Atlantic League Results, Friday, April 28, 2023

Lexington 5, York 4

(April 28, 2023 – Lexington, KY):  The York Revolution battled back throughout the evening but dropped their season opener, 5-4 to the Lexington Counter Clocks on Friday evening at Counter Clocks Field.

York got off to a quick start as Trent Giambrone drew a leadoff walk and stole second, before scoring the first run of the season on a Nellie Rodriguez double down the left field line.

Revs starter Greg Minier worked around a leadoff single in his half of the first, stranding Ronnie Dawson at third base.

Lexington broke through in the second, tying the game on a Logan Brown base hit to right.

The Clocks took the lead in the third as Connor Owings connected on a two-run homer to right-center for a 3-1 advantage.

Lexington starter Jerad Eickhoff breezed through the second, third, and fourth, but Jalen Miller singled and Alejandro Rivero was hit by a pitch to ignite a rally in the fifth. Ryan January and Giambrone laced RBI singles to tie the game at 3-3. The Revs were set up with a golden opportunity to reclaim the lead, but with runners at second and third and no outs, were unable to push across a go-ahead run.

The Clocks answered right back in their half of the fifth, loading the bases with no outs on a pair of walks and a single against reliever J.T. Hintzen (0-1). Denson Hull entered to strike out Owings but hit J.D. Osborne with a pitch to force in the go-ahead run. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Brown produced one more as Lexington led 5-3.

Drew Mendoza crushed the Revs’ first homer of the year, a 430-foot blast down the right field line with one out in the sixth to bring York within 5-4.

Hull kept things close, striking out five batters over three scoreless innings of relief. Andrew Gross handled a scoreless eighth to keep it a one-run margin.

The Revs threatened in the seventh when Rodriguez (3-for-5) slammed a triple off the left-center fence but was stranded at third. Rodriguez kept the game alive with a two-out double to left-center in the ninth, his third extra-base hit of the night, but righty Garrett Schilling induced a game-ending groundout for the save.

York saw a two-year Opening Night winning streak come to a close, suffering their first loss in an opener since 2019 (now 10-6 all-time). The Revs also had a five-game winning streak in season openers on the road snapped, dealt their first road loss to start a season since 2008 (now 5-3 all-time in openers on the road).

The Revs were held to a 3-for-13 clip with runners in scoring position, though their counterparts went just 2-for-12.

The Revs will aim for their first win of the season on Saturday night at 6:45 p.m. as Jorge Martinez squares off against Lexington’s Yeudy Garcia. Revs fans can catch the action live on SportsRadio 98.9 FM & 1350 WOYK,, The New WOYK app, and FloBaseball.TV beginning at 6:25 p.m. with Darrell Henry on the call.


High Point 3, Long Island 2

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers started the 2023 season with a win, defeating the Long Island Ducks 3-2 on Friday night in front of a crowd of 2,419 at Truist Point.

Rightfielder Ben Aklinski’s solo homer leading off the fourth inning broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Rockers their third Opening Day victory in four tries.

High Point starter Craig Stem and Long Island starter Brett Kennedy each allowed a first inning run as the Ducks’ centerfielder Boog Powell led off the game with a solo homer to right. The Rockers tied the game in their half when Michael Russell doubled, moved to third on a single by John Nogowski and scored on a wild pitch by Kennedy.

The top of the second inning ended when Long Island’s Luis Guerrero lined a shot back up the middle that hit Stem before the hurler was able to make the throw to first to retire the side.

But the liner forced Stem out of the game with a hand injury and Rockers manager Jamie Keefe had to go to the bullpen earlier than he planned.

The game was tied at 1-1 when rain brought it to a halt after one-and-a-half innings.

Following a 54-minute rain delay, the Ducks went ahead 2-1 in the third when Daniel Murphy singled and scored on a triple by Sam Travis. High Point tied the game at 2-2 when Shed Long, Jr. drew a one-out walk in the third, moved to third on Russell’s second double of the night and scored on a fielder’s choice by Zander Weil.

Aklinski led off the fourth with his homer and neither team would score the rest of the way as each club’s bullpens held the other scoreless over the final four innings.

Bryce Hensley earned the win with two innings of work, allowing three hits. Kyle Halbohn, Jeremy Rhoades, Cam Cotter and Jameson McGrane each tossed scoreless innings before Ryan Dull closed the game with a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth.

The save was Dull’s 14th of his career, breaking him out of a four-way tie and making him the Rockers’ all-time save leader.

“Stem’s a big question mark,” said Keefe following the game. “It doesn’t look good. We’ll talk to the team doctor in the morning and we’ll know more then.”

Russell finished the night with three hits including two doubles that extended his Rockers’ career record to 66 career doubles. Aklinski and catcher Beau Taylor each finished with a pair of hits. Long Island was led by Powell and Murphy, each of whom had three hits.

But the story was the bullpen. High Point’s relievers threw seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits and striking out five while walking three.

The Rockers will remain at home Saturday night when they again host the Ducks at 6:35 p.m. at Truist Point. Left-hander Ian Clarkin (2021: 3-7, 7.86) takes the mound for the Ducks against Rockers southpaw Ben Braymer (2022: 2-1, 6.75).


