Leach Continues Hot Pitching In Arizona

Mesa Solar Sox  2,  Phoenix Desert Dogs  2  (TIE)

Runners left in scoring position was the name of today’s game, which ended in a tie after 9 innings.  The Solar Sox did a little better than the Desert Dogs in leaving runners on base — they collected 6 hits and 3 walks, and left 6 men on base.  Phoenix posted 9 hits and 2 walks, and they left 8 runners on. 

All the scoring happened in the 2nd inning.  The Solar Sox began the fun with a walk by SS Jordy Mercer.  1B Josh Satin (Mets) singled, putting runners on the corners.  C Tim Kennelly (Phillies) brought in Mercer with a sacrifice fly.  After 2B Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch, LF Ryan Flaherty (Cubs) slipped a grounder through the left side for an RBI single, scoring Satin.  Harrison tried to reach third base on the throw, but was tagged out. 

The Desert Dogs tied it up in the bottom of the inning.  Chris Kissock (Phillies) started for the Solar Sox.  He began the bottom of the 2nd by giving up three consecutive hits — a pair of singles and a ground rule double, which plated one run.  A sacrifice fly brought in the second run to tie the score. 

And then… no more scoring.  The Solar Sox had only one batter reach base over the next six innings.  RF John Tolisano (Blue Jays) lined a single into right field in the 4th inning, then stole second base, but was out trying to steal third.  3B Brandon Wood (Angels) led off the top of the 9th with a single, then DH Tony Sanchez also singled and Tolisano reached with a walk, between a pair of strikeouts (Mercer and CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis).  But a grounder force out ended the inning, leaving 3 runners on base and 2 in scoring position.  Add to that one left on base in the 2nd, and 2 left on (one in scoring position) in the top of the 1st, and that’s the Solar Sox’ 6 left on.  The Sox were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

Phoenix was more effective in putting runners on base, but not any better at getting them across the plate.  BJ Rosenberg (Phillies) worked around a single and a throwing error in the 3rd, and retired the side in order in the 4th.  Brian Leach pitched a scoreless 5th inning.  He gave up a single and walked a batter, but got out of the inning on a double play started by his Altoona teammates:  2B Harrison to SS Mercer to 1B Satin. 

Three more Solar Sox pitchers kept the Desert Dogs from scoring despite runners on base.  Ryan Brasier (Angels) gave up 2 singles in the 6th, and David Cales (Cubs) gave up a single and a walk in the 8th.  Justin De Fratus only had to work around one runner on base, when he gave up a double in the 9th.  That added up to 8 runners left on for Phoenix, and hitting 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. 

Next week will be the final week of Arizona Fall League play.  The last scheduled game will be on Thursday Nov 18th, and the championship game will be played on Saturday Nov 20th.  The Solar Sox have a 13-13 record and are 4 games behind the first place Scottsdale Scorpion in the Eastern division of the AFL.  With 5 games left to play, and assuming no more games ending in a tie, the Solar Sox are not out of it yet, but they’d better get going if they are to make the playoffs. 

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Leach And Dubee Rolling On, Two Hits For Jaramillo and Gonzalez

The Pirates have signed reliever Justin Thomas to a minor league contract for the 2011 season.� Thomas was removed from the Pirates’ 40-man roster at the end of the 2010 season.� He has been pitching for Los Bravos de Margarita, where he has made 5 appearances, for 12.1 innings.� He has a 0-2 record with a 6.57 ERA.

AFL:� Scottsdale Scorpions� 8,� Mesa Solar Sox� 3

The Solar Sox scored their runs on 3B Brandon Wood’s 3-run homer in the 7th inning, and that was all the scoring they managed, despite having at least one runner on base in all but one inning.� The Solar Sox threatened in the 4th inning when C Tony Sanchez walked and RF Andrew Lambo singled, but neither came around to score.�� The Scorpions did their scoring early, with 2 runs in the 2nd and 3 runs in the 3rd all off starter Robert Carson (Mets), who surrendered 8 hits.� The Scorpions added another 3 runs in the 4th inning off reliever Eric Niesen (Mets), on a homer, a walk, a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly.� David Cales (Cubs) finished the 4th and pitched a scoreless 5th for Mesa.� Nicholas Carr (Mets) threw 2 scoreless innings, and Brian Leach followed with a scoreless 8th, with one walk.� Robert Fish (Angels) wrapped things up for Mesa with a scoreless 9th.

DOMINICAN LEAGUE

Toros del Este� 8,� Leones del Escogido� 1 — C Jason Jaramillo singled and doubled for Los Toros, and the double drove in a run for Los Toros in the 6th inning.� SS Pedro Ciriaco was hitless in 5 trips to the plate.� He committed one of Los Toros’ 4 errors, though his error did not lead to Los Leones’ run.

