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Old 04-21-2018, 10:10 PM   #401
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Somewhere, in Irondale, there is a Steeler fan firing up OOTP in 1994 to see what would happen if Curt Snyder and Matt Ashley were never traded.

And maybe another Steeler fan will just cheat and put them on this '97 team.

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Old 04-23-2018, 10:25 PM   #402
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September 23, 1997

World Series Game 1 – Liberty (F) @ Liberty (C)
Al Goodman vs. Lowell Wintle

In the matchup of #3 starters, the Knights really needed a win, but Al Goodman dug them a deep hole early, giving up 6 runs in 1.1 innings. Greg Robertson threw an effective 4 innings in relief, but the Knights’ offense couldn’t do anything against Wintle, who gave up an unearned run in 6.1 innings. The Giants added a few more runs to put the game out of reach, but the Knights scored 4 in the last 2 innings to hopefully give them some confidence for the rest of the series. They made it interesting in the 9th, loading the bases with no outs, but they could only manage 2 runs and left the bases loaded as the Giants won 10-5.

Lowell Wintle got the win, and Hal Phipps got a save by striking out the only batter he faced on 3 pitches. Mike Roberts went 2-4 with 3 RBI, and Vicente Flores had the only homer of the game, a 2-run shot in the 1st inning. Tom Jenkins went 4-4 and scored once.

Liberty (C) wins 10-5
Liberty (C) leads series 1-0
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Old 04-24-2018, 09:51 PM   #403
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September 24, 1997

World Series Game 2 – Liberty (F) @ Liberty (C)
Matt Ashley vs. Trent Gore

It was a highly anticipated matchup between Matt Ashley, the favorite for the FL OPA, and 2-time OPA winner Trent Gore, and it lived up to the hype. Both starters were outstanding, lasting into the 8th inning. Ashley gave up 6 hits and no runs in 7.1 innings, while Gore gave up 1 run on 8 hits in 7.2 innings. His lone blemish came in the 4th on a single, stolen base, and another single. After a double and intentional walk to load the bases, Gore got out of the jam by striking out Ashley. With the game turning into a bullpen matchup late, the Giants liked their chances, but youngster Andre Jacobs got out of the 8th, and Donavan Burris entered in the 9th to close it out. After a strikeout, he walked Tom Jenkins and gave up a single to Mike Roberts, who advanced to 2nd on a throw to 3rd. With 2 runners in scoring position and 1 out, Burris struck out Robert Hollingsworth and Vicente Flores to end the game.

Matt Ashley got the win in his first career postseason appearance, and Trent Gore was the hard-luck loser. Jeff Heller had the lone RBI for the Knights, and Jeff Turner got his first 2 hits of the series. The series now shifts across town, where the Knights hope to win another top-tier pitching matchup in Game 3.

Liberty (F) wins 1-0
Series tied 1-1
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Old 04-25-2018, 09:44 PM   #404
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September 26, 1997

World Series Game 3 – Liberty (C) @ Liberty (F)
Curt Snyder vs. Lawrence Gordon

For the 2nd straight day, both starting pitchers were excellent, as expected. Both teams had their chances to score, though. In the 4th, the Giants had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs but failed to capitalize, and then the Knights wasted a 1-out triple in the 5th by Jeff Heller. Finally, Vicente Flores got the Giants on the board first with a solo homer in the 7th, but Daniel Mills singled and later scored in the bottom of the inning to tie it up. Reliever Andre Jacobs took over for Gordon to begin the 8th, and he didn’t have his best stuff. He gave up 5 runs while recording only 1 out, while Tyler Carr gave up a 6th to make it 7-1. Carr surrendered another insurance run in the 9th. Meanwhile, Richard Knight struggled a bit, giving up 3 hits and 2 walks in 2 innings, but he got out of jams both times to keep the 8-1 lead intact.

Snyder and Gordon had virtually identical lines, as they both gave up 6 hits and a run in 7 innings. Snyder struck out 8 and walked 1, while Gordon struck out 7 and didn’t walk any. Snyder took the win, and Jacobs got the loss in relief. Flores’ homer was his 2nd of the series, and nobody else has hit one yet. The offense for both teams was balanced, as 11 different Giants and 9 different Knights hit safely. Only Tom Jenkins (2-4) had more than 1 hit in the game. Tomorrow, the Knights have another starting pitcher advantage, and they really need to capitalize to avoid a 3-1 deficit.

Liberty (C) wins 8-1
Liberty (C) leads series 2-1
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Old 04-26-2018, 11:36 PM   #405
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September 27, 1997

World Series Game 4 – Liberty (C) @ Liberty (F)
Ari Wirth vs. Cliff Bly

The Giants got on the board first with 2 runs in the 2nd, but Jeff Turner hit a solo homer in the 3rd, and the Knights tied it up with another run in the 5th. Both #4 starters were pretty effective on the day, but the Giants’ bullpen was the first to crack. With 1 out in the 8th, Richard Knight walked a batter, the next reached on an error, and Brent McCall singled home the go-ahead run. Chris McKenzie came in in relief and struck out the next batter, but Jeff Turner hit his 2nd homer of the day, a 3-run shot that extended the lead to 6-2. Tyler Carr pitched a scoreless 9th to close out the game and tie the series at 2 apiece.

Cliff Bly got the win by allowing 2 runs on only 4 hits and 3 walks in 8 innings. Ari Wirth gave up 2 runs in 6.1 innings in a no-decision. All 4 of the Knights’ runs in the 8th were unearned. Jeff Turner was the offensive star, going 2-4 with 2 homers, 4 RBI, and a walk. The Knights get one more home game, and on paper they have the pitching advantage. However, Al Goodman had a terrible outing in Game 1, so it will be interesting to see how he recovers.

Liberty (F) wins 6-2
Series tied 2-2
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Old 04-27-2018, 10:52 PM   #406
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September 28, 1997

World Series Game 5 – Liberty (C) @ Liberty (F)
Lowell Wintle vs. Matt Ashley

In a surprising move, the Knights elected to start Matt Ashley on 3 days of rest. It was a risky, go-for-broke move by the underdog. Ashley ran into trouble early. In the 2nd inning, Vicente Flores hit a solo homer, and opposing pitcher Lowell Wintle hit an RBI double later in the inning. The Knights’ William Ortiz got 1 back in the bottom of the inning with a solo homer, but after that, both pitchers were locked in. Wintle made it through 5 innings before the Giants turned the game over to their great bullpen, while Ashley went 7 innings. In the 8th inning, Chris McKenzie surrendered a solo homer to Jeff Turner, his 3rd of the series, to tie the game, and in the 9th, the Knights put a runner on 2nd with 2 outs against Hal Phipps. Tim Boyd hit a single to right field, but Steve Montes was thrown out at the plate by Jose Martinez to send the game to extra innings. With 2 outs in the top of the 11th, Robert Hollingsworth singled, and Vicente Flores homered for the second time in the game to give the Giants a 4-2 lead. The Knights rallied with 2 outs, with a single and a walk. A line drive to center field should have been caught, but an error allowed a run to score and put runners on the corners. Then, Kyle Foster grounded out to end the game as the Giants won 4-3.

Vicente Flores was the star of the game, going 3-4 with 2 homers, 3 RBI, and a walk. He now has 4 homers in the series. Tom Jenkins went 2-5, and Steve Montes had the only multi-hit game for the Knights, going 2-5.

Although they had their opportunities, the bold move to start Matt Ashley early didn’t pay off, and now Al Goodman will face Trent Gore in Game 6. The Giants will be heavy favorites to win now, as they only have to win 1 of 2 games at home to finish off their cross-town rivals.

Liberty (C) wins 4-3 (11 innings)
Liberty (C) leads series 3-2
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Old 04-30-2018, 11:45 PM   #407
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September 30, 1997

World Series Game 6 – Liberty (F) @ Liberty (C)
Al Goodman vs. Trent Gore

The game was a pitchers’ duel all the way, and when Trent Gore is involved in a pitchers’ duel, he usually wins. On this day, he gave up only 1 hit and 1 walk over 8 innings while striking out 11. Al Goodman was nearly as good, going 7 innings and giving up a run on 3 hits and 3 walks. In the 3rd inning, Danny Wilson led off with a double and leadoff hitter Jeff Thompson singled him home. Hal Phipps came in for the Giants in the 9th to close it out, and he made things interesting. Neil Blackwell started the inning with a single and went to 2nd on a sacrifice. After a flyout, Brent McCall got an infield hit, but Bill Wall struck out to end the game and the series.

Gore was the star of the game, but Jeff Thompson’s contributions were vital. He had 3 of the 4 hits by the Giants, along with the game’s only RBI. Gore got his 4th postseason win, which is the most all-time. Kyle Thompson and Mark Ullrich both have 3.