Gastonia 10, Frederick 4

The Gastonia Honey Hunters are coming off a remarkable 88-win season, which led the Atlantic League, in the club’s second year. They led the league in several hitting and pitching categories, dominating throughout 2022. And they picked up right where they left off on Friday night, thanks to the help of returners from last year’s squad, both at the plate and on the mound. Starting pitcher Marcus Walden, as well as hitters Cole Freeman, Jack Reinheimer and Zach Jarrett, led Gastonia to a 10-4 victory over Frederick on Opening Night. Walden, who started nine games for Gastonia last year, was phenomenal on Friday. He went six innings pitched, allowing two runs and not walking a batter.  

The 34-year-old righty didn’t get to Gaston County until the week of his start, as he was at his home in Fresno, California. Although he wasn’t with the team, Walden made sure he did everything he could to prepare for Friday. 

“I have my own baseball facility at home,” Walden said. “I faced a lot of junior college guys back home [at] Fresno City College. I had five-ups last time I threw. I tried to get up to about 100 pitches before I got out here.” 

Walden may want to go back home and stick to his preparation routine, as it worked wonders in the opener of the 2023 season. He had excellent command all game, especially when using his sinker and slider. His sinker stayed low in the strike zone, and it was the final pitch used for three out of Walden’s six strikeouts. He got two batters to strikeout on the slider, and got other batters to chase the pitch when it was out of the strike zone all night. 

Walden stressed how important command and control have been for him, helping him get through six dominant innings without issuing a walk. 

“That’s part of the game that I tried to get better at this offseason,” Walden said. “That was our whole game plan, me and (catcher) Scott (Manea) – just attacking hitters and going after it.” 

While Walden was dealing on the bump, his offense was helping him out in a big way. The party at the dish got started before he even recorded his first strikeout. 

Cole Freeman led off the bottom of the first with a single. Then Zach Jarrett gave Honey Hunters fans a familiar sight by hitting a 413-foot home run to dead center field. Jarrett, who hit 21 homers last year, put Gastonia up 2-0 early.  

Freeman went deep himself in the third inning, his second of what ended up being a three-hit evening for Gastonia’s second baseman.  

Three batters in the top four in Gastonia’s order produced an immense amount:   Cole Freeman: 3-5, HR, two runs scored 

Jack Reinheimer: 3-5, two runs scored 

Zach Jarrett: 1-2, HR, three walks, two runs scored   “We take pride in that,” Freeman said. “It’s kind of one of those things, if we can get rolling early and spark the team.” 

Freeman batted .324 with the Hunters in 19 games played, and he’s made adjustments over the offseason to try to become even more dangerous offensively. 

“[I’m] trying to get on my back hip a little more, trying to generate a little bit more power,” Freeman said. “Just trying to stay through the ball a little more, stay on my legs.” 

The Honey Hunters blew the game open in the fifth inning, scoring five runs on three hits. The big hit – a no-doubt two-run moonshot deep to right field off the bat of lefty Steven Moya.  

Moya is new to the Honey Hunters, just like J.C. Escarra who recorded three RBI and reached base three times on Friday.  

Scott Manea reached base in all four of his plate appearances – going 1-1 with two walks and a hit-by-pitch. 

Returner Tim Naughton and new Honey Hunter Bryan Blanton each pitched clean innings in the eighth and ninth, respectively.  

The Honey Hunters won the game 10-4 against the Frederick Question Marks. 

“Question Marks” is the team name that Frederick, the lone new team to the Atlantic League in 2023, will stick with until an official team name is announced on June 23. 


Charleston 5, Staten Island 3

It was a beautiful day for a baseball game at the Staten Island ballpark. As the first pitch was thrown, the fans settled into their seats, ready to cheer on their team.

The first few innings were uneventful, with both teams failing to score. In the top of the fourth, Charleston's Yadiel Perez hit a single, but was left stranded as the next three batters were retired in order. Staten Island also had a few baserunners, but were unable to capitalize.

In the top of the sixth inning, Charleston's fortunes changed. With two outs and a runner on first, Jordan Ghelfi hit a home run, putting the first two runs on the board for Charleston. The next batter, Bradley, followed with a three-run homer, giving Charleston a 5-0 lead.

Staten Island tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the inning, with Sanchez hitting a double and Wehler hitting a single to put runners on the corners with two outs. But Charleston's pitcher, Scheetz, struck out the next batter to end the threat.

In the top of the seventh inning, Charleston's Bermudez drew a walk and then stole second base. But the next batter hit a grounder to the shortstop, who threw out Bermudez at third. Staten Island then brought in Katz to pitch, and he retired the next two batters to end the inning.

Staten Island tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, with Cespedes hitting a double and Baldwin singling to put runners on first and third with two outs. But Charleston's pitcher, Bosiokovic, struck out the final batter, ending the game with a final score of Charleston 5, Staten Island 3.

The Charleston team was elated with the win, celebrating on the field with high fives and fist bumps. They were ready to take on their next opponent with renewed confidence.


Lancaster at So. Maryland, Postponed


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