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Old 03-17-2019, 05:51 PM   #2761
Bub13
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Since I started reading this during the (latter half of) the Toner years, it has to be the great man himself. Each post was a love letter (or, during lean streaks, a "why you done me wrong" song) to him and to the evolving cast of ruffians and scalawags surrounding him.

Such times.
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Westheim (03-17-2019)
Old 03-17-2019, 06:12 PM   #2762
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I think you know who my favorite player is (and probably my least favorite).

I wonder if Tetsu still has those unders I tossed him.....

I still love that first great Raccoon run in the 90's (?). That was a long time ago.

Vern Kinnear and Bobby Quinn are favorites and the 2-pitch wonder, who's name has just slipped out of this old man's head..... I remember the year he and the Japanese ace (Saito?), started out the year 25 and 1.
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Old 03-17-2019, 06:30 PM   #2763
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bub13 View Post
Since I started reading this during the (latter half of) the Toner years, it has to be the great man himself. Each post was a love letter (or, during lean streaks, a "why you done me wrong" song) to him and to the evolving cast of ruffians and scalawags surrounding him.

Such times.
Even more amazing than Jonny Toner was the fact that we got him for a failed Japanese free agent, Shunyo Yano. Yano would finish his career with a winning record, and his lone Coons season was the worst of his career.

But it was GOOD that the 2011-12 seasons didn't work out - those netted us not only Jonny, but also Cookie.

Jonny was so beyond brilliant, although I have to admit that I still liked Brownie more for quite some time.

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I think you know who my favorite player is (and probably my least favorite).
Say, Maud doesn't believe me, but are you actually the guy in the trenchcoat and obviously fake moustache and huge sunglasses in always the same spot in section 87? I mean, you kinda stand out with that masquerade in the summer since at times it gets up to 80 degrees even here…

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Originally Posted by Questdog View Post
I wonder if Tetsu still has those unders I tossed him.....
I don't think they make underwear *that* sturdy…

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Originally Posted by Questdog View Post
I still love that first great Raccoon run in the 90's (?). That was a long time ago.
I remember it as if it had been yesterday! Still waiting for that overdue Player of the Year season from David Vinson! .912 OPS in '90 - kid is gonna be a star!

And Grant West! And Neil Reece! And Daniel Hall! And David Brewer! And Jason Turner! And Raimundo "Pooky" Beato!

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Vern Kinnear and Bobby Quinn are favorites
Such great outfielders - and the heartbreak when Vern slugged the Coons past the Elks into fifth place on the final weekend in '97... and then left.

And three decades later, when I hear Vern Kinnear, I don't remember the brown shirt with the #9, but the blue shirt and the yellow #16 and the walkoff single in Game 7 in '01.

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and the 2-pitch wonder, who's name has just slipped out of this old man's head..... I remember the year he and the Japanese ace (Saito?), started out the year 25 and 1.
Scott Wade. That was in magical 1989, with Scotty leading the league in wins that year, despite finishing 6-6 after a 15-0 start.
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Last edited by Westheim; 03-17-2019 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 03-17-2019, 07:44 PM   #2764
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Say, Maud doesn't believe me, but are you actually the guy in the trenchcoat and obviously fake moustache and huge sunglasses in always the same spot in section 87? I mean, you kinda stand out with that masquerade in the summer since at times it gets up to 80 degrees even here… .
It is me now.....for the last few years it has just been a scarecrow.....
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Old 03-18-2019, 02:23 AM   #2765
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You should then not be afraid to weigh in again from time to time about how everything that I do is wrong.
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Old 03-19-2019, 01:43 AM   #2766
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I was always fond of the man at the back end of the 'pen, Angel Casas, but man does thinking of him remind me of just how close 2010's season was to a title.
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Old 03-19-2019, 02:49 AM   #2767
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I was always fond of the man at the back end of the 'pen, Angel Casas, but man does thinking of him remind me of just how close 2010's season was to a title.
Yeah, if anybody in addition to Brownie could have gotten their stripes 'n' whiskers sorted out and found a W against the Cyclones at the very bottom of their hearts, that would have been nice. Angel had a 1.37 ERA and 0.69 WHIP that season. Outright filthy!

Or, you know, the year before was also pretty close to make something happen for the first time in 13 years. How did that end up again? Let's get legendary Raccoons broadcaster R.A. Koontz to weigh in with this clip from the broadcast of the game on October 5, 2009...

+++

...and the Crusaders stick to Scott Hood here, as they try to win this 162nd game of the season, and prevent this game from going into a 13th inning and prevent the Raccoons from walking off with another base hit. Antonio De La Parra will be the batter.

The Raccoons have only one batter left on the bench in this long season finale, that might not be the season finale, but they will not use Ximenes Lopes here and save him in case they need to hit for a pitcher again. And there is strike one by Hood to De La Parra.

The Raccoons need to win this game to force a tie-breaker in New York tomorrow. The Crusaders need to get one out here to win the game and prevent the game from going to the 13th inning. If the Raccoons win - tie-breaker in New York tomorrow.

Looking at strike two up in the zone is De La Parra. The Raccoons trail, four to three, and are one strike away from having their 2-out rally and their season dissipate here.

Jose Correa is on second base after singling in place of Angel Casas. Keith Ayers is on first base and the inning run, singling in place of Santiago Trevino.

Oh and two to De La Parra, and the pitch from Hood, met by De La Parra, and that will fall into centerfield. Ball makes his way to the gap! Martin Ortíz will not reach this one, and Correa is waved around and will score easily! The game will be at least tied. Keith Ayers is sent around third base by the coach, here comes the throw from Ortíz, relay by Ortega, Ayers going home, and the throw will be … - in time! Keith Ayers is out at home!


+++

(sits in the corner, weeping)
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Old 03-20-2019, 06:46 AM   #2768
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Raccoons (34-28) @ Capitals (28-32) – June 11-13, 2029

The Capitals were on a 4-game winning streak and also only four games out in a meager FL East. Their pitching was stingy, conceding the second-fewest runs in the Federal League, but their offense was rather crummy, yet they had a +29 run differential that hinted at things probably swinging around any moment now. And, well, they were on a winning streak already…! The teams had last met in the 2027 season when the Coons had dropped two of three to Washington, the same as in the two meetings prior to that. We had not won a series against them since 2020.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (7-4, 4.61 ERA) vs. Jorge Beltran (6-3, 3.56 ERA)
Rin Nomura (2-3, 3.73 ERA) vs. Eric Williams (5-5, 3.27 ERA)
Mark Roberts (6-5, 4.15 ERA) vs. Greg Gannon (4-5, 3.76 ERA)

We did in fact not get the left-handed pitcher for Monday, but rather for Tuesday. The other two guys were right-handers.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – RF Mora – 1B Harenberg – LF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – CF Magallanes – C Ivey – P Delgadillo
WAS: 2B E. Trevino – CF Houghtaling – RF Tachibana – C Lessman – 1B Lane – SS Menth – 3B Branca – LF Salazar – P J. Beltran

In what was a depressing first inning the Coons had nothing at all going, while Enrique Trevino – the ABL leader in steals – reached base on a Harenberg error, promptly stole second, and came around to score on a fly to center by Jeremy Houghtaling and Tsuneyoshi Tachibana’s infield single. Credit where it was due – Dan Delgadillo came up with his best game face and impression of an actually valuable pitcher; the Capitals got only two hits off him through five innings, but that performance paled compared to Beltran’s, who retired the first 13 Raccoons in order before Jamieson and Nunley hit back-to-back singles to center in the top of the fifth… and Magallanes then hit into a double play. Portland DID tie up the game the next inning; Shane Ivey led off with a single, moved up on a bunt and a grounder, then came home when Tim Stalker’s fly beat the range of Tachibana for a 2-out double. Mora grounded out poorly to Urbano Branca to strand Stalker, though. Yusneldan stepped around a 1-out double by Trevino in the bottom 6th (where most batters would only have gotten a single that dropped near Magallanes in shallow right-center) with an easy fly to center by Houghtaling and Tachibana rolling out to Harenberg and the game remained tied into the eighth, where Beltran inexplicably walked Yusneldan with one out. Ramos singled through Danny Lane to put two on, and now Delgadillo was in scoring position and replaced by pinch-runner Chris Baldwin. The ploy failed; Stalker struck out, and Mora rolled out to Trevino, who hit a 2-out single off Surginer in the bottom 8th, but was thrown out by Ivey when he tried to scoop second base. Steve Casey sat down the middle of the order in the top of the ninth without any ball leaving the infield, then earned the W when the left-handed batting Tachibana blasted a 440-footer off Billy Brotman in the bottom of the ninth. 2-1 Capitals. Nunley 2-4; Delgadillo 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K;

Game 2
POR: SS Gerster – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – CF Mora – 1B Gomez – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – RF Baldwin – P Nomura
WAS: 2B E. Trevino – 1B Lane – RF Tachibana – CF Houghtaling – C J. Wood – SS Menth – 3B Branca – LF Merriweather – P E. Williams

The Raccoons scored a ramshackle run in the opening inning with a 2-out single by Jamieson, who stole second while Mora flailed on a hit-and-run, advanced further on a passed ball, and then came around when Lane fumbled Trevino’s feed for an error when Abel Mora finally did put a ball in play. Nomura blew the lead without logging an out as Trevino singled, running a hitting streak to 13 games, then easily came around on Lane’s gap double. Just like Alberto Ramos, maybe even faster …! And by the second inning he was out of the game, injured on a defensive play and replaced with Zhang-ze Ts’ai, who batted .095 but nevertheless turned a 2-out, 2-2 pitch into a 2-run single in the bottom 2nd as Nomura continued to unwind and was soon enough taken deep by Lane to put the Coons into a 5-1 hole they would never find their way out of…

While Matt Nunley plated Gomez with an RBI double in the top 4th, and the Raccoons brought up Tim Stalker with the tying run at least at the plate and two outs in both the fourth and sixth innings, their lot didn’t improve. Stalker grounded out to Branca twice, and nobody scored. Instead, Matt Stonecipher got bopped for two runs in the bottom of the sixth, and the Capitals scored another run in the bottom 7th when the Raccoons’ pen just couldn’t get anybody out… Tim Stalker showed up with two out and two on again in the eighth inning and hit a 3-piece off Matt Reimann, but at that point it already didn’t matter anymore. 8-5 Capitals. Jamieson 2-5; Gomez 2-4; Harenberg (PH) 1-1;

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – RF Gomez – C Tovias – P Roberts
WAS: 2B E. Trevino – 1B Lane – RF Tachibana – CF Houghtaling – C J. Wood – SS Menth – 3B Branca – LF Merriweather – P Gannon

Greg Gannon bled three walks in the opening frame, but the polite Raccoons would not exploit such weakness and scored only one run when Harenberg singled in Ramos with two outs. Nunley and Mora walked the bags full after that, but Gomez grounded out to the mound. Almost 200 at-bats … 13 RBI! By the second inning, the score was 2-0 after an unexpected Tovias homer (because who expects anything but throwing errors from Tovias these days?), while Tim Stalker was headed for the showers, ejected after barking at the umpire after strike three to end the inning. Baldwin replaced him. Meanwhile the wind was blowing *in*, which was supposed to help “Launchpad” Roberts, but surely didn’t help Gannon, who served up a 2-run blast to center to Matt Nunley in the third to fall into a 4-0 hole. Before long, rain joined the procedures and produced a 40-minute delay before Roberts came back out for the third, which was surely going to help him so much after 28 pitches in the previous 90 minutes.

