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Old 10-01-2018, 03:37 PM   #2621
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Raccoons (44-38) @ Loggers (36-45) – July 6-9, 2026

There was nothing going on in Milwaukee anymore in July, which was rather ordinary when you looked back at the last five decades. The Loggers sat 15 1/2 games out and were just taking care that their ballpark wouldn't fall over in the middle of the night. Oh, and they were in the middle of a 12-game losing streak that the Raccoons were almost guaranteed to end for them as they game in for four games, the first half of the traditional All Star Game embracing four-and-four with one of their CL North opponents. The season series was even, 2-2.

Projected matchups:
Rin Nomura (1-2, 3.00 ERA) vs. Philip Rogers (2-4, 4.95 ERA)
Mark Roberts (8-6, 2.59 ERA) vs. Mark Dempsey (3-6, 4.81 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (8-3, 3.89 ERA) vs. Jorge Villalobos (8-3, 2.36 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (5-4, 3.31 ERA) vs. Danny Soto (5-3, 4.36 ERA)

All of these starters were right-handed. The Loggers were adding injury to insult as well and were missing some of their best personnel, including Ian Prevost and Ian Coleman, but also plucky infielders Jeff Rinehart and Danny Mancia.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Kopp – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – LF Gerace – P Nomura
MIL: SS Ferrer – CF S. Green – 1B Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – 2B I. Flores – RF R. Amador – C Salazar – 3B Mesa – P Rogers

The Loggers would lead 1-0 after five innings, the lone run the product of a Manny Ferrer double to begin the third inning, followed by two strikeouts and a terrible bloop by Willie Trevino that fell for a 2-out RBI single. Both teams had squandered opportunities along the way. Nunley had speared a sharp bouncer by Philip Rogers with a pair in scoring position and two outs in the bottom 2nd, while the Raccoons had placed Justin Gerace on third base after he reached on an uncaught third strike leading off the third inning, was bunted over, advanced on Ramos' single, and then they were left there on Spencer's lineout into the mitten off Ferrer, and a weak grounder by Abel Mora. Top 6th, Spencer and Mora went to the corners with nobody out, another prime chance to worsen my depression. Alas, this time was different – Terry Kopp belted a no-doubter, and the Coons had a 3-1 lead. Kopp came up again the next inning with Ramos and Spencer in scoring position and one out, and the Loggers wanted no part of him. Gomez popped out with the bags full, but Nunley doubled into the gap in right-center. Roberto Amador cut the ball off before it reached the deeper regions of the park, then threw out Kopp at home, but by then the Coons had plated two more runs to lead 5-1. That was soon 5-2 on John Salazar's leadoff jack in the bottom of the inning, but Nomura, who had started the game with two first-inning walks before reeling himself in and pitching much better in the later innings, got through the seventh alright after that. Ricky Ohl got the ball in the bottom 8th, but a Trevino single and an Ivan Flores walk brought up the tying run. Brotman replaced him, got great support from Kopp with a defensive gem at first base on Roberto Amador's fast bouncer, then struck out Salazar to escape the jam. That still left ample time for disaster in the ninth. Brotman faced Alex Mesa and allowed a single, then was kicked for Snyder with the right-handers coming up. Ken Hanagriff singled to left, Manny Ferrer singled up the middle. Bases loaded, nobody out in a 3-run game. Pinch-hitter Alexis Rueda struck out, which was a bit of a break, and then Ron Tadlock brought in a run with a fly to Gerace, but that was also the second out. Snyder prevailed in a full count against Trevino, his second K of the inning also ending the game. 5-3 Coons. Ramos 2-5; Spencer 2-4; Nomura 7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, W (2-2);

Interlude: Trade

Nothing to get excited about, really. The Raccoons picked up 31-year-old OF Matt Jamieson (.220, 3 HR, 17 RBI) from the Pacifics in exchange for MR Jeff Mudge (2-1, 6.39 ERA, 2 SV) and a pretty bad 21-year-old single-A … I hesitate to call him "prospect". Angel Salazar cost $56,000 in the 2021 IFA period and hasn't been worth it.

Anyway, the table cloth was cut between the Coons and Mudge and he had to go. Outright release was not an option, so we traded our 2-year burden for a 1-year burden in Jamieson. Also, with Jon Gonzalez probably lost for the entire season, there is still room to prove himself in the outfield with us, since Terry Kopp will likely play most of the time at first base.

