We’ve all heard the term “a heartbreaking loss”. Well, if there is such a thing as a “heartbreaking win”, the Threshers put their fans through one this afternoon. Actually, heart wrenching or gut wrenching are probably better descriptive terms
The Threshers hitters were facing a young hurler making his Florida State League debut for the Daytona Cubs. Right hander, Justin Amlung, was 4-0 with an ERA of 1.54 with Kane County in A ball. It seems that most of the games I cover, the Threshers run into guys with sub 3.00 ERAs who shut them down, or plus 4.00 ERAs who pitch their game of the season. Not today.
Amlung pitched well over his 5 innings, but the Threshers got to him early and took advantage of Cub mistakes. Roman Quinn greeted Amlung with a 3-2 chopper that he beat out. He was erased on an attempted steal, before Brian Pointer singled to left. KC Serna tripled to score Pointer. He was stranded their when Brandon Short struck out (one of three for the day) and Chris Serritella flew out to right. But at least Threshers’ starter , Jeb Stefan, had a lead to work with.
The lead grew in the second when Art Charles tripled to the gap in left centerfield. He scored on a wild pitch while Gabriel Lino struck out. Lino came around on singles by Angelo Mora and Pointer to score an unearned run. The Threshers were making good contact and continued to do so even though they were held to one hit through the next 3 innings.
Stefan had departed after the 6th inning. They took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the 7th inning. Lino walked to start the inning. One batter later, Quinn deposited a pitch on the right centerfield berm. Best contact I’ve seen him make as a left-handed hitter. He crushed it. Pointer singled and scored on Serna’s second triple of the day. After Short’s 3rd strike out, Serritella delivered another ball to the right field berm, his second in as many days. So, 8-0 with 6 outs to go.
Dan Child came out for his second inning of relief. He faced 4 batters and failed to get an out. The defense looked shaky on a high fly ball hit to the left field wall, Short made an awkward attempt to jump for the ball and Pointer was slow to back up the carom. With runners on second and third a ground ball single to center allowed both runners to score. The ball did not appear to be charged aggressively. After another double to center that short-hopped and deflected off Pointer, Child was pulled in favor of Kevin Walter. He went single, walk, fly ball out, double before he was pulled in favor of Lee Ridenhour. He got out of the inning after allowing a single that scored his 2 inherited runners.
Going into the 9th inning, the score was 8-7. Ridenhour pitched a 1-2-3 inning with 2 strike outs to record the save.
Jeb Stefan pitched great. In his last start, Stefan departed after recording only 2 outs in the first inning. Between starts he was used in relief on June 5th in the Palm Beach series. That probably explains why he was relieved after 6 innings and 81 pitches today. He pitched ahead through the early innings. He threw first pitch strikes to the first 8 batters he faced and 15 of the first 18. He allowed one line drive single in the 2nd inning. That batter was erased on a double play. The next hardest hit was an HBP 2 batters later. In the 6th inning, Stefan allowed a ground ball between Serna and the third base bag. Short played it off the third base bleacher wall to hold the batter to a single. With 2 outs, a bloop single to right dropped amid 3 defenders. That was all Stefan allowed. HIs line –
6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HBP
Roman Quinn went 3-4. In addition to the two hits above, he had a line drive single to right in the 4th inning with Mora on second. Mora was thrown out at the plate trying to score. The bat was in the right-handed batter’s box and prevented any attempt at a slide.
Other miscellaneous facts –
Pointer was also 3-4.
- The HR was Quinn’s first extra base hit of the season.
- Quinn’s caught stealing was his 3rd in 6 attempted steals. Mora leads the team, having been caught on 6 of 7 attempts.
Anthony Hewitt was 0-4 with 2 more strike outs. That’s 13 in 24 ABs since joining Clearwater.
After Quinn’s HR, Pointer singled in a 9-pitch AB. Then, Serna tripled in a 7-pitch AB.
Stefan threw 60 strikes in his 81 pitches.
Stefan struck out 5 and walked none. Each of the relievers walked a batter.
Walter and Ridenhour each allowed their 2 inherited runners to score.
Three of Ridenhour’s 5 outs recorded were by strike out.
- Team RBI leader (19), Art Charles will represent the team at the FSL All-Star game this weekend in Bradenton