Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
With just two weeks left for the remaining preseason, the team needs a lot of work, particularly with pitching. The scouts were out in full force today to take note of the three eligible for the draft come this spring. I don’t expect the scouts came away ” that if this is the best we can do, we are not exactly looking at any first-round or even second-round in the 2024 draft”. As for myself, coming away after watching my 7th scrimmage of the preseason, the bats are definitely going to have to work overtime to stay up with the number of runs that our pitching staff is going to be giving up. As for the starting three, it is going to be a struggle to see them making it to the 6th and beyond. Two more weeks and spring preseason to work on getting our haulers ready for competitive baseball.
The scouts were ready for an afternoon of seeing our best in action starting with Gage Ziehl and Grad student Drew Dwyer who had won a whole lot of accolades playing division 2 ball last year. Positive marks were recorded in the first inning for Gage ending the inning on a 1-6-3 DP after a single by Blake Cyr. All the green marks recorded in the first turned to blood red in the second where his entire world came crashing down. After recording his first out, disaster struck. Back-to-back singles by Jake Kulikowski and Carlos Perez. After two days of HR draught, Jason Torres lit up the board on a no-doubter leaving the park. The bats did not stop there and continued to bounce on Gage with another pair of back-to-back singles by Edgardo Villegas and walk-on Cruz Mujica. Already exceeding the 5 man limit was more than enough for the scouts to bleed red in their notes. Third inning Gage bounced back with a pair of strikeouts, giving up a lone single to end his day.
Drew had a much better showing in his rotation and JD has to give him high marks for making it into a starting role. Like Gage, he ended the first also with a DP 7-3 catching Eric Fernandez unable to get back to first on a great catch in left which unfortunately could not catch his number. Might have been Kulikowski but don’t hold me to it. The second inning flew by fast for Drew with a 3up/3down offering striking out one. Unfortunately, it could not be a clean sweep for Drew facing off against Renzo Gonzalez to lead off the third. Best hit ball of the day, leaving the yard a long, long way to right. A pair of strikeouts help alleviate the pain somewhat. Overall, still a very productive day and should at least receive high marks from JD and the pitching coach.
The duo next to pitch, Rafe Schlesinger and Herick Hernandez Sophomore transfer from Miami Dade. Not eligible for the draft which was probably the reason all the scouts bailed after Rafe finished his half of the 6th. Rafe made a good enough showing to earn himself as a leading contender for the Friday night start. Rafe recorded a pair of strikeouts for his first two innings giving up a lone single and a hit batter (only one of the day after 5 yesterday) and a pair of walks in his second. No runs scores. In his final inning, he worked himself into a corner with bases loaded and not having the opportunity to close the door completing his 5 batters. I felt he should have gotten the opportunity after striking out the fifth batter faced with the bases still loaded. Lorenzo Carrier opened the inning with a double to right, advancing to third on a Daniel Cuvet bomb to center. Two consecutive walks to load the bases. Rafe dug in striking out Eric Fernandez for the second out and rather to see if he would be able to work himself out of this jam, JD or the pitching coach shut it down. I could see the disappointment from the scouts in not letting this conclude to the finish. This is what they came for.
The 4th inning for Herick was a total nightmare compliments of a defense that went totally asleep. It all started with the opening batter, Lorenzo Carrier who hits a routine grounder to Dorian playing short. The throw to first was so high that you needed an aerial crane to bring it in. Carrier advancing to third on a FO to center by Cuvet, who did likewise 2 innings later off of Schlesinger. AJ Goytia walks putting runners on the corners. This is where things get confusing. Goytia steals second on a wild throw from home scoring Carrier from third. This is then proceeded by a grounder by Lucas Costello to Blake Cyr playing second got lost in his thoughts on what to do with the ball. Made several movements of his arm to throw home and when he eventually did was way off the mark besides being late scoring Goytia and Costello making his way to third. If this wasn’t confusing enough Eric Fernandez finishes it with a single scoring Costello for the 3rd run of the inning. It was a defensive nightmare. Didn”t get any easier in the 5th with Blake leading off with a single, stealing second, and Luca Reyes getting the third round-tripper of the day for a pair of RBIs. The 6th Herick received a reprieve going 3up/3down closer. The defense was not his friend today.
The offense had their opportunity to have their day of glory with a trio of HRs ( Jason Torres,Renzo Gonzalez,Luca Reyes). Blake Cyr the only player with Multiple hits going 2-3 for the day. 13 hits total with Lorenza Carrier (double) to add to the trio of HRs mentioned. The defense other than the crazy 4th managed to play error-free.
Progress made but they have a long way to go to be ready for opening day in Feb. Next week is their version of the Orange/Green World Series. Not certain of this year’s format whether it will be a cumulative score over the course of three days or the best of three. the team captains will pick their respective teams and manage themselves. The coaches will be looking on. Again that has been the format in the past. Different times, different management. Just have to wait until Wednesday for game one. Scheduled time: 3PM.