Last night’s game in Potomac had a little bit of everything. It was a packed house at Pfitzner Stadium, which is more like a high school or Community College field (and has not changed in ten-plus years). Everyone was expecting fireworks and most were only there for those festivities.
Fireworks would have to wait…until the fog had rolled in and the game was suspended in the bottom of the 13th inning with two outs, nobody on base, and the score tied at 2-2. The umpires and the two managers discussed what to do about the fog for more than a half hour, pretty much wasting time and the fans got restless.
After announcing a ten minute waiting period to re-start the game, next thing you know, players are heading into the lockerroom and fireworks are going off. Potomac has an 11pm curfew, so they had to get the fireworks going. I had been there before where they set off one firework at 10:59.
Now to the game…
I made the 3 hour trip to Virginia to see lefty Sean Manaea make his second start with the Blue Rocks (both on the road). With the way he pitched, I’m not sure he will make another start with the team.
The P-Nats started Aaron Barrett, who is rehabbing from Washington.
The Blue Rocks offense jumped all over the very slow to the plate Barrett in the first. Carlos Garcia led off the game with a double off the right-center wall. Ramon Torres followed with a single. The Blue Rocks took the lead on a poor throw down to second on Torres’ stolen base.
However, Cody Stubbs grounded into a fielder’s choice and then was thrown out after Torres was thrown out in a rundown.
Manaea was really good. The P-Nats fouled off more pitches than I would have liked, but he lasted six innings. He allowed an unearned run (Cam Gallagher was given a passed ball that I thought should have been a wild pitch in the sixth).
Manaea struck out two of the first three batters he faced. He allowed his first hit with one out in the second. He struck out two more in the third (one on three pitches), before allowing a single, but Manaea immediately picked the runner off first base.
Manaea then retired six in a row before allowing a leadoff single in the sixth. Then it was the passed ball before an Alec Keller double cut the Blue Rocks lead to 2-1.
While the Blue Rocks offense was leading, it was stagnant after the first. Mauricio Ramos led off the fourth with a double and came around to score on an error. They got a leadoff single in the seventh and the eighth, but could not get a clutch hit. In the 8th inning, Torres popped up the sac bunt (though it was a diving catch by the P-Nats third baseman in foul territory) and Ramos grounded into an inning ending double play.
The Blue Rocks had leadoff singles in the 11th and 14th innings and sac bunts moved the runners into scoring position. Three of the four next batters struck out in those situations.
Yender Caramo entered in the seventh in relief of Manaea. I wanted to hide under my seat. Everything was hit HARD by the P-Nats. He allowed two hits in the seventh and a leadoff triple to start the eighth. A sac fly tied the game at 2-2.
Caramo allowed five hits and walked three over FIVE innings of relief. The ground ball pitcher had four deep fly balls hit off him.
Ramos saved the game in the 11th inning. With two on and two outs, Brandon Miller hit a shot down the third base line that Ramos knocked down and then scrambled to dive and hit the third base bag just before the base runner to end the inning.
Kevin McCarthy was next for the Blue Rocks and he is becoming one of my favorite pitchers to watch. He brings alot of energy to the mound and he can field his position.
After Keller singled to lead off the 12th inning, McCarthy came off the mound and pounced on the potential sac bunt like a cat and turned the 1-4-3 double play. In the 13th with the fog REALLY getting low, he called off his infielders on a pop up.
After Dexter Kjerstad had to drop to a knee to make the catch for the second out in right field in the 13th inning, the umpires called over the two managers to discuss what to do.
I wasn’t in attendance for the conclusion of the game later this afternoon, but McCarthy went back to the mound. He induced a ground out to end the 13th inning, but Keller delivered the walk off, two out single in the bottom of the 14th.
*Check out my pictures from the game HERE.