Area Code Games – Wednesday Wrap

By Eric Sorenson. Posted on August 8th, 2012 in National stuff
 

The Victors again. The SoCal-based Brewers rule the roost so far, staying unbeaten - along with the Texas-based Rangers squad.

Right now, I’m thanking the Traffic Gods for being kind to me today. I made the drive down the dangerous 405 Freeway, one of the more notorious asphalt funnels in the country, to get to the Area Code Games down in Long Beach for the first game of the day, which started at 8:30am.

Yep, no clogged arteries on the road. It’s a good thing too since I was only able to make two games today at Blair Field due to some afternoon college football obligations I had to attend to. So here’s what happened at the venerable old park full of high school hot shots today.

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GAME ONE:

Royals – 000 001 0 – 1  3  1

Yanks – 001 200 2 -  5  9  1

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The Yankees needed this. The pinstripers were starting to make the Northeast look bad. They’d lost their first two games here in Long Beach by a combined 22-7. What would George Steinbrenner say, right?

Then again, after running through last year’s ACG unbeaten and impressive, it’s been a little bit of the opposite for the Northwest-based Royals this time around as they once again had their bats stymied, scoring just one run in a game for the second time and dropping to 0-4 so far this week.

Three pitchers – Mark Armstrong (Pitt commit), Karl Blum and Ben Bowden – combined on a 3-hitter which featured an ACG-high 12 strikeouts. Armstrong accounted for four Ks in his 3.0 innings of work, Blum collected five of his six outs with whiffs and Bowden earned three punchouts in his 2.0 innings.

In fact, the Royals offense was so anemic, this game would’ve been a shutout if not for a wild pitch in the 6th which allowed Trevor Morrison (Oregon State recruit) to score from 3rd. Morrison originally got on base after reaching on a bunt down the 1st base line.

Trever Morrison's bunt is nearly caught by Yankee pitcher Ben Bowden. Morrison would eventually come around to score the only run for the Royals.

Offensively, the Yankees could’ve made the outcome even worse but kinda struggled in certain situations, having twice loaded the bases in the 3rd and 4th innings, but went 0-for-4 and hit into a pair of double plays. Still, they were able to squeeze out three runs in those two frames, which is all they would need. Tyler Green (Vanderbilt bound) had the go-ahead run on a sac fly from Thomas Milone (UConn).

The Royals pitchers hurt their own cause by issuing three walks and plunking three batters. The defense’s lone error accounted for the Yankees second run, which was essentially their game-winning run. In contrast, the three Yankee hurlers showed great control of all their pitches, having issued only one walk in the contest.

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WHO IMPRESSED:

- Yankee catcher Jonah Heim

As I tweeted about earlier, Heim is only the second (well, now third thanks to my forgetting that Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco used to leadoff as a catcher when he played at LSU) catcher I’ve ever seen batting leadoff. The other one being New Mexico’s Mitchell Garver this past season. But the Michigan State-bound Heim is one tough customer, going 2-for-3 and also taking a plunking off the kneecap in the 7th inning. Ouch. Bu the also did a great job of handling that stellar pitching performance from the Yank flingers. Coach Boss and the Spartans are getting a big time talent… and yes, that’s IF he ends up coming to campus.

Jonah Heim had a great day going until getting beaned on the knee in the last inning. Heim had to be helped from the field by trainers.

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- Yankee pitcher Karl Blum

Although I could’ve included each and every one of the three Yankee pitchers, Blum stuck out to me the most, flinging his 90-91mph fastball and also working in a knee-buckling curve which had the Royals completely bamboozled. As mentioned above, five of his six outs were by strikeouts and only a fielding error allowed for him to have a baserunner. The Tom’s River, New Jersey product is uncommitted right now, but he’s gonna be hot property in the months ahead.

Karl Blum gets some fist-pounds after finishing an impressive stint on the mound today.

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- Yankee 3B Dylan Manwaring.

Once again the Wake Forest commit was impressive, batting in the two-spot behind Jonah Heim and going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a plunking. He did have a hiccup at the hot corner but showed a strong arm with rockets across the diamond on his three putouts and didn’t get flustered.

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TWO OTHER PICS.

Mitchell Bevacqua - who has committed to Washington - reached base twice, including a leadoff double in the 3rd inning, but was stranded there.

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Jay Buhner was in the crowd for today's early game to see his son play for the Royals. Unfortunately, the younger Buhner came up snake-eyes at the dish, going 0-for-3.

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GAME TWO:

Brewers – 000 000 3 – 3  1  2

Athletics – 001 000 1 – 2  5  1

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Me and my buddies call it the “beer round.” Like when you’re bowling and three guys get a strike, but you end up tossing a gutter ball. YOU have to buy everyone else a beer over that.

Today, and I hate to say this, but Joey Caffese definitely gets the beer… er, well this IS high schoolers here so I’ll say the “soda” round. Remember, baseball is a cruel game. Everyone falls victim to its clutches at some point

The Athletics used two pitchers through the first six innings and Steven Farinaro and Trevin Haseltine both held the SoCal-based Brewers hitless and scoreless going into the final inning. Then Caffese came on and immediately lit the gas can, loading the bases with a pair of plunkings and getting a late throw to attempt a force-out at 2nd base on a comebacker. Then, with the A’s still clinging to a 1-0 lead, he walked in the game-tying run.

Joey Caffese will see better days in his career. The baseball gods weren't kind today.

A.J. Puckett came on in relief and quickly gave up a two-run single to USC-bound Ryan McMahon, giving the Brewers a 3-1 lead in the final inning of the game.

