After playing three games in two days at Connecticut, the ValleyCats traveled down to the city to face the Staten Island Yankees this weekend. Richmond County Bank Ballpark is one of the best stadiums in the New York-Penn League, and offers unquestionably the nicest view:
The players appreciated the stadium and its location, a nice treat in a league with ballparks that vary greatly in quality.
After playing five games in four days against the Connecticut Tigers, including a 13-inning marathon in Troy, the ValleyCats’ pitching staff was tired entering the series. Murilo Gouvea, a member of last year’s championship team, was sent down from Class-A Lexington to make a spot start. Gouvea showed off his impressive curveball, but the Yankees jumped on his fastball, racking up five hits for three runs in the first inning.
The ‘Cats got eight hits for the game but converted them into only one run. Richard Martinez beat the ValleyCats for the second time in one week, throwing five strong innings in the 6-1 Yankees victory.
The game was followed by a fireworks show in front of the Upper Bay and the Manhattan skyline.
The ValleyCats returned to RCB Ballpark for the second game of the series, a 4 p.m. Sunday start.
Nick Tropeano got the start for the ValleyCats and had plenty of support in the first-base bleachers. The Long Island native and Stony Brook University student was able to pitch in front of friends and family, and he came through for them with his best start of the season.
Yankees starter Bryan Mitchell also pitched well, but he was outdueled by Tropeano in a 2-0 ValleyCats win.
Manager Stubby Clapp walks out to the third-base coaches’ box:
Justin Gominsky came home on a grounder by Matt Duffy in the first inning, which would prove to be all the scoring that the ‘Cats would need. John Hinson added in insurance run in the fifth, leading off with his first home run of the season, a fly ball that carried well over the right-field fence.
Brandon Meredith went 1-for-4, collecting one of 11 ValleyCats hits.
Meanwhile, Tropeano had it going on. He finished with a season-high nine strikeouts, consistently getting the Yankees to swing over the top of his changeup, and allowed only three baserunners in six innings.
Jacke Healey and John Hinson turned a 6-4-3 double play to get Mitch Lambson out of the eighth:
Lambson and Ryan Cole closed out the game with a combined three scoreless innings, giving Tropeano his first professional win.
The view across the water from behind the center-field fence:
And one more picture from the press box, taken during the national anthem before Monday’s early start:
The ‘Cats got six innings of one-run ball and eight strikeouts from Juri Perez and tied the game 1-1 on another Duffy grounder in the sixth inning. But Cito Culver’s infield single in the eighth inning gave the Yankees another lead, and despite Zach Johnson’s ninth-inning double, the hosts held on to win 2-1 and even the season series at three apiece.
The ValleyCats now stand at 15-22 on the season, 4.5 games behind division-leading Vermont. After a league-wide break today, they return to Joe Bruno Stadium for a six-game homestand against Pinckney Division foes State College and Auburn. The ‘Cats have played better at home this season (10-9 at “The Joe,” 5-13 away), and with 15 home games in the next 19 days, they could make a charge towards the top of the Stedler Division.
The ‘Cats fell to 3-11 on the road in last night’s doubleheader sweep at the hands of Connecticut. Tri-City’s averaging just over three runs per game in the 14 road games so far this season. That’s especially discouraging considering the ValleyCats averaged almost seven runs per game in the most recent five game homestand.
Perhaps it was just a worn out team coming off the 4:40 game Tuesday, and Connecticut was just a tad better.
Manager Stubby Clapp put it simply before the team got off the bus last night, “There’s still a lot of baseball left on this road trip”.
Matt Appel and I will be back on the broadcast tonight from Norwich in the final meeting of the season between Connecticut and Tri-City. We’ll start the pregame show at 6:50, first pitch is set for 7:05. Euris Quezada goes for the ‘Cats, coming off his first win of the season. Below is last night’s game story.
