Archive for May, 2011

Thunder Fog Up Portland

May 27, 2011

(PR) (Portland, ME) – The Trenton Thunder (28-18) used timely hitting, good pitching and a little help from Mother Nature to win their eighth straight game, a fog-shortened 4-2 victory over the Portland Sea Dogs (13-31) Friday night in Portland, Maine. Damon Sublett and Austin Romine both drove in runs for Trenton before the game was called in the bottom of the seventh due to thick fog rolling through Hadlock Field.  

Looking to get some early runs for their starting pitcher Manny Banuelos, the Thunder would strike in the top of the second. With Jose Pirela at second base, Damon Sublett lined a triple over the head of Sea Dog centerfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, scoring Pirela to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead. Sublett scored a batter later on a Stolmy Pimentel wild pitch, giving Trenton the 2-0 advantage.

In a 3-2 ballgame in the top of the seventh, the Thunder found themselves in need of some insurance runs. With two outs and Ray Kruml at second, Austin Romine roped a double to right-centerfield to score Kruml and give the Thunder a 4-2 lead.

That 4-2 tally would end up being the final score as the fog that had been rolling through Hadlock Field since the fifth inning thickened to the point that the two teams could not continue the contest. The game was delayed thirty minutes before it was eventually called due to the fog.

Manny Banuelos notched his second win of the season for the Thunder as he hurled five innings and gave up just two runs. Grant Duff, who was in the midst of his second inning of relief when the game was called, was rewarded the save.

The Thunder continue their four-day, five-game Memorial Day weekend series with the Portland Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field Saturday at 1:00 PM for the first game of a doubleheader (two seven inning games) Trenton’s LHP Kei Igawa (2-1, 2.79) will face Portland’s RHP Stephen Fife (5-2, 2.41) in game one. Game two will see the Thunder’s RHP Cory Arbiso (3-1, 4.03) oppose the Sea Dog’s RHP Jeremy Kehrt (0-0, 4.03).

Tune-in to all of the doubleheader action on 91.3 WTSR-FM and on The SBLI Pre-Game Show with Hank Fuerst begins at 12:45 PM.

Two Thunder Alums To Indy Ball

May 27, 2011

Former Trenton Thunder infielder and catcher Myron Leslie has signed with the Can-Am League’s New Jersey Jackals.  In one game, he’s 2-for-5 with a run scored and two strikeouts.

This season for the Thunder, he went 3-for-9 with a run scored, a walk and two strikeouts in three games.

Also, ex-Trenton reliever John Van Benschoten (pictured) has agreed to terms with the Atlantic League’s York Revolution.  He has yet to pitch for the team. 

Last season, Van Benschoten collected two wins in three scoreless relief appearances for the Thunder.

Matt DeSalvo, however, is 1-1 with a 3.50 ERA in six appearances (five starts) for York.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Jennings: Updates From Newman

May 27, 2011

Just passing along a link from my buddy Chad Jennings, who spoke to Mark Newman to get some updates on some prospects in the system.  Check it out and such.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Anderson Released

May 27, 2011

(PR) (Portland, ME) – The Trenton Thunder, Double-A Affiliate of the New York Yankees, announce that RHP Brian Anderson has been released from the organization.  With the move, Trenton’s roster stands one short of a full 24-man active roster. 
Anderson, a former Major League outfielder with the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox, was 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA in seven appearances for the Thunder in 2011.  
The Thunder will open a four-day, five-game Memorial Day weekend series with the Portland Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine, Friday at 7:00 PM. The Thunder will send Yankees top left-handed pitching prospect Manny Banuelos (1-0, 1.96) to the mound. Banuelos will face Portland’s RHP Stolmy Pimentel (0-6, 7.56). Tune-in to the game on 91.3 WTSR-FM and on The SBLI Pre-Game Show with Hank Fuerst begins at 6:45 PM.

Texeira Claimed By Yankees, Other Updates

May 26, 2011

Kanekoa Texeira, who the Yankees lost in the 2009 Rule 5 Draft, returns to the organization

As I first reported on Twitter, the Yankees have claimed reliever Kanekoa Texeira after he was DFA’d by the Kansas City Royals.

Texeira, who starred for the Thunder out of their bullpen (and some spot starts) in 2009, graduated to the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners in 2010 via the Rule 5 draft, and was claimed by the Royals early last season after being DFA’d by the Mariners.

He will, in somewhat of a neat twist, be assigned to Triple-A Scranton…a place he never saw while first with the organization.  Colin Curtis, who I spoke to yesterday, was placed on the 60-Day DL to make room for Texeira.  Not much has changed with Curtis…he’s out for the year, but will be ready to go in October and hopes to play winter ball.