Justin Gerace was demoted to make room on the active roster.

Raccoons (44-38) @ Loggers (36-45) – July 6-9, 2026

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – LF Mora – 1B Kopp – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – CF Magallanes – P Roberts
MIL: SS Ferrer – CF S. Green – 1B Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – C J. Young – RF R. Amador – 2B Berntson – 3B Mesa – P Dempsey

The Coons not only put their first three batters aboard with a triple, infield single (that didn't score Ramos), and walk, but also got Terry Kopp to draw a walk to push home Ramos after all before they chocked wholly and completely. Gomez struck out, Nunley hit into a double play. Mr. Triple Crown, whose last win had come in MAY, probably would have liked the additional support. Dempsey lasted only 2.2 innings, but not for putting too many runners aboard, but rather had to be removed for injury concerns. Koto Hayashi replaced him and surrendered a 2-out RBI single to Rafael Gomez, who scored Ramos from second, that went on Dempsey's ledger before Nunley's grounder to second base closed the inning and said ledger. That was not the last injury for the Loggers, who also lost Ferrer on a defensive play in the fourth inning. He was replaced by Ivan Flores.

Roberts allowed no base hits in the first three innings, then allowed four to begin the bottom 4th. Sam Green singled, Tadlock homered, and a 3-0 lead became 3-2, which in turn became endangered after Trevino and Jim Young went to the corners after two more singles. Roberto Amador popped out, but Jon Berntson looped a nasty one onto the leftfield line from where it went past a confused Mora and into the corner for a score-flipping triple. At least Roberts struck out Mesa and Hanagriff, but damage had definitely been done. The Raccoons were not as stunned as one would expect and loaded the bases in the following inning, although admittedly their 1-out sequence began with a Mesa error that put Kopp on first base. Gomez walked, Nunley singled, pulling up O'Dell in the prime spot. O'Dell hit Travis Feider's first pitch over the second base bag for an RBI single, and then Magallanes chopped the ball into a double play… They were batting almost as if Mark Roberts wouldn't find a loss on his own; he hit Ivan Flores to begin the bottom 5th, then served up a homer to Green, falling behind yet again, 6-4. He was not seen again after the fifth, having been pinch-hit for in the top of the sixth. Ramos and Spencer reached scoring position on a single and a double. Neither scored.

The Coons continued to dazzle with their reluctance to go for the big inning. Gomez and Nunley opened the seventh with singles, going to the corners. O'Dell racked another pitch for a double play, scoring Gomez, but not helping the cause. Magallanes even reached base on a walk, and then Matt Jamieson, in his first appearance as a Critter, struck out. Way to get yourself endeared, Matt! Top 9th, Joe Moore faced his former team with a 6-5 lead and Kopp leading off. Terry singled through Tadlock, which opened us up for all sorts of disappointment. Gomez' walk made it worse. When Matt Nunley looped a ball to shallow center, Rueda missed in on a dive and played the single into an RBI double, it was surely going to implode in our face any second now! O'Dell's sac fly was only a prelude to future ravaging! Kyle Koel's 2-out RBI double was nothing but a farce to make our fall that much deeper! No, Ricky Ohl struck out the side in the bottom 9th. 8-6 Raccoons. Ramos 3-6, 3B; Spencer 2-5, 2B; Gomez 2-3, 2 BB, RBI; Nunley 3-5, 2B, RBI; O'Dell 2-4, 2 RBI; Koel (PH) 1-1, 2B, RBI; Boles 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, W (1-0);

That is a 14-game losing streak for the Loggers. Their mere sight made me sad. Finish them off quickly so we can get outta here.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Kopp – RF Gomez – 3B Nunley – LF Jamieson – C Burrows – P Gutierrez
MIL: SS Salazar – RF R. Amador – 1B Tadlock – C J. Young – 2B I. Flores – CF Hanagriff – LF Rueda – 3B Mesa – P Villalobos

Spencer doubled home Ramos in the first inning for a quick 1-0 lead for the Coons as they tried to deepen Milwaukee's misery to 15. Jamieson hit a single for his first base knock as a Critter in the second inning, but the Coons only returned to scoring in the third, with another Spencer double, a wild pitch, and Mora's run-scoring groundout that made it 2-0 for Rico, who had also seen his share of trouble recently, but was holding the Loggers to two hits through three innings while striking out four.