Actually, Roberts faced the minimum until there was one out in the bottom 5th and was yet to allow a base hit when the Raccoons, still up 4-0, reached deep into the chest with dirty tricks and Ramos and Mora produced consecutive embarrassing errors in the bottom 5th to put Jimmy Wood and Dave Menth on base. Ramos had a ball glitch from his paw as he tried to throw it, and Mora could for all intents and purposes have worn his glove on his face as he helplessly meandered under a pop that almost struck him in the forehead eventually. There came Baldwin into play, smothering a quick bouncing shot by Branca and turning it into an inning-ending double play! The soaking wet no-hit bid ended in the seventh with Danny Lane’s leadoff single, although Baldwin kept the line score in order by shuffling another 4-6-3 double play with Ramos on Tachibana. Roberts held up on paper in the eighth, but logged three increasingly long fly outs, with Branca ultimately almost getting to the fence, but being caught out there by Jamieson. With Roberts on 107 pitches, we knew we didn’t want him back in the ninth. Portland tacked on a run in the ninth with a Harenberg double and Nunley RBI single off Sergio Aredondo, then sent Fleischer, who retired nobody and made way for Boles after two hits, a walk, and a run had occurred. Josh got out of the game before blowing it all, surrendering only a 2-out RBI single to Jeremy Houghtaling before ringing up Jimmy Wood to salvage at least the one game… 5-2 Coons. Harenberg 3-4, 2B, RBI; Nunley 2-4, BB, HR, 3 RBI; Mora 2-4, BB, 2B; Roberts 8.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, W (7-5);

Raccoons (35-30) @ Crusaders (31-32) – June 14-17, 2029

A quick hop up the I-95 corridor later we were in New York for a 4-game weekend set, which was convenient given that the draft would also take place here on Friday. The Crusaders were last in runs scored in the Continental League, plating only 3.6 runs per game. Their pitching and defense were sound, with the fourth-fewest runs conceded, but there really wasn’t much to love about their current lineup. They had *one* qualifying player (Ivan Vega) batting better than .240 …! On the other hand, they were also up 2-1 in the season series, so they had to be doing SOMETHING right…

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (5-3, 2.13 ERA) vs. Robby Gonzalez (1-7, 6.30 ERA)
Trevor Draper (2-0, 3.32 ERA) vs. Eddie Cannon (5-4, 3.76 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (7-4, 4.18 ERA) vs. Doug Moffatt (5-6, 4.13 ERA)
Rin Nomura (2-4, 4.46 ERA) vs. Mike Rutkowski (5-5, 3.20 ERA)

All right-handers, but we would skip their best guy by ERA, Carlos Marron (5-3, 2.58 ERA).

The Coons came in after a roster change, removing Sean Catella, who was batting about nothing, for Ryan Allan, who was reaching base nicely in AAA and had batted … well, .186 for last year’s Critters. Somehow enough to get a ring, too.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – RF Allan – C Ivey – P Shumway
NYC: C F. Delgado – RF M. Owen – 3B Schmit – 1B Tadlock – LF I. Vega – CF Reardon – 2B T. Fuentes – SS Cameron – P R. Gonzalez

Here was another completely overwhelmed starting pitcher to be brutally blindsided by, and the Raccoons sure looked the part the first time through the order, amounting to a Jamieson single and nothing else at all. Shumway opened his day with a walk to Felipe Delgado, but Matt Owen hit into a double play and the Crusaders were not remotely close to scoring early on, either. Top 4th, Jamieson led off with another single, and Chris Reardon could not reach the soft fly off Harenberg’s bat, either, which fell for another single. Nunley drew a walk, putting three on with nobody out. Oh dear. Mora ran a full count before getting a single past Andy Schmit for the first run of the game, but the Crusaders got Harenberg at home on Allan’s grounder to Tony Fuentes. That left the bags stacked, as did Ivey’s single to center for his first career RBI. The best contribution to the inning was made by Shumway, who hit a 2-run double to right to get a 4-0 lead. New York then walked Ramos intentionally and depressingly got a double play from Tim Stalker, who poked at a 3-1 pitch to end the inning. Gonzalez failed to complete five, allowing singles to Jamieson and Nunley in the top 5th before plating the first Matt with a wild pitch. The second Matt was stranded by Jesse Wright when he replaced the yanked starter.

Tom Shumway looked like he would cruise straight through nine innings until the Crusaders, who had amounted to two base hits through six, nipped him for three soft singles and a run in the bottom 7th, honors done by Ron Tadlock, Chris Reardon, and Tony Fuentes, who got the RBI. Portland pulled the run back in the eighth, Ivey plating Mora with a groundout after Abel had led off with a single and stolen a base, and Shumway got through eight and was sent into the ninth at the very least. Tadlock grounded out. Vega flew out to left. Reardon doubled. Oops. But the next batter, Fuentes, was a left-handed batter, so Shumway would get him and then retire – and rung him up. 6-1 Coons. Jamieson 3-5; Harenberg 2-4, BB; Mora 2-5, RBI; Shumway 9.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, W (6-3) and 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI;

The Shumster had the only extra-base hit for the team in this game; 11 singles otherwise.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – C Tovias – RF Gomez – P Draper
NYC: C F. Delgado – RF M. Owen – 3B Schmit – 1B Tadlock – LF I. Vega – CF Reardon – 2B T. Fuentes – SS Cameron – P E. Cannon

With rain looming, Ramos opened with a double before Stalker grounded out to third, Jamieson hit an infield single, and Harenberg barfed another ball into a double play. Before long the Crusaders had Draper cornered. While Matt Owen singled and was picked off by Draper in the bottom 1st, the bottom 2nd saw three full counts, and all batters reached base on either a walk (Vega, Joe Cameron) or a single (Fuentes). At least that brought up Eddie Cannon with two outs! Cannon ticked the first pitch into center for a single, Vega scored, Fuentes was sent, and Mora threw him out, ending a frustrating inning. He would never have a non-frustrating inning in the game because he only lasted three awful innings on 67 pitches before an hourlong rain delay knocked him out of the game in the top of the fourth, then with the Coons down 2-1. Felipe Delgado had drawn a leadoff walk and been brought around in the bottom 3rd, while Harenberg had driven a leadoff jack against Cannon in the fourth. Nunley had walked just before the forced intermission, and at least Cannon – on 51 pitches – resumed pitching here… and would blow the lead in the inning. Nunley went to second when Mora grounded out, then to third on a duck snort single by Tovias. Gomez flew out to center, but deep enough for Nunley to jog home against Reardon’s powerful arm, knotting us up at two. Ryan Allan batted for Draper, reached on a Delgado error, and Ramos’ single to left-center allowed the Coons to sent home Tovias with the go-ahead run. Tim Stalker then hit a 3-run blast to left, putting Portland up 6-2. Maybe the Crusaders should have brought in a reliever after all…! No reliever got ready in time before Jamieson struck out, sending this 4-run lead to the Coons’ pen.

While the Critters’ slam-sized cushion allowed them the luxury to go to Matt Stonecipher for as long as the rookie could go or until there was real trouble brewing, whichever happened first, the Crusaders were also in their pen by the fifth inning. Nothing undue happened to Stonecipher so fast, and when Gomez was on first with one out in the top 6th against lefty Brent Beene, the reliever was kept around to bunt Rafael to second base. Ramos was walked intentionally to get to Stalker, which was sure a weird selection with a lefty on the mound and Stalker having taken Cannon’s flower hardly 20 minutes earlier. Tim ticked a ball to center for a single, Gomez was sent and scored narrowly ahead of Reardon’s throw, upping the tally to 7-2, with four RBI on Stalker. Jamieson walked, and Harenberg stranded three with a fly to center. Stonecipher lasted the Critters four innings, allowing runners only in the third of those, the bottom of the sixth, in which the Crusaders hit three singles, but also in a double play in between to deny themselves any runs. The Coons would add single runs on a Stalker sac fly in the eighth and a run-scoring Gerster groundout in the ninth, then almost turned a 9-2 game into a save chance for Josh Boles when between the wickedly inefficient Billy Brotman and Jonathan Fleischer the Crusaders put their first four batters on base. Three of them scored, but eventually Ramos got paws on a ball to end the game with a runner on third and Boles tossing in the pen already. 9-5 Coons. Ramos 2-5, BB, 2B, RBI; Stalker 2-4, HR, 5 RBI; Harenberg 2-5, HR, RBI; Tovias 4-5, 2 2B; Magallanes (PH) 1-1, 2B; Stonecipher 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, W (1-0);

However bemuddled this game essentially was, the Coons plated nine and with a Titans loss grabbed sole possession of the CL North for the first time all season!