Liberty (C) wins 1-0
Liberty (C) wins series 4-2
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:27 AM   #408
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October 1, 1997

1997 ALMANAC



World Series Wrap-Up
For the second time in the 90’s, a team has won 3 straight championships. It’s the Giants’ 5th overall in 17 years of CBL play. Vicente Flores was the offensive star for the Giants with 4 homers and 7 RBI. Nobody else hit a homer for the champions. Tom Jenkins hit .348, and Danny Wilson hit .364 with 4 RBI in 11 at-bats as a back-up. The difference for the Giants was their starting pitching. Gore and Snyder were great, as expected, but Wintle and Wirth really stepped up as well. For the Knights, Jeff Turner hit 3 homers and had 6 RBI with a .286 average, and nobody else had more than 2 RBI. Turner is now the all-time postseason leader in HR. With a little more offense, the Knights could have made it close, and it’s hard to ignore that Ralph Torres and Davey Simons were missing from the lineup. Fans of the FL club will be wondering “what-if” for years, unless of course they can make it back again soon.

Season Wrap-Up
Both World Series teams lose very little in free agency, so they’ll surely be among the favorites again.

In the CL, Tom Duncan is probably the favorite to win his 2nd OHA after leading the league in AVG, OBP, OPS, SB, BB, and WAR. Trent Gore will probably win the OPA, but Javier Soto has an outside chance. Bill Harrington, Raymond Richards, and Jeffery Younger each have good claims for the FL OHA, but we think Harrington is the favorite. Matt Ashley is a lock for the FL OPA.
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Old 11-01-2019, 10:53 PM   #409
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Once again, I've taken a longer break from OOTP than I intended, but I'm back again. Previously in the thread, I mentioned the births of my first 2 children. Number 3 was born in July, 2018, shortly after my last post. Then, I did a major career change, from Engineering to Finance. What it really comes down to, however, is that I just have too many hobbies and interests for my amount of free time, and inevitably things get pushed to the side. So, while I do have some goals in mind, I'm not going to make any promises this time - I'm just going to start posting again and see where it takes me. Thank you to everyone who's read my work over the last 6 years. It's been a labor of love and I'm happy to be picking it up again. I hope you continue to enjoy it. If you don't mind, hit thanks on this post so I can see who you are!

Oh, and in case anyone cares, I showed my 6-year old daughter and 4-year-old son the 12 teams and their logos/uniforms to see if they wanted to pick a favorite. They both went with the 2 green & yellow teams - daughter picked Kingston and son picked the Park City Kings.
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Old 11-01-2019, 10:56 PM   #410
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October 26, 1997

This year’s Outstanding Hitter Awards went to Tom Duncan and Bill Harrington. Trent Gore won his 3rd Outstanding Pitcher Award, matching William McKinney for the most all-time. Matt Ashley won his 1st in the FL. Hal Phipps won his 3rd straight RPA, and Trevor Bell won his 1st. Van Holman won his 3rd straight Manager of the Year award in the CL, and Antonio Betancourt won his 1st, despite his team finishing 2nd in the FL.

This year’s free agent class is one of the weakest we’ve seen in recent years. Alfred Roberts is probably the best hitter available, but he’s declined some from his peak a few years ago. Pitcher Dan Bray is the best player overall on the market, and he is a legitimate star. Mark Ullrich is still capable of pitching well in the middle of a rotation, but after him and Bray, there’s not much. The best relievers available are Steve Griffin, Terry Seals, and Zach Wolfe, each of whom has finished in the top 3 in RPA voting at least once.

The only big-name retiree so far this offseason was Ray Gilliam, who held the all-time Saves record for a while before being passed by Neil Stinson this year. He is still #2, only 4 behind Stinson.

All-time great Rich Cates, who was the GM for Portsmouth’s 3 championships, was fired as GM in Centerville after he was unable to generate a turnaround in his 3 years there.

The 1997 CBL baseball cards have been released here.

1997 Colonial League Awards
Outstanding Hitter Award: SS Tom Duncan, POR
Outstanding Pitcher Award: SP Trent Gore, LBG
Rookie of the Year Award: RF Atanur Saffet, POR
Relief Pitcher Award: CL Hal Phipps, LBG
Manager of the Year Award: Van Holman, LBG

1997 Federal League Awards
Outstanding Hitter Award: 3B Bill Harrington, FRE
Outstanding Pitcher Award: SP Matt Ashley, LBK
Rookie of the Year Award: 2B Kevin Greene, FRE
Relief Pitcher Award: CL Trevor Bell, KIN
Manager of the Year Award: Antonio Betancourt, MTS

Major Transactions
Capital City:
Fired GM Chris Wolfe
Fired Manager Spike Cunningham
Signed GM Jim Wilks to 3-year contract
Key free agents: SP Wayne Hixon, CL Steve Griffin, LF Monty Hicks, CF Jose Diaz

Centerville:
Fired GM Rich Cates
Did not renew contract of Manager Lawrence Davis
Signed CL Steve Price to 1-year extension
Signed GM Albert Watson to 4-year contract
Key Free Agents: None

Fremont:
Signed 3B Bill Harrington to 1-year extension
Key Free Agents: SP Len Cummings, RF Pat Howard, MR Rob Paris, CL Ben Samuels

Irondale:
1B Jason Coffman executed last optional contract year
Key Free Agents: LF Jon Carlson

Kingston:
Fired Manager Santiago Hernandez
Promoted Bench Coach Chris Little to Manager
Signed RF Michael White to 1-year extension
Key Free Agents: LF Alfred Roberts, SP Alfonso Mendez, MR Todd Hammond

Liberty (C):
Signed Manager Van Holman to 3-year extension
Signed MR Ed Debord to 1-year extension
Key Free Agents: CF Jerry Ball, CF Danny Wilson, SP Lowell Wintle, SP Ari Wirth

Liberty (F):
Signed GM Pat Lambert to 1-year extension
Did not renew contract of Manager Glenn Burch
Signed Manager Terry Bond to 5-year contract
Key Free Agents: SP Donovan Burris, MR Tyler Carr, MR Walt Potter

Mount Sterling:
Signed LF Mike Armstrong to 1-year extension
Signed SS Bob Walker to 4-year extension
Key Free Agents: SP Dan Bray, LF Juan Jose Molina, 3B Jim Hawking

Newport:
Fired GM Travis O’Creagh
Signed SP Javier Soto to 1-year extension
Signed GM Jeff Madison to 5-year contract
Key Free Agents: SP Ed Woods

Park City (C):
Fired Manager Cliff Church
Promoted Bench Coach Miguel Mendez to Manager
Key Free Agents: C Lee Moran, 2B John Bailey, MR Terry Seals, MR James Maginn

Park City (F):
Key Free Agents: None

Portsmouth:
MR Ray Gilliam retires
Manager Chad Ray retires
Fired GM Randy Davis
Voided team option year of CL Zach Wolfe for $1.5 million buyout
Signed CF Nick Hicks to 1-year extension
Signed GM Murray Owens to 3-year contract
Key Free Agents: SP Mark Ullrich, CL Zach Wolfe

Top Free Agents Available (Former Team, Age, *), [Credentials]
LF Alfred Roberts (KIN, 29, 2.5*), 4-time All-Star
2B John Bailey (PCP, 37, 2.5*), All-80’s Team, 3-time Gold Glove
LF Juan Guerrero (CC, 28, 2.5*)
3B Jim Hawking (MTS, 27, 2.5/3.5*), 2-time All-Star
C Lee Moran (PCP, 28, 2*), 3-time All-Star

SP Dan Bray (MTS, 25, 5*), 2-time All-Star, 2-time Top 3 for OPA
SP Mark Ullrich (POR, 34, 4*), 5-time All-Star, 4-time Top 3 for OPA
SP Wayne Hixon (CC, 25, 3.5*)
SP Len Cummings (FRE, 24, 2.5/3.5*)

CL Steve Griffin (CC, 28, 5*), 4-time All-Star
MR Terry Seals (PCP, 26, 5*), 1-time All-Star
CL Zach Wolfe (POR, 35, 5*), 2-time All-Star, 1995 RPA
MR Rob Paris (FRE, 32, 4.5*)
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Old 11-01-2019, 11:51 PM   #411
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Great to see you back!congrats on the kid and career change! Look forward to future posts!
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Old 11-04-2019, 10:34 AM   #412
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April 6, 1998

Spring Training Results:



Season Predictions:

The following is a summary of the top 4 teams at every position:



Season Predictions – Colonial League:



All CL Lineups

Liberty (C) has won the last 3 championships, and they added a superstar pitcher to the rotation without losing much. It will be a monumental upset if they don’t win the Colonial League this year.

Liberty
Last Year’s Finish – 1st, 86-58, Won World Series
Predicted Finish – 1st
Predicted Runs For/Against – 3rd/1st
Key Additions – SP Dan Bray, SP Mark Ullrich, 1B Davey Simons (Trade), MR Terry Seals
Key Losses – LF Jerry Ball, RF Danny Wilson, MR Earl Gordon (Trade)



Batters / Pitchers

The only weakness the Giants have had the last few years has been the back end of the rotation. After adding Dan Bray and Mark Ullrich, that’s no longer a concern. On paper, this could be one of the best teams of all time, but they still have to prove it on the field. They have the CBL’s best rotation, the best bullpen, and a deep lineup that’s in the upper half of the league. David Jones is still on the bench, and 34-year-old star Vicente Flores has taken a step back and will platoon with 23-year-old Ed Johnston.