Tigers Sweep ‘Cats in Doubleheader
NORWICH, Conn. — After it took four hours and 40 minutes to play one 13-inning game at ‘The Joe’ yesterday afternoon, Tri-City and Connecticut completed a doubleheader in just three hours and 27 minutes.
In total, it was just over eight hours to forget for the ValleyCats.
Tri-City fell in both games of Thursday’s doubleheader 4-2 and 3-2 and dropped to 13-20 on the season.
In game one, right-handed starter Jonas Dufek was spotted a 2-0 lead in the second but had his scoreless streak snapped at 21.1 innings when the Tigers touched him up for three runs on four hits in the second inning.
Second baseman John Hinson was the only ValleyCat to record a multi-hit game. The ‘Cats got the potential tying run to the plate in the seventh, but Miles Hamblin lined into a double play, ending any threat.
In game two, the ‘Cats fell 3-2 despite another solid pitching performance by lefty Kyle Hallock. The southpaw tossed five innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits, three of them infield singles.
Designated hitter Jason King delivered the game-winning blow in a 1-1 game in the 5th inning. With two on and one out, King roped a two-run double down the left field line.
The ‘Cats managed to get one run back in the sixth on a Matt Duffy infield RBI single.
Trailing by one in the seventh, Zach Johnson struck out looking with the tying and go-ahead runs on base.
With the two losses, Tri-City falls to four games out of first place. The ValleyCats face the Tigers for the final time of the regular season Friday night at 7:05 before heading to Staten Island for a three game series with the Yankees.
Below is the game story from last night. Tough way to lose one for the ‘Cats on the walk-off wild pitch. Good news is the ValleyCats go for the series win tonight before returning home to play the worst team in the New York-Penn League (Aberdeen). Juri Perez is the starter tonight, who has a chance to re-take the NYPL lead in strikeouts. He’s currently T-5th in that category with 23, six behind Brooklyn’s Eduardo Aldama.
I’ll be back on the broadcast tonight with Matt Appel, the on-field emcee at ValleyCat home games. We’ll come on at 6:45 with the pregame show. Hope you can join us!
WAPPINGERS FALLS, NY – Tri-City played an extra inning game for the first time this season and it didn’t quite go as planned. The ‘Cats dropped game two of the three game set to Hudson Valley 2-1 in ten innings.
Neiko Johnson drew a leadoff walk in the top of the 10th but got picked off at second base for the second out to end a possible threat.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Renegades also got the leadoff batter on when Chris Winser knocked a single to left. After stealing second and advancing to third on a fielder’s choice, Winser represented the game-winning run at third.
Pitcher Ryan Cole got ahead of cleanup hitter Matt Rice 0-2 and it looked like the ValleyCats would extend the game to the 11th inning.
But, Cole’s two-strike slider crashed in the dirt, catcher Ryan McCurdy couldn’t find it, and Winser came sliding home for the walk-off wild pitch win over Tri-City.
The ‘Cats lost despite a good pitching performance from starter Nick Tropeano and the bullpen. Tropeano threw five innings of one-run ball, allowing just two hits. Three Tri-City pitchers combined for 4.2 innings, yielding just one run on two hits and two walks.
Tri-City’s offense managed just one run on three hits.
The ValleyCats go for the series win tomorrow night at Dutchess Stadium before returning home for a three-game weekend series versus Aberdeen. First pitch is set for 7:05.
The ValleyCats started their first road trip outside the Stedler Division last night, traveling south to Hudson Valley. The Renegades took a 3-1 lead in the first inning and held it through seven, but the ‘Cats scored five times in the ninth for a thrilling comeback victory.
Some scenes from Dutchess Stadium:
Erik and I noticed that the ‘Cats hit very well in batting practice, including Jacke Healey, above. Infielder Hector Rodriguez even took one out of the park – something he has never done in 145 professional games.
The position players go through their pregame stretching routine. Below, starting pitcher Kyle Hallock loosens up while catcher Ryan McCurdy talks strategy with pitching coach Gary Ruby. Hallock uncharacteristically ran into some trouble early on, allowing three runs in three hits, but he would not let another runner reach second base, striking out five and retiring the final eight hitters.