Also, via an e-mail from Mark Newman, Steve Garrison and Graham Stoneburner are both still rehabbing in Tampa and both are making progress.  However, no return date is set.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Schmidt Saves Thunder In Series Sweep

May 26, 2011

(PR) (Reading, PA) – The Trenton Thunder (27-18) held on for a 3-1 victory Thursday afternoon to sweep the Reading Phillies (24-21) in a three-game series at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania. Jose Pirela homered for the first time at Double-A and Craig Heyer threw six scoreless innings to lead the Thunder to the sweep. The win extends the Thunder’s season-long winning streak to seven and marks the team’s second straight three-game series sweep.

The Thunder got to Reading starter B.J. Rosenberg early in the game and grabbed a 1-0 lead. Thunder second baseman Jose Pirela came to the plate with none on and one out in the top of the first and sent a 2-0 pitch over the fence in left field. It was Pirela’s first homerun in a Thunder uniform and his first at the Double-A level.

Looking to extend their one-run lead, Pirela was at first base for the Thunder with two outs in the top of the fifth. Bradley Suttle lined a triple into the gap in right centerfield, scoring the speedy Pirela from first base and giving the Thunder a 2-0 lead.

The Thunder added a run on a bases loaded walk in the sixth, and the 3-0 lead was plenty for their starter, Craig Heyer. The righty hurled his best performance of the season, shutting down the R-Phils to the tune of two hits in six scoreless innings. Heyer used three inning-ending double plays to escape his first three frames unscathed.

Things got very interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning when Fernando Hernandez came in to attempt his eighth save of the season. Hernandez would allow a run to score on a one-out bases loaded single by Stephen Susdorf to cut the Trenton lead to 3-1. Josh Schmidt would then come in with the bases loaded and the winning run at first. The reliable righty struck out the only two men that he faced and preserved the 3-1 win for the Thunder with his fourth save of the season.  

The Thunder will open a four-day, five-game Memorial Day weekend series with the Portland Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine, Friday at 7:00 PM. The Thunder will send Yankees top left-handed pitching prospect Manny Banuelos (1-0, 1.96) to the mound. Banuelos will face Portland’s RHP Stolmy Pimentel (0-6, 7.56). Tune-in to the game on 91.3 WTSR-FM and on The SBLI Pre-Game Show with Hank Fuerst begins at 6:45 PM.

Shameless Self Promotion

May 25, 2011

I never do this. 

Shamelessly self promote myself?  No, I do that all the time.  But promote other ventures?  I rarely do that.

So this one goes out to the Trenton-area fans.  As you likely know, I write for the Southern Indoor Football League’s Trenton Steel.  In their inaugural season, the team is 6-4…and the last home game of the season is tomorrow night at 7 PM.  And it is a BIG one.

They host the Erie Explosion, and there is a lot of bad blood between the two teams.  A win, and the Steel clinch a playoff berth (and likely clinch me a 16-hour bus ride to Georgia, but that’s besides the point).  Tickets start at $10, and you can get more information at or read my gameday-only blog here.

Win or lose, you can meet the players on the field after the game and get autographs and pictures and so on. 

From a writing standpoint, it’s given me a different perspective actually writing for a team and traveling on the road with the guys and so on.  So it’s been a valuable experience professionally as well…and it’s also a break from baseball, which can get a little monotonous when you do 110 games or so a year.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Betances Strikes Out 10, Thunder Win In 10

May 25, 2011

(PR) (Reading, PA) – The Trenton Thunder (26-18) dramatically came from behind to beat the Reading Phillies (24-20) 4-3 in ten innings Wednesday night in game two of a three-game set from FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania. Damon Sublett sent the game to extras with a two-out, solo homerun in the top of the ninth, and Jose Gil drove home the go-ahead run in the tenth to give the Thunder their season-high sixth straight win. With the series victory, Trenton has now won seven of eight series and has not lost a series in the month of May.

The R-Phils grabbed their first lead of the series on a Derrick Mitchell two-run homerun in the bottom of the second, but the Thunder would tie the score at two apiece in the top of the fourth. Austin Romine led the frame off with his eighth double of the season. The next batter, Jose Gil, also doubled, scoring Romine from second to cut the Reading lead in half at 2-1. Two batters later, with Gil at third and one out, Melky Mesa grounded out to shortstop to score Gil and tie the score at 2-2.

Reading took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning on a single by Michael Spidale, and it looked like the Thunder’s five game winning streak would come to an end. But, down to their final out, Damon Sublett smacked a solo homerun over the wall in right field to dramatically tie the game at 3-3. It was Sublett’s first hit in four games for the Thunder in 2011.