The A’s did make a rally in the bottom of the 7th, scoring a run on a wild pitch by reliever Chris Kohler (a former USC commit, who is now apparently undecided) and putting men at 2nd and 3rd with two outs. But that’s when Kohler did the ole ‘bear down” and struck out Brett Stevens  to end the game.

Foul tip into the glove. The final out of a back-and-forth affair came with the A's having men in scoring position at 2nd and 3rd.

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WHO IMPRESSED:

- A’s pitchers Steven Farinaro and Trevin Haseltine.

As mentioned, the two flamethrowers – bound for UCLA and Cal respectively – kept the Brewers totally in check with some upper 80s/low 90s heat with lots of movement. They combined for seven strikeouts, inducing five groundouts and only two balls even left the infield as harmless fly balls. They definitely held up their end of the bargain today.

Hopefully a future Cal Bear, strong-armed Trevin Haseltine did Yoeman's work on the mound today, not giving up a hit in his three innings.

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- A’s Second Baseman Willie Calhoun.

Another one of those highly-likable mighty-mite players who might not get long looks by the MLB in next June’s draft, but will make a dominant college player with a lot of energy and ability. Calhoun came into the ACG with a reputation for having a lethal, short swing that exuded power beyond his frame. As advertised, Calhoun hit an absolute frozen rope to right field with the second pitch he saw on the day.

Having Willie Calhoun on the basepaths is always a good sign.

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- Brewers slugger Ryan McMahon.

This is a no-brainer, ‘coz he’s been a clutch hitter all week here in Long Beach. The USC-bound McMahon strode to the plate in his only appearance in the game and stroked the game-winning two-run single into centerfield to give the Brewers the winning margin. At 6’3″, 190, he’s got the frame for a big-time power stroke wherever he ends up playing his post-high school baseball.

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OTHER PICS.

A Bruin-on-Bruin crime. A's pitcher Steven Farinaro tosses out fellow future UCLA teammate Luke Persico after a comebacker to the mound.

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Brewers starting pitcher Davis Tominaga threw his pitches so hard, he could barely look.

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... after he popped back up he had to re-situate his specs. With a little panache too, might I add.

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Brewer 3rd baseman Kevin Franklin (Arizona State) caught some serious hang time but couldn't come up with this eventual RBI double off the bat of Dominic Miroglio.

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There were plenty of high-fives to go around early on as the A's got out to an early lead and had a no-hitter going for most of the game.

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GAME THREE:

White Sox – 14

Nationals – 11

Apparently not many players bothered to bring their gloves to this one. The offenses went off the hook as the Nats took a 7-0 first inning lead, only to see it evaporate into a 7-7 tie a few innings later. The Midwest-based Sox eventually kept teeing off, doubling up the Nationals at one point before holding on to improve to 2-1.

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GAME FOUR:

Reds – 8

Nationals – 3

The day of double trouble continued for the Nats as they dropped their second straight game. The Reds improve to 2-1 on the week and the Nationals drop to 1-3. The Southeast-based Nationals move on to play the unbeaten Brewers of Southern California Thursday night.

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NOTES:

- FREEZING RAIN TO BURNING SUN

Got to talk to former Washington head coach and current Arizona State assistant Ken Knutson for a few minutes. He reiterated that he is happy about the change of venue his coaching career has taken. “People ask me all the time, ‘How do you deal with that 110 degree heat in Arizona?’ and I tell them it’s a lot easier than dealing with 40 degrees and rain. People don’t realize, Seattle has great weather, but in March and April it’s cold and wet.”

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- COACHES SONS

A few familiar names were on the diamond today for the A’s NoCal team. Since this was the first time this week I’ve been able to see them play, it was cool to see Nico Giarratano, the son of San Francisco head coach Nino, and Kody Batesole, the son of Fresno State’s head coach Mike.

Son of a gun. A's 3rd baseman Nico Giarratano is a chip off the old block.

I had a chance to talk to the elder Giarratano during the game and he told me his son was uncommitted on a college choice for now. I asked, “Is that an act of rebellion not to go to USF?” And Nino said, “No, it’s not a rebellious thing. I’m just letting him explore his options. It’s completely up to him.”

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- THE BAT BOY.

Was entertained by the A’s diminutive bat boy, who was working hard all day retrieving the lumber and also making sure the home plate umpire was stocked with a fresh batch of baseballs too.

Whether it was hopping to it chasing down foul balls...

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... or if it was simply blowing bubbles for the crowd, this bat boy had that "it" factor.

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- NOTHING IS UNIFORM HERE.

Every team under the sun is represented here on the Athletic's coaching staff.

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- TWEET OF THE DAY.

This post-game tweet by A’s pitcher Trevin Haseltine proves this dude knows how to enjoy a day in the L.A. Basin:

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Okay, that’s enough for now. Sorry for any missteps in this write-up.

G’night.

 

COMMENTS:

August 9, 2012 at 11:16 am

Thanks for the write-up stitch. Good to get some baseball fix over the long summer. Would be perfect if you add a few more comments about UCSB commits. ;)


August 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm
Doug says:

Great stuff, Stitch. Does any website list the teams’ entire roster PLUS each player’s college commitment? ESPN falls short with that.


August 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm
Eric Sorenson says:

I’ll see what I can do about the UCSB thing Mr. Soul. And Doug, there is NO place to go to get good (or even accurate) recruiting/commitment lists. That’s how you know college baseball will definitely never be on the same level as college football. Sorry bro.


August 10, 2012 at 3:16 am

Doug, there are a few sites that lists the entire roster from MaxPrep to possibly ESPN. Now, getting the list of college commits is a tough one unless you follow the team religiously like me. The best bet is PerfectGame but unfortunately they charge for any years after the 2012 commits.