Groups 1 and 2 played at the Carpenter Complex. Groups 3 and 4 traveled to Dunedin. Group 5 hosted the Three Rivers College Raiders, an NJCAA member from the MCCAC. I decided to go to the Complex to watch Groups 1 and 2. Hoby Milner started for Group 2, Barry Enright for Group 1. I opted to watch Milner and the younger pitchers in Group 2.
Hoby Milner pitched for the Clearwater Threshers last season. He started 25 of the 26 games in which he appeared. He went 12-7 with an ERA of 3.83, threw 143.1 innings, struck out 108, and walked 39. He’s 6’2” and throws left-handed. Physically, he looks a little like Cole Hamels on the mound.
Milner pitched 2 perfect innings. He pitched ahead of most hitters. He induced three easy ground balls in the first inning, breaking a bat on the last out. He continued his dominance in the second on a soft fly to left, a soft one-hop ground ball to short, and another ground ball to short.
Kevin Walter took the mound for the next two innings. Walter pitched at Lakewood last season where he went 0-2 with an 5.92 ERA in 23 appearances , 5 of which were starts. The 2010 draftee made only 6 appearances in 2012 after missing the 2011 season.
Walter seemed to be throwing too hard for the Jays batters. The mostly left-handed line up was not able to get around on his fast ball. He threw first pitch strikes to the first two batters and induced ground balls to third. The next batter flared a soft fly down the left field line for a double. The final batter was retired on a ground ball to short. He threw an equally impressive 4th inning getting left-handed batters to fly out to left and ground out to short before striking out his final batter.
Offensively thru the first four innings, Brock Stassi had singled up the middle in the first. In the second, Justin Parr crushed a one out triple over the center fielder after fouling off 4 two strike pitches. He scored on a Logan Moore ground out to short. In the fourth, Edgar Duran bunted for a hit but put it too close to the pitcher and was thrown out. With two outs, Stassi lined another single up the middle. Harold Martinez singled through the hole on the right side. Before Willie Carmona struck out to end the inning. 1-0 after 4 innings.
With Luis Paulino taking the mound, I walked over to see Group 5. Luis Encarnacion struck out swinging as I arrived. Eighteen year-old Lewis Alezones pitched for the Phillies. He was 1-1 with a 1.82 ERA in the GCL last season. He was pretty impressive retiring the side in order, striking out the final batter swinging.
When I returned to Group 2, Paulino had given up 2 runs in his 2 innings.
Dan Child pitched the 7th and 8th innings. In the 7th, he kept batters off balance giving up a couple of weak singles.
The Phillies tied the score at 2 with a run in the bottom of the 7th when Parr singled to right after another long at bat. He advanced to second when the first baseman and pitcher couldn’t negotiate a return throw after a pick off attempt. Chad Carman produced an RBI single to left.
In the 8th, Child gave up a solid line drive to left center for a double followed by a hard RBI single down the line in right. He got the next three outs on two balls that didn’t leave the infield – a 1-6-3 double play and a 3-1 ground out.
The Phillies tied the score again with another run in the 8th when Casey Serna led off with a double over the left fielder. Nick sacrificed him to third and reached base when the pitcher failed to make a play to either base. Edgar Duran hit a sac fly to deep left. The ining was called due to pitch count.
Ryan O’Sullivan pitched the 9th. A single up the middle, a sacrifice, an error and a double down the left field line produced a run. Twice batters could have been retired on third strike foul tips if the catcher could have held onto the ball. Both batters reached base on hits later in their at bats.
The Phillies entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 4-3. Carlos Alonso reached on a hard shot to short that the shortstop couldn’t handle. Stassi collected his third hit, a single to left on a hit-and-run, putting runners on the corners. The tying run scored on a Chris Serritella double play ball. Carman followed with a single to right. Harold Martinez doubled over the left fielder. With runners on second and third, Parr singled to right (his third hit), driving in two runs. Final 6-4.
While watching Group 2, I was able to watch 3 of 4 at bats by Kelly Dugan and Cameron Perkins in the Group 1 game.
Dugan batted third and came to the plate after Tolbert and Bixler had each doubled in the first. He hit a towering fly ball to right field. In the third, with Bixler on first after a walk, Dugan topped a pitch and was retired 1-3. In a later at bat, he worked a walk to start an inning and later came around to score.
Perkins flied out to center on a pitch that had him off balance in his first at bat. Later he grounded into a force with runners at first and second. He beat the relay to first. In the last at bat I saw, he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play with runners on the corners and nobody out.
I saw Sebastian Valle make a nice play on a ball bunted between the plate and the pitcher. He called off the pitcher and made a strong throw to first.
I also saw a rare interference double play in the Group 1 game. With one out and a runner breaking from first, the Jay batter swung and missed a two strike pitch. His momentum carried him in front of the catcher who made contact on his follow through. The second base umpire made a delayed safe call on a close play. The home plate umpire immediately waved off the call, ruling the batter out for the swinging third strike and signaled the runner out due to interference by the batter.
Also heard that Kyle Kendrick was supposed to throw in the Group 1 game but came down with the flu.