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – LF Allan – RF Gomez – P Delgadillo
NYC: 1B Espinosa – 3B Schmit – LF M. Owen – C F. Delgado – CF Ugolino – 2B T. Fuentes – RF Reardon – SS Laughery – P Moffatt

Both teams got their leadoff men on in the first inning, and both were caught stealing to curtail earliest offensive attempts. The Coons were back in action with a 1-out double by Tovias in the second inning. Straight singles by Allan and Gomez plated Elias for the first marker in the game, Delgadillo bunted them over, and with two outs Moffatt ended up walking both Ramos and Stalker in full counts, which pushed in another run before J.D. Laughery intercepted a Mora grounder for the third out. That was really it for offense in the first innings, with the Coons only reaching scoring position again in the fifth on back-to-back 2-out singles by Mora and Harenberg before Matt Nunley grounded out to Juan Espinosa, while the Crusaders had to wait until the bottom 5th for a base hit by a position player. While Moffatt had hit a 2-out single in the bottom 3rd, nothing had come of that, and not much more came out of Chris Reardon’s 2-out double in the fifth. Laughery grounded out to short to strand him. Trouble seemed to find Delgadillo in the bottom 6th, though. Moffatt grounded out to begin the inning, but then Espinosa singled up the middle, stole second, and Yusneldan lost Andy Schmit on four pitches. Matt Owen ticked the very next offering by the Coons’ right-hander into center for an RBI single, which cut the lead to 2-1 and made Delgado a highly critical batter. Delgadillo had to get him or be removed for a southpaw with the left-handed array led by Ugolino drawing up. Delgado knocked a 2-0 pitch to third base, and Matt Nunley, still a damn cat in the field, zinged it around the bases for a 5-4-3 inning-ender. It was also Nunley to end the sleeping spell on the Raccoons offense with a solo jack off Moffatt with two outs in the eighth that put an insurance run back on the board. Delgadillo was – bravely, stupidly? – sent back out for the eighth, got PH Ivan Vega on a soft liner to Nunley, Espinosa to pop out foul, but then lost Schmit on a single to center in a full count. That was the end for Yusneldan, finally, with Ricky Ohl replacing him at this point. Matt Owen grounded out to Stalker to end the bottom 8th, but the Coons failed to get an insurance run in the ninth, either. Josh Boles would face the 4-5-6 batters in the ninth … and retired them in order, despite Tony Fuentes hitting a deep drive to center on a 1-2 pitch. Mora hustled back and grabbed it, and that ended the game. 3-1 Coons. Delgadillo 7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, W (8-4);

Nobody knew quite how, but as a matter of fact Yusneldan now tied for third place in wins in the Continental League. Only Abramo Archibugi and Andy Bressner had won nine games.

Game 4
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – CF Allan – RF Gomez – C Ivey – P Nomura
NYC: 2B T. Fuentes – RF M. Owen – 3B Schmit – 1B Tadlock – LF I. Vega – CF Reardon – C R. Anderso – SS Cameron – P Rutkowski

A sweep was possible if Rin Nomura could resist coming apart once more; the Critters scored a run in the first with Ramos drawing a leadoff walk, gaining a base when Jamieson was clipped by a pitch, and then came home on a Harenberg single. Nunley whiffed and Allan popped out to end the first with runners on the corners. For the Crusaders it would get worse before it could get much better; Nomura walked a pair in the bottom 1st, but Tadlock crashed a ball to Ramos for a double play, and in the top 2nd Rutkowski faced just two more batters before leaving the game with general discomfort. Shane Baker took over for New York. The rest of the battery followed into the field hospital soon when Nomura managed to strike Ryan Anderson in his throwing shoulder in the bottom of the inning. Delgado replaced Anderson, while there were two on again with one out after an earlier walk to Chris Reardon. This time Joe Cameron hit into the double play. What a mess in the early going!

New York finally managed to tie the game in the bottom 3rd, which Baker, the long man, opened with their first hit, a single to left. The top three in the order would all shoot deep flies to center; only Owen’s fell in for an RBI double, and Tadlock popped out foul to end the inning, but the writing was on the wall that Nomura was not going to last long in this one, either… Bottom 4th, Reardon walked, Delgado singled, and Cameron walked, all with one out, and when Espinosa grounded to second base in place of Baker, the Coons could not turn two this time around and the go-ahead run scored. Fuentes whiffed to strand a pair anyway, but Nomura was on five walks and a mauled catcher after only four innings… Somehow he made it through two more innings with only one hit and no walks allowed before an exploded pitch count mercifully removed him for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. He was also still on a 2-1 hook with the Raccoons having done NOTHING against either Baker or his successor, Keith Roofener, who pitched 2.1 hitless innings before allowing back-to-back singles to Mora (in place of Nomura) and Ramos. Stalker hit into a fielder’s choice, presenting Jamieson with runners on the corners and two outs. Matt dropped a dying quail into shallow left center for a game-tying RBI single before Harenberg managed to loop an 0-2 pitch into shallow right center for another soft RBI single that had to drive the Crusaders nuts at this point. Jesse Wright, another righty, replaced Roofener in a 3-2 deficit, walked Nunley to fill the bags, and that brought up Allan, but why hit for a lefty batter here…? Yeah, it was Ryan Allan, but *maybe*… Wright ran a full count before challenging Allan down the middle; the Raccoons’ sorry excuse for a 27-year-old sophomore was not overwhelmed and knocked the ball over Tadlock and up the line for a double that eluded Owen for long enough to score even Matt Nunley from first base – bases-clearing double, Coons up 6-2!

The inning ended after an intentional walk to Rafael Gomez when Shane Ivey grounded out, and the Coons now had an almost fully rested pen available to get nine outs. Before I could begin to worry much, Garavito walked Laughery to open the bottom 7th, Fleischer allowed a double to Owen, and the Crusaders had two in scoring position with one out, but in that spot Fleischer pleasantly wrestled down the switch-hitting Schmit and rung him up in a full count, and the Crusaders stranded another pair when Tadlock grounded out easily on the very next pitch. The Furballs tacked one on in the eighth on singles by Ramos and Stalker as well as the former’s obscenely quick paws, but the game had seen the last challenge by the New Yorkers, who went down in due time to Fleischer and Brotman in the last two innings. 7-2 Furballs! Ramos 2-4, BB; Harenberg 2-5, 2 RBI; Allan 3-4, BB, 2 2B, 3 RBI; Mora (PH) 1-1; Brotman 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

In other news

June 11 – Titans OF Willie Vega (.282, 2 HR, 12 RBI) will miss a month with a broken wrist.
June 12 – RIC SP Matt Diduch (4-6, 3.39 ERA) will be out for at least a month with a broken finger.
June 12 – DEN OF Rafael Torruellas (.120, 1 HR, 3 RBI) is done for the season with a broken kneecap.
June 13 – Also lost for the season is SAC SP Michael Foreman (2-5, 3.98 ERA), who has suffered a partially torn UCL. The 38-year-old righty is headed for Tommy John surgery.
June 14 – Condors and Rebels enter the 11th inning tied at 11 before the Condors crush the Rebels pen with a 6-run inning en route to a 17-11 smash win. TIJ RF/LF Omar Larios (.268, 5 HR, 26 RBI) comes to the plate seven times and reaches as often with five walks and two home runs, plating five runs.
June 17 – Los Angeles sophomore RF/LF Oscar Mendoza (.304, 8 HR, 42 RBI) has put together a 20-game hitting streak with a 3-for-5 day in an 8-2 win over Salem.
June 17 – The first home run of the season for OCT C Liam Riley (.217, 1 HR, 8 RBI) is a pinch-hit walkoff grand slam off Aces hurler Jose Menendez (6-8, 6.07 ERA) that gives the Thunder a 6-2 win in regulation.
June 17 – Four teams in the Federal League score at least 12 runs on Sunday; the Capitals beat the Cyclones 12-6, the Blue Sox rock the Rebels 12-5, but the Stars lose despite scoring a dozen, falling to the Scorpions in a frantic back-and-forth, 13-12. SAC C David Drews (.311, 12 HR, 44 RBI) is unretired in the game with four walks, two home runs, and 4 RBI.
June 17 – PIT C/1B J.J. Henley (.246, 12 HR, 44 RBI) will have to sit for a month after a diagnosis of plantar fascitis.

Complaints and stuff

Who’s in first? Coons in first! It sure took us a while to get back to the top…!

That weekend sweep over the Crusaders showed that the team still has sting even though it has been up and down with the offense and with the pitching in recent weeks. We still have a few problems, though… f.e. little reliable starting pitching besides Tom Shumway, and we were also still trying to figure out which hole Rafael Gomez had fallen in to slug 124 points less than just two years ago. Finding an upgrade for him was not the problem – the problem was what had befallen him in the first place. I would probably put the Druid on that one. Mena! … Mena! … - Do you still have those electrical eels? – Try them on Gomez!

Well, that should take care of this.

Ramos is not stealing bases remotely near the pace last year, but is still on pace for something like 58 bags. I wonder why he is not having that much success… maybe our pitchers are indeed batting too well and he gets stuck a lot? His success rate is “only” 71% this year, compared to almost 73% for his career, but last year he actually had a *79%* success rate. Maybe I am just spoiled…

The Titans are in a 5-11 hole in June, a month they even opened 1-8, that lone win of them between June 1 and 9 coming by ramming Billy Ramm into the ground for seven runs in 3.2 innings. Meanwhile we are 11-6 on the month, and Billy Ramm is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA after two starts in St. Pete. I don’t know what happened to the kid, but I don’t like it.

Next week, Loggers on the way home, then the Bayhawks at our place. Also, finally a day off!

What else? Ah, the fun fact…:

Fun Fact: Jason O’Halloran is not only the Titans’ career leader in strikeouts, but als–

(with a fizzling sound, all the lights go out)
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Old 03-20-2019, 06:47 AM   #2769
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2029 AMATEUR DRAFT

After Stonecipher’s long-relief heroics for his first major league win I hopped over to the league offices in New York along with the guy that had run our scouting department for the last few years, you know… that… that guy… (clicks fingers in vain trying to come up with the name)

The Raccoons did not expect much at all from this draft, given that we had signed away our #23 pick to the Aces when we had inked Tom Shumway to a 5-year deal (and I dare say that the early signs are that it was worth it). We would have the 23rd pick in all other rounds, while we also had a pick in the supplemental round, which was compensation for the loss of Jon Correa. This remained the #37 pick as pointed out earlier when I quickly showcased the draft pool, since Ian Prevost – still injured – remained unsigned through draft day and the Gold Sox lost their potential compensation to the big black void.

Speaking of the draft pool and personnel within, as already pointed out this was more of a batter’s draft, with the hotlist outlined beneath (* notes high school players; ^ notes two-way player):

SP Justin Kaiser (13/15/10) * – BNN #8
SP Rick Haugh (12/12/10) – BNN #2
SP Kent Turner (12/13/9) – BNN #5

RP Gabe Creech (16/13/9) ^ – BNN #4

C Mitch Cook (11/12/13)

INF/RF Billy Bouldin (15/3/5)
1B Ryan St. Pierre (9/15/14)
INF Josh Barnett (12/10/11) *

OF Sean Calais (13/10/4) * – BNN #3
3B/RF/LF Sonny Deming (9/11/13)
OF John Baron (8/14/12)

Of course I had no illusions of grabbing any of these. The Rebels could have illusions, given that they had the #1 draft pick for the 2029 selecting bonanza. They picked that high school pitcher up there, Justin Kaiser, to begin the pickery. The Blue Sox took Billy Bouldin at #2, while Mitch Cook went #3 to the Falcons. The Indians’ selection of John Baron, and the Scorpions taking Sean Calais completed the top 5 – all from the hotlist – and it continued like that with Gabe Creech going to the Loggers at #6, and Rick Haugh to the Bayhawks at #7; only after that the Gold Sox took OF/SS Tyler Miles as the first player not on our hotlist.