Irondale
Last Year’s Finish – 3rd, 73-71, 13 GB
Predicted Finish – 2nd, 13 GB
Predicted Runs For/Against – 1st/6th
Key Additions – MR Zach Wolfe, LF Jose Diaz
Key Losses – LF Jon Carlson



Batters / Pitchers

The Steelers surprised a lot of people last year. After being picked to finish last in the CL, they had a record over .500. This year, they should stay in the upper division, but their lack of pitching will probably prevent them from seriously challenging the Giants. Their offense is the best in the CL, led by veterans Jason Coffman, Sean Tuttle, and Nolan Bird, but the good news for Steeler fans is the glut of young talent surrounding them. Helped by many years of high draft picks and selling in trades, Irondale has several potential stars in Bryan Henry, Michael Bennett, Michael Brewer, Conrad Larsen, Oliver Johnson, and Jorge Lugo. Alex Hancock is a future ace in the rotation, but there isn’t much else to be excited about on the pitching side. If they can make some shrewd moves to improve their pitching in the next few years, they could be a very dangerous team.

Park City
Last Year’s Finish – 2nd, 77-67, 9 GB
Predicted Finish – 3rd, 16 GB
Predicted Runs For/Against – 4th/4th
Key Additions – SP Wayne Hixon
Key Losses – C Lee Moran, 2B John Bailey, MR Terry Seals, MR James Maginn



Batters / Pitchers

The Patriots are balanced, but they’re basically in the middle of the pack. Adding Wayne Hixon makes their rotation really good, and they have one of the best closers in the league in Neil Stinson, but losing 2 key relievers will weaken their bullpen. Their offense is decent, but they just don’t have enough weapons to compete for a championship at this point.

Newport
Last Year’s Finish – 5th, 63-81, 23 GB
Predicted Finish – 4th, 17 GB
Predicted Runs For/Against – 5th/3rd
Key Additions – 3B Jim Hawking, LF Juan Jose Molina
Key Losses – None

Newport isn’t ready to compete yet, but they have a strong nucleus of young players that could get them back to the top in the next few years. Billy Copeland and Bill Lewis are already peaking, but Bubba Thomas, Steve Cherry, Travis Ford, and Peyton Brooks are all potential stars. Javier Soto and Alan Morgan lead a good rotation, and 20-year-old Robbie James is a future ace.



Batters / Pitchers

Portsmouth
Last Year’s Finish – 4th, 68-76, 18 GB
Predicted Finish – 5th, 20 GB
Predicted Runs For/Against – 6th/2nd
Key Additions – SP Lawrence Gordon (Trade), MR Rob Paris, SP Donovan Burris
Key Losses – SS Tom Duncan (Trade), SP Mark Ullrich, CL Ray Gilliam (Retired)



Batters / Pitchers

The Clippers were involved in the biggest trade of the offseason, sending away 2-time OHA winner Tom Duncan for 2-time OPA winner Lawrence Gordon. Gordon is an upgrade from the departing Mark Ullrich, and he could’ve led one of the top rotations in the CBL, along with Alonso Hinojosa and Michael Pittman. Unfortunately, Hinojosa was injured in Spring Training and will miss the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The offense, while predicted to be the worst in the league, has several young players with a lot of potential, and Portsmouth could be on the rise again if they develop as planned.

Capital City
Last Year’s Finish – 6th, 61-83, 25 GB
Predicted Finish – 6th, 23 GB
Predicted Runs For/Against – 2nd/5th
Key Additions – LF Alfred Roberts, RF Danny Wilson, LF Jerry Ball
Key Losses – SP Wayne Hixon, LF Monty Hicks, LF Jose Diaz, CL Steve Griffin



Batters / Pitchers

Capital City hasn’t seen much success since a 9-year streak of finishing in the upper division from 1982-1990, including 3 championships. Their only good year since was 1994, when they finished in a 3-way tie for 2nd, 1 game behind Newport. It doesn’t look like this year will be any different. There is some real star power on offense, with Drake John, Mariano Rios, Hank Stout, Bob Ward, and newly acquired Alfred Roberts. Dan Wilson and Quentin Wood are also showing promise. Unfortunately, the offense isn’t the problem. Roosevelt Jones is an all-time great pitcher, but at 37, he’s well past his prime, and the other Senator starters haven’t hit theirs yet. The bullpen has a couple of good pitchers, but not enough, and the Senators are stuck building for the future.

Season Predictions – Federal League:



All FL Lineups

The preseason predictions for the FL are nearly identical to last year, with a close 3-way race anticipated. The Knights pulled off their first pennant last year, but the Kings and Gladiators should be right alongside again.

Park City
Last Year’s Finish – 3rd, 73-71, 12 GB
Predicted Finish – T1st
Predicted Runs For/Against – 1st/1st
Key Additions – None
Key Losses – None



Batters / Pitchers

The Kings won their first pennant two years ago, but they regressed last year, finishing an amazing 7 games below their Pythagorean record. They hope to rebound without making any significant moves in the offseason. Phil Clark, Donnie Martin, and Jeffery Younger are all among the top players in the league, and the supporting cast is deep and experienced. Ernie Webb and Kyle Thompson continue to be a formidable duo at the top of the rotation, and Bill Bader is a top-notch closer. The Kings should be in the hunt for the pennant once again.

Liberty
Last Year’s Finish – 1st, 85-59, Lost World Series
Predicted Finish – T1st
Predicted Runs For/Against – 2nd/4th
Key Additions – SS Tom Duncan (Trade), SP Len Cummings, CL Steve Griffin, MR Earl Gordon (Trade)
Key Losses – SP Lawrence Gordon (Trade), 1B Davey Simons (Trade), SP Donovan Burris, MR Tyler Carr



Batters / Pitchers

The Knights lost in the World Series last year, and with Ralph Torres and Davey Simons returning from injury, it was probably tempting to stand pat. Instead, they traded away Simons and star pitcher Lawrence Gordon, acquiring star shortstop Tom Duncan and veteran reliever Earl Gordon. The addition of closer Steve Griffin is a big upgrade to the bullpen. Reigning OPA winner Matt Ashley and Al Goodman lead a still-strong rotation, but Cliff Bly and Len Cummings will need to step up to mitigate the loss of Gordon. Torres and Duncan, along with Jeff Turner, lead a top-notch offense that will put a lot of runs on the board. The Knights made a bold move in an effort to get past the Giants in attempt number 2, but they’ll have to get past the Kings and Gladiators first.

Mount Sterling
Last Year’s Finish – 2nd, 80-64, 5 GB
Predicted Finish – T1st
Predicted Runs For/Against – 3rd/3rd
Key Additions – None
Key Losses – SP Dan Bray, 3B Jim Hawking, LF Juan Jose Molina



Batters / Pitchers

Mount Sterling lost star pitcher Dan Bray as a free agent, but they still have a very good rotation with Michael Alexander, Bill Epperson, and Sam Taylor. Raymond Richards, Cody Powers, Javier Guzman, and Vic Taylor lead a deep offense, and backup catcher Barden Nihane, who will start against lefties, is close to overtaking Taylor. With 20-year-old Tim Davis waiting in the wings as a potential stud catcher as well, it might be time to move Taylor to fill another hole. If they make a move like that, they could be the team to beat.

Centerville
Last Year’s Finish – 6th, 66-78, 19 GB
Predicted Finish – 4th, 8 GB
Predicted Runs For/Against – 6th/2nd
Key Additions – None
Key Losses – None



Batters / Pitchers

The Cyclones have finished last in 6 of their 7 years of existence, including the last 5, and they’ve never finished over .500. And yet, they still can’t assemble a collection of young talent on offense, where they continue to struggle. They’ve put together a strong group of pitchers, including starters Bill O’Clancy and Jeremy Gray. Ralph Morgan is an up-and-coming star that should be in the rotation soon, and the bullpen is deep. Centerville’s pitching will keep them in games, but their lack of offense will keep them from being competitive, at least for the foreseeable future.

Fremont
Last Year’s Finish – 5th, 66-78, 19 GB
Predicted Finish – 5th, 19 GB
Predicted Runs For/Against – 4th/5th
Key Additions – MR Tyler Carr
Key Losses – SP Len Cummings, LF Reginald Wilson, MR Rob Paris



Batters / Pitchers

Fremont has a couple of great players in reigning OHA winner Bill Harrington and reigning Rookie of the Year Kevin Greene, and Britt Nelson and Lonnie Williams are very good as well. There are some holes in the lineup, but the offense should be decent. Their pitching, however, will hold them back, especially after losing Len Cummings as a free agent. Greene, a second baseman, is actually a promising pitcher if the Tigers wanted to give him a chance, and he could even be a mid-rotation starter with some development, but they haven’t shown any proclivity to using him there.

Kingston
Last Year’s Finish – 4th, 66-78, 19 GB
Predicted Finish – 6th, 25 GB
Predicted Runs For/Against – 5th/6th
Key Additions – LF Monty Hicks, C Lee Moran, 2B John Bailey
Key Losses – LF Alfred Roberts, MR Chris Austin



Batters / Pitchers

Kingston has fallen a long way since their pennant win in 1993, having finished in the lower division each of the last 4 years. This year could be rock-bottom. Kevin Gaze and newly signed Monty Hicks will be the leaders of the offense. Ray Wolfe is a future star, but he’s not there yet. Lyle Soumitra is a very good starter and Trevor Bell is the reigning RPA winner, but there just isn’t much depth behind them.

