Archive for July 1st, 2011

Sublett’s Big Game Not Enough

July 1, 2011

(PR) (Trenton, NJ) – The Trenton Thunder (47-33) could not overcome a middle-inning surge from the Altoona Curve (35-44) and fell 10-5 Friday night at Waterfront Park. Damon Sublett had four hits for Trenton in game two of the four-game series, but the Curve used a four-run sixth and a three-run seventh to take complete control in the five-run victory. The win ends a six-game winning streak for the Thunder and a nine-game losing streak for the Curve.  

It was Trenton that took a commanding lead early in the game as the Thunder led 5-3 through three frames. In the bottom of the first inning, Austin Romine gave the Thunder an early 1-0 lead with his RBI-single that scored Ray Kruml. Then, in the bottom of the second inning, it was Kruml that brought in a run with an RBI-groundout to give Trenton a 2-1 advantage.

With two outs in a 2-2 game in the bottom of the third inning, Damon Sublett connected for a three-run homerun to give the Thunder a 5-2 lead that, at the time, looked safe. The long ball was Sublett’s second of the season and raised his RBI total to nine. In just 13 games played this season, Sublett has ten extra-base hits for the Thunder.

The middle innings doomed the Thunder on Friday night, though, as the Curve used innings four through seven to score eight unanswered runs. Thunder starting pitcher Dellin Betances left with two on and no outs in the top of the sixth inning. The righty received a no decision after Altoona tied the score and took the lead in that frame, scoring four times and twice off of Betances. The Curve then followed the four-run sixth with a three-run seventh to take the insurmountable lead.

Derek Jeter and the Thunder will take the field at Waterfront Park Saturday night at 7:05 PM to face the Altoona Curve for game three of a four-game set. Trenton will send RHP Craig Heyer (7-3, 3.38) to the mound, while Altoona will counter with RHP Michael Colla (4-4, 3.25). Tune-in to the game on 91.3 WTSR and on trentonthunder.com. The SBLI Pre-Game Show with Jay Burnham and Hank Fuerst begins at 6:45 PM.

Jeter will appear with the Thunder on a Major League Rehab assignment for both Saturday and Sunday’s games at Waterfront Park. The Thunder expect large crowds for these two games and encourage all fans to arrive at the ballpark as early as possible. Gates will open for all fans at 4:00 PM. The Thunder also encourage fans to park in a free shuttle parking lot at the corner of Cass Street and Route 129. For ticket information, call 609-394-3300 or log on to trentonthunder.com. Standing room only tickets remain for both nights.

Jeter Arrives A Day Early

July 1, 2011

After his scheduled workout in Tampa was rained out, Derek Jeter headed north a day early and is currently working out in Trenton prior to tonight’s game.

The news was first reported by Josh Norris.

The plan, from what I’m told, still involves Jeter playing just this weekend and not tonight.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Catching Up…

July 1, 2011

We’re at that point in the season where the amount of work I’ve done far exceeds the amount of stories I can actually write.  So here are some links and snippets and quotes and whatnot that will hopefully tide you over for now…

– Here’s a link to Josh Norris’ blog post where you can see video interviews that he and I did with Chase Whitley and Josh Romanski. 

– Austin Romine was selected to both the Futures Game and Eastern League All-Star Game for the second consecutive season.  Kudos to yudos, Austin.  In separate interviews, I asked him about being asked to play in each game…

Futures Game: “I actually found out from Cory Arbiso (that I was going).  We were sitting in the clubhouse and he was on his computer.  He goes, ‘Hey, Romine.  Did you know you made the All-Star team?’  I go, ‘the Futures All-Star team?’  He said, ‘Yeah.’  I’m like, ‘That’s cool.’  He goes, ‘You didn’t know?’  Nope.  ‘Congratulations.’  And I was like, ‘Thanks.’  So I went online and saw it, and that’s how I found out.

Futures Game: “I didn’t even think about going again.  Getting to go once, it’s a big honor.  I think you’re allowed to go twice, but I figured we’ve got a lot of young prospects and they might throw it their way.  But they chose me again, so I’m hoping I can go out there and represent the Yankees the best I can and do as well as I can last year.”

