walks he gave up to Ariel Garcia, Zach Levenson and Ian Farrow. Add to his woes another two-run homer in the 6th by Blake Cyr after giving up an RBI single by Edgardo scoring Adrian Dominguez who opened the 6th with a single
This is what I am talking about with our freshman pitchers. The transition from HS to college has not been easy on them. I cannot account for the scrimmages I have missed, but I can’t believe that what I have seen is not part of a trend. I can almost believe that the other scrimmages resulted in similar results. We might be in for a very long, frustrating season unless these freshmen don’t turn another page and forget that being the Big Man on Campus in HS, is a whole different story in the big times
Offensively, the season batters continue to hit the ball accompanied by new blood in the likes of Blake Cyr who I really like and Dario Garcia who is going to help with the leaving of Jacob Burke who was in last year’s draft
Still have a couple of more weeks to get the wheels greased and move forward to a smooth running machine. I believe it is going to take a lot longer this year than in years past, but we got to deal with the hand we have been dealt and work with what we have. The main focus has to be on our young pitchers
Hopefully we have seen the last of the bad weather and we get to see some serious change in this year’s product. On the offense, we have enough season players to make us competitive as long as they hit and make the job of our pitching crew a bit easier. We can’t afford letting up on the throttle in the mid-innings of the game and be more aggressive at bat and on the bases. This is a whole lot to ask, especially with a possible struggling BP to add in the mix.
Wednesday, we take to the field again with a scheduled 8 inning scrimmage starting at 3:05. Unfortunately, standby for updates with weather again forecast for rain.