Major Transactions
March 13 – Park City (F) signed free agent MR Ben Samuels to 2-year contract
March 13 – Centerville signed free agent LF Jon Carlson to 1-year contract
March 29 – Portsmouth signed free agent MR Chris Austin to 1-year contract

Major Injuries
March 17 – LF Jeff Thompson, LBG, out for 4 weeks due to sprained wrist
March 22 – RF Davey Simons, LBG, out for 4 weeks due to rotator cuff strain
March 24 – RF Pat Howard, FRE, out for 5 weeks due to strained oblique
March 26 – MR Tim Cantrell, KIN, out for 4 months due to torn labrum
March 26 – SP Alonso Hinojosa, POR, out for 9-10 months due to torn UCL
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Monthly Wrap-Up
In the CL, the Giants got off to a good, but not dominant start at 14-7. Fortunately for them, no other team seems ready to challenge them, and they hold a 3-game lead already. Newcomer Dan Bray had a great month and won the Pitcher of the Month award. He had a complete-game 1-hitter in his first start as a Giant.

The Kings and Knights are tied for the lead in the FL, a game ahead of Kingston, but the last place team is still only 3 games back.







Colonial League:
Players of the Week
April 13 – RF Sean Tuttle, IRO, 11-24, 1 HR, 3 RBI
April 20 – SP Michael Pittman, POR, 2-0, 0.60 ERA, 15 IP, 12 K
April 27 – C Lorenzo Herrera, POR, 8-17, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R

Players of the Month
Batter – RF Sean Tuttle, IRO, .405, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 13 R
Pitcher – SP Dan Bray, LBG, 4-0, 1.12 ERA, 40.1 IP, 55 K
Rookie – LF Travis Ford, NEW, .207, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Federal League:
Players of the Week
April 13 – RF Ralph Torres, LBK, 10-22, 2 HR, 7 RBI
April 20 – 2B Kevin Greene, FRE, 14-25, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R
April 27 – 1B Britt Nelson, FRE, 12-29, 3 HR, 12 RBI

Players of the Month
Batter – RF Ralph Torres, LBK, .355, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 16 R
Pitcher – SP Jeremy Gray, CEN, 4-0, 1.15 ERA, 39 IP, 30 K
Rookie – C Michael Redman, CEN, .306, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R

Top Performances
Batting – April 21 – 1B Britt Nelson, FRE vs. PCK, 5-6, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R, 0 BB
Pitching – April 7 – SP Dan Bray, LBG vs. POR, 9.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 K

Major Transactions
April 11 – C Pat Hoover, LBG, signed 1-year extension
April 22 – LF Reginald Garner, LBG, signed 1-year extension

Major Injuries
April 7 – 3B Daniel Mills, LBK, out for 4 weeks due to hamstring strain
April 23 – MR Rodrigo Olvera, LBK, out for 9 months due to radial nerve compression
April 23 – 2B Victor Alfonso, PCP, out for 5-6 weeks due to strained hamstring
April 30 – 2B Hunter Crosby, CEN, out for 6 weeks due to hamstring strain
May 1 – RF Ralph Torres, LBK, out for 4 weeks due to hamstring strain

Get to know…Jeremy Gray

Baseball Cards: 1992, 1993, 1994 (All-Star), 1995 (All-Star), 1996 (All-Star), 1997 (All-Star)

Centerville’s Jeremy Gray, 28, has established himself as one of the top left-handed starters in the league, along with Michael Alexander, Alan Morgan, Michael Pittman, and teammate Bill O’Clancy. Even while playing for a perennially last-place team, he has managed to impress a lot of people, and it’s a good bet that he will either be part of a Cyclone resurgence or move on to a team where he can win. He will be a free agent after this season for the first time.

Gray was born in Park City and went to Washington A&M. Centerville took him with the 3rd pick in the 1992 draft, and he started playing immediately, starting 8 games and appearing in 26. He became a full-time starter the following year and went 10-13, the only losing record of his career so far. In the last 4 years, he has won at least 12 games and had a sub-3.00 ERA every year. He was 3rd in OPA voting in 1994 and 2nd in 1995. He is a 4-time All-Star and started the 1995 game for the FL side. He has 3 Pitcher of the Month awards.

Gray’s career record is 73-49 with a 2.99 ERA. So far this year, he is 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA, and he won the Pitcher of the Month for April. He relies on great stuff and movement, while is control is about average. He has 3 plus pitches, but his changeup is elite. His stamina is above average, and he shows some leadership.

Where are they now?... Trent Gore

Baseball Cards: 1992, 1993, 1994 (All-Star), 1995 (All-Star), 1996 (All-Star), 1997 (All-Star)

Original Post (1992)

Trent Gore, 34, is the top pitcher in the game, and he is arguably the best pitcher ever. He was featured in 1992, and later that season, he had probably the best game in CBL history, with a 15-strikeout no-hitter. In his next start, he threw a complete-game 1-hitter and struck out 14. He went on to win his 1st OPA that year. In 1993, he missed almost the whole year with a torn labrum, and it was the 2nd season in 3 years that he lost almost entirely to injury. Since then, though, he’s been able to stay healthy, reaffirming his place in history.

Over the next 2 years, he finished 2nd and 3rd in OPA voting, then finally won his 2nd award in 1996 and his 3rd last year, tying him with William McKinney for the all-time lead. Over the last 3 years, his Giants team has won 3 straight championships, which brings him to 5 in his career. Overall, he has 3 OPAs, 2 runner-ups, and 2 3rd-place finishes. He has been an All-Star 5 times, starting the game twice. He is now up to 7 Pitcher of the Month awards and 2 Player of the Week awards.

Gore’s career record is 132-60 with a 2.20 ERA, 2236 strikeouts, and 384 walks. He has 3 career shutouts, 2 of which came in 1992. He has led the league in Wins twice, ERA 5 times, and strikeouts 6 times. In the postseason, he is 4-1 with a 1.15 ERA. Gore is the all-time CBL leader in strikeouts, WHIP, OBP, OPS, and WAR. He is 2nd in career ERA (behind Michael Alexander) and 7th in career Wins, but he’ll move up that list with a few more years. He is 2nd in WPCT, behind teammate Curt Snyder. He hold single season records in ERA (1.14 in 1996) and 7 other categories. He has won the pitching Triple Crown twice.

Gore has 5 of the 11 15-K games in CBL history, and he is 1 of only 3 pitchers to win 20 games in a season (Alexander and Michael Pittman are the others). He also has 1 of the 9 no-hitters in CBL history, and his 15 strikeouts in that game are 4 more than in any other no-hitter.

Games of the Month
April 7 – Liberty (C) @ Portsmouth
Liberty’s newest star pitcher, Dan Bray, pitched a complete game 1-hitter in his first start with the team. Portsmouth’s Michael Pittman wasn’t bad, giving up 3 runs in 7 innings, but he got the loss as the Giants won 4-0.

April 8 – Liberty (F) @ Mount Sterling
The game went to extra innings, tied at 2. With 2 outs in the top of the 10th, the Knights’ Ralph Torres doubled and Jeff Heller singled him home. In the bottom of the inning, Bob Walker led off with a walk, but 2 quick outs put the Gladiators in a hole. Then, Artie Huffman singled, and Cody Powers doubled, scoring both baserunners for a 4-3 win.

April 11 – Liberty (C) @ Capital City
Liberty’s Trent Gore was his usual dominant self, giving up only 1 hit and a walk over 7 innings. Capital City’s Jeremiah ‘Mugshot’ Price, last year’s #2 overall pick and only 21 years old, did even better, giving up a hit and 2 walks in 9 innings, while also striking out 12. Both bullpens were outstanding, and it was eventually a puzzling move by Liberty that cost them the game. Catcher Robert Hollingsworth pinch hit in the 11th, and he was kept in to play left field. In the 12th inning, Bob Ward hit a single with 1 out and advanced to 2nd base on an error by Hollingsworth. After an intentional walk, pinch hitter Jerry Ball singled to left, and another Hollingsworth error brought Ward home for a 1-0 win by the Senators. No earned runs were scored by either team in 12 innings.

April 17 – Park City (F) @ Centerville
Centerville’s Jeremy Gray pitched an impressive complete game 2-hitter against a good Park City lineup. Ernie Webb gave up 3 runs in 5 innings in the 5-0 loss.
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Old 11-16-2019, 10:30 PM   #416
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Monthly Wrap-Up
In the CL, the favored Liberty Giants had a rough start to the month and spent most of May out of the top spot. They were as many as 3 games behind both Newport and Irondale, and each of the other 2 teams spent several days alone in 1st place. But, the Giants got hot at the end of the month, winning 10 games in a row, and they now have a 3-game lead over Newport. Irondale faded badly, from a peak of 8 games over .500 (21-13) to finish the month at 24-24.

The Giants’ rotation has been as good as advertised, with a 2.16 combined ERA. All 5 starters have areas at 2.76 or lower. Closer Hal Phipps has been remarkably off, but the rest of the bullpen and the #1-ranked offense have picked him up. To top it all off, they’ve stayed healthy. Vicente Flores is again the full-time 3rd baseman, as Ed Johnston was taken off the active roster for more development.

