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Archive for the ‘Greenville Drive’ Category

Minors: Drive fall short to BlueClaws in SALLY finals

Posted by Joshua Kummins on September 19, 2010

by Josh Johnson, MiLB.com

The Lakewood BlueClaws completed the South Atlantic League’s version of a triple-double.

After winning the North Division title in both halves of the regular season, Lakewood defeated the Greenville Drive, 4-2, on Saturday to capture its second straight SAL championship.

Sebastian Valle hit a go-ahead three-run homer for the BlueClaws, who became the league’s first repeat champions since Savannah in 1993-94. They also are the first team to win the first- and second-half titles and the championship in the same season.

The best-of-5 Finals mirrored last year’s series, in which Lakewood also beat Greenville in four games. The Class A BlueClaws won the clincher exactly one year ago.

Under the guidance of first-year skipper Mark Parent, Lakewood went 42-28 in the first half and 42-27 in the second. They won five of seven playoff games.

“Like I said at the beginning, I really wasn’t looking forward to [managing] until I saw the kids,” Parent told the Asbury Park Press. “Then to see them do this is unbelievable.”

Valle, the BlueClaws’ backup catcher during last season’s playoff run, took center stage in this year’s quest. Despite hitting just .138, the Phillies catching prospect slugged a league-leading three homers and drove in six runs in seven games.

His three-run blast capped a four-run fifth inning that helped the BlueClaws erase an early 2-0 deficit.

Jonathan Pettibone (2-0) allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over five-plus innings en route to his second postseason win. Josh Zeid entered with no outs and a runner on first in the sixth and fanned six over four perfect frames.

Zeid retired Christian Vazquez on a fly ball to left field to secure Lakewood’s third title since 2006 and set off the celebration at FirstEnergy Park.

“I took extra time between pitches. I walked around the mound a little bit,” Zeid told the newspaper. “I took two big breaths before every pitch. You’ve got to be cool, calm, collected every time. … You don’t want the tying run at bat in a late-game situation in a championship game.

“I owed it to my team. I struggled in the beginning of the year and I finished up strong. This team battled the whole year and I really wanted to finish it for them and win the game and be champions.”

Needing a win to force a decisive fifth game that would have followed this one, the Drive grabbed the lead in the third. Derrik Gibson plated a run with a bases-loaded forceout and Reynaldo Rodriguez made it 2-0 with another RBI grounder.

Greenville starter Drake Britton took a two-hit shutout into the fifth but issued a leadoff walk to Brian Gump and a two-out RBI single to Keoni Ruth. Kendal Volz (0-1) came on to face Jonathan Singleton, who singled. Valle followed with a shot over the left-field fence to put the BlueClaws ahead for good.

“The place blew up when Sebastian hit that home run,” Zeid said.

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Posted in Greenville Drive, Minors, Red Sox | 2 Comments »

Minors: ‘Claws speed past Drive in SALLY game two

Posted by Joshua Kummins on September 15, 2010

After a bench-clearing brawl resulted in four ejections, the Lakewood BlueClaws bullpen restored order in Game 2 of the South Atlantic League Finals.

Josh Zeid and Mike McGuire combined on four innings of one-hit relief and Jiwan James supplied the offense Tuesday as Lakewood evened the best-of-5 Championship Series with a 6-1 victory over the Greenville Drive.

The BlueClaws had a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Reynaldo Rodriguez singled to left field. Trying to score from second base, Derrik Gibson bowled over catcher Sebastian Valle but was thrown out by left fielder Leandro Castro.

After Valle spiked the ball on his way to the dugout, both benches emptied in a wild melee that caused a 13-minute delay at Greenville’s Fluor Field.

“Valle shouldn’t have spiked the ball, but he’s excited. The guy tried to run him over,” Lakewood manager Mark Parent told the Asbury Park Press. “But [Greenville] kept chirping and came after him, and (Julio) Rodriguez stepped in. They’re gamers, they’re ready to go.”

South Atlantic League president Eric Krupa reportedly will review video and the umpire’s reports before determining whether any players will be suspended.

Julio Rodriguez (1-0) was one of two BlueClaws ejected but lasted long enough for the win. He gave up one run on three hits while striking out seven over five innings. Zeid fanned four over three perfect frames and McGuire pitched around a hit in the ninth.

“I was throwing as hard as I could. I was fired up,” Zeid told the newspaper.

James had just one hit in 16 postseason at-bats but went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs.

The former 22nd-round pick led off the game with a double and opened the scoring on a groundout by Jonathan Singleton.

In the fifth, James drove in Jeremy Barnes with a two-out double to give the BlueClaws a 2-0 lead. The converted pitcher added an RBI single in a four-run ninth.