The middle innings moved very quickly – neither starter threw more than nine pitches in the fourth or fifth frame. Reliever Lenny Linsky walked two ValleyCats in the seventh, prompting this mound visit, but got out of the inning without allowing a run.
The series continues tonight at 7:05 p.m. Our hardware issues should be fixed tonight, so you can listen to Erik and Matt broadcast the game from Dutchess Stadium at tcvalleycats.com.
LOWELL, Mass. — The scoreless streak is up to 16 innings. And counting. Tri-City dropped game two of the three game set at Lowell 8-0.
The game-winning run came in the second inning for the Spinners when Matty Johnson ripped an RBI single into right, but the 6-run third inning took the wind out of the ValleyCats’ sails.
Reliever Mitch Lambson entered the game facing a bases loaded, nobody out jam with the score 2-0 in the third. Designated hitter Boss Moanaroa laced Lambson’s first pitch to deep right center, driving in two more Lowell runs. The Spinners tacked on three more runs in the inning and were in cruise control from there.
Lowell starter Madison Younginer went the first four innings, allowing four hits. Reliever Luis Bastardo earned the win in a dominating performance. He pitched four shutout innings and struck out eight ValleyCats.
Tri-City starter Euris Quezada was touched up for five runs on four hits and two walks in 2+ innings. He fell to 0-2 on the year.
Catcher Miles Hamblin and first baseman Zach Johnson had the only multi-hit nights for the ‘Cats, both going 2-4.
For the first time all season, the ValleyCats did not commit an error in the field.
Tri-City will try to avoid being swept tomorrow night at LeLacheur Park before heading up to Vermont for a weekend series. First pitch is set for 7:05.
I’ll have the call on tcvalleycats.com, beginning with the pregame show at 6:50. Hope you can join me!
I come to you for the first time on ‘Cats Corner with great news. Originally, I was going to broadcast all 38 home games, with the occasional road game sprinkled in. Now, I will be traveling with the team for 25 of the remaining 36 road games and broadcasting them. That means you’ll be able to follow the ValleyCats even more closely this season!
I know I’m excited about it. Here’s the gist of it: I’ll come on with the pregame show 15 minutes before first pitch as I have been at home, broadcast the entire game, and then have a quick postgame wrap. I’ll probably be on my own most of the time, but Kevin will be making some of the trips and joining me. I’ll also try to snag some guest interviews and/or broadcasters if there are special guests in the park that night.
What I also hope to do is give fans a closer look at what it’s like being on the road in Minor League Baseball. There are no chartered flights and luxurious room service. It can be a grind, but that’s part of the experience. It seems like we have a fun group of guys early on here in this season, and I hope to bring some of the off-the-field antics to you. Basically, the goal is to provide you with a closer and more in-depth look at your 2011 Tri-City ValleyCats.
If you have any suggestions or ideas as to what you would like to see or hear, leave us a comment and I’ll see what I can do. Let’s have fun with this!
For those of you wishing to know a little more about me, check out my bio on our website.
Finally, I leave you with a list of the road trips I plan to attend and games that I will broadcast on tcvalleycats.com.
June 29-July 1: Lowell Spinners
July 2-3: Vermont Lake Monsters
July 6-8: Hudson Valley Renegades
July 21-22: Connecticut Tigers (Doubleheader on the 21st)
July 23-25: Staten Island Yankees
August 20-22: Brooklyn Cyclones
August 26-17: Lowell Spinners
August 30-September 1: Aberdeen IronBirds
September 2-4: Vermont Lake Monsters
Plus, all playoff games.
Note: Erik left on August 15 to begin a full-time TV job in Oregon, which is a great opportunity for him but unfortunately cancels his road-tripping plans. We will still have a broadcast of every home game, and if we go on the road we’ll let you know.