If you’ve missed this feature on the Snake Pit, don’t worry as the Minor Leagues have made a somewhat triumphant return. If you’re looking into which prospects got assigned where, check out Isaiah’s article. The organization would go 2-1 on the night, with three very close games to start off. Big changes to the system this year as Hillsboro gets bumped up from Short Season Advanced to High A, the AA affiliate moves to Amarillo, and Visalia gets bumped down a level. This helps as the team’s affiliates are all now within 1000 miles of Phoenix with Hillsboro being the farthest away.
Strikeouts were a bit of a problem, as the organization punched out 45 times while only drawing 8 walks. That’s a good ratio for pitchers, not hitters and something to keep in mind later on. Part of that may be due to the fact that these guys didn’t get a normal camp or spent a month training at the Spring Training facility instead of playing games to get into shape.
I’m going to change up the recaps, instead of 3, 2, 1, and 0 stars there will be a pitcher and hitter of the night. So these are the lucky guys who get the first honors.
Best Pitcher - Hillsboro (A+) RHP Luis Frias: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 6 K
Best Hitter - Amarillo (AA) C Dominic Miroglio: 2 for 4, 2B, 2-R HR (1), 2 R
If you live in West Texas, you’ll want to check out this squad this year with plenty of top prospects in the system that feature Alek Thomas, Geraldo Perdomo, Jake McCarthy, and Dominic Fletcher on a nightly basis. 2020 Trade Deadline acquisition Humberto Mejia would get the first start of the year, throwing 5 innings and allowing 3 runs on 4 hits with 2 walks and 6 punchouts. The long ball was a problem, although both of them were solo shots. The Amarillo offense wasn’t particularly great, but got enough runs across the board. Catcher Dominic Miroglio was at the center of their early rallies, with a double and a run scored in the 2nd and a 2-run homer in the 4th.
After the Drilllers tied things up in the 5th with their 2nd homer off Mejia, the bullpen was nails. Luis Castillo pitched a scoreless 6th after stranding the bases loaded (he must have learned something from Richard Bleier). Alek Thomas would open up the 7th with a double and would move up to 3rd despite Thomas’ attempts to TOOTBLAN on a ground ball to SS. Jake McCarthy would laugh at the Dodgers’ AA 2B’s missed catch by ripping a single to RF to score Thomas as the eventual winning run. With the lead, Chester Pimentel and Junior Garcia would combine for 3 perfect innings to ensure no comeback would happen.
Alek Thomas: 2 for 5, 2B, 2 K
Geraldo Perdomo: 0 for 5, 2 K
Jake McCarthy: 1 for 5, RBI, 3 K
Dominic Fletcher: 1 for 4, BB, 3 K
Humberto Mejia: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 6 K, 2 HR allowed
If you liked dominant pitching, this game provided it. Luis Frias would return to his old stomping grounds and twirl five outstanding innings with 1 run and 3 hits allowed. He walked 3 and struck out 6 in his outings, highlighting both the positives and negatives on his game. Hillsboro would score 3 times in the 4th, thanks to Corbin Carroll’s wheels. After a one out single, he would steal second and score on Blaze Alexander’s single to right. Three pitches later, Dominic Canzone would smoke a pitch into the right center field stands to triple their lead to 3.
After Frias left the game, he handed a 3-1 lead to the bullpen. Blake Workman worked 2 scoreless innings with 1 hit and 3 punchouts on the mound. Kyler Stout would pitch the 8th, but two walks prompted a pitching change to Nick Snyder. Snyder would retire the only batter he faced in the 8th and Alexander would get the lead back to 3 with a homer to dead center. Snyder would retire the side in order in the 9th to secure his first save of the year.
Corbin Carroll: 1 for 4, SB, R, 2 K
Blaze Alexander: 2 for 4, 2 R, solo HR (1)
Luis Frias: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 6 K
While the higher affiliates were engaged in pitcher duels, this game was a slugfest. Visalia would score twice in the first as Sheng-Ping Chen would rip a line drive just past the reach of Robert Hassell III for a 2-run double. That lead wouldn’t last long as Austin Pope would allow 4 runs to cross in the 4th inning and 5 runs in total over 3 1⁄3 innings. Visalia would counter when Ronny Simon connected on a 3-run homer to tie the game at 5.
Visalia would score in the bottom of the 5th, only to cough up the lead in the 6th. This seemed to be a pattern in this game. After a 2-out RBI single by Chen, the Storm would score in the 6th to re-tie the game at 6. The game remained tied until Jorge Barrosa clubbed a 1-1 pitch out of the park for his first homer of the year and gave Visalia a 7-6 lead with 6 outs to get. That lead lasted all of 3 batters as a leadoff walk would score on a 2-run homer. Harrison Francis would walk 3 and had to be lifted with 2 outs in the inning in favor of Michel Gelabert. Gelabert would get the final 4 outs, but damage done. Visalia would not score again in this game despite having a good chance in the 8th after a pair of walks.
Wilderd Patino: 0 for 3, BB, SB, 2 R, 3 K
A.J. Vukovich: 0 for 5, 3 K