Saturday, August 11, 2012

Game 48: Burlington Royals at Bluefield Blue Jays

Sorry folks, no broadcast tonight, but check out the @BluefieldJays Twitter page for mid-game updates

ROYALS (31-16)

1 Terrance Gore LF
2 Humberto Arteaga SS
3 Bubba Starling CF
4 Patrick Leonard 3B
5 Cam Gallagher C
6 Mark Threlkeld 1B
7 Fred Ford DH
8 Alex Hudak RF
9 Jose Rodriguez 2B

RHP Christian Binford (1-1, 2.57)

BLUE JAYS (21-26)

1 Jorge Vega-Rosado DH
2 D.J. Jones CF
3 Christian Lopes 2B
4 Seth Conner 1B
5 Santiago Nessy C
6 Nico Taylor LF
7 Dickie Joe Thon SS
8 Jacob Anderson RF
9 Emilio Guerrero 3B

RHP Kevin Comer (3-2, 3.52)


BROADCAST INFO: The Saturday and Sunday games will not be on the air, but after Monday's off day, Tuesday's game against Byron Buxton and the Elizabethton Twins will be on and WHIS 1440 AM

WEATHER: 70 and partly cloudy

Chase Eade  FIELD Travis Godec

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: Bluefield Blue Jays manager Dennis Holmberg reached a milestone that was 25 years in the making. The Baby Jays beat the Burlington Royals 7-5 on Friday night at Bowen Field for their skipper’s 1,300th victory as a manager in professional baseball. Earlier in the day, the Royals rolled to a 12-5 win in a game that was suspended in Burlington on July 9. The Jays raced out to an early 4-1 lead in the seven-inning second game behind RBI singles from Seth Conner and Nico Taylor and five Burlington errors. Spot starter Justin James carried that advantage into the fifth inning before he ran into trouble. A double and two walks loaded the bases with two outs, setting it up for Patrick Leonard. The visiting third baseman crushed a grand slam that put the Royals up 5-4 and tied him with Elizabethton’s Adam Walker for the league lead in home runs with 12. Bluefield mounted a comeback in the bottom of the frame against Royals lefty Colin Rodgers, who allowed four unearned runs but was in line for the win with one more inning. Jorge Vega-Rosado and Christian Lopes singled to put runners at the corners with one out. That knocked Rodgers out of the game as Lincoln Rassi relieved. Seth Conner greeted him with a flyout to right field that was deep enough to plate the tying run and knot the game at five. Denny Valdez (W, 1-1) struck out the side in the sixth and netted the win when the Jays rallied in the bottom of the inning. Rassi (L, 1-1) recorded two quick outs before walking pinch-hitter Santiago Nessy. Vega-Rosado delivered a two-run home run for the winning margin and Bluefield earned its fifth last-at-bat victory. Wil Browning (S, 3) finished a perfect ninth with a flourish, striking out 2011 fourth-overall pick Bubba Starling for the final out. The victory improves the mood in Bluefield after a 12-5 loss in the resumed game earlier in the day. Bluefield led 1-0 in the bottom of the first in Burlington on July 9 when rain forced the suspension. Daniel Norris started the game and happened to continue his own start today as it was his turn in the rotation. The lefty had two runners on base from last month and allowed a run when the first batter of the day, Starling, lifted a sacrifice fly to even the score at 1-1. The Bluefield lefty mowed through the Royals in retiring all seven he faced, striking out three before a 56-minute rain delay cut his day short. The Jays took a 5-1 lead after scoring twice in the second and third innings. Burlington scored 11 unanswered runs for the blowout win. Starling had two hits, drove in three runs and made two terrific diving catches in center field.

VS. THE ROYALS: Bluefield won the first two head-to-head games in Burlington this season, but the Royals have won the last three games, all in the last at bat. On July 7 and 8, Burlington won back-to-back games in which the Jays were one strike away from the win. The Royals struggled last year to a 24-44 finish in 2011 and the Jays feasted on Burlington throughout that summer, going 7-2 in the season series.


RHP KEVIN COMER: Baseball America’s 17th-ranked Blue Jays prospect, right-hander Kevin Comer, took a tough loss against Bristol on Monday in his last start. He allowed three runs, only one earned, in four and two-thirds innings. Tonight, Comer faces the team that he shut down on June 26 to record his first professional victory. In Burlington that day, he pitched four shutout innings of relief, retiring 12 of 13 batters in combining with Tom Robson and Colby Broussard on a four-hitter. Kevin ranks seventh in the league with a 1.64 BB/9 IP. He was a supplemental first-round pick (57th overall) in 2011 after Miguel Olivo signed with Seattle. After the Shamong, NJ native pitched his Seneca HS team to the Group 3 state championship, the Blue Jays bought Comer out of his commitment to Vanderbilt with a $1.65 million signing bonus. Baseball America says the right-hander has “a clean arm action and delivery, and he gets good angle to his pitches.” They added that he has a “live fastball that generally sits around (91-93).” He also throws a curve that “some scouts think will be a plus pitch in time.”

RHP CHRISTIAN BINFORD: Six-foot-seven righty Christian Binford makes his sixth professional start tonight and is coming off his first career win. The Hagerstown, MD native held Pulaski to three runs on six hits in six innings on Monday. Binford was chosen in the 30th round of the 2011 draft and had signed to play college ball at Virginia before joining the Royals. He attended Mercerburg Academy in Pennsylvania and had an eventful high school career. He pitched a no-hitter in his first start as a freshman, then underwent Tommy John surgery the following year. He bounced back as a senior, putting up an 0.64 ERA in 55 innings.

NINE IS FINE: Second baseman Christian Lopes singled and doubled last night, extending his hitting streak to nine games to set a new Bluefield season high. The 2011 seventh-round pick from Huntington Beach, CA is hitting .400 (14-35) during the run, with six doubles, two triples, seven runs batted in and ten runs scored. He ranks third in the league in doubles with 15. The Jays’ longest hitting streak last year belonged to outfielder Chris Hawkins, who hit safely in 14 straight games from July 2 to July 16.

MILESTONE VICTORY: Last night’s victory was the 1,300th career win for Blue Jays manager Dennis Holmberg. Over 25 seasons as a minor league skipper, he has a career record of 1,300-1,207 (.519). He managed his 2,500th professional game on Thursday. After eight seasons as a 3B/OF in the Milwaukee system he began his managerial career at age 25 in 1977 with the Newark Co-Pilots, the Brewers’ farm team in the New York-Penn League. He joined the Blue Jays in 1978 as a minor league instructor and has been with the organization ever since. He has spent 24 seasons as a manager and eight as a coach in the Toronto system. He also spent the 1994 and 1995 seasons as the bullpen coach for the big league club. Holmberg has piloted ten playoff teams, including last year’s Appy League runner-up in Bluefield. It was Bluefield’s first postseason trip since 2002. From 2002-07 his Auburn Doubledays made six straight postseasons, including a New York-Penn League championship run in ‘07.

IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE: When the Jays and Royals completed their July 9 suspended game yesterday, two players added to their Bluefield statistics despite playing for the Short Season-A Vancouver Canadians. Stats in a suspended game are not counted until the game is finished, then they are retroactively counted on the date the game began. Dwight Smith Jr., who was called up to Vancouver on Thursday, made his first Northwest League start last night and went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Art Charles also started the suspended game and drew a walk in the first inning. That pads his Bluefield walk total to 33, which still leads the Appy League even though he hasn’t played since July 22.

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 8-11

Check out the @BluefieldJays Twitter page for mid-game updates

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