Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Despite HRs from Daniel Cuvet and Carlos Perez, Team Green held on to capture the Annual Fall Classic in a game-shortened third game. Whether the game was called after 5 1/2 innings due to the lead Green had mounted in inning points or for the possible injury sustained by pitcher Drew Dryer the inning prior to curtailing further play. Hitting from both sides continued as pitching also continued to be a major cause for worry in the forthcoming season.
Scouts had the opportunity to check out two of the key pitchers believed destined for the starting rotation with a possible sleeper in the wings to take one of the covenant slots. Gage Ziehl (Green) and Rafe Schlesinger (Orange) headlined the opening 4 innings. Rafe left no doubt that he will be one of the three to open the potential series opener against NJ Tech come Feb 16. As for Gage, he continued his downward dive as he struggled through the preseason. He has a chance to redeem himself one more time come Scout Day, but today he had another one of those bad outings which has followed him all preseason.
Team Orange opened today’s festivities taking it right to Gage with a lead-off double from Blake Cyr. Eric Fernandez, playing third, didn’t help Gage with an error bringing in Blake from third after tagging from second on a FO to right by Edgardo Villegas. The error by Eric on the grounder back to him opened the floodgates with a Jake Kulikowski single followed by Daniel Cuvet kissing the ball bye-bye over the LF fence.. Green was unable to answer in the bottom of the first with Rafe striking out 3 of the 4 batters faced.
Action picked up again in the 3rd with a solo HR by Carlos Perez, but Green answered with three runs of their own to take the point. Rafe picked up where he left off with his 5th K of the game. Then it was back to the top of the order and Jacoby started opening a crack in Rafe’s armor with a one-out walk. Dorian’s double to right center was enough for the speedy Jacoby to make it home all the way from 1st. Next up, ” Mr. October” Lorenzo Carrier taking it airborne for his 5th of the preseason and capturing the point for Green and evening the game at 1. The actual score at the end of three Orange is still ahead 5-3.
Uneventful 4th, with Rafe adding a pair of strikeouts to his already 5 and Gage one of his own for a total of three Ks. In my estimate, I think Rafe made a statement today, along with his prior showings, for the Friday night slot. As for Gage, he has not looked good along with Chris Scinta, both prior to the start of the preseason as the weekend starters. Not much else to choose from. I do like Nick Robert and Drew Dwyer as to my two other choices but JD might just want to go with seniority rather than results. Regarding Drew, today might have put a damper due to a possible injury that may or may not have happened curtailing the remainder of today’s scrimmage.
This brings us to the second half of the game with Slaide Naturman pitching for Green and Drew Dwyer of Orange. Orange leading in points 2-1(5-3 in score) starting the second half tried to stretch for a run and got caught in a crazy rundown between home and third coming up shorthanded. Jake Kulikowski opened the inning for Orange with a single. Forced out at second on a 6-4 ground out putting Cuvet on 1st. Carlos walked with Gaby flying out to Right for the 2nd out. Orange desperately needing a run might have been a bit overzealous in their base running. Grounder to the infield by Cruz Mujica had Cuvet who jumpstarted from second decided to stretch it making a big turn at third. A mass gathering with the entire infield playing catch between home and third before Daniel was tagged out. Orange tried to argue fielder interference in preventing him returning to 3rd but the umps did not concur with the shouts from the dugout.
No runs for Team Orange, which left the door open for Green to take the coveted point with a run. Drew looked really sharp in the 4th striking out two of the three batters faced. Going into the 5th, he did not seem the same. After walking the lead-off batter, it was back to the top of the order with Jacoby Long. Drew had enough in his tank to strike out Jacoby, and then things changed. He hit Dorian and a couple of WPs followed bringing out the team trainer. It was decided to continue but with runners on 2nd and 3rd, another WP was thrown for a run and that is when they shut the game down. Whether for a possible injury to his throwing arm or that Green won the point for the inning giving Green a 4-1 lead in points with no chance with just 2 innings left to make a comeback. On the better side of caution and saving Drew’s arm if, in fact, an injury of some sort did occur JD stopped and awarded the title to Green as World Champions. At the time of stoppage, the score was tied at 5 with Green threatening for more runs.
While pitching continues as our Achilles Heel, hitting is on the right track to pick up where they left off last year. Maybe not as many HRs but enough to be able to make the fans a believer. One person with multiple hits possibly due to the shortened game, but several with extra-base hits. Jake Kulikowski 2-4, both singles. There were 3 doubles: Blake Cyr, Edgardo Villegas, and Dorian Gonzalez(RBI). Three players continued putting HRs onto their resumes which we should keep our eyes on come regular season. Carlos Perez, Lorenzo Carrier(2RBIs), and Daniel Cuvet(3RBIs). Defense and base running need definite work. Bad decision-making in both areas which hopefully will work itself out with time and practice.
Uncertain as to next week’s schedule. As of now, scheduled for Friday at 330 which will see those pitchers not eligible for the draft followed by Scout Day on Saturday around 11AM. I will pass on the details when released from the front office.