Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Fan Fest concluded today with 6.5 innings of intrasquad scrimmage in which Team Green vs. Team Orange to determine who was Top Dog. Not sure if the players themselves selected their teammates like in the Fall Orange/Green World Series or if it was left for the coaches to decide. The players were pumped as well as the fans to entertaining baseball. Team Orange took an early lead only to see Team Green answer with 5 unanswered runs before Team Orange came back with a token run in the 6th. Unfortunately, Team Green responded with 3 more runs in the 7th to convincing win the Fan Fest Showdown 8-2.
Starting for Team Orange was Herick Hernandez facing off against Ben Chestnutt for Team Green. Each pitched 4 innings. Herick looked extremely sharp in the first inning striking out the side in order. There is high hope that the junior transfer from Miami Dade will be backing up Rafe in the weekend rotation. From what I saw in the first inning, I could not agree more by striking out the first 3 he faced. He Kept Green scoreless in the second but was not as effective as he was in the first opening the inning by walking Jack Scanlon. JD Ursa collected the first hit of the day putting runners on 1st and 2nd with one out (K). Herick came back with his 5th K of the game and had Jack get called for runner interference going to 3rd on a grounder to short by Lucas Costello. In the third, Jack got a bit of revenge for being called out the prior inning for the interference with a high out-of-the-park blast down the right-field line. This tied the score at one. Whether Herick was getting tired or the batters were getting into the rhythm, his 4th and final inning, showed he was running out of gas. Back-to-back walks to open the inning. Eric Fernandez was caught napping at 3rd and Ursa took advantage stealing third. Runners on the corners, AJ Goytia who was the second walk steals second. Runners on 2nd and 3rd one out Lucas Costello tacks on the go-ahead run with a SF7. Further damage was avoided on a single by Cuvet and Goytia tried to add to the score but got thrown out at the plate 7-1-2. Overall a good night on the mound. Started extremely strong and as the hitters got the feel, empty swings started connecting. Contrary to some opinions I have overheard these past couple of weeks, I still feel Rafe is our #1 pitcher, but given our choices, I believe Herick is a front-runner joining Rafe for weekend duties.
Facing off opposite Herick on the mound was Ben Chestnutt. Only from history, I hope Ben is not still being considered as a potential starter. He is potentially good for the short haul, but not going 6 or 7 innings which would be what he is expected to do. Tonight, for his four innings only gave up a single run coming in the second inning on a mental error in which short, second, and center failed to communicate and the ball fell into the Bermuda triangle behind second for a double. Lorenzo Carrier was already on second from a lead-off single, advancing to second on a PB when Antonio Jimenez hit the bloop double behind second. Not sure on whether the ball would be caught Lorenzo only managed to work his way to 3rd. Wildness on Ben’s delivery got Carrier home on a WP for the initial run of the game. Ben went on for two scoreless innings following giving up a single in each of the 3rd and 4th. Overall a good night on the mound and picked up favorable points. As well as he did tonight, I am still gun-shy based on past performances for a starting consideration
Myles Caba Relieved Herick in the 5th for Team Orange trailing 2-1. Haven’t had too many opportunities to see what he can do so he has been a question mark on what he will give us out of the BP. The jury is definitely out and will need more appearances to give a viable assessment. Tonight, did not win many points. He didn’t run into any problems until after recording his first two outs. Back-to-back walks followed by an attempted pickoff at first that sailed by first advancing both runners. Lucas Costello brings both in with an RBI double. Problems continue in the 6th with another attempted P/O to first of Dorian Gonzalez. Also getting by 1B, Dorian makes it to 3rd but might have jammed his ham muscle and did not come out the following inning. Hope it was just a cramp and nothing serious. Jack Scanlon’s single would bring Dorian in from third giving Team Green a 5-1 lead. Three runs in two innings. As I initially stated, I don’t have enough info to warrant where he fits for BP duty. This is the major concern that we haven’t had sufficient time to properly evaluate from a spectator standpoint. The coaches have a better perspective seeing them daily and have a pretty good idea of who is going where.
Drew Dwyer got to pitch one inning and from previous outings, I felt he had serious consideration for the mid-week starter. Tonight, re-enforced my opinion. Didn’t start all that well hitting Blake Cyr Who made it to second on a steal, but that was as far as he went. Drew struck out the next 3 batters ending his evening on an up-note.
Team Orange having been scoreless since the second finally got on the scoreboard in the 6th with a solo HR from Antonio Jiminez, his second in 2 days. Yesterday he hit the Grand Salami off of Chris Scinta and tonight from Chris Diaz on his opening pitch. Avoided a second run with an 8-1-2 relay catching Edgardo Villegas at home who had singled earlier.
Finishing the night with a single inning was Brandon Olivera trying to move up in his BP ranking. His hopes were placed on hold by Jake Kulikowski tagging a bye-bye birdie for a three-run shot giving Team Green an 8-2 whipping over Team Orange.
With the emphasis placed on pitching this preseason trying to find not only our starting three but who to get the call from the BP when our starters run out of gas has been an ongoing problem. While our pitching has been struggling, our hitters keep on hitting. 10 Runs on 15 hits, three by way of HRs, with a pair of doubles.Three with multiple hits tonight: Jack Scanlon 2-4(HR,2RBI); Antonio Jimenez 2-3(double,HR,RBI); and Daniel Cuvet 3-5. Double by Lucas Costello(2RBI) and Jake Kulikowski with a HR(3RBI).
It was a fun way to end this year’s Fan Day with one more day to complete the second week of the preseason. Weather appears to be a factor for tomorrow and hopefully, we will be able to get in some pitching before the rains come. The first pitch is set for 1115 but this might be wishful thinking. A week from today is the Alumni game which highlights the Spring Preseason. Time is still to be determined.