Futures Game: “I saw Trout last year, and he pretty much backed up the hype.  He played well.  He’s fast and a good guy.  I tend not to look at all that hype stuff, but those two guys, Harper and Trout, they’re the real deal.  I got to play against Harper in the Fall League for a little bit, and it should be fun to see them play at this kind of level.”

Futures Game: “This is something that you go to.  It is a huge honor to be invited to this type of a game.  Anything that I’m invited to, I’m going to go to.  People took the time to see that I was good enough to go.”

Eastern League All-Star Game: “I did (both games) last year.  It’s an honor to be selected.  It is tiring, but it’s an honor.” 

– As you know, four Trenton Thunder players were named to the Eastern League All-Star Game; Romine, Corban Joseph, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos.  The game will be played in New Hampshire this year, but I will be unable to attend due to a prior commitment.  Thankfully, that prior commitment is covering the 2011 MLB All-Star Game in Arizona.  I will be there for the Futures Game, Home Run Derby and the game itself, and will be providing updates the entire time.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Franklin Excited For Chance To Manage Jeter

July 1, 2011

Having been in professional baseball in one way or another since 1970, there isn’t a lot that 61-year-old Trenton Thunder manager Tony Franklin hasn’t done.

After Saturday, he’ll be able to scratch “manage Derek Jeter” off the list as well.  Well, sort of…

“It’s not so much that I’m managing him, I’m just going to write his name in and he’s going to go out there and play,” said the popular fifth-year skipper with a laugh.

“I don’t think he needs to be managed.  We can make history, I can probably make him bunt and people will come in and ask me if I made him bunt.  (Laughs) Yes, I did.”

But all joking aside, while Franklin has had such high profile rehab assignments during his tenure as Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes, he’s still thrilled about having Derek Jeter in his clubhouse.

“It’s exciting for me,” Franklin said.

“I’m as much of a fan of baseball as anyone.  I got an opportunity to go to Yankee Stadium in ’09 to see him play, and that was pretty good.  It was like, ‘I got a chance to see Derek play.’  I think my focus will be on the game, but it’s going to be great to have him here.  It’s always great to have those guys here.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 79: Post-Game Notes

July 1, 2011

– I was actually getting to collect a paycheck today, hooray on Trentonian duty today, so be sure to check out my notebook on Derek Jeter’s impending arrival with quotes from Corban Joseph, Thunder GM Will Smith and Saturday’s starter for the Altoona Curve, Mike Colla.  And my Steve Garrison mini-feature/game story is also available for your perusal.

– Garrison left about 15 tickets for friends and family, and they got to see a bit of a mixed bag from the very personable 24-year-old southpaw.  He did get through five innings with his 80 pitches — 51 for strikes — but got knocked around pretty good, especially early.  The line isn’t pretty: 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 1 WP; but the “W” is, his first in a Thunder uniform at Waterfront Park.

“We got the win, but he was sharper the last time out,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin.

“He missed his location on a couple pitches.  The home run he gave up to Marte — he’s a very good player — but if he makes location, he probably doesn’t give up that home run.  And that’s what we talk about as far as consistency is concerned, and that’s what separates major leaguers from minor leaguers sometimes.  Stevie hits his location, different ballgame.”

Garrison’s fastball was crossing the plate at around 88 MPH tonight, and when your fastball isn’t blowing people away, you need to be pretty pinpoint with your secondary stuff.  That, in part, is why Garrison told reporters after the game that his outing was “not that good.”

“I got off to a bad start and left a changeup up and gave up that three run home run,” he said.

“But the defense played great behind me.  I just didn’t make the pitches when I needed to.  It wasn’t a good day.”

– While seven of the nine Thunder starters had hits, it was the top three batters in the lineup — Ray Kruml, Corban Joseph and Austin Romine — that collectively made the biggest impact.  They went 8-for-15 with two RBI and seven runs scored, and that’s the kind of impact they’re going to need to make all season long if this team hopes to win a championship.

– Seemed a bit odd to me that Jose Pirela got the day off, considering he’ll likely be riding the pine with Derek Jeter taking over at shortstop two days from now.

– Nice job by the newly added middle relievers tonight, as Chase Whitley and Josh Romanski combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings. 

– Looks like Alan Horne wasn’t kidding when he said he might be the new closer.  Romanski had a chance to close it out, but walked a batter with two outs, and Horne came on to get the save.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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