After Wilkins Arias pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth, the Thunder looked to take the lead in the top of the tenth. Jose Pirela led the frame off with a single to left field and was advanced to second one batter later on Romine’s groundout. Jose Gil then lined a hard-hit ball off of the glove of Reading third baseman Carlos Rivero and into left field foul territory. Hustling around third was Pirela to score the go-ahead and eventual winning run and the Thunder led 4-3.

Fernando Hernandez picked-up his seventh save in the bottom of the tenth inning, but the R-Phils made it interesting. With a runner at second base and one out, Hernandez struck out Tuffy Gosewisch and induced a Freddy Galvis fly out to left for the final two outs in the win.

Thunder starter Dellin Betances did not factor in the decision, hurling a season-high six innings and ten strikeouts. Betances made one bad pitch all night, the two-run homerun to Mitchell in the second.    

The Thunder will attempt their second straight sweep as the team wraps its three-game series with the Reading Phillies at FirstEnergy Stadium Thursday at 11:05 AM. RHP Craig Heyer (3-2, 3.19) will get the pearl for the Thunder. Heyer will oppose Reading’s RHP B.J. Rosenberg (0-0, 1.90). Tune-in to the game on 91.3 WTSR-FM and on The SBLI Pre-Game Show with Hank Fuerst begins at 10:50 AM.

Fun In The Big Leagues

May 25, 2011

11:30 AM — Not the most productive day I’ve had in the big leagues, but not the least productive, either…

I did speak to all-world good guy Lance Pendleton for about five minutes in the Yankees clubhouse.  He told me a real neat story about how he found out he was getting called up for the first time.  It was right at the time when Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos went down with blisters, so he thought he was getting sent down to Trenton to get stretched out to start again…turns out, he was going up instead of down.  But I’ll have that whole piece for you sometime soon.

The big leagues…where day games are OK!

9:00 AM — Ask any player in either clubhouse at Waterfront Park — or the clubbies or the staff or trainers or anyone, really — and they’ll all tell you they want to be in the big leagues.  Well, for some of the beat writers, that’s the goal as well.

So it sure is nice to be back at Yankee Stadium covering Major League Baseball once again.  It’s my first time up in the show since the ALCS last year, and I sure did miss it up here.  Nine former Thunder players have been kind enough to join me, but the two I have my focus on today are Hector Noesi and Lance Pendleton.  Both have made their big league debuts with the Yankees this season after spending time in Trenton’s starting rotation just last year, and I’m going to try to speak to both of them for stories you’ll see down the road.

I will, of course, pass along any relevant information I should stumble upon while I’m here…be sure to check the blog or follow me on Twitter at Mashmore98.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Johnson Home Run Topples Reading

May 24, 2011

(PR) (Reading, PA) – In game one of a three game series, the Trenton Thunder (25-18) beat the Reading Phillies (24-19) 5-2 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania. Cody Johnson hit a long three-run homerun, and Shaeffer Hall hurled six shutout innings against the Eastern League’s best hitting team to lead the Thunder in the win. The win is Trenton’s fifth straight, their longest winning streak of the season.

Cody Johnson got the Thunder offense going with his long, three-run homerun to right field in the top of the third inning. After Corban Joseph walked and Austin Romine singled, Johnson smacked a hanging curveball from Reading starter Austin Hyatt over everything in right field and onto Centre Avenue, giving the Thunder a 3-0 lead. The long ball was Johnson’s sixth of the season and his first homerun that was not a solo shot.

The Thunder would add two important insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Romine brought in a run on a force out as he hustled to break-up a double play, extending the Thunder lead to 4-0. An inning later, Melky Mesa lined a double to left-center, scoring Johnson from second and adding a run to Trenton’s tally to make it 5-0.

Thunder starter Shaeffer Hall hurled six strong innings of shutout ball, surrendering just five hits on four strikeouts and no walks for his third win of 2011. The only blemish against the Thunder pitching staff was a Cody Overbeck two-run, opposite field homerun in the bottom of the eighth off of Warner Madrigal.

Trenton has now won five straight games for the first time in 2011 and needs just one win in the next two games against Reading to extend their series unbeaten streak to eight, a streak that dates back to the last series in April.  

The Thunder continue their three-game set in Reading Wednesday at 6:35 PM from FirstEnergy Stadium. Yankees top pitching prospect RHP Dellin Betances (3-1, 0.94) will oppose Reading’s LHP Ryan Edell (3-1, 4.18). Tune-in to the game on 91.3 WTSR-FM and on The SBLI Pre-Game Show with Hank Fuerst begins at 6:20 PM.