Michael Dabbs chipped in two hits and an RBI and Alan Schoenberger tripled and scored after replacing the ejected Castro.

Jeremy Hazelbaker hit a solo homer for the Drive, who totaled four hits after winning Monday’s series opener, 3-1.

Ryan Pressly (0-1) absorbed the loss after allowing two runs on six hits over five innings. Tom Ebert fanned six but surrendered four runs in 3 2/3 frames out of the bullpen.

Game 3 is Thursday in Lakewood, where Brody Colvin will face Greenville’s Chris Balcom-Miller.

Posted in Greenville Drive, Minors, Red Sox | 1 Comment »

Minors: Drive take game one of SALLY finals

Posted by Joshua Kummins on September 14, 2010

GREENVILLE, SC – Reynaldo Rodriguez continued his late season tear, and the Greenville Drive won Game One of the SAL Championship Series Monday night 3-1.

Rodriguez was named the MVP of the Southern Division Championship after driving in five runs in Greenville’s two game sweep of Savannah. Monday he went 2-for-4 with a solo shot, his second homer of the postseason, and an RBI single to help sink Lakewood.

Starter Drake Britton (2-0) combined with relievers Kendal Volz and Dennis Neuman to limit the Claws to just four hits.

This is the first time the BlueClaws have dropped Game One of a playoff series in franchise history.

Greenville opened the scoring against Lakewood starter Trevor May (1-1) in the third. Zach Gentile hit a leadoff single, and scored on Rodriguez’s single to make it a 1-0 game.

The Drive tacked on a run against reliever Eric Pettis in the sixth when Reymond Fuentes grounded into a fielder’s choice out at first to score a runner from third for a 2-0 edge.

The Claws got back within a run thanks to a seventh inning Leandro Castro solo shot over the Green Monster in left, but the Drive added another tally on Rodriguez’s ninth inning homer and never looked back.

Neuman threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save of the playoffs.

Tuesday at 7:05 pm The BlueClaws will look to avoid a 2-0 hole. RHP Julio Rodriguez (5-1, 1.44) will square off against RHP Ryan Pressly (5-7, 3.72).

Posted in Greenville Drive, Minors, Red Sox | Leave a Comment »

Drive headed to SALLY Championship Series with 2-0 sweep of Gnats

Posted by Joshua Kummins on September 11, 2010

(Billy Crowe/Drive)

The Greenville Drive are headed to the South Atlantic League Championship Series after a two-game sweep of the Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM). Following Wednesday’s Game 1 playoff action in the Southern and Northern Division Championship Series, it looks like the Drive and Lakewood BlueClaws are on a collision course for a rematch in the South Atlantic League Championship Series. No matter who the Drive would play, they would host the first two games at Fluor Field of the SAL Championship Series. Those games are scheduled for Monday, September 13 and Tuesday, September 14th with first pitch for both games set for 7:05 p.m.

Here is the lone game story, courtesy of the Sand Gnats:

SAVANNAH, Georgia – The Greenville Drive withstood a late Savannah comeback to hang on and beat the Gnats 5-4 Friday night. The Drive swept the best-of-three Divisional Championship Series 2-0 from the Gnats. Friday, in front of a rowdy crowd of 2,515 at Historic Grayson Stadium, the Gnats had the tying run at third in the bottom of the eighth inning and the tying run at second in the ninth, but could not overtake the Drive. With the win, Greenville will go to the SAL Championship Series for the second year in a row.

With the score tied 2-2 after four innings, the Drive took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth against Savannah starter Taylor Whitenton. C Christian Vazquez doubled, was sacrificed to third and came home on a sacrifice fly to center field by LF Shannon Wilkerson. In the sixth inning, Whitenton gave up a leadoff double and then a two-run home run to left field to Drive 1B Reynaldo Rodriguez which made the score 5-2.

The Gnats fought back. In the eighth, 3B Aderlin Rodriguez singled and LF Cody Holliday walked to put two runners on base. C Albert Cordero singled into right center field bringing home Rodriguez to pull Savannah within two runs at 5-3. Holliday then scored on a wild pitch, making the score 5-4, while Cordero, with the tying run, advanced to third with two outs. Gnats 2B Luis Nieves grounded out to end the threat, however.

Down a run, CF Matt den Dekker led off the bottom of the ninth with an infield single. Asked to sacrifice, SS Robbie Shields moved den Dekker to second with the tying run, with a bunt along the first base line. However, 1B Travis Ozga and Aderlin Rodriguez both flew out to shallow left to end the game and the Savannah season.

The Drive scored two runs in the top of the first inning against Whitenton. However, Savannah evened the game with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Rodriguez singled and RF Cesar Puello walked to put two runners on for Holliday, who ripped a doubled into left-center field. Holliday finished the two-game playoff series 5-of-8, with three doubles, a walk, two runs scored and three RBI.