After that it was Kent Turner to the Knights as the 15th selection, but that was actually all for the last two thirds of the first round proper. For future reference, the Aces took SS Bill Hill with our #23 pick. Surefire Hall of Famer there!

The Aces also took the third-to-last player from our hotlist, Josh Barnett, with the #28 pick – but that was actually it. To our great surprise, Sonny Deming and Ryan St. Pierre remained left over by the time our #37 rolled around. Oh dear – choices! There was something to be said about high power bats, though, and there was only one high power bat left in the selection – St. Pierre.

Sonny Deming would actually linger around all the way to the #58 pick when the Miners had mercy on him and selected him with their second-round choice, just before the Raccoons could get engaged again…

There were also two pitchers named Jesse Erickson in this draft; a right-handed and a left-handed one. The Titans picked them both.

2029 PORTLAND RACCOONS DRAFT CLASS

Supp. Round (#37) – 1B Ryan St. Pierre, 21, from Minneapolis, MN – prototypical first baseman with very high power potential, not much in terms of high average, but maybe some strikeout issues. He did have patience though and might draw walks, if that was what you wanted from your vaunted cleanup hitter with three on and one out – set up a double play!
Round 2 (#62) – SP Bob Thomson, 18, from Dallas, TX – left-hander with a soft fastball (although he had room to add to that 88mph), but an interesting slider-changeup combo that could make him a valuable big leaguer, although in all honesty maybe more in a corner-nibbler role rather than flashy 10 K per game.
Round 3 (#86) – SS/3B Chris Pothen, 18, from Manhattan, NY – does a bit of all, batting for average, decent eye, good speed, solid defense; nowhere over the top, but nowhere does he appear to be really weak, and he could be a fairly decent infielder of the Matt Nunley mold in the sense of an upper-middle round pick with a balanced profile.
Round 4 (#110) – C/1B David Tinnin, 22, from Houston, TX – good defensive catcher, pretty smart, but the big question mark is whether he can hit enough to become viable; hitting for *some* power for Rice College, but not much, and not exactly a sparkling average, either.
Round 5 (#134) – LF Brian Cannon, 17, from Avondale, AZ – big wild card pick and a weird profile for a corner outfielder; he has hardly any range in the outfield and not much of an arm and might be better off as first baseman, but also does not hit for much power. He seems to have a good OBP bat, and despite his lack of range is very good at stealing bases; it is very likely that he amounts to nothing, ever, but at least he is a high schooler and has a lot of time to grow.
Round 6 (#158) – CL Kyle Green, 20, from Chula Vista, CA – right-hander throwing 90mph with a changeup and knuckle curve, but he has not mastered either one of those yet, and should come up with at least one of them… not much stamina apparently, so he will always be a reliever.
Round 7 (#182) – CL Sean Jaeger, 20, from Prattville, AL – right-hander with a 92mph heater and a swooping curve that can dart sideways to confuse the hitters.
Round 8 (#206) – CF/RF Matt Tate, 18, from Chillicothe, OH – wide range in center, but not much of a bat and absolutely no power…
Round 9 (#230) – 1B/RF/3B Cody Monk, 21, from La Follette, TN – how many strong defensive first basemen are in the Hall of Fame? Right.
Round 10 (#254) – SS Matt Carusi, 20, from Tallulah, LA – very good defensive shortstop, but a strict singles slapper and he doesn’t even have much speed to make himself a RISP presence after singling…
Round 11 (#278) – CL Elijah Crutchfield, 20, from Springdale, AR – left-hander (of course!) with an array of mediocre pitches and ill command, which is a lot more than what we wrote about Nick Brown almost 25 years ago!
Round 12 (#302) – C Dave Osmer, 18, from Gambier, OH – I asked, and we HAVE to pick somebody… OSA hardly ranks him able to jog, but somehow our scouting department gave him fair grades in some areas. Oh well, whatever!
Round 13 (#326) – SS/2B Joe Cinquegrana, 19, from Joplin, MO – there might be some power here, there surely is some defense here, but somehow it is all covered in those white packaging chips and a pile of lint.

+++

All draft selections were assigned to Aumsville.

We also canned a handful of guys right away and would continue to cull a few more for the rest of the season. Gone were among others 2023 sixth-rounder RHP Dale Autry, hopelessly stuck in AA (and already 28 years old); 2028 ninth-rounder 1B Danny Vera, essentially legally blind at the plate; same for 2028 eighth-rounder 2B/SS Roy Werden; and 2024 international free agent C Jesus Florian, who had cost us $18k back then; plus some scouting discoveries and random trash heap signings.
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Old 03-20-2019, 08:07 PM   #2770
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Raccoons (39-30) @ Loggers (31--38) – June 18-20, 2029

The Raccoons had dominated Milwaukee so far in the 2029 season, winning five of six games from them. The Loggers ranked second from the bottom in runs scored and merely eighth in runs allowed for yet another unhealthy run mix. They were making a solid bid for their sixth straight losing record since finishing third with 89 wins in 2023, also the most recent time they finished ahead of the Raccoons in the North.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (7-5, 3.77 ERA) vs. Joe West (5-6, 2.69 ERA)
Tom Shumway (6-3, 2.03 ERA) vs. Julio Palomo (2-2, 6.14 ERA)
Trevor Draper (2-0, 3.68 ERA) vs. Philip Rogers (5-5, 3.94 ERA)

We would tip-toe around their only lefty starter, Francisco Colmenarez, who made a solid bid for ten losses before the end of June, although it was not his fault. With a 3-9 record he had a 3.88 ERA. Milwaukee had two crucial DL incumbents, SP Morgan Shepherd and infielder Matt Lockert (.295, 0 HR, 32 RBI), who had won the CL Rookie of the Month honors in both April and May, but was now out with a torn meniscus and would probably only return at the All Star break.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – RF Allan – C Tovias – P Roberts
MIL: 3B V. Diaz – 2B Rauser – C J. Young – RF W. Trevino – LF Cambra – CF Wheeler – 1B Schorsch – SS Holder – P J. West

An unearned run put the Raccoons up 1-0 in the opening inning thanks to Vinny Diaz fumbling a Stalker grounder that also moved Ramos, who had opened with a double to center, to third base, from where Harenberg scored him with a sac fly after Jamieson went down flailing. Harenberg also drove in the second run in the game with an absolute monster shot of a home run in the fourth inning – that one was out just by the sheer sound of it when KEVIIIIIN made contact. In between Roberts had hit a leadoff single in the third, but had been doubled up by Ramos (…!), while on the mound he retired the Loggers in order the first time through the lineup without K’ing any of them, then nailed Vinny Diaz to begin the bottom 4th, but while Diaz stole second base, the next three Milwaukee batters all made poor outs to strand him in scoring position, and against Jim Young Roberts even got his first strikeout of the game. Firmino Cambra’s solid leadoff single to center was the first Loggers entry into the H column in the bottom 5th, but he never got off first base when Mike Wheeler and Tom Schorsch struck out and Kaleb Holder rolled one over to Stalker for the third out. Top 6th, the Coons put their 4-5-6 batters on base with two outs, with Harenberg scoring for the second time on Nunley’s single to left-center that made it 3-0 Coons, but the Loggers pulled the run back with three singles in the bottom 6th. Particularly annoying was Joe West’s leadoff single to left, while Jason Rauser hit an infield single with one out, and Young drove in the run with a clean liner to left for another single. Willie Trevino then clubbed the first pitch he got into a 6-4-3 double play. Both pitchers ended up going eight innings while not whiffing a lot of batters; West rung up nobody between Jamieson’s K in the opening frame and the eighth, then struck out the 2-3-4 batters in order, while Roberts only got three K’s in the entire game, but hung on to the 3-1 lead through eight. Top 9th, the Critters put runners on the corners with one out thanks to Matt Nunley doubling off Jonathan Hose and Schorsch fudging Allan’s grounder for an error. The Loggers sent righty Zach Weaver to see after the constant double play threat Tovias, who was hit for by Magallanes, who hit a sac fly for an extra run, after which Rafael Gomez grounded out in Roberts’ spot to end the inning. Bottom 9th, Josh Boles came in with the max allowance for runs that would still get him a save, which he considered lame and instead he loaded the bases without getting an out. Trevino singled up the middle on 0-2, Cambra walked, and Mike Wheeler singled to left before Schorsch struck out and Wilson Aquino hit sharply into a 6-4-3 double play. 4-1 Coons. Harenberg 1-2, BB, HR, 2 RBI; Nunley 3-4, 2B, RBI; Roberts 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, W (8-5) and 1-3;

Josh, was that necessary? – No, I mean overall, in the grander scheme of things? – Josh, I don’t give a flying **** about your “thrill factor”. If you want to live on the edge, take speedballs!

Nobody took much of anything on Tuesday, which saw considerable rain and high gusts in Milwaukee and consequently a postponement of the second game of the series. Teams would play a double header on Wednesday, if weather allowed for that.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – RF Gomez – P Shumway
MIL: 3B V. Diaz – 1B Cambra – C J. Young – RF W. Trevino – LF Schorsch – CF Wheeler – SS Holder – 2B Rauser – P Palomo

The Coons scored two in the opening inning on base hits by Ramos and Stalker, who both individually stole second base in the inning, Harenberg, and Mora – all singles. Jamieson plated Ramos with a sac fly, and Stalker came home on Kevin’s single. Nunley chomped into a double play to get Palomo out of an early mess. It was a temporary relief, though. The bottom of the order amounted to a Rafael Gomez single in the top 2nd, but with two outs the top of the order ripped Palomo a new one. Ramos hit an RBI double to left, Stalker an RBI single to right, and Jamieson got a ball past a sliding Trevino for an RBI double to right before Harenberg kept the score at 5-0 with his groundout. Shumway squeezed his ERA under two in the meantime by two scoreless innings to begin the game. This included a Wheeler double with one out in the bottom 2nd, but Kaleb Holder grounded out and Jason Rauser was rung up to strand him at third base, while Rauser was ejected for giving the ump his honest opinion about strike three. (It was strike three, honestly) Brendan Day replaced Rauser for the third inning.