Newport has really good pitching, but their #5 starter has been ineffective, and the offense has been downright bad. The Navigators had some bad luck this month, as 23-year-old starting pitcher Ken McJannett suffered an injury that will keep him out for 10-11 months. He was the #3 overall pick in 1994 and the #1 prospect in the CBL the following year, but he had a nearly year-long injury last year too, and it now looks like he’ll never turn into the player he could have been. It’s very unfortunate for both him and Newport.

Elsewhere in the CL, Jason Coffman signed a 2-year extension with Irondale to keep him in the city where he’s played his whole career. Also in Irondale, Bryan ‘Bully’ Henry, the #1 overall pick last year and only 21 years old, had a 21-game hitting streak. It’s only the 22nd hitting streak of 20+ games in CBL history. The achievement is really impressive, and he could be on his way to being a big star.

In the FL, Centerville went from last to first with a 19-8 month. They are tied for the league lead with Liberty (F), while Park City (F) and Mount Sterling are at .500, 4 games back. The Cyclones are getting great pitching from their young arms, leading the league in starters’ and bullpen ERA. Ralph ‘Vacuum’ Morgan, the #1 overall pick in 1996, is dominating in the bullpen, and we’d like to see him get a chance in the rotation soon. One of the current rotation arms could probably be moved for offensive help, but the Cyclones haven’t shown signs of pursuing that option yet. The offense hasn’t been great, but they’re doing enough to win games so far. We’ll see how long they can keep it up. The Knights are a well-balanced team. So far, they aren’t missing Lawrence Gordon too badly, as the rest of the rotation has really stepped up. Tom Duncan has been a great table-setter in front of Ralph Torres and Jeff Turner.

Kingston’s Michael White hit for the cycle. It’s only the 13th cycle in league history. Centerville’s Travis Bascombe also accomplished the feat in April, and before that it hadn’t happened since 1994.









Colonial League:
Players of the Week
May 4 – C Nolan Bird, IRO, 8-17, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R
May 11 – RF Sean Tuttle, IRO, 12-23, 1 HR, 5 RBI
May 18 – LF Alfred Roberts, CC, 9-22, 3 HR, 9 RBI
May 25 – LF Timothy Turner, PCP, 13-24, 0 HR, 5 RBI
June 1 – SS Alvin Banks, IRO, 7-11, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R

Players of the Month
Batter – 1B Ed Miller, PCP, .363, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 23 R
Pitcher – SP Javier Soto, NEW, 4-2, 1.42 ERA, 38 IP, 62 K
Rookie – SS Kent Wells, LBG, .196, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Federal League:
Players of the Week
May 4 – CF Mac Thomas, KIN, 11-22, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 8 R
May 11 – SP Bill O’Clancy, CEN, 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 17.1 IP, 15 K
May 18 – RF John Hairston, CEN, 12-26, 1 HR, 4 RBI
May 25 – 2B Jeffery Younger, PCK, 12-30, 2 HR, 7 RBI
June 1 – C Phil Clark, PCK, 12-26, 3 HR, 7 RBI

Players of the Month
Batter – RF Michael White, KIN, .302, 8 HR, 19 RBI, 18 R
Pitcher – SP Bill O’Clancy, CEN, 4-2, 1.34 ERA, 47 IP, 47 K
Rookie – SP Greg Robertson, LBK, 4-1, 3.06 ERA, 32.1 IP, 22 K

Top Performances
Batting – May 24 – RF Michael White, KIN vs. CEN, 4-4, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 0 BB
Pitching – May 6 – SP Chattradhara Mukunda, CEN vs. CC, 9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K

Major Transactions
May 3 – 1B Jason Coffman, IRO, signed 2-year extension
May 14 – CL Jeremy O’Neil, CEN, signed 1-year extension
May 23 – SP Jeremy Gray, CEN, signed 1-year extension

Major Injuries
May 5 – MR Ken McJannett, NEW, out for 10-11 months due to damaged elbow ligament
May 17 – 2B Victor Alfonso, PCP, out for additional 4-5 weeks due to setback in recovery
May 17 – CF Bob Ward, CC, out for 4 weeks due to strained rib cage muscle
May 29 – SP Wayne Hixon, PCP, out for 3 months due to rotator cuff inflammation
May 31 – MR Norris Marshall, PCP, out for 12 months due to torn UCL

Draft Retrospective – 1988

Batters:
The 3 batters taken with the 2nd through 4th picks have all had good careers so far. Vic Taylor is one of the top catchers in the league, Joe Jackson is a productive first baseman with 3 championships, and Miguel Romero has been Newport’s best hitter for a while. #7 pick Steven Osborne had a couple of decent years in the early 90’s, but overall he’s been a bust. 3rd round pick Britt Duncan has the 2nd-most hits in the class, and 8th round pick Chris Schultz was the diamond in the rough. He’s a 4-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner that provides just enough offense as a middle infielder. He actually has the 3rd most hits in the class, ahead of Jackson and Romero.

Pitchers:
The #1 pick was Michael Alexander, a 2-time OPA winner, and he might be the best left-handed starter in Newland’s history. #5 pick Sam Taylor also has an OPA and is now teammates with Alexander in Mount Sterling. The other 1st round picks, Andy O’Neil and Bill Brandon, haven’t done much at all. 3rd rounder Phil Church is probably the 3rd best pitcher of the class, with 72 career wins. Overall, this was a pretty weak class of pitchers after the top 2.

Summary:
This was the first draft with 8 teams instead of the original 6. The first 5 picks have all had good careers, but there weren’t many impact players after that. Chris Schultz, along with Robert Hollingsworth the previous year, is one of the best 8th-rounders we’ve seen.

Get to know…Jeff Turner

Baseball Cards: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 (Gold Glove), 1995, 1996, 1997 (All-Star)

Jeff Turner, 29, is one of the top catchers in the CBL, but he never quite developed into the hitter he was thought to be. He was born in Bellton, Jefferson, a town of about 93,000 people south of Manchester, and he went to high school at nearby Beulah Branch South. He was the #4 overall pick in 1986 by Portsmouth, and he made his CBL debut in 1988 by appearing in 2 games. He became a part-time starter the following year and won a Rookie of the Month award, then became the Clippers’ full-time catcher in 1990.

In 1991, he made the 1st of 4 All-Star games, and the Clippers won the 1st of 3 straight World Series. He had his best year hitting for average but didn’t show much power yet. Over the last several years, that trend has reversed, and he is now more of a power hitter. However, his real value lies on the defensive side, where he has won 3 Gold Gloves. He also has 2 Batter of the Month awards and 5 Player of the Week awards.

After the 1995 season, he went to the Liberty Knights as a free agent, and he played in last year’s World Series, his 4th. His postseason line is .261/.364/.500 with 7 HR and 16 RBI, over 4 years. He is the all-time postseason leader in both HR and RBI, and his 24 hits are tied with David Jones for 1st.

Turner’s career line is .258/.349/.398 with 129 HR and 600 RBI. Among catchers, he is 3rd all-time in career WAR, behind Dave Bartlett and Vic Taylor. He has very little chance of catching Bartlett, but he has a shot at catching Taylor, who is a year older.

Turner is an average contact hitter with above average power and a good eye. He’s not good at avoiding strikeouts, as evidenced by the fact that he is the all-time leader in strikeouts among catchers. He is a decent baserunner for a catcher, and he is one of the best defensive catchers in the game. He is pretty smart and has a good work ethic. He gets along with everyone.

Where are they now?...Miguel Pellicer

Baseball Cards: 1992, 1993, 1994 (All-Star), 1995, 1996 (All-Star), 1997

Original Post (1992)

Superstar closer Miguel Pellicer is now 33, and he has played his entire career in Newport so far. After being featured in 1992, he went on to win his 5th consecutive RPA, and he won his 6th the following year. In 1994, he was seriously injured in July and missed a full year, which also resulted in him missing the World Series in his only opportunity. He hasn’t finished in the top 3 in RPA voting since winning his last one in 1993, but a lot of that has been due to missing time. He’s still dominant, with a 1.32 ERA last year and 1.93 so far this year.

Pellicer has a career record of 38-33 with a 295 saves and a 1.69 ERA. He has 726 strikeouts and 144 walks. He has 26 blown saves for a save percentage of .919. He had 2 straight years with no blown saves in ’89-’90, and in total it was a 92 game save streak, starting in June of ’88 and ending in April of ’91.

Pellicer is 3rd all-time in saves, 15 behind the retired Ray Gilliam and 33 behind Neil Stinson, who is a year older and has stayed healthy. His 41 saves in 1992 is 2nd only to Hal Phipps’ 42 in 1996. His 11.70 career K/9 would be 2nd all-time to Stinson and ahead of Javier Soto, but he doesn’t quite meet the qualifying requirement yet. He is a 5-time All-Star and has 1 Pitcher of the Month award.