Tigres del Licey� 7,� Aguilas Cibaenas� 5� — C Luke Carlin and CF Starling Marte each had one hit for Los Aguilas, who could not stand up to Los Tigres’ 3 runs over the final two inning of the game.� Carlin walked and Marte reached on a fielding error in the 2nd inning, and in the 4th, Carlin singled and Marte bunted him to second base, but they did not score in either of those innings.� Marte doubled to lead off the 6th inning, and he came around to score in that inning.� C Robinzon Diaz doubled to lead off the 5th inning for Los Tigres, and he scored on two singles and a ground out.

Estrellas de Oriente� 7,� Gigantes del Cibao� 5� — Franquelis Osoria had the win for Los Estrellas, as he was the pitcher of record when his teammates scored 4 runs in the top of the 9th.� Mike Dubee pitched a total of 2 innings for Los Gigantes.� He entered the game in the 6th inning with one on and one out, then ended the inning by picking the runner of first and then striking out the next batter.� Dubee retired the side in the 7th, then began the 8th with a ground out and a hit batter, before being relieved.� (That runner did not score.)

PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE

Gigantes de Carolina� 3,� Criollos de Caguas� 0� — 2B Benji Gonzalez had two singles for Los Gigantes, though he was not involved with the scoring.� The only runs of the game came in the top of the 5th, on a 3-run homer for Los Gigantes.� SS Luis Figueroa had one hit, and 3B Ramon Vazquez collected 2 singles for Los Criollos.

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Three Hits For Harrison In Solar Sox Win

Mesa Solar Sox� 13,� Surprise Rafters� 5

The Solar Sox started and ended the game with a bang on Friday afternoon in Arizona.� They plated 5 runs in the top of the 1st, and 4 in the top of the 9th, with 2 more in both the 2nd and 5th innings, as they recorded 16 hits.� The Sox’ pitchers held the Rafters to 7 hits.

The top of the 1st began with a double by 2B Jordany Valdespin (Mets) and a single by 3B Josh Harrison, which moved Valdespin to third base.� CF Jeremy Moore’s (Angels) sacrifice fly brought in Valdespin.� DH Brandon Wood (Angels) lined a single into right field, where the Rafters’ right fielder made a throwing error.� That let Harrison score and put Wood on second base.� C Tony Sanchez walked, and RF/CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis (Mets) doubled, scoring Wood.� SS Jordy Mercer bounced back to the mound, and the runners had to hold.� Then 1B Josh Satin (Mets) lined another single into right field, and both Sanchez and Nieuwenhuis scored, though Satin was thrown out trying to reach second base on the throw in to the plate.

The Rafters scored one run in the bottom of the inning on a double, a ground out, and a sacrifice fly, making the score 5-1.� Mesa came right back to add 2 runs in the 2nd, again sparked by Valedspin and Harrison.� This time it was Valdespin who singled and Harrison who doubled (ground rule).� A fielder’s choice and a throwing error by Surprise 1B Eric Hosmer (Team USA and Royals) allowed both runners to score.

Surprise continued to battle, scoring a run in the 3rd on a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI single.� A walk, a triple, and a single gave them 2 more runs in the 4th, and the score was 7 – 4 with the Solar Sox still ahead.� The Solar Sox got 2 runs back in the 5th.� Sanchez and Nieuwenhuisled off the inning with a pair of doubles, and Mercer followed with a single, then stole second base.� LF Tim Kennelly’s ground out drove in Nieuwenhuis, to give the Sox a 9-4 lead.

Pitchers took over for the next several innings.� Aaron Pribanic pitched the 6th and 7th innings for Mesa, and he allowed the only two base runners over 4 innings for Surprise.� A single in the 6th was erased by a double play, and a walk in the 7th was left on base.� Harrison had the only hit for the Solar Sox, a single to lead off the 6th.

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Wilson Has Another Tough Start For Mesa

Peoria Javelinas� 11,� Mesa Solar Sox� 2

The Mesa Solar Sox were still dealing with the karma rebound from their blow-out win a few days ago, losing to the Javelinas by 9 runs today.� The Sox had three players who recorded two hits each:� 3B Josh Harrison, 1B Josh Satin (Mets), and C Kai Gronauer (Mets).� 2B Jordany Valdespin (Mets) and RF Andrew Lambo added one hit each to the total.� Of those hits, only one (by Satin) was for extra bases — a double.

Justin Wilson made the start for the Solar Sox, and he struggled right away in the bottom of the 1st.� The first batter for Peoria reached base on an error by Sox 1B Satin.� The next two batters hit back-to-back singles, bringing in the first run of the game.� A wild pitch allowed the second run to score, and a stolen base and another single drove in the third run of the inning.� Wilson pitched two more innings, retiring the side in order in the 2nd, and allowing 2 walks but no runs in the 3rd.

