Captains/Shorebirds Saturday Game Notes
April 26, 2009
Russell Young: In my mind, Young entered the season as the least heralded starter – not to be confused with the ‘worst’ starter or the starter with the smallest upside – of the Captains rotation. This game, however, suggested that Young fits in well with T.J. House, Joey Mahalic, T.J. McFarland and Alexander Perez in terms of potential. With a fluid, repeatable delivery, Young overcame an inauspicious start (a double off of his first pitch) and gave the Captains a chance to win. Beginning with the final batter in the first inning and continuing through the first batter in the fifth inning, Young retired eleven consecutive Shorebirds: seven on groundouts, two on flyouts and two on strikeouts.
It was in the sixth inning, though, in which Young impressed me most. With runners on first and second and with no outs, Shorebird 3rd baseman Tyler Kolodny laid down a bunt on the third-base side of the mound. Young, a left-handed pitcher, bounded off of the mound, charged toward the ball, picked it up bare-handed and fired a low strike to Captains 1st baseman Nate Recknagel. Since Young made the decision to field the ball, ‘outing’ Kolodny at first required a difficult pick-spin-throw from Young. He delivered, as did Recknagel, who made an excellent pick off of a low throw.
Later in the inning, after Delmarva had scored its third run of the game, the Shorebirds had runners on second and third with one out. With Mike McGuire warming up for the Captains, it was clear that Young’s day would end. The only question was whether it would end in the sixth inning or after the sixth inning. Young proceeded to strike-out Shorebird designated hitter Jerome “L.J.” Hoes – looking. Against Shorebird center fielder Xavier Avery, Young pitched to a full count. Then, Avery fouled off a pitch. Then, another. And, then, another. Young proceeded to stride off of the mound – after having home plate umpire Joey Amaral call a third strike. Although Young would bear the loss for the Captains, he should take solace in his overall performance, which was solid, and in the way in which he departed, which was inspiring.
Adam Abraham: The box score indicates that Abraham went 1 for 3, with a strikeout and a walk. What the box score does not indicate is that in his other two at-bats, in which he flew out to center field and singled through the middle of the infield, Abraham made great, hard contact with the ball.
Jeremie Tice: While Tice’s performance in the batter’s box left a bit to be desired (1 for 4, with two strikeouts), Tice’s performance in the field – with one exception – was impressive. When a Shorebird struck a pitch in Tice’s direction, Tice would wait for the ball, field the ball, set his feet and throw. He displayed, in general, good form. The lone exception occurred in the first inning and resulted in an unearned run for the Shorebirds. With a runner on second base and two outs, Shorebird 1st baseman Elvin Polanco chopped a pitch between third base and the pitcher’s mound. Tice charged the slow-rolling ball and attempted to record the out at first, even though he was off-balance slightly and on the run. His throw was low and missed by Recknagel, which allowed the runner to round third and score. Given the circumstances, Tice would have been better served to hold onto the ball.