Games of the Month
May 1 – Liberty (C) @ Irondale
Irondale’s Bob Coleman outdueled the great Trent Gore with a scoreless 7.1 inning performance. Gore went 8 innings for a complete game, but he gave up 3 earned runs and another 2 unearned for a 5-0 loss. Michael Brewer, Jason Coffman, and Bryan Henry each homered for the Steelers. Amazingly, this was Gore’s 6th start of the season and his first decision, despite having Quality Starts in all 6.

May 9 – Fremont @ Portsmouth
Portsmouth’s Michael Pittman had a great day, with 7 scoreless innings, but the bullpen blew it in the 9th as Fremont’s Steven Logan hit a 2-out, 2-run homer to tie it. In the bottom of the 9th, the Clippers got runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs but were unable to score. A 2-run double by Britt Nelson in the top of the 10th was the difference as Fremont won 4-2.

May 15 – Liberty (F) @ Portsmouth
After the Knights and Clippers had the biggest trade of the offseason, swapping Lawrence Gordon and Tom Duncan, this was the first matchup of Gordon against his former team. Unfortunately for him and the Clippers, he came out flat and gave up 7 runs in 1.1 innings. The bullpen didn’t do much better, as each of the next 4 pitchers gave up at least 2 runs, and the Knights won 19-1. Each of Liberty’s starters had at least 2 hits, and Jeff Turner went 5-6 with 3 doubles and 6 RBI against his former team.

May 20 – Centerville @ Park City (F)
With Ramon Castro facing Ernie Webb, the Kings had a clear advantage, but it came down to the bullpens. The Cyclones rallied for 5 runs in the 8th to take a 6-4 lead, but the Kings scored 2 in the 9th to send it to extra innings. Finally in the 15th, Centerville scored 2 more, and Elliot Tyler closed it out for an 8-6 win.

May 27 – Liberty (F) @ Mount Sterling
Aces Matt Ashley and Michael Alexander came into the game with matching 5-1 records, and both had great games. The difference was the 5th inning, when Mount Sterling scored 3 runs off of Ashley with the help of 2 errors. All 3 were unearned, but that’s small consolation for the Knights as they lost 3-0.

May 31 – Mount Sterling @ Centerville
Centerville’s Bill O’Clancy gave up only 1 hit and 1 walk over 8 innings while striking out 10, and he outdueled former OPA winner Sam Taylor, who gave up a run on 4 hits in his 8 innings of work. The Cyclones won 1-0 to finish the month on a high note.
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:25 AM   #417
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:08 AM   #418
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Monthly Wrap-Up
The Liberty Giants have extended their lead in the CL to 5 games, but it wasn’t easy. As recently as June 16th, 3 teams (Park City (C), Irondale, and Newport) were tied for 2nd at only 2 games back, but the Giants finished the month strong to get their lead back up. The Giant’s rotation has been historically good this year, and if it wasn’t for the unexpected struggles of their bullpen, particularly 3-time RPA winner Hal Phipps, they’d probably be farther ahead. The Patriots also have a very good rotation and a better bullpen, but they just don’t have the depth of talent that Liberty does at this point. Irondale has been a pleasant surprise this year. With 2 veteran star hitters and a plethora of young top prospects, their offense has been the best in the league. Unfortunately, their pitching hasn’t been able to keep up. Former #1 pick Alex Hancock will eventually get a shot in the rotation, but he’s been slow to develop a 3rd pitch so far.

In the FL, Liberty is 3 games ahead of Centerville. For much of the first half of the month, the 2 teams were tied, and the Cyclones were even a game ahead for 2 days, but the Knights ended June with an 8-game winning streak. The Knights have the best rotation in the FL, despite the trade of Lawrence Gordon last offseason, and the offense is also #1. Centerville has the top pitching staff in the FL, and they even have more rotation help in reserve. Former #1 pick Ralph Morgan and former #4 pick Elliot Tyler are both pitching in the bullpen, and both are very close to deserving a spot in the rotation. With the 5th-ranked offense in the FL, it would make sense to trade away some of the pitching depth they’ve built up, as this could be their best chance to make a move.

Centerville’s Chris Schultz and Liberty (C)’s Mark Ullrich got into a fight on June 6th, and both were suspended for 5 games. It’s the 2nd straight year that Ullrich has been suspended for fighting. The biggest trade of the season involved backup players for last year’s World Series teams. David Jones, a 3-time All-Star and 4-time Batter of the Month, went to Liberty (F), where he is now the starting first baseman. He thrived in June, winning his 17th Player of the Week award on the 22nd. In return the Giants received Neil Blackwell, a 5-time All-Star that’s declined a lot but can still help out. The two players make about the same amount of money, but Blackwell is a free agent after this year and Jones has another year left. The Giants also received a middling prospect and a draft pick in the deal, which looks like it will help both teams.

Miguel Pellicer notched his 300th save, and he is now at 305. He is 5 behind the retired Ray Gilliam for 2nd all-time, and he is 31 behind Neil Stinson for the all-time lead. All-time wins leader Roosevelt Jones suffered a torn rotator cuff that will keep him out for 11 months. He was already on the decline at 37 years old, and he probably won’t have much left after nearly a year off.











Colonial League:
Players of the Week
June 8 – 1B Mike Roberts, LBG, 6-19, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R
June 15 – 1B Jason Coffman, IRO, 10-24, 5 HR, 10 RBI
June 22 – 2B Michael Bennett, IRO, 11-25, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R
June 29 – 1B Jason Coffman, IRO, 10-23, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R

Players of the Month
Batter – 1B Jason Coffman, IRO, .347, 12 HR, 25 RBI, 21 R
Pitcher – SP Clinton Brown, IRO, 4-0, 1.72 ERA, 47 IP, 31 K
Rookie – SS Martin Larson, CC, .409, 0 HR, 6 RBI

Federal League:
Players of the Week
June 8 – CF Donnie Martin, PCK, 10-26, 1 HR, 10 RBI
June 15 – 1B Britt Nelson, FRE, 11-23, 3 HR, 8 RBI
June 22 – 1B David Jones, LBK, 9-24, 3 HR, 8 RBI
June 29 – SP Matt Ashley, LBK, 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 17.1 IP, 18 K

Players of the Month
Batter – 1B Ralph Torres, LBK, .371, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 18 R
Pitcher – SP Al Goodman, LBK, 5-0, 1.95 ERA, 37 IP, 37 K
Rookie – C Michael Redman, CEN, .291, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R

Top Performances
Batting – June 11 – SS Kevin Greene, FRE vs. POR, 5-5, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, 1 BB
Pitching – June 23 – SP Matt Ashley, LBK vs. KIN, 9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K

Major Transactions
June 6 – CF Mac Thomas, KIN, signed 1-year extension
June 10 – Trade: Portsmouth gets 2B John Bailey (38, 2*) and 5th round pick, Kingston gets MR George Washington (32, 4*) and SS Jayson O’Slattery (19, 1/3.5*)
June 10 – Trade: Liberty (F) gets 1B David Jones (33, 2.5*), Liberty (C) gets RF Neil Blackwell (31, 1*), 3B Harvey Bell (21, 1/2.5*), and 3rd round pick
June 16 – CL Trevor Bell, KIN, signed 1-year extension

Draft Highlights
#1 – Capital City – SP John Flowers, 20, Washington Tech
Flowers is a very good prospect, but he’s not really at the level of previous #1 picks. Everything is basically above average to good, with no real strengths or weaknesses. Overall, this looks like a pretty weak draft, and Flowers is an example of that.

#2 – Newport – SP Kyle ‘Gunshy’ White, 21, Monroe State
White is a slightly better prospect than Flowers, but his signing bonus demand was higher. His pitches are better, and his stuff could be elite. His movement and control are projected to be average.

#3 – Centerville – C John Black, 21, University of Adams
Black is a very good power-hitting prospect, and his defense is excellent. His contact is only average, and he is extremely slow. He has yet to sign with Centerville.

#4 – Kingston – SS Matt Simmons, 21, Jackson State
Simmons should be a decent contact hitter with some gap power but not much home run power. He could be elite at avoiding strikeouts. He is an excellent baserunner and an elite defender at 3 infield positions. He could easily win multiple Gold Gloves.

#5 – Fremont – C Allen Cobb, 18, East Janicemouth HS (Monroe)
Cobb projects as a slightly better hitter than the catcher taken two spots ahead of him, John Black, but he is much more raw as a high schooler, and he is a weak defensive catcher.

#6 – Portsmouth – CF Keith Randolph, 18, Swanville HS (Madison)
Randolph is basically an average hitter, but he is an outstanding baserunner. His defense is about average.

#7 – Park City (F) – SP Martin Hooper, 19, Ashland South HS (Monroe)
Hooper is very raw, especially with his control, but he could be a very good starter someday. He has 3 plus pitches, average stamina, and his movement could be excellent. He has yet to sign with the Kings.

#8 – Irondale – SP Josh Bailey, 19, Jonas Creek HS (Lincoln)
Bailey looks like he could be a very good all-around pitcher, with 2 outstanding pitches. Unfortunately, his 3rd pitch is well below average, and his stamina is slightly below average, so he might end up in the bullpen eventually. He hasn’t signed with the Steelers yet.

#9 – Park City (C) – LF Jermaine Jones, 19, Mount Brown HS (Monroe)
Jones projects as a good power hitter. He won’t be able to do much else, though.