Bradley Holt (Mets) took over for Wilson to begin the 4th inning.� He gave up another run on a double and a single, extending the Javelina’s lead to 4-0.� Brian Leach pitched a scoreless 5th inning, but he was very wild — he walked 4 batters.� The only reason no runs scored was that a double play (2B Valdespin to SS Jordy Mercer to 1B Satin) followed the first walk and erased that base runner.� Three consecutive walks on 15 pitches loaded the bases, but Leach struck out the next batter to end the inning.

The 6th inning sealed the Solar Sox’ fate.� With Jacob Diekman (Phillies) on the mound for the Sox for the first time, the first 7 batters of the inning reached base safely.� A double, a single, a fielding error (1 run), two more singles (2 more runs), a triple (2 runs), and a single (1 run) gave the Javelinas a 10- 0 lead and sent Diekman to the showers.� Eric Niesen came on in relief, and got three outs to end the inning.� Peoria tacked on one more run in the 7th, with Nicholas Carr (Mets) on the mound for Mesa.� Carr also had a wild day, giving up a single then three consecutive walks to force in a run.� Ryan Brasier (Angels) pitched the final inning for Mesa, allowing one walk, but no runs.

The Solar Sox had at least one base runner on in every inning but the 4th.� They only scored in the 8th, when Gronauer singled and Valdespin walked, then Harrison loaded the bases with his second single of the game.� Mercer’s sacrifice fly brought in Gonauer.� Lambo followed with a single, plating Valdespin, and that was all the Solar Sox would get.

Other Sox notes:

OF Brett Jackson (Cubs) has had to leave the Solar Sox, due to an infection in his right lower leg.� He will not be able to participate in the rest of the AFL schedule, but is expected to be healed up and ready to go in time for spring training.

The AFL’s version of the All-Star game, the Rising Stars Game, will be played on Saturday evening.� It will be the East Division (the Solar Sox, the Phoenix Desert Dogs, and the Scottsdale Scorpions) against the West Division (the Peoria Javelinas, the Peoria Saguaros, and the Surprise Rafters).�� Mesa’s C Tony Sanchez is the only Pirates’ representative on the Rising Star team.� The game will begin at 9 pm (Eastern time), and will be broadcast on MLB tv and MLB.com.

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Solar Sox Fall Flat

Scottsdale Scorpions� 9,� Mesa Solar Sox� 1

The Solar Sox could not get heated up in last night’s Arizona Fall League game in Scottsdale.� The Sox were held to just 5 hits, and managed only one run, and their own 4 errors only made it worse.

Mesa put one runner on base in three of the first four innings, but could not bring any of them around to score.� Their only run came in the 5th inning, when 1B Ryan Flaherty (Cubs) singled, then advanced to second base on a wild pitch, and on to third on C Kai Gronauer’s (Mets) ground out.� He scored on 2B Jordany Valdespin’s (Mets) RBI single.� Only two more Solar Sox batters reached base for the rest of the game — Valdespin singled in the 8th, but was left stranded, and DH Matt Rizzotti (Phillies) walked in the 9th, but was erased in the game-ending double play.� RF Andrew Lambo went 0-for-3 in the game.

Scottsdale scored their first run of the game off starter Bradley Holt (Mets) in the bottom of the 1st, on a walk, a passed ball by Gronauer, and a wild pitch.� Holt worked around a double, a hit batter, and another passed ball in the 2nd inning, but couldn’t get out of the 3rd.� A double, and a single gave the Scorpions one run, then a dropped foul pop error and two walks loaded the bases.� Eric Niesen (Mets) relieved Holt, but Scottsdale’s 3B Ryan Adams (Orioles) cleared the bases with a double, and the Scorpions had a 5-0 lead.

Niesen pitched a scoreless 4th inning, then Brian Leach came on for the 5th.� Leach gave up a double and a single, then a wild pitch to put two runners into scoring position with no outs.� Lambo made another dropped foul pop error, but Leach made it not matter, with the help of SS Andrew Romine (Angels).� He got Adams to ground to short, and the runners had to hold up.� Another grounder to short resulted in a fielder’s choice, as Romine threw to the plate and Gronauer tagged out the runner trying to score from third.� A third easy grounder to short ended the inning without a run scoring.

Nicholas Carr pitched a scoreless 6th for Mesa, then errors got him into trouble in the 7th.� After a lead-off single and a walk, Adams grounded to second, and a throwing error by 2B Valdespin allowed both runners to score, and put Adams on second base.� The next batter also grounded to Valdespin, and this time he made a fielding error, allowing Adams to score.� The inning ended with a double play, which Valdespin started, no problems.� Scottsdale scored one more run, on a homer in the bottom of the 8th, off reliever Eddie McKiernan.

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