Road Trip: Watching the Lakewood BlueClaws on the Road in Savannah Georgia

If you have been reading our blogs for a while, you will remember that Baseball Ross and I have become unofficial “American Parents” to a few of the young Dominican players, two of which are currently on the Lakewood BlueClaws roster. The first weekend in May, the BlueClaws made their trip to the most southern team in the South Atlantic League, the Savannah Sand Gnats.

Savannah’s Grayson Stadium is a beautiful, old stadium, reminiscent of the Williamsport Cross Cutters’ Historic Bowman field.

Grayson Stadium

Grayson Stadium

We were in town for three games of the four-game series. We drove seven hours each way to get there, and it was so worth it. The BlueClaws won all three games we attended and only dropped the final game of the series.

Our “baseball son” Ranfi Casimirio, a RHP, pitched the first game.

Ranfi Casimiro

Ranfi Casimiro

Casimiro led the team to a 2-1 win over the Sand Gnats, the Mets Low-A farm team. Casimiro went five shut-out innings to increasing his record in his last two starts to 12 innings of allowing only one run. He executed four strikeouts in this five inning start. When he walked off the field at the end of the fifth, the BlueClaws were ahead 1-0.

The  Sand Gnats tied it up in the sixth when BlueClaws reliever Alexis Rivero gave up a run, but the Threshers would win it with a run in the top eight with the help of a wild pitch after a double by Carlos Tocci. Matt Hockenberry, who has held the opposition scoreless in his five appearances this season, recorded the save.

Saturday night, RHP Chris Oliver pitched the team to a 4-0 victory, striking out seven over seven innings. Carlos Tocci-CF went 3 for 4 and had stolen bases. Rhys Hoskins-1B went 2 for 4 including a double and 2 RBIs. Reliever, RHP Jesson Therrien, pitched the last two innings to preserve the shut out.

Sunday afternoon, our other BlueClaw baseball son, Elniery Garcia, a LHP, pitched.  Garcia surrendered three runs in six innings, still a quality start and he got the win. His Clayton Kershaw-esque curve ball helped him to strike out six including four in the first two innings. Later, he used his sinker to induce two infield ground ball double plays in the outing.

Elniery Garcia

Elniery Garcia

In the nine innings of relief in the three games I saw the bullpen has given up only two runs. Closer Matt Hockenberry got his sixth save of the season on Sunday,  but gave up his first run of the season.

One thing I noticed this weekend, in addition to the BlueClaws games I’ve listened to on “Tune In Radio” is that Carlos Tocci is a target. Unfortunately the opposing teams in the South Atlantic League are “head hunting” Tocci.  Already this season, he has been hit by a pitch three times but that is not the whole story. Friday night in the ninth inning he had to jump out of the way with an up and in pitch.  Saturday, he also dodged a pitch. Sunday in the first inning he had to do duck out of the way with a ball aimed right at his head by Sand Gnat pitcher Martires Arias. The plate umpire then warned both teams that the next hit batter would result in the ejection of the pitcher.

Carlos Tocci dodged a pitch Friday night.

Carlos Tocci dodged a pitch Friday night.

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Carlos Tocci ducks and narrowly misses being struck in the head by a pitch Sunday afternoon

Three games in three days and the BlueClaws won all three. We were lucky that we got to see both of our baseball sons get to pitch–and win. We also were lucky enough that they each were “charting” the game (pitchers will write down the pitches, placement and speed of both their team and the opposing team) so that they were in the stands.

The best part of the entire trip was getting to spend a little time with my “boys”.

Elniery Garcia, me and Ranfi Casimiro in Savannah

Elniery Garcia, me and Ranfi Casimiro in Savannah

It made the 14 hour round trip worth while to see them (as well as many of their teammates) happy to see us. I can’t wait to see them again, hopefully in June in Lakewood.

 

 

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