Pre-Game Meal – Playoffs Edition: Game 1-9/7/12
by: Evan Valenti (@EvanValenti)
Greetings from Leo Pinckney Field at Falcon Park located in Auburn, NY. The ValleyCats are getting ready for their first playoff game since 2010, and I think we all know how that ended. Here are the tidbits from today:
1.) If you had blindfolded me, put me in the car, not told me where we are going, took off the blindfold while I was in the press box, and asked me where I thought I was I would have told you we were at Dwyer Stadium, home of the Batavia Muckdogs. The stadiums are eerily similar. Why is that? They are designed by the same architecture group (Highland Associates).
2.) I asked red-hot Joe Sclafani what game meant more to him: the five-hit game or the game where he hit his first home run as a professional? It took a while for him to give me an answer, but he eventually responded with the five-hit game. Sclafani understands that home runs are not going to come along too often so he wanted to savor the moment (which was evident by the GIANT smile he had on his face as he rounded third base). The five-hit attack against the Hudson Valley Renegades in a 9-3 victory marked the second time in his career he had collected five hits in a single game. The other time? He was a junior in college. Dartmouth crushed UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County) 17-2 on March 24, 2011. He was 5-6 with three singles, a double, and a triple.
3.) Some of the ValleyCats players and coaches believe the team never should have gotten no-hit. Tucker claims he had a hit in the middle innings that was changed to an error after the inning was completed. As an official scorer, I understand the dilemma of making that kind of call. Given the situation, I might have done something similar.
4.) Talking with some of the hitters in the last group of batting practice (Elkins, Gulbransen, Tucker, King, McKinney) they all mentioned how hard it is to hit off Manager Stubby Clapp. His pitches might not look like much, but everyone remarked how his fastball has a lot of late sink to it. They all said he is the hardest to hit out of all the coaches by far, especially with fatigue starting to set in.
5.) I asked Tyler Heineman for a scouting report on Auburn DoubleDays’ starting pitcher Brett Mooneyham. He told me he has a lively fastball but really no secondary pitch, which explains the low strikeout total (29 K’s in 42.1 innings).
Batting Practice Champion: M.P. Cokinos.
Here’s the lineup for game one:
Sclafani – SS
Elkins – 2B
Tucker – RF
Wierzbicki – 1B
Heineman – C
Cokinos – DH
McKinney – LF
Dineen – 3B
King – CF
RHP – Aaron West
Picture Below: Jean Batista