Top 4th, Ramos created a run all on his own, drawing a leadoff walk before swiping second and third base in separate at-bats before Jamieson hit another sac fly, 6-0. The Loggers took until the sixth inning for another real opportunity at scoring a run, placing runners on the corners with two outs, but Cambra and Trevino got stranded when Schorsch popped out to Nunley, who plated Harenberg with a run-scoring groundout in the top of the seventh. The Loggers did score two runs in the bottom 7th, but those were unearned; Holder had reached on a Mora error with one out, and while Day and Ray Masri had hit singles after that, Masri plating one run and Diaz another with a groundout, nothing was charged to Shumway’s now sub-2 ERA in his final inning in the game. Gerster batted for the Shumster in the top 8th and drew the first of back-to-back walks along with Ramos after Gomez’ leadoff single against Travis Feider. Three on, no outs, Stalker hit into a force at home, but Jamieson then drove in two more runs with a single to right, and Harenberg’s single reloaded the bases. Baldwin batted for Mora and struck out, but Nunley worked a bases-loaded walk to run the tally to 10-2 before Elias Tovias struck out as well against the beleaguered Feider, ending the top 8th. The 8-run cushion was never remotely threatened while Billy Brotman and Jonathan Fleischer pitched the last two innings. 10-2 Coons! Ramos 2-4, 2 BB, 2B, RBI; Jamieson 2-3, 2B, 5 RBI; Harenberg 3-5, RBI; Mora 2-4, 2B; Gomez 3-5; Shumway 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, W (7-3);

With that cozy win we sure had a better bullpen situation for the second game of the day, even with the questionable Draper starting the game.

Game 3
POR: SS Gerster – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – LF Allan – CF Magallanes – C Ivey – P Draper
MIL: 3B V. Diaz – 1B Cambra – RF W. Trevino – LF Schorsch – CF Wheeler – SS Holder – C Canody – 2B Rauser – P Rogers

Portland grabbed a run in the first again with Gerster’s leadoff single of the infield variety, a walk drawn by Nunley, and then Harenberg’s 1-out RBI single to left-center, but it didn’t help much with Draper walking the first two batters he faced, then immediately serving up a gapper to Trevino that scored both runners, with Schorsch plating Trevino with a grounder to put the Loggers ahead 3-1. Top 2nd, the tying runs were in scoring position right away with a walk to Magallanes and Shane Ivey’s double, but Draper and Gerster both struck out before Rogers lost Stalker and Nunley on balls, pushing home one run. Harenberg grounded to Rauser to strand a full set, though.

There was no working with Draper, though, who surrendered a run each in the third, fourth, and fifth innings with a variety of inept pitching. Trevino homered in the third, Wheeler singled and stole two bases before scoring on Ivey’ throwing error (but the run was earned thanks to a Taylor Canody single that followed), and in the bottom 5th Diaz hit a leadoff double and was brought around. That put the Coons in a 6-2 hole through five on only three base hits of their own and things looked rather glum for continuing the winning streak. Rogers, who had walked six in the first five innings, but still hadn’t been knocked over, retired the bottom of the order without issue in the top of the sixth, and did the same to the top of the order in the seventh. Only in the eighth inning did Kevin Harenberg hit a leadoff jack off right-hander Bobby Valencia, cutting the gap to 6-3, but it looked like too little, too late. However – Ryan Allan hit a triple into the leftfield corner, and Magallanes found the gap in right-center for an RBI double. Suddenly the tying run was at the plate with one out!? Ivey popped out, however, and when Jamieson batted for Garavito in the #9 hole the Loggers brought a new righty in Alfredo Casique, who nevertheless surrendered a soft looping single to left to score Magallanes and get the Coons within one run. Ramos batted for Gerster, but the Loggers threw southpaw Alex Gutierrez at him, who ended the inning with a K. In response to the rally, the Loggers took Matt Stonecipher apart in the bottom of the eighth; single by Trevino, pinch-hit homer by Jim Young to restore a 3-run gap. But the tying run was at the plate with nobody out in the ninth thanks to leadoff singles to center by Stalker and to left by Nunley off Zach Weaver, and that tying run was none other than Harenberg … who struck out. Rafael Gomez with one out grounded to short… and Holder overran the ball!! Error on the Loggers – bases loaded, and Ryan Allan would be the batter! He grounded up the middle, Rauser intercepted the ball, lobbed to Holder for the second out, and - … and then Holder was knocked out by Gomez in a boorish MMA attack that nevertheless extended the game. Holder had several limbs extended at awkward angles after the knockout blow and had to be replaced by Alexis Rueda (not a shortstop) while the Coons would send Magallanes with two outs and the tying runs on the corners. Weaver lost him on balls, loading them up for Ivey. The Coons would have LOVED to bat Elias Tovias in his spot… but needed someone to pinch-hit for Matt Stonecipher in the #9 hole, and so Ivey was sent to bat… and flew out to Trevino. 8-6 Loggers. Harenberg 2-5, HR, 2 RBI; Magallanes 1-2, 3 BB, 2B, RBI; Jamieson (PH) 1-1, RBI; Garavito 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

Some cocky reporter from the Milwaukee Dispatch-Bugle asked how we managed to lose the second leg of a double header when between Boles, Ohl, and Surginer none of our three best relievers got into either game and instead Stonecipher gave out for the margin of victory in the eighth. I shoved him into a waste bin on my way to the team bus.

Raccoons (41-31) vs. Bayhawks (32-40) – June 22-24, 2029

San Fran ranked tenth in runs scored and seventh in runs allowed, so basically similar to what the Loggers had offered earlier in the week. They were somehow swatting homers despite their park not facilitating it, so Mark Roberts popping up in this series and this park was not a comforting thought right now. The Coons nevertheless had a 2-1 lead in the season series.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (8-4, 3.90 ERA) vs. Guillermo Regalado (5-7, 4.68 ERA)
Rin Nomura (3-4, 4.25 ERA) vs. Alex Lopez (5-6, 5.38 ERA)
Mark Roberts (8-5, 3.54 ERA) vs. Matt Huf (8-5, 3.50 ERA)

Three more righties; the Baybirds had now southpaw on offer right now.

Game 1
SFB: CF Hawthorne – SS Pulido – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – 2B D. Cobb – 3B J. Cruz – LF E. Rendon – C Pizzo – P Regalado
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – RF Gomez – P Delgadillo

The Critters made the third out at third base in the opening inning when Tim Stalker tried to go first-to-third on Harenberg’s 2-out single to right, but was thrown out by Cesar Martinez… but not without bowling over Jose Cruz, who left with an injury and was replaced by Mike Martin, who hit the first of back-to-back singles with Edwin Rendon with one out in the top 2nd, but was stranded on Mike Pizzo’s groundout and a K to Regalado. The Coons stranded Nunley on third base after his 1-out double in the bottom 2nd, then Ramos on second base in the bottom 3rd, and thus the Bayhawks would draw first blood with Cesar Martinez’ leadoff jack to left-center in the fourth inning. Ah, there were their homers! Not only did our homers remain in hiding, but the Bayhawks also went on to tear Delgadillo to shreds in the fifth inning without the benefit of the long ball… and that after they started off with two outs. Jose Pulido and Tomas Caraballo hit singles, Martinez walked, and Dan Cobb found the gap for a bases-clearing double. Delgadillo was yanked after a walk to Martin, with another run scoring when Billy Brotman failed to remove left-handed batter Edwin Rendon, who flicked another RBI single to center to run the tally to 5-0. Pizzo grounded out to end the miserable inning after six straight Baybirds had reached base. The Raccoons could not even score after Elias Tovias’ leadoff double in the bottom 5th and were more or less smothered at that point. Matt Stonecipher pitched the next two innings, allowing one run on one hit, four walks(!), and five strikeouts(!!). Calling him “exciting” was not quite nailing it… The Coons scored a token run in the unlikeliest fashion in the eighth inning when Regalado got taken yard by Alberto Ramos for a solo shot, but the game appeared over still. Bottom 9th, Mike Bass yielded a leadoff walk to Harenberg, then a Mora single to center. Still not quite a rally, and Nunley grounded out, merely advancing the runners, but then Tovias dropped in a 2-run single. Suddenly the tying run appeared in the on-deck circle, and Dan McLin appeared as new pitcher. The former Critter and still right-hander had a 3.46 ERA and ended the game with a K to Gomez and a groundout by Magallanes. 6-3 Bayhawks. Tovias 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI;

Game 2
SFB: CF Hawthorne – 3B M. Martin – RF C. Martinez – LF Orozco – C Carpenter – SS Pulido – 1B I. Pena – 2B D. Cobb – P A. Lopez
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – RF Gomez – P Nomura

Sky fell early in this one; never mind Nomura putting on George Hawthorne (double) and Mike Martin (walk), balking them over and conceding the runs on a sharp 2-out single by Eric Carpenter, but the Raccoons also lost Alberto Ramos to a wrist injury on a diving catch against Jose Pulido in the same inning. The Raccoons turned the score around with one run in the bottom 1st (Nunley walked after three singles had loaded the bases), then two more in the second: Rafael Gomez hit a leadoff jack before Nomura doubled to right and was moved around on grounders by Gerster and Stalker, but at the same time Nomura continued to fool absolutely nobody, especially not George Hawthorne, and probably not even George Hawthorne’s grandmother. Hawthorne hit another leadoff double in the top 3rd, stole third base, and scored on a groundout to knot the score at three.

