Clearwater opened a 3 game series with the Brevard County Manatees last night. They took an early 1-0 lead, fell behind 5-1, and rallied to 5-4 before losing 6-5. Jeb Stefan got the start. He threw an impressive 9 pitch, 8 strike first inning. He was on his way to another good inning in the second when, with one out, he struck a batter on a 3-2 pitch. He lost focus long enough to give up a walk and 2 doubles in a 29 pitch, 3 run inning. A lead off home run in the third, 2 walks, and 2 hits led to 2 more runs. Stefan settled down over his next 2 innings, allowing no further damage.
Jordan Guth pitched 3 solid innings. An unearned run scored when Gabriel Lino’s throw to third base to catch a would be base stealer bounced past Anthony Phillips into left field. This proved to be the winning run. Colton Murray pitched a 1 hit ninth inning.
In addition to the errant throw, Lino allowed a passed ball that didn’t figure into the scoring. He did make a strong throw to catch a runner trying to steal second base. He looked good at the plate, too. Although he struck out in his first AB, he singled and scored in his second AB. He fouled off 4 pitches with 2 strikes before lifting a 2-2 pitch to right field to drive in a run in his third AB. He had another extended AB before popping out to second later in the game. In all, he looks more ready to handle the pitchers than the younger guys they tried from XST.
KC Serna went 4 for 5 with a double. Pete Lavin went 3 for 5 with a HR and double. He provided the Threshers with their only lead in the first inning. His home run was crushed to right field and was not aided by a wind that was blowing from right to left at the time.
As they approach the end of April, the Threshers are near the bottom of the league (of 12 teams) in most offensive categories. Most notable, I think, are that they lead the league in Ks (196) and have collected the fewest walks (54) in 24 games. Their OBP of .273 is barely an adequate batting average.
I got into a discussion about their run production. I noted that their 10 home runs, which are middle of the pack in the league, have only generated 14 runs. (Before you do the math, that’s 6 solo and 4 2-run homer runs.)
Well, looking forward to tonight’s game. Ethan Stewart is on the mound with his 1.47 ERA and 1-1 record.