An Evening in the Wrangler Bullpen- Luray 7 @ Woodstock 4

One final Happy Fathers Day to all of the Dads out there! My afternoon ball game didn't go as well as I would like as Maddux got three runs of support but left on the short end of a 5-3 deficit that turned into a 7-3 San Diego loss. I can't complain about the verdict as I am sure Greg will tell you tomorrow- he didn't have his best stuff. But he did have some spunk as the Professor went over 100 pitches for only the second time this season.

The books will show 6 innings/ 2 earned runs but the 3 UN-earned runs came after only the fourth fielding error Maddux has made in the past three seasons. He hit his first batter in 15 starts and threw his first wild pitch in the same time frame. The game was less fun to watch/listen to because it was Cleveland TV and those guys still wanted to talk about Cleveland keeping Maddux and the Braves from clinching the World Series something like a decade ago.
My guy didn't get win #351 but I couldn't think of anything I would of rather been doing while getting caught up on paper work! Tip of the cap to C.C Sabathia- his stuff was nasty and the other former Cy Young winner pitching looked pretty sharp.

After that one was in the books and some work was done, we went in search of some Valley Baseball League action. The home town nine was playing over in Woodstock (35 miles) and it looked like the weather was going to co-operate all night. Any game over at Stu's place is a great game to catch.

Linda, Rebecca, Diamond and I went in search of a different angle for the game to I decided to spend the night in the right field corner with the Wranglers pen. Thanks to a outrageous host in one Travis Smink- starting pitcher and current staff Ace. I always try and keep enough space between Mike Bocock and his team when they are between the lines but I felt that Smink would be a safe visit since he wouldn't be pitching again until Thursday (vs. New Market).

Travis scored points right off the bat by telling me he had read the write up I had done after his third victory (over H'Burg 5-3) and he wasn't shy about posing for pictures with Rebecca.The game started with Ohio State/Turner Ashby hurler Andrew Armstrong going for Luray and Richmond Spider Jared Bard going for the River Bandits. I had covered Armstrong during his senior season as the Knights were on there State Championship run and was looking forward to seeing him pitch again.

The River Bandit pitcher I was most familiar with from covering him last season was Carlos Pertuz but Carlos had different responsibilities last night, he was handling the 50/50 duties but it was good to visit with him just the same. Woodstock touched up Armstrong for a run in the second inning and then Brad Roberts (Florida Gulf Coast U.) made the score 2-0 when he led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a home run.

Luray trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the fifth but Woodstock answered with 2 more in the bottom of the sixth inning. One of the runs scored on a past ball/ wild pitch play that ended with Armstrong re-aggravating a recent injury. Trailing 4-1 and still in a rally situation, the night looked good for the home team but things changed once skipper Mike looked down to his bullpen and touched his right arm.

Up until this point the night in the corner had been one laugh after another with Smink leading the way with a little help from fellow class clown Kyle Cichy (Va. Tech). The pair had been doing their best to keep the troops entertained and loose. The first call to the pen went to Andrew Salgueiro (#23- U of South Florida) and the bats of Woodstock were quickly silenced. Salgueiro was just one of the arms that marched to the mound and answered the call.

The seventh inning belonged to Alex Wiesner (#27- Wake Forrest), the eighth inning went to Matt Boylan (#17-Brown University) and then with the entire pen chasing him down the line, Alex Wimmers (#32-closer-Ohio State) finished the job. At first I thought maybe it was just me thinking the pen had won the game but I stopped to listen to Craig Orndorff (RB-web cast) do his recap he said the battle of the pens had been the difference in the final score as well.

The defense made a couple of sparking plays behind the four relievers that included short stop Adam McClain (Memphis U.) going deep into the hole a firing a bullet to first for the out and Clay Kelly handled a laser hit to deep center field in the ninth to go along with some nice leather flashed earlier by WVU first baseman Jordan Yost.

The Final Line:

Luray Wranglers 000 010 132 - 7 11 1
Woodstock 010 102 000 -4 7 0

Some other highlights included a 2-run bomb of the bat of Jeremy Cruz (Stetson) in the ninth and a pair of outfield assists from the River Bandits- including right fielder Greg Waddell. The defense shown by both teams was stellar for the night with just one error being posted on the board.

Another highlight came after the game when Woodstock owner Stu Richardson came up and thanked me for my efforts with the promotion and presented me with a Polo River Bandits shirt. It was the second time today I had received a Polo shirt (the first one was a UVA shirt from my daughter for Fathers day!). I hope that Foltzie and Stu get things turned around as the Bandits have been snake bitten in the early season. Dennis Atwood was covering the game for the NVD and you can check out his game story at after 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

For me, I am going to go and trade places out there with Rebecca so she can post some zany pictures from our night in the PEN. I will check back in later and give our schedule for the week and post the 5 Questions with Travis Smink.

Family that was in town for the Wranglers included left fielder Frank Florio (Stetson)- and Josh Wright (Old Dominion U.). Frank had Mom & Dad and sister in town and I believe Josh had Dad, sister Morgan and girl friend Michelle.

More later...

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