It was still 3-3 in the bottom 6th when Tovias hit a leadoff double in the gap. Gomez grounded out at 1-2, advancing the runner, presenting a dilemma for the Raccoons, who already had their bench shortened and now had the go-ahead run at third base, one down, and their unconvincing starting pitcher at the plate. We ended up sending Ivey for Nomura given his pitch count being already elevated and that it was unlikely he would pitch more than one additional inning. Shane Ivey even came through against Alex Lopez, floating a single to right-center for the go-ahead run! After Butch Gerster flew out to center, Ivey was picked off first to end the inning, though… The lead fell apart immediately in the top 7th, too, with Billy Brotman facing three left-handed batters and allowing 1-out hits to Cobb (single) and Rendon (double). Ricky Ohl inherited runners in scoring position and could not have coped any less well, throwing a wild pitch to tie the game and allowing an RBI single to Martin to put the Bayhawks into the lead again, 5-4. Ivan Pena homered off Ohl in the eighth to add an insurance run, while the Coons had Jamieson hit into a double play in the bottom 7th to erase Stalker’s leadoff infield single, and then wasted Nunley’s leadoff double in the eighth. Bottom 9th, San Fran’s Adam Hicklin issued a leadoff walk to Tim Stalker, bringing up the tying run with nobody out, in this case Ryan Allan, the last man off the bench, and Allan hit into a fielder’s choice at second base. Hicklin lost Harenberg on balls, then allowed a fly up the rightfield line to Abel Mora. Martinez with his rather limited range did not manage to catch it, but cut off the ball before it could make the corner, and while he had not much range, he sure had an arm; Allan scored on the double, but Harenberg with the tying run had to be held at third base, while Mora was at second with the winning run for Matt Nunley. Both him and Tovias struck out. 6-5 Bayhawks. Magallanes (PH) 1-1; Stalker 1-2, 3 BB, RBI; Harenberg 3-4, RBI; Nunley 2-4, BB, 2B, RBI; Ivey (PH) 1-1, RBI;

The Druid diagnosed Alberto Ramos with a sprained wrist, meaning another DL stint for what could be such an awesome Player of the Year, a title he would never, ever win…

The Raccoons – bereft and grief-stricken and on a 3-game losing streak they would never snap – called up OF Wilson Rodriguez to fill the empty spot. The 27-year-old Dominican could play some infield at second and third. He had appeared in a handful of games last year, batting .211. In AAA he had hit .303 with seven homers up until now.

Game 3
SFB: CF Hawthorne – SS Pulido – 1B Caraballo – RF C. Martinez – LF Orozco – C Carpenter – 3B D. Cobb – 2B J. Cruz – P Huf
POR: SS Gerster – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – RF Gomez – P Roberts

A tremendous weekend got only better with Mark Roberts being waffled around for four base hits and three runs in the opening inning. Hawthorne opened with a single, Pulido doubled, and they scored on Cesar Martinez’ single – all to left – before too long. An ill-advised throw home by Jamieson and a passed ball on Tovias gave Martinez enough free bases to score on a 2-out single by Carpenter then, putting the Raccoons in a 3-0 hole and on track for a 4-game losing streak right after a 7-game winning streak… Martinez took Roberts deep (such a surprise) to add a run in the third inning, while the Raccoons did absolutely nothing the first time through the order. Stalker hit a solo homer his second time up, while the Coons also got Gomez in the fourth and Harenberg in the fifth to the plate with two on and two out, only for both of them to miserably strike out. Roberts was done after six innings of 4-run ball and just being plain ol’ ****, and Jose Cruz immediately hit a leadoff double against Surginer in the seventh. That runner, too, would score on a passed ball charged to Tovias, who was perhaps even worse than just plain ol’ ****. While the Coons had their leadoff batters on base in the sixth and seventh innings, Nunley and Allan would immediately hit into a double play, respectively, and the home team would not even come close to staving off a well-deserved sweep. Top 8th, Fleischer loaded the bases on an Orozco single, a walk to Carpenter, and nicking Cobb, then just kept going when Cruz dropped a bloop between Gerster and Jamieson for an RBI single. Miraculously Rendon whiffed and Hawthorne lined out to Jamieson, but Fleischer hung around to walk Pulido and Martinez in the ninth inning. Garavito got out of that inning, not that another crooked number would have made a difference. 6-1 Bayhawks. Jamieson 3-4; Baldwin (PH) 1-1;

In other news

June 18 – The Cyclones walk off to beat the Blue Sox, 2-1 in 11 innings, in most curious fashion. NAS CL Jimmy Souders (2-5, 2.50 ERA, 14 SV) has Cincy’s 2B/LF Hang-yu Che (.238, 2 HR, 21 RBI) reach on an error by 3B Chance Bossert before both Frank Eisenberg and Kelvin Winborn reach on sacrifice bunts in which the Blue Sox try and fail to kill off the lead runner Che. With three on and no outs, CIN C/1B Rey Cedillo (.268, 1 HR, 16 RBI) works a full count for a walk to end the game.
June 19 – The hitting streak of LAP RF/LF Oscar Mendoza (.300, 8 HR, 42 RBI) ends in his team’s 5-3 win over the Scorpions, who hold the sophomore dry and end his spell at 21 games.
June 19 – SAC CF Justin McAllester (.196, 4 HR, 26 RBI) is done for the season after tearing his labrum.
June 20 – WAS 2B/3B Enrique Trevino (.358, 1 HR, 37 RBI) has connected for 20 straight games with a single in the Capitals’ 8-4 win over the Miners, but the mood is dampened in the Capitals camp with WAS OF Jeremy Houghtaling (.276, 3 HR, 19 RBI) expected to miss the rest of the season after fracturing his skull running into the outfield fence.
June 22 – SAC SS/3B Matthew Crabtree (.244, 2 HR, 23 RBI) goes 0-for-10 in the Scorpions’ 4-2 win over the Buffaloes that takes six hours and 22 innings to complete. Way past a senior citizen’s bed time, 42-year-old SAC 1B Mike Rucker (.279, 7 HR, 33 RBI) hits a 2-run homer off TOP MR Mike Willis (1-2, 6.75 ERA) in the 22nd inning to break a 2-2 tie on the board since the second inning.
June 22 – LAP SP Luis Flores (4-3, 2.66 ERA) will miss at least one start with elbow soreness.
June 22 – The Rebels trade 3B/1B Mike Grigbsy (.241, 5 HR, 28 RBI) and an unranked prospect to the Aces for INF Mike Green (.227, 4 HR, 27 RBI).
June 23 – The Stars crush the Capitals in an 18-6 rout, with DAL 2B Eric Hendricks (.303, 2 HR, 15 RBI) supplying three base hits and a handful of RBI.

Complaints and stuff

A 4-game losing streak against thoroughly mediocre opposition – wonderful. Never mind we will have to play actual teams next week with the Thunder here and Titans in Boston. The latter probably won’t have to wait for us to physically appear to forcefully take back first place in the division.

Not that any of this spiraling is surprising. The Raccoons dared to not send Tom Shumway in any of the last four games – their pitchers cocked up six runs or more in all four of them. Shumway will have to start every game in Boston! And if possible go nine in all four of them.

Right out of the gate, this year’s team did not gel much at all. And that was before all the best players went for extended holidays on the DL. Well, it is all in the bin. With Ramos on the disabled list for a month AGAIN in addition to Rico Gutierrez and Rich Hereford (lost for much longer) the Raccoons only have the wannabes and pretenders left. And maybe Shumway. All is lost. All is lost.

(calmly huddles up on the brown couch wrapped entirely into a Raccoons beach towel)

(wailing erupts from under the blanket)

Fun Fact: The Thunder’s Alex Lindsey no-hit the stupid Bayhawks 21 years ago today, on June 24, 2008.

The game ended 6-0 for the Thunder and was the first no-hitter by a visiting pitcher in the ABL since the Critters’ Bob Joly’s no-hitter in New York in 2000. It was also the first no-hitter ever for the Thunder, who have since had four more, pairs of no-nos by Brian Furst and Bryan Hanson. The Raccoons were never involved in those.

Just like they won’t be involved with the postseason this year…
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Raccoons (41-34) vs. Thunder (38-36) – June 25-27, 2029

The reeling Raccoons went on to host the water-treading Thunder, so anything could happen right now… usually bad stuff. Oklahoma sat third in the South, 6 1/2 games out, and had a nice offense that chopped out the fourth-most runs in the CL. Unfortunately for them, their pitching staff could not have been leaking worse if they were all replaced by sieves and held under a running water tap. The worst starters’ ERA, the worst bullpen ERA, and the most runs allowed – all the Thunder’s! The league-worst defense probably also had a say, but you could not blame it ALL on defense. They were also at the bottom of the CL in another stat, steals, but the rest was damning enough on its own. The Coons were 2-1 on them this season.

Projected matchups:
Tom Shumway (7-3, 1.89 ERA) vs. Jeff Dykstra (9-4, 4.56 ERA)
Trevor Draper (2-1, 5.00 ERA) vs. Chris Klein (4-7, 4.78 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (8-5, 4.21 ERA) vs. Andy Palomares (5-6, 5.65 ERA)

Three right-handers on offer here; their only southpaw starter, “Graveyard” Gill had disappeared onto the DL several weeks ago.

Game 1
OCT: CF Pagel – C Burgess – 3B D. Garcia – SS Serrato – RF Sagredo – 1B J. Gutierrez – LF Loya – 2B Kane – P Dykstra
POR: RF Magallanes – 2B Stalker – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – 3B Nunley – SS Gerster – CF Mora – C Tovias – P Shumway

The Thunder’s porous defense showed up for the first time in the bottom of the second inning when Alex Serrato fumbled a Butch Gerster groundball into an error, which combined with Harenberg’s leadoff single that extended a 12-game hitting streak and Abel Mora getting flatout nailed loaded the bases with one down for Elias Tovias, who managed a sac fly to left for the first run in the game before Shumway got eviscerated on strikes. The Thunder did not trail for long; Shumway allowed a leadoff single to Ricky Loya in the third inning, then conceded the run by allowing a 2-out triple to center on an 0-2 pitch to Kyle Pagel. Mike Burgess walked after that, but perennial pain bringer AND pain receiver Dave Garcia struck out, stranding two. Depressingly enough, the next time the Thunder had somebody in scoring position Pagel would be available again to provide a 2-out knock; that came in the fifth with Mike Kane having reached on a single that Butch Gerster should have been able to get in a perfect world, and then Pagel doubled into the gap between Jamieson and Mora to put the Thunder up 2-1 in the fifth. The Raccoons were 2-hit through five innings, which was bad enough, but there was still room for it all to get much worse. The Thunder had Garcia on with a leadoff walk in the sixth, he got caught stealing, but Luis Sagredo walked, and Jose Gutierrez – the ancient one – singled. Tom Shumway left the game – with discomfort. The trainer hauled him in, not the manager. And the Raccoons were doomed.

Never mind the run the Thunder tacked on in the eighth when Surginer and Garavito seemingly could retire nobody at all except when the Thunder retired themselves. Never mind the bottom 8th, which Ryan Allan opened with a pinch-hit single before throwing out his back in an on-base collision with Serrato at second base on Magallanes’ umpteenth ****ty grounder of the game. Never mind that the Raccoons remained absolutely pathetic at the plate and lost the game without as much as a comeback attempt. 3-1 Thunder. Harenberg 2-4; Nunley 2-4; Allan (PH) 1-1;

With Tom Shumway dangling over the DL and under the cutting knife – IN ADDITION TO Ramos, Gutierrez, and Hereford – the Raccoons’ season was most definitely wrapped up and done.