The knell was that much more violent when it actually happened in the fifth because of how smooth Rico had been before that. Hanagriff single, Rueda double, tying run up with no outs. Mesa's sac fly, then a suicide squeeze on which the battery fell asleep to plate the second run. Tied game. John Salazar singled. Amador singled, loading the bases. And then Tadlock struck out. And Young struck out. Three stranded, game tied at two after an inning that lasted only 29 pitches, but felt like 92. We almost felt like survivors until Rueda, Mesa, and VILLALOBOS rapped off 2-out singles to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom 6th. Can the Coons ever catch a break? No, their clumsy attempts were wholly abortive. Gomez hit a leadoff single off Villalobos in the eighth, only for the next three Raccoons to strike out. Spencer hit a 2-out single in the ninth. Mora struck out. 3-2 Loggers. Ramos 2-5; Spencer 3-5, 2 2B, RBI; Legleiter 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K;

This will be a pretty good team once I find a few capable batters to line up behind Ramos and Spencer, and once I get rid of all the pitchers out of the "explosive diarrhea" category, Pitchers of the Year or not…

Suddenly, a southpaw cropped up on Thursday, with Ben Jacobson (8-8, 4.61 ERA) having been claimed off waivers by the Crusaders and being put into a Loggers uni.

Game 4
POR: 2B Spencer – SS Stalker – CF Gomez – RF Kopp – C O'Dell – LF Jamieson – 1B Koel – 3B Bullock – P Anderson
MIL: CF S. Green – C J. Young – SS Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – 3B Mesa – 2B I. Flores – RF Rueda – 1B Aquino – P Jacobson

The Coons' 3-4-5-6 batters all chained up hits with two outs in the opening inning, bringing in three runs in total as Gomez and Kopp singled softly, O'Dell hit a hard RBI double to right, and Jamieson a well-placed 2-run single to left. By the third, the Loggers were on the board as well when Tadlock brought in Sam Green with a sac fly. It was not just a sac fly; Rafael Gomez slammed face first into the fence after making the catch in deepest centerfield, then numbly fell to the ground … but kept the ball in his glove. He had to be carted off the field and was replaced by Mora.

While that sucked, maybe the Coons could at least wrap up the series. Anderson walked Ivan Flores in the bottom 4th, but Rueda lined to Kyle Koel, who not only shagged the ball, but also found time and balance to tag out an already-started Flores for an inning-ending double play. Top 5th, Stalker doubled with one out, then scored on Kopp's single, 4-1, but the Loggers still had grit. The bottom 5th saw Wilson Aquino hit a leadoff double while Anderson was coming apart slowly. He would issue two walks in the inning, allowed a few rockets, and a Jamieson throwing error also aided the Loggers to score two and get back within one before Mesa grounded out to Spencer to strand a pair. Oh well, what was the sixth inning for if not for flipping the score there? Leadoff walk to Flores, infield single by Rueda, and you just knew this was gonna be good. Aquino's groundout advanced the runners, Jacobson tied the game with a sac fly (because don't you suckers dare ever striking out a ****ing pitcher!), and Sam Green's 2-out single put Milwaukee on top. That was all for Anderson, who was hanging for the loss with the way the Raccoons were batting in the top 7th. Surginer surrendered a 2-out run to Mesa in the bottom 7th, and when the Coons got Mora aboard with a leadoff single in the eighth, Kopp was on pat to smack into a double play. The Loggers got another run off Legleiter in the eighth… not that it mattered… 7-4 Loggers. Gomez 1-2; Kopp 2-4, RBI; O'Dell 2-4, 2B, RBI;

Raccoons (46-40) @ Crusaders (48-38) – July 10-12, 2026

We were up 7-2 against New York this year, but I was not going to take anything for granted anymore. The Crusaders sat fourth in runs scored, but were allowing the fewest runs in the Continental League as they tried to catch the elusive Elks.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (6-3, 2.52 ERA) vs. Mike Rutkowski (9-4, 2.11 ERA)
Rin Nomura (2-2, 2.91 ERA) vs. Carlos Marron (8-4, 1.78 ERA)
TBD vs. Eddie Cannon (7-6, 4.21 ERA)

More right-handers to come. For Portland, Sunday's starter depended on whether Mark Roberts (8-6, 2.93 ERA) was an All Star. I was not sold on the idea, but who knows – these selectors are routinely drunk beyond recognition. If Roberts gets picked, then the start could go to either Alvin Smith or Lance Legleiter.

