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Minor League Recap - AA Sod Poodles 4, Missions 5: Even a Blind Squirrel...

Annie Rice/Caller-Times via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Slade Cecconi pitches a decent game outside of an all-around shoddy first inning. Corbin Carroll and the rest of the Sod Poodle hitters never quite get going, but do manage to tie the game in the 7th inning, only for a light hitting, slick fielding Padres shortstop prospect to walk it off with a 9th inning home run on the first pitch he sees.

My Father's Day afternoon was spent attending the San Diego Padres AA affiliate San Antonio Missions host the D'backs' Amarillo Sod Poodles for the finale of their 6 game series. I really didn't have many expectations going into the game, given how hot of a day it was and that I had never been to a minor league game, but was pleasantly surprised by the pace of the game and the relative quality of play. Granted - it was somewhat of a pitchers duel minus the home half of the 1st inning, without many walks or strikeouts, but to finish a game in 2 1/2 hours was a treat! (And my 5 year old son stayed engaged the entire time!)

Box Score

Overall, despite batting averages and OPS heavily favoring the Sod Poodles hitters, the Missions just played a smarter, crisper brand of ball. The Sod Poodles made defensive mistakes in the 1st inning (on a Corbin Carroll throwing error) and the 3rd inning (on a Juan Centeno attempted throw behind the runner at 1st base which allowed the runner on 2nd to advance to 3rd), which gave the Missions extra bases that they capitalized on with 2-out hits for 3 runs total. On the other side of the diamond, I was impressed with how easily the Missions middle infielders (Connor Kaiser from Vandy at SS, and Domingo Leyba at 2B) made their fielding attempts look.

Slade Cecconi started for the Sod Poodles, and had an up and down outing despite going 6 2/3 inning and throwing 96 pitches. Like most lower level pitching prospects, I imagine, he just had stretches where he seemed to struggle with overthrowing - which led to 3 walks and 2 HBP, a few of those contributing to the 2 early innings where the Missions scored.

Unfortunately, the Sod Poodles couldn't give him much run support until the 6th and 7th innings. Leandro Cedeno got us within striking distance in the 6th with a 1 out, 2 run homerun to right field, and then Drew Stankiewicz tied it in the 7th inning with a 1 out double to drive in Elvis Peralta. After Stankiewicz moved up to 3rd base on a wild pitch, however, Corbin Carroll couldn't get him in against the first relief pitcher brought in, a left handed reliever - part of his 0 for 4 day at the plate, including 2 K's, a foul-out, and a flyout.

The best defensive play of the Sod Poodles day came in the bottom of the 7th with Roby Enriquez gunning down a Missions runner trying to score from 2nd on a 2 out hit, thus preserving the tie. The Sod Poodles had pulled Cecconi at this point for LHP Mack Lemieux, so lefties on both teams had done their job.

The Sod Poodles had a chance to take the lead in the 9th inning after a leadoff double, but a failed bunt attempt, flyout, IBB to Corbin Carroll, and another flyout later, we were headed to the bottom of the 9th.

I had just barely finished remarking to my brother-in-law that Missions SS Connor Kaiser, for being a good fielder, was batting .170 on the year, 0 for 3 on the day, but might find a nut once in awhile... when he turned on the first pitch from Junior Garcia and deposited it on the grass berm in left field for a walkoff HR. Which made my son happy, being the first professional baseball game attended that he actually understood (others were an Astros-Athletics game as an infant in 2017 and a Diamondbacks-Rockies tilt from 2019). Plus we got to run the bases after the game, and he got applauded by the sections near us for giving the foul ball we got to a little girl. All in all, despite the loss - a good time!