#10 – Mount Sterling – RF Grant Flores, 20, Mount Sears City College
Flores is a good overall hitter, but his home run power could be outstanding. He’s also an above average defender at both corner outfield positions. He hasn’t signed with the Gladiators yet.

#11 – Liberty (F) – CF Bill Baker, 22, University of Adams
Baker is basically an average hitter, but he has good speed and is an elite defender in right field. He’s not quite as good in center field, but he’ll still be among the best in the league defensively if he ends up there. He has yet to sign with the Knights.

#12 – Liberty (C) – C Ed Campbell, 20, Myraboro College
Campbell is a power-hitting catcher that’s average defensively, but he’ll be among the league’s worst baserunners. He has yet to sign with the Giants.

#13 – Liberty (C) – SP Sean Nash, 19, Indian Springs East HS (Jefferson)
Nash has a long way to go, but if everything goes well, he could be a decent #3 or 4 starter for a good team.

Major Injuries
June 12 – 2B Hunter Crosby, CEN, out for 6 weeks due to back spasms
June 15 – CF Gregg Kelly, PCK, out for 4 weeks due to strained rib cage muscle
June 23 – SP Roosevelt Jones, CC, out for 11 months due to torn rotator cuff
June 25 – CF Jorge Lugo, IRO, out for 9 months due to broken bone in elbow
June 28 – CF James Martin, LBK, out for 5 weeks due to fractured wrist
June 29 – 2B Daniel Mills, LBK, out for 6 weeks due to torn hip flexor tendon

Get to know…Hal Phipps

Baseball Cards: 1993, 1994, 1995 (All-Star), 1996 (All-Star), 1997 (All-Star)

Hal ‘Hoover’ Phipps is the star closer for the Giants. Now 27 years old, he was born in Liberty and went to college at the University of Adams in nearby Oxford. The Giants selected the local boy with the 9th pick in the 1992 draft, but he returned to college for another year. The following year, the Giants tried again, this time with the 8th pick, and Phipps signed.

Phipps immediately became part of the Liberty (C) bullpen, and in 1994 he was a part-time closer. In 1995, he became the full-time closer. For the next 3 years, he had at least 34 saves and a sub-2.00 ERA each year. He won 3 straight Relief Pitcher Awards, was an All-Star all 3 years, and the Giants won 3 straight World Series. His best year was 1996, when he had a 3-1 record, 42 saves (a CBL season record), and a 1.01 ERA. This year, he has struggled for the first time in his career. So far, he is 2-4 with 19 saves and a 5.81 ERA, with 2 blown saves.

His career record is 20-17 with 142 saves and a 2.57 ERA. He only has 13 blown saves in his career, for a .916 save percentage. Over 3 postseasons, he has 8 saves with none blown, and he has given up 1 earned run for a 1.13 ERA. He’s had at least 2 saves in each World Series he’s played in. He is 10th in career saves but rapidly moving up.

Phipps has elite stuff and very good movement and control. His fastball is unmatched, and his slider is above average. He has very low stamina, so multi-inning saves are a rarity for him. He is a below average defender. Phipps is not the most outgoing guy, but he gets along well with everyone.

Where are they now?... Matt Ashley

Baseball Cards: 1992, 1993, 1994 (All-Star), 1995 (All-Star), 1996, 1997 (All-Star)

Original Post (1992)

Matt Ashley was a rising star when he was featured 6 years ago at the age of 24. Still only 30, he has fulfilled his early promise and is one of the top pitchers in the CBL. Pitching alongside Curt Snyder in Irondale, he was extremely successful, and the Steelers came close to winning the CL several times, but they couldn’t get over the hump. In 1994, facing a financial crisis, they were forced to sell several stars, and Ashley was part of that, moving to the Patriots in a mid-season trade.

After the ’94 season, he signed with the Liberty Knights as a free agent, and he is now the highest-paid player in the league. In June of 1995, he threw a no-hitter against his former team, the Steelers, and he was 2nd in OPA voting the following year. Last year, his 3rd with the Knights, was his best yet. He went 18-5 with a 1.77 ERA and won his 1st OPA in a landslide. The Knights advanced to the World Series, where Ashley made 2 starts, going 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA, but they fell to the cross-town Giants. This year, he is 9-3 with a 2.69 ERA for the 1st-place Knights.

Ashley has been an All-Star in 6 of 7 possible chances. He has 6 Pitcher of the Month awards and 3 Player of the Week awards. His career record is 125-95 with a 2.95 ERA, 1586 strikeouts, and 444 walks.

Ashley is the all-time leader in shutouts with 12 (#2 Mark Ullrich has 9), and he shares the record for shutouts in a season with 4. He has led the FL in shutouts in each of the last 3 years, with 2, 2, and 4. He is 9th in career Wins and 13th in ERA. He is 2nd in complete games, only 2 behind Ullrich and 10 ahead of #3, and he is 6th in innings pitched. Despite not being a power pitcher, he is 9th all-time in strikeouts. His overall value can be shown by career WAR, where he is now 4th, behind only Trent Gore, William McKinney, and former teammate Curt Snyder.

Interestingly, he held the record for most walks in a season for 6 years, set during his first full year when his control hadn’t developed yet. Since then, however, control has been his calling card. He has the top 3 seasons in BB/9, and 6 of the top 9. He is the all-time leader in the category, well ahead of #2 Trent Gore.

Games of the Month
June 7 – Liberty (C) @ Centerville
Centerville’s Jeremy Gray outdueled Trent Gore, giving up only 2 hits in 6 innings. Gray lowered his ERA to 1.47 and extended his record to 9-0, while Gore gave up 5 runs in 7 innings and fell to 4-3 despite a 2.38 ERA.

June 11 – Liberty (C) @ Mount Sterling
Down 6-4 in the 9th, the Gladiators rallied against closer Hal Phipps. Two singles and a throwing error from the outfield resulted in a run, and after a walk and a fly-out, Raymond Richards hit a walk-off 3-run homer for an 8-6 win.

June 12 – Irondale @ Liberty (F)
Former Steeler Matt Ashley won the FL OPA last year, but he didn’t look like that pitcher against his former team. He gave up a season-high 6 earned runs over 6.2 innings in a 6-4 loss.

June 12 – Liberty (C) @ Mount Sterling
In a highly anticipated match-up between Trent Gore and Michael Alexander, it was unexpectedly one-sided. Gore was brilliant with 8 scoreless innings, but Alexander only made it through 3 before getting pulled with 4 runs surrendered. The Giants went on to win 7-0.

June 17 – Liberty (F) @ Centerville
In another matchup of great starters, Matt Ashley led the Knights to a 2-0 victory over Jeremy Gray and the Cyclones. Ashley went 8 innings and gave up 4 hits, while Gray went 7.1 innings but dropped to 9-2 for the season.

June 25 – Centerville @ Park City (F)
Park City’s Kyle Thompson threw a complete game 1-hitter, walking 2, as the Kings downed Bill O’Clancy and the Cyclones, 6-0.
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Monthly Wrap-Up
The Liberty Giants went 18-6 in July, including a current 10-game winning streak, and they have extended their CL lead to 9 games. Irondale and their league-leading offense have hung in there, but their pitching hasn’t been good enough to keep it close. The Giants’ superstar closer, Hal Phipps, was injured in an off-field incident when his car was struck by a train. It is unclear if he will be ready to return in time for the World Series. Meanwhile, the Steelers made a move to try to take advantage, trading a 19-year-old starting pitcher (Kip Cummings) with a lot of promise for 29-year-old Bill Epperson. Epperson becomes their ace now, and while they don’t have a great shot at catching the Giants this year, he’s signed for next year too. Cummings’ ceiling isn’t far from what Epperson is now, so this could end up being a good trade for the Steelers if they can fill in the rest of the rotation this offseason.

Over in the FL, the Knights also went 18-6, and their lead grew from 3 games to 11 as Centerville couldn’t keep up. At the top of the rotation and in the middle of the lineup, the Knights are extremely talented, and while they don’t have the depth that the Giants do, a cross-town World Series matchup is very intriguing. This month, the Cyclones made a decent trade, shipping out an average starting pitcher from their position of strength for Monty Hicks, who provides a solid veteran bat in the lineup against lefties. A few more moves like that could really get Centerville moving in the right direction.

In other news, Irondale’s Sean Tuttle has an active 22-game hitting streak. The league record, shared by Roland Harris in 1982 and Jon Carlson in 1987, is 28 games.