The Gnats bullpen of LHP Josh Edgin and RHP Gabriel Zavala contributed four scoreless innings to give the Gnats’ bats a chance to mount the comeback.

In 2010, the Gnats made the playoffs for the first time in 14 years and won a regular season Half Championship for the first time in 16 years. Savannah’s 75-64 record in the regular season was their best since going 82-55 in 1994.

Posted in Greenville Drive, Minors, Red Sox | 1 Comment »

Minors: Drive take opening game of SALLY playoffs

Posted by Joshua Kummins on September 9, 2010

GREENVILLE, South Carolina – Sand Gnats starting pitcher Armando Rodriguez (0-1) took the mound at Fluor Field boasting the third best earned run average in the South Atlantic League during the regular season. That didn’t scare the Drive, who sent the right-hander to the showers after three-plus innings, while plating seven runs.

That was more than enough runs for a duo of Greenville hurlers, who surrendered just a pair of runs en route to an 8-3 victory in Game 1 of the Southern Divisional Championship Series.

The Sand Gnats struck the game’s first blow, plating a run of southpaw Drake Britton (1-0) in their first at bat. Luis Nieves drove a ball down the leftfield line for a double to open the game, advanced to third on Matt Den Dekker’s sacrifice bunt, and scored when Jordan Abruzzo reached on a fielding error.

Greenville would put runners on base in the first and second innings, but failed to score a run before the floodgates opened up in the bottom of the third. All nine hitters stepped into the batter’s box, accumulating five runs on four base hits and a key error.

Three of the Drive’s hits in the inning were two baggers, as back-to-back reigning South Atlantic League Player of the Week Reynaldo Rodriguez and Christian Vazquez each tallied two-run double, while Reymond Fuentes added a sacrifice fly.

The barrage continued an inning later as the Drive added two more runs. Shannon Wilkerson, who finished the game 4-for-4, led off with a single and came all the way around to score on Jeremy Hazelbaker’s tripe. That base hit mercifully brought an end to Rodriguez’s outing as Savannah called on the bullpen.

Reynaldo Rodriguez added an RBI-double as Greenville extended their lead to six runs.

In Britton’s final inning, the top of the fifth, the Sand Gnats were able to push another run across the board. Cody Holliday, who led off the inning with a double and moved to third on Matt Den Dekker’s infield single, eventually scored on a wild pitch.

Greenville plated their final run in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI-single off the bat of Wilkerson, while Savannah scored in the top of the 8th on a run-scoring single by Holliday.

Following an off day on Thursday, the Drive will travel to Savannah for Game 2 of the series with the Sand Gnats. First pitch from Historic Grayson Stadium is set for 7:05 PM, as Greenville will send right-hander Chris Balcom-Miller (7-7, 3.30 ERA) to the mound in search of the two-game sweep. Savannah will counter with right-hander Taylor Whitenton (8-9, 4.57 ERA).

Should the Drive clinch the Southern Division Championship for the second consecutive year, Fluor Field would play host to Games 1 and 2 of the South Atlantic League Championship Series on Monday, September 13th and Tuesday, September 14th. First pitch for both games would be at 7:05 PM, and tickets are currently on sale. For more information regarding single-game ticket, luxury accommodations, and group outings, call (864) 240-4500 or visit http://www.GreenvilleDrive.com.

Posted in Greenville Drive, Minors, Red Sox | 1 Comment »

Minors: You should join us in Lowell!

Posted by Joshua Kummins on August 31, 2010

Why you may ask?

Well, we will be greeted by the smiling face of prospect extraordinaire Ryan Westmoreland.

Yup, the Cumberland, RI native will be working out with the Short-A Lowell Spinners and Low-A Greenville Drive this week.

Westmoreland had surgery in mid-March to remove a cavernous malformation on his brain stem and returns to the baseball diamond less than six months later.

He will not be playing in any games, but the Red Sox want him to get re-acclimated with the day-to-day life as he works out in Lowell this Tuesday-Thursday, before heading to Greenville, where most of his teammates from last season are playing today.

“Those are the guys I played with last year, it’s just different because I’ve played with those guys, I have those relationships. To put that [Greenville] uniform on, that’s going to be big,” Westmoreland told the Providence Journal. “I feel really good. I’m not nearly where I was, but to be six months out of a pretty serious surgery, and to be doing what I’m doing, I couldn’t be happier.”

In his first professional season at Lowell last summer, the New York-Penn League All-Star hit .296, with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 60 games.

Plus, you can get your hands on a Mike Eruzione “Miracle” bobblehead tonight! If you have not been up to Lowell lately, these last three games feature someone truly special to Red Sox Nation.