The Crusaders came in having acquired infielder Mike Kane (.271, 3 HR, 22 RBI) from the Titans in exchange for SP Matt Rosenthal (8-7, 4.34 ERA). They could use a few batters, because between Sergio Valdez, Nate Ellis, Roger Allen, Robby Soto, and Juan Espinosa they had five quality bats on the DL.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Kopp – 3B Nunley – RF Jamieson – C O'Dell – 2B Stalker – P Delgadillo
NYC: CF Douglas – 2B McWhorter – 3B Schmit – RF Richardson – 1B Godown – C Leal – LF Shaffer – SS Kane – P Rutkowski

Lance Douglas singled, stole second, then scored on two groundouts in the opening inning, putting Portland into an early hole, and remember how they managed to choke when they had an early LEAD … Rutkowski, who drew a leadoff walk (…) in the third inning, also was perfect against Portland the first time through, so there was that. Ramos would draw a leadoff walk in the fourth inning, but Rutkowski remained on the minimum after Alberto got himself caught stealing trying to nip #21. Those shenanigans, however, stopped in the fifth inning. Terry Kopp laced a leadoff double, and then Jamieson found the rightfield corner for an RBI triple. That tied the game, and O'Dell's grounder to short put Portland ahead once Jamieson came home from third base. Not that we got to enjoy the 2-1 edge for long… Delgadillo allowed a single to Mike Kane – the Crusaders' first hit since the Douglas single – and after Rutkowski bunted into a force at second base still managed to surrender a 2-out RBI triple to Douglas…

That was it for Delgadillo in trying to grind out a win. He went seven, was hit for with Koel and one out in the eighth, Koel even singled, and then Ramos and Spencer made poor outs. We then continued with poor pitching. Josh Boles struck out J.D. Laughery to begin the bottom 8th, then walked Douglas. Ricky Ohl replaced him, got Tom McWhorter to fly out, then threw a wild pitch before walking Andy Schmit anyway. Jamie Richardson came through with an RBI double, and even though Nunley made a nice play on Justin Godown's grounder, the Crusaders were up, the Raccoons were down, brought up the middle of the order against Steve Casey in the ninth, and remained firmly down. Kopp hit a 1-out single. Nunley hit into a double play. 3-2 Crusaders. Kopp 2-4, 2B; Koel (PH) 1-1; Delgadillo 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K;

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – 1B Koel – LF Jamieson – P Nomura
NYC: CF Ugolino – 2B McWhorter – 3B Schmit – C J. Ramirez – LF I. Vega – 1B Richardson – RF Douglas – SS Kane – P Marron

While Nomura faced the minimum the first time through the order, walking Douglas who then got caught stealing, he was also interrupted by an hour-long rain delay after 39 pitches, which was not a good point to get hit with an hour of picking your pointy black nose. All the good effort went out the window anyway in the fourth inning with a 1-out single by McWhorter, after which Nomura whacked Schmit, then surrendered two RBI singles to Jose Ramirez and Ivan Vega. Oh why even bother!? And no, the Raccoons were not doing anything in this game, either. And, well, yeah, they tied the score in the top of the fifth, but how was it their merit? Nunley reached on a 2-base throwing error by McWhorter to begin the inning. After that O'Dell singled, Koel grounded out, and Jamieson was walked intentionally. Nomura grounded to first for the second out, and then Marron threw a wild pitch to score O'Dell. Yeah, very impressive hitting display…

Nomura lasted six, whiffing seven batters, then had to hope in vain hope that the Raccoons would pull something from their arse that wasn't **** in the top 7th. Nunley grounded out to short. O'Dell flew out to Fabien Ugolino. And Douglas caught Koel's lazy fly. Yeah, way to go, boys. Brotman retired the Crusaders in the bottom 7th, then saw his spot come up after Jamieson's leadoff single in the eighth against Marron, who was tougher than shoe leather and stubbornly hanging in. Brotman was left there to bunt, did so badly, and Jamieson was forced out. THEN Ramos singled. Oh dear …… I don't even know what dear. Probably deer. Spencer hit into a fielder's choice, Mora flew out to Vega. Nobody scored. PH Mike Fletcher singled off Surginer in the bottom 8th and with two outs Jose Ramirez drove a ball to deep right. I closed my eyes and sighed, but the crowd ended up moaning – Kopp had caught the ball