Colonial League:
Players of the Week
July 6 – LF Bryan Henry, IRO, 12-24, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 7 R
July 13 – RF Tom Jenkins, LBG, 4-12, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R
July 20 – SS Steve Cherry, NEW, .526, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R
July 27 – 1B David Burnett, LBG, 5-7, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R

Players of the Month
Batter – RF Sean Tuttle, IRO, .393, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 18 R
Pitcher – SP Curt Snyder, LBG, 5-0, 0.22 ERA, 41 IP, 43 K
Rookie – SP Robbie James, NEW, 3-1, 2.97 ERA, 30.1 IP, 28 K

Federal League:
Players of the Week
July 6 – C Jeff Turner, LBK, 8-17, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 6 R
July 13 – SS Ray Wolfe, KIN, 7-12, 0 HR, 2 RBI
July 20 – RF Travis Bascombe, CEN, 14-31, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R
July 27 – 1B David Jones, LBK, 8-17, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R

Players of the Month
Batter – C Jeff Turner, LBK, .342, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 13 R
Pitcher – SP Matt Ashley, LBK, 5-0, 1.71 ERA, 42 IP, 24 K
Rookie – SS Colton Stewart, FRE, .385, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Top Performances
Batting – July 3 – C Jeff Turner, LBK vs. CEN, 3-4, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB
Pitching – July 18 – SP Javier Soto, NEW vs. LBG, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K

Major Transactions
July 3 – Trade: Kingston gets SP Tommy Nash (25, 2.5/3*), Centerville gets LF Monty Hicks (34, 2.5*), SP Tanner Taylor (22, 1/2*), and $3 million
July 5 – Park City (F) failed to sign 1st-round pick, SP Martin Hooper
July 5 – Liberty (C) failed to sign 1st-round pick, C Ed Campbell
July 12 – Trade: Irondale gets SP Bill Epperson (29, 4*), Mount Sterling gets SS Alvin Banks (30, 1.5*) and SP Kip Cummings (19, 1/4.5*)
July 14 – SS Cody Powers, MTS, signed 1-year extension
July 19 – SS Bob Stanley, PCP, signed 3-year extension
July 21 – LF Lonnie Williams, FRE, signed 1-year extension

All-Star Selections
The All-Star game took place on July 7. View the complete rosters here. You can see the starters below by viewing the box score in the “Games of the Month” section.

Major Injuries
July 11 – SP Lyle Soumitra, KIN, out for 3 months due to shoulder inflammation
July 19 – SP Greg Robertson, LBK, out for 3 months due to elbow inflammation
July 19 – SP Michael Alexander, MTS, out for 5-6 weeks due to back spasms
July 20 – CL Hal Phipps, LBG, out for 2 months due to broken hamate bone, suffered when his car was struck by a train
July 20 – LF Jon Carlson, CEN, out for 4 weeks due to sprained thumb
July 21 – C Quentin Wood, CC, out for 4 weeks due to hamstring strain
July 23 – 2B Jeffery Younger, PCK, out for 5-6 weeks due to knee sprain
July 24 – LF Javier Guzman, MTS, out for 4-5 months due to broken kneecap
July 29 – SP Chattradhara Mukunda, CEN, out for 7-8 weeks due to strained oblique
July 29 – MR George Washington, KIN, out for 4-5 months due to shoulder inflammation
July 29 – 2B Hunter Crosby, CEN, out for 4 weeks due to shoulder soreness

Get to know…Javier Guzman

Baseball Cards: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 (All-Star), 1997

Mount Sterling’s Javier ‘Vapor Lock’ Guzman has been one of the best all-around players in the CBL in the 90’s, but he never quite reached superstar status. Guzman, a 32-year-old outfielder, was born in Centerville and went to Washington A&M. He was drafted in the 2nd round by the Clippers in 1987 as the #8 overall pick. He made his CBL debut in 1988 but struggled over the next 2 years. In 1990, he had his first good year, hitting .274 with 10 HR, and his improvement coincided with the rise of the Portsmouth team.

Over the next 3 years, Guzman was a starter and major contributor to 3 straight World Series champions, including hitting leadoff in the latter 2 years. During that time, he went to the All-Star game each year, starting once. In 1993, he hit .272 with 28 HR, 95 RBI, and 29 SB, finished 3rd in voting for the OHA, and won his first Gold Glove. After a down year in 1994 where he struggled with injuries, he rebounded with a career year in 1995, hitting .302/.368/.539 with 20 HR in only 106 games due to a pair of injuries. Despite missing out on the All-Star game due to injury, he set career highs in each of the rate statistics and won his 2nd Gold Glove. Coming off of that great season, he was in high demand as a free agent and signed a large 7-year contract with Kingston.

Guzman failed to live up to expectations with the Lions, despite making the FL All-Star team in his first year, and after a year and a half of league-average play, he was traded in a salary dumping move to the Gladiators. He had a bit of a resurgence over the second half of the season in 1997 and added a 3rd Gold Glove, but it’s clear that he’s not what he used to be. This year, he again was a league-average player before a broken kneecap on July 21st ended his season. With a huge contract through 2021, he will surely have a chance to recover, but it is unlikely he’ll get back to the level he played at in Portsmouth.

Guzman’s career line is .258/.324/.438, with 166 HR, 662 RBI, 653 R, and 147 SB. He has one of the league’s 16 3-HR games, accomplished in 1996, along with 9 PotW awards, a BotM award, and the aforementioned 3 Gold Gloves and 4 All-Star appearances. He is 28th in career HR, 19th in SB, and 14th in WAR.

Guzman is an all-around hitter with some power, but his contact and eye have declined since his prime. He is excellent baserunner and an elite defender. He spent most of his career playing center field and won all 3 of his Gold Gloves there, but he’s become primarily a left fielder this year as he’s lost a step or two. He is considered a clubhouse leader.

Where are they now?... David Jones

Baseball Cards: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997

Original Post (1992)

When David Jones was featured in 1992, he was decidedly at the top of his game. After a move to the Colonial League, his numbers have declined, and despite a lot of team success, it looked like he was entering the twilight of his career, but a recent change of scenery might change the narrative for him.

Between 1990 and 1993 with the Gladiators, Jones led the FL in hits each year and won 3 batting titles, while playing in 2 World Series and starting 3 All-Star games (there was no All-Star game in 1990). He also had a runner-up finish and 2 3rd-place finishes in OHA voting. In 1994, he saw a dip in his production, but still well above average. The Liberty Giants offered him a huge contract to make the move to the Colonial League, and he accepted. Over the next 2 years, he was the Giants’ starting first basemen and was a contributor to 2 World Series championships, although his numbers didn’t approach what he had done in Mount Sterling. In his 3rd year with the team, he lost his starting spot to Mike Roberts, but he continued to be an above average player while being the prime option off the bench as the Giants won a 3rd consecutive World Series.

Jones got off to a hot start this year as a pinch-hitter and part-time starter, but due to his large contract, the Giants traded him across town to the Knights on June 10th, where he is now starting again and putting up his best numbers since 1993. He was selected as an All-Star for the first time since then as well. It is likely he will face his former team in the World Series this year, where he will surely be looking for some redemption.

Jones’ career line is .316/.373/.505 with 214 HR and 815 RBI. He has 18 PotW awards, 4 BotM awards, 3 Gold Gloves, and 4 All-Star selections. He is 3rd in career batting average, right behind Jason Coffman and Kevin Gaze. He is 5th in hits, 11th in HR, and 9th in RBI. He holds the CBL record for hits in a season with 204 in 1993. #2 on the list is Tim MacIntosh with 192, and Jones has 2 seasons with 191 for 3rd place on the list. He has 3 20+ game hitting streaks, tied with MacIntosh for the most all-time.

Games of the Month
July 3 – Irondale @ Portsmouth
Irondale was down 4-0 before getting on the board, and they were still down 5-2 entering the 9th. Against Rob Paris in the final inning, the Steelers loaded the bases with 1 out after 3 straight singles. 2 straight walks to Sean Tuttle and Jason Coffman made it a 1-run game, and last year’s #1 pick, Bryan Henry, followed that up with a go-ahead grand slam. Irondale went on to win 8-5 after the 6-run frame.

July 5 – Liberty (C) @ Park City (C)
In a great pitching matchup, Liberty’s Curt Snyder got the better of Landon Trejo. Snyder gave up only 2 hits over 8 innings, while Trejo’s lone misstep was a solo homer in the 1st by Mike Roberts, as the Giants won 1-0.

July 7 – Colonial League @ Federal League
Jason Coffman and Ralph Torres each homered in the 2nd inning, and the resulting 1-1 tie held until the 8th inning, when the FL side rallied for 4 runs off Scott Howell. Jose Espinoza hit a 2-run homer in the 9th to make it a game, but Steve Price got the final 2 outs to give the FL a 5-3 win.

July 18 – Liberty (C) @ Newport
Dan Bray didn’t have his best stuff, giving up 7 runs in 5.2 innings, but Newport’s Javier Soto dominated the front-running Giants, throwing a complete game 3-hit shutout. He also struck out 9 batters in the Navigators’ 7-0 win.

July 19 – Irondale @ Park City (C)
Irondale got out to an early 4-0 lead, but the Patriots got 2 back in the 7th, and in the 9th, the Steelers’ bullpen imploded. Vaughan Roy gave up 2 solo homers to tie the game, then Casey Peterson came in and failed to get anyone out, giving up 3 hits and an intentional walk. Park City’s closer, Neil Stinson, got the win and the game-winning RBI single.

July 24 – Portsmouth @ Irondale
This was a game for fans who like offense. Irondale built a 6-3 lead, but Portsmouth scored 3 in the 7th to tie it. In the 9th, the Clippers tacked on 3 more to make it 9-6, but Irondale responded with a rally of their own behind homers by Nolan Bird and John Hill to send it to extra innings. In the 11th, the Steelers finished it off with a walk-off single by Sean Tuttle to win 10-9.
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