Good luck Ryan! We’re rooting for you.

Posted in Greenville Drive, Lowell Spinners, Minors, Red Sox, Sox Notes | Leave a Comment »

Minors: Top pick Vitek promoted

Posted by Joshua Kummins on August 24, 2010

This year’s first-round draft pick Kolbrin Vitek was promoted to the Low-A Greenville Drive following the announcement of a cancelled game against Vermont (WSH). In 56 games for the Spinners, he has hit .270 with four home runs and 30 RBI, which rank second on the team.

Vitek will join the Drive on their scheduled off-day Wednesday before playing in Greenville Thursday night against Ashville (COL).

Posted in Greenville Drive, Lowell Spinners, Minors, Red Sox, Sox Notes | 1 Comment »

Sox Notes: Signings, Single-A, and the Spinners

Posted by Joshua Kummins on June 21, 2010

* The Red Sox are winners of six straight games after going 8-1 on am Interleague homestand against the Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers. Jon Lester opens a three-game series at Colorado tomorrow night.

Calgary Vipers pitcher Jay Broughton was signed by the Red Sox from the Golden League. (Ted Rhodes/Calgary Herald)

* The Calgary Herald is reporting that the Red Sox have purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Jay Broughton from the Golden League’s Calgary Vipers. The Vipers’ rookie pitcher was signed by the Sox Thursday night, following a 6-4 road loss to the Orange County that he started, throwing six scoreless innings in which he allowed three hits and struck out five Flyers. He was a 2004 Milwaukee draft pick, but chose to play on partial scholarship at Ball State, where he pitched for four seasons. He was signed by assistant general manager Allard Baird, who was also the general manager in Kansas City when Calgary skipper Morgan Burkhart played for the Royals in 2003. He has been assigned to Short-A Lowell.

* The Red Sox also announced the signing of fifth-round draft pick Henry Ramos. He was a an outfielder from Alfonso Casta Martinez High in Maunabo, Puerto Rico. Peter Abraham reported that he was a converted soccer player that will need some development time in baseball as he will begin in the Gulf Coast League.

* Yesterday, the first half of the Minor League season came to an end for Single-A Salem and Greenville. Both clubs had winning first halves in the Carolina and Southern League’s South Division, respectively.

The Salem Sox finished with a 42-28 record and fell a game short of Winston-Salem (White Sox) for a share of a Carolina League division title. Second baseman and clean-up hitter Oscar Tejada leads the Salem lineup with a .338 average, eight home runs and 37 RBI, which is the top mark in the organization among full-season players. Designated hitter Ryan Lavarnway and right fielder Mitch Dening each have a respectable .302 average, while Lavarnway leads the system with 14 home runs and 54 RBI. Brock Huntzinger finished with a 6-3 record and 2.83 ERA in 76.1 innings, which currently ranks fourth-best in the system. Huntzinger, Tejada, and Lavarnway will join infielder Will Middlebrooks at tomorrow’s All-Star Game at Myrtle Beach (Braves). You will be able to catch the Salem Red Sox take on Potomac (Nationals) on July 10 as part of the Futures at Fenway doubleheader.

The Drive finished in third place with a 36-34 record, six games behind Savannah (Mets) for the division title. Catcher Dan Butler was fourth in the organization and sixth in the Carolina League with a .313 average to go along with five home runs and 25 RBI in the first half. Four of the system’s top five base stealers currently hail in Greenville, including Jeremy Hazelbaker and his 32 thefts. Reymond Fuentes (27), Derrik Gibson (17), Wilfred Pichado (16) and Pawtucket’s Ryan Kalish (14) round out the top base stealers. On the pitching side, Yeiper Castillo’s 4-4 record and 2.86 ERA in 69.1 innings led the staff in the first half, while his 62 strikeouts were tops in the organization. Greenville hosts this year’s SAL All-Star Game tomorrow night, featuring five Drive representatives: manager Billy McMillon, head trainer David Herrera, Butler, outfielder Ronald Bermudez, and relief pitcher Dennis Neuman.

Madison Younginer was a seventh-round selection out of Mauldin (SC) High School in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. (MauldinMavsBaseball.com photo)

* The Lowell Spinners opened their 2010 season this weekend by dropping two of three games at Vermont (Nationals). Rookie Madison Younginer allowed just one hit over five innings to earn the win as the Spinners were 6-2 winners on Saturday. Their home schedule commences tonight as Tri-City (Astros) visits LeLacheur Park for the first of a two-game set. Tyler Wilson makes his Lowell debut tonight, while Colby Cervenka makes his tomorrow.

Posted in Greenville Drive, Lowell Spinners, Minors, Red Sox, Salem Red Sox, Sox Notes | 2 Comments »