The Druid was not done soaking Shumway in vinegar for the moment, but we did place Ryan Allan (herniated disc) on the DL, where he would remain all through July. The worst thing was… there was nobody in the system that would have merited a call-up, or would made sense to call up to replace him, infielder or outfielder. The Coons settled on German Sanchez because he was on the 40-man roster, but he was also – in St. Pete – batting *.171*.

That was the point where we had sunken to. No luck. No depth. No future.

Game 2
OCT: CF Pagel – C Burgess – 3B D. Garcia – SS Serrato – LF D. Brown – 1B J. Gutierrez – RF Dalton – 2B Kane – P Klein
POR: SS Stalker – LF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – RF Gomez – C Ivey – 2B Baldwin – P Draper

To anybody’s surprise, Trevor Draper was not eaten by grasshoppers on his way to the mound for the first pitch, lined up three goose eggs to start the game, and then was spotted a lead when Tim Stalker fired a 3-piece in the bottom of the third. Baldwin, the rule 5’er nobody needed, wanted, or used around here, led off with a single, Draper had his bunt thrown away by Mike Burgess, and Tim unloaded to dead center. The Coons got Jamieson on with a single, had him doubled off when Nunley grounded to short, but Harenberg drew a 2-out walk and scored on Mora’s double to extend the lead to 4-0 before Draper could get the round leather back. When he did, he retired none of the first four Thunder in the fourth inning. Garcia walked, stole second, then scored on a Serrato single, and Draper then filled the bags with more walks to Dan Brown and Jose Gutierrez, who was going on 45 but had a .438 OBP in limited action. Dalton fouled out, but Mike Kane hit an RBI single, Klein hit a sac fly, and Harenberg made a sprawling play to retire Pagel and end the inning just before the Thunder, now down 4-3, could tie it. (barks at Draper from his office) YOU ****ING SUCKER!!

The Coons stranded a full set in the bottom 4th after leadoff singles by Ivey and Baldwin, with Stalker getting nailed to load them up for Jamieson, who popped out foul, and Nunley, who flew out to Pagel. Draper barely lasted five and a third innings, issued a leadoff walk to Gutierrez in the sixth on his way out, and Billy Brotman just barely managed to get through the left-handed Kane and the ****ing opposing pitcher without blowing the skinny lead. Actually Klein singled with two outs, but Pagel popped out poorly. Whatever the **** works? Nothing ****ing worked here anymore… Ricky Ohl pitched the seventh flawlessly, arranged as such so that Matt Stonecipher would face the less intimidating batters in the eighth. He allowed a leadoff single to Brown, nailed Kane, but somehow also struck out two without blowing the still skinny lead. Bottom 8th, Ivey and Baldwin made poor outs against Ying-hua Ou before Wilson Rodriguez, inserted in a double switch earlier, singled through Garcia in his first at-bat of the season. Tim Stalker came up, saw, and conquered, hitting a brutal 2-piece off Ou that provided some cushion while also engaging the fans in the upper rows in the leftfield stands. Even then, Josh Boles refused to save the game without panic, walking Burgess with one out, then Serrato with two outs in the ninth inning. Dan Brown was the tying run and drove a double past the diving Harenberg that plated one run and put the tying runs in scoring position for Sagredo, who grounded up the middle with spice, but Tim Stalker was there to save the day for a third time, making a sprawling reaching play-and-tumble and then still managed to toss to first base in time to end the affair. 6-4 Coons. Stalker 3-3, 2 HR, 5 RBI; Jamieson 2-5; Nunley 2-5; Harenberg 2-4, BB; Baldwin 2-4; Rodriguez 1-1;

(holds a bewildered Tim Stalker curled up in his lap and pats him like an oversized cat) You are a good boy, Tim. You are a good boy.

You are a good boy, Tim. You are a good boy.

You are a good boy, Tim. You are a good boy.

Game 3
OCT: CF Dalton – RF Sagredo – SS Serrato – 3B D. Garcia – C Burgess – 2B Kane – LF Hodgers – 1B Loya – P Palomares
POR: 2B Stalker – LF Magallanes – 3B Nunley – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – C Tovias – RF Gomez – SS Sanchez – P Delgadillo

An entirely unexpected home run by Rafael Gomez (slugging under .300 entering today…) put the Raccoons up 2-0 in the second inning, cashing in on Elias Tovias’ earlier single. Delgadillo allowed no hits in the early going, and the first time through the Thunder lineup walked two (though Victor Hodgers was caught stealing) and whiffed three. The Thunder were still hitless after the fourth inning, while the Coons weren’t so much; Harenberg hit a 1-out single, stretching his hitting streak to 15 games, and Mora came up with a double in the bottom 4th, and then Elias Tovias emptied the bases with a dinger to right-center, jumping the tally to 5-0. Yusneldan maintained a no-no through five, but then got zinged for back-to-back singles by PH Jose Gutierrez and Dan Dalton. Gomez overran Dalton’s single for an error, but remarkably with two in scoring position and nobody out, Delgadillo dug in and managed to surrender only one run in the inning with a pop, a groundout, and a K to Garcia. He lasted seven innings of 2-hit, 1-run ball before being hit for to begin the bottom 7th with his pitch count at 98. Butch Gerster popped out in his spot and the Coons would not mount any more offense, but the Thunder would neither. Matt Stonecipher retired them in order for the final six outs of the game. 5-1 Coons. Tovias 3-4, HR, 3 RBI; Sanchez 1-2, BB, 2B; Delgadillo 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, W (9-5); Stonecipher 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

Before the Coons left for Boston, they put Tom Shumway on the disabled list with ulnar nerve irritation, which was probably going to put him out of his misery for the rest of the season.

Raccoons (43-35) @ Titans (41-36) – June 28-July 1, 2029

Buried deep beneath the detritus that was this season, somewhere, was the fact that despite the agony suffered in the Thunder series, the Raccoons still had gained a game on Boston, who were now 1 1/2 out, but that was still enough to lose the lead by not securing a split in Boston, and did these Coons look any likely to split? Nah. The Titans were up 4-3 in the season series, and also had the stingiest pitching in the CL, conceding the fewest runs, with a top 3 rotation and the outright strongest bullpen. The Coons could not stink up to that. In turn, the Titans still struggled to score, sitting eighth in runs tallied. The run differentials, another sometimes useful measure, saw no favorite here: the Titans’ was +45, the Coons’ +44.

Projected matchups:
Rin Nomura (3-4, 4.28 ERA) vs. Dustin Wingo (3-5, 3.10 ERA)
Mark Roberts (8-6, 3.69 ERA) vs. Bryan Hanson (4-8, 3.78 ERA)
Trevor Draper (3-1, 5.01 ERA) vs. Lorenzo Viamontes (10-2, 2.76 ERA)
Jamie O’Leary (0-0) vs. Chris Munroe (3-8, 4.19 ERA)

This series would start off with two left-handers in Wingo and Hanson, then two righties. The question was whether the Raccoons wanted to rest Kevin Harenberg at all with him on a 15-game hitting streak… Regular left-handed bats Matt Nunley and Abel Mora would get the opener off.

The Raccoons called up their 2026 first-rounder, #16 pick Jamie O’Leary. The 25-year-old southpaw had not exactly sparkled at any point in his minor league career, but there was something about desperate times and such measures. He threw 92 with a tendency for grounders, and his fastball was least impressive for sure. He had three breaking balls to mix in. This year he had gone 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA between Ham Lake and St. Petersburg.

Him and Draper had pitched on the same day and one of them would have to go on short rest. We picked Draper, who was largely a disappointment that nobody cared about anyway and regularly required resuscitation by relievers in the middle innings anyway, so why not give the debutee a clean slate on regular rest on Sunday? It’s not like it is likely to matter, because by then the Titans will have been sweeping their way to the top anyway.

Game 1
POR: SS Stalker – CF Magallanes – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Gomez – C Tovias – 2B Baldwin – 3B Gerster – P Nomura
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – SS Spataro – 3B S. Williams – RF O’Rourke – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C T. Perez – LF Acor – P Wingo

Unforeseen by anybody, Dustin Wingo had a bit of a hiccup in the opening frame, in which Harenberg cashed singles by Magallanes and Jamieson with a gapper in right-center for a 2-run double. Gomez singled to put runners on the corners, and then Elias Tovias bombed a ball over the head of a sad-looking Dustin Acor for a 3-piece, putting Portland up 5-0 in the first. Oh dang, it is Nomura on the mound – small leads might survive, but any huge lead was sure to be blown! True to form and fame, Nomura shuffled the bases full with one out in the bottom 1st, walked in a run when he lost Rhett West in a full count, and another run scored on Adrian Reichardt’s groundout (although given Reichardt’s record as top-drawer coonskinner we probably had to be glad that ball wasn’t headed for New Brunswick) before Tony Perez struck out to keep it a civil 5-2 after the first. The Coons added a run in the third on Jamieson’s leadoff triple and Gomez’ run-scoring groundout when Harenberg flew out poorly to shallow left, but Nomura kept sucking hard. A leadoff single by Keith Spataro in the bottom 3rd ended up being doubled up, but a leadoff walk to West in the fourth created more trouble, especially after Reichardt singled. Tony Perez grounded to short, Stalker blatantly blew the play and the bases were loaded with nobody out after the error. Acor hit a 2-run single, 6-4, before John Jacobs popped out. When Jonathan Morales singled to restock the bags, the Coons angrily yanked Nomura from the game and sent Jonathan Fleischer to contain the fire, which he did masterfully by walking in a run facing Spataro, whiffing Stephen Williams, and then conceding a score-flipping 2-run single to Dave O’Rourke. West struck out, 7-6 Titans after four.

At that point, why bother? The Coons loaded the bags against Tim Zimmermann in the top 5th, but Gerster struck out to keep the runners stranded, and Magallanes’ 2-out double in the sixth led nowhere nice, either. Instead Fleischer surrendered a tack-on run in the bottom 6th after a leadoff single by Morales, who was plated with two outs by O’Rourke. Between Pat Selby and Jonathan Snyder, the Titans produced a three-on situation again in the eighth. Nunley singled with one out in the terrible Gerster’s place, then got forced out when Mora batted for Brotman and grounded to second. However, Snyder threw a wild pitch, halfheartedly walked Stalker after that, and then hit Magallanes. Matt Jamieson came up with a full plate… and on the first pitch grounded out to Spataro. 8-6 Titans. Magallanes 2-4, 2B; Jamieson 2-5, 3B; Gomez 2-4, RBI; Ivey (PH) 1-1; Tovias 2-4, BB, HR, 3 RBI; Nunley (PH) 1-1;

Tim Stalker is 0-for-8 with a game-blasting error since his 5-RBI against the Thunder. Something seems to have disturbed him, but I can’t figure out what it might have been…

However… (looks Rin Nomura straight in the eyes) Rin… I know, or I guess, that you try your best. … But I am done with you. **** you. **** you. **** you.

**** you.

(walks away muttering)

(Nomura turns to his interpreter, who makes a spiraling motion with his finger next to his right temple and shakes his head)

Game 2
POR: SS Stalker – CF Mora – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – RF Gomez – 2B Baldwin – P Roberts
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – SS Spataro – 3B S. Williams – RF O’Rourke – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C T. Perez – LF Acor – P Hanson

The Titans jumped out to the early lead thanks to having runners in scoring position with nobody out in the first two innings. Jonathan Morales opened the bottom 1st with a triple and scored on a Stephen Williams sac fly, and then Nunley threw away Rhett West’s grounder to begin the bottom 2nd and that run came around on a Dustin Acor single when the Coons decided not to walk the .184 batter intentionally with two outs. Portland would not go down unanswered though; Tim Stalker got nailed with two outs in the third and then Mora flicked a single into center to even get the Critters into the H column. Another single by Jamieson scored Stalker before Harenberg popped out. In the fourth, Tovias and Gomez hit doubles to tie the game. The fifth saw Harenberg and Tovias strand a pair in scoring position before the Titans’ bottom of the order ripped Roberts for the go-ahead run. Tony Perez – also challenging the .180 mark – singled to lead off the bottom 5th, and then Acor hit the gap for an RBI triple. Somehow, Roberts kept him stranded despite no retirements in the inning, whiffing Hanson, walking Morales, getting a pop from Spataro, and also getting Mora to chase down a Williams drive, so maybe we could chalk that one up as success… except that we were still losing.

Gomez and Baldwin hit a pair of 1-out singles to go to the corners in the top 6th, which brought up Roberts as well as a dilemma. The Raccoons had abused their pen in the previous game(s) and required more pitching badly, but Roberts was also still batting over .300, so maybe he could by chance… no, popped out. Stalker grounded out to Spataro. The first-and-third, one out situation reoccurred in the seventh inning, then after Mora had singled, stolen second, and had advanced on Harenberg’s streak-extending single to Acor’s feet, which precluded Mora from challenging for home. Mora was sent, however, on O’Rourke’s arm when Tovias flew out to fairly deep right, and managed to slide in under the tag, just barely safe, to tie the score. Nunley singled, but Gomez flew out to center to end the inning – the cardinal mistake, hitting it vaguely into Adrian Reichardt’s zip code…

Roberts got through seven and also over 100 pitches at the same time and would be hit for in the top 8th, but before his turn even came up he was spotted the lead in the single most unlikely fashion – Chris Baldwin homered off Pat Selby. This was the first career dinger for Baldwin, of course, and it could also prove a real thorn in the Titans’ side here. Selby hung around to allow a PH single to Magallanes, who advanced on Stalker’s groundout. Mora was walked intentionally to get to Jamieson, but the Coons also pulled off a double steal here which not only took away the double play, but also turned out crucial in getting another run across on Jamieson’s 3-1 grounder to the left side that Spataro managed to cut off deep on the dirt, but by then he had been carried so far away from any play (there was no play at second base) that all paws were safe with a run-scoring infield single. Harenberg hit a sac fly, 6-3, and Ricky Ohl retired the 1-2-3 batters with surgical precision in the bottom of the eighth inning. All that was left was for Josh Boles to get three outs before cucking up three runs. Rafael Gomez picked an O’Rourke drive off the top of the fence, West struck out, and then Reichardt was nailed. Perez hit a 2-2 pop foul, but Jamieson dropped it outside fair bounds, putting the batter back in the box. The count ran full, but then Perez grounded out to Stalker. 6-3 Coons. Mora 3-4, BB; Jamieson 2-3, 2 BB, 2 RBI; Gomez 2-5, 2B, RBI; Baldwin 2-5, HR, RBI; Magallanes (PH) 1-1; Roberts 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, W (9-6);

(exhales)

The good news is that while Draper goes on short rest on Saturday, our long men are rested and we will probably see at least one between Fleischer and Stonecipher.

Game 3
POR: 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – RF Gomez – C Ivey – SS Gerster – P Draper
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – SS Spataro – 3B S. Williams – RF O’Rourke – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C T. Perez – LF Acor – P Viamontes

Draper sucked right out of the gate, walked two and allowed two hits in the bottom 1st with the Titans having one run on the board and three men on base when Adrian Reichardt uncharacteristically did not remove my will to live with a gapper, but hit one to Butch Gerster for a 6-4-3 inning-ender, keeping it a 1-0 deficit. Tim Stalker would tie the game with a solo homer in the top of the third, which not only made him the first player into double digits on this team (!!), but also broke an 0-for-13 spell. The Titans recovered soon from that blast, at first aided by Shane Ivey, who dropped a foul pop by Spataro with one out in the bottom 3rd, the second time this occurred for a Coons fielder in four defensive innings… Spataro got another chance and singled, but was thrown out at home plate on the following deep double by Williams. The Titans were unfazed though, getting 2-out RBI hits from O’Rourke (double) and West (single) to build a new 3-1 lead.*

Draper lasted five, which was probably as much as anybody’s most generous guess, but remained on the short end of the score despite leadoff doubles by Nunley and Jamieson in the sixth. While that got one run across, Jamieson was left stranded. The Titans also stranded a pair in scoring position against Fleischer in the bottom 6th when Acor flew out to Jamieson, and the Coons opened the seventh with an Ivey single past Rhett West. Gerster bunted badly, getting the catcher forced out at second base, but then was sent to second base, which he swiped, under threat of immediate disposal in the nearby harbor. Next was Chris Baldwin, who had entered with Fleischer, who was in the #5 hole, in a double switch earlier, and we were not inclined to pinch-hit now. Baldwin came back with a gapper in right-center, O’Rourke missed it narrowly, but then still had to chase it all the way to the fence, leaving Baldwin with a score-knotting RBI triple. The Titans got out of that one with an intentional walk to Stalker, then a poor grounder by Nunley, and finally Jamieson flying out to right, keeping it a 3-3 game. … well, at least until the top of the order took Fleischer apart in the bottom 7th. Morales single, walk to Spataro, RBI single by Williams. Harenberg opened the eighth with a double to right, then was stranded when Tovias grounded out and Gomez and Ivey both popped out foul. Ryan Corkum retired the Coons in order in the ninth. 4-3 Titans. Ivey 2-4; Baldwin 1-2, 3B, RBI;

I like to think that this lineup would be a bit less ****ty with Ramos and Hereford around…

Game 4
POR: SS Stalker – 3B Nunley – LF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – C Tovias – RF Rodriguez – 2B Baldwin – P O’Leary
BOS: 1B Jon. Morales – SS Spataro – 3B S. Williams – 2B R. West – CF Reichardt – C T. Perez – RF Calfee – LF Acor – P Munroe

O’Leary retired the first five batters of his major league career, including Morales and Reichardt with strikeouts, before Perez and John Calfee reached base in the bottom 2nd. Acor flew out easily, however, the bottom 3rd began with a Chris Munroe double, which was annoying as **** in itself, and doubly so given that Munroe had started the season 0-for-****ing-32. The double made him an .030 batter, although the top of the order stranded him on third base with a grounder, a pop, and a fly to Jamieson in that order. The game was scoreless after three. O’Leary would also get his first career hit, a single to right in the fifth inning that also sent Wilson Rodriguez from second to third with one out. Tim Stalker hit into a 5-4-3 double play to keep the Coons dry.

The Titans took their time, but eventually got there when O’Leary came unhinged in the sixth inning and just like that walked the bases full with one out. All the runners scored on singles by Reichardt (2 RBI) and Calfee (1 RBI), and the Titans stormed into first place because of it. O’Leary was hit for with two outs in the seventh inning and Mora and Baldwin in scoring position against Munroe, but Rafael Gomez flew out to Calfee in rightfield. The pinnacle of shame came when the Titans deemed it unnecessary to remove Munroe for a reliever in the ninth inning despite being up by “only” three runs. He had a 7-hit shutout after all, what could ever happen to him against one of his 38 former teams? Mora led off with a single. A-ha! There is the rally! And when Tovias smacked into a double play, the rally was over. 3-0 Titans. Jamieson 2-4, 2B; Mora 2-4; Stonecipher 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K;

In other news

June 25 – The hitting streak of Washington’s Enrique Trevino (.357, 1 HR, 41 RBI) reaches 25 games with a single in the Capitals’ 5-1 win over the Pacifics.
June 25 – IND SP Andy Bressner (9-6, 3.63 ERA) will miss two to three months with a herniated disc.
June 26 – SAC SP Alex Vallejo (4-3, 4.05 ERA) 1-hits the Rebels in a 7-0 shutout. Richmond’s only base hit is a leadoff single by INF John Hansen (.240, 3 HR, 15 RBI) in the fourth inning.
June 28 – Just a week after being signed out of Italy by the Wolves, LF Fontana Condulmaro (.455, 1 HR, 6 RBI) collects four hits and drives in six runs in an 11-3 win over the Scorpions.
June 29 – The hitting streak of WAS Enrique Trevino (.355, 1 HR, 41 RBI) ends after 27 games in a 5-2 win over the Buffaloes. Trevino goes 0-for-3 in the contest.
July 1 – LAP LF/CF Chris McEwen (.286, 4 HR, 12 RBI) goes deep three times in an 8-2 Pacifics win over the Warriors. It is the first time a Pacific has achieved the feat in 17 years, with Stanley Murphy most recently going deep three times for them in 2012.

Complaints and stuff

(sits in the middle of a burning hotel room and calmly drinks from a weirdly glowing bottle)

This is all fine.

(with great bluster and rumble, part of the burning ceiling collapses in the far corner)

Fun Fact: Whenever the Raccoons have on 95+ games in a season, they have won only 89 games on average the following season.

Also, only five playoff appearances in years after a 95+ W campaign.

Well, shoulda seen it coming!

*The game scored these two runs as unearned, while I think they should be earned. If you want to weigh in, a discussion is in the OOTP 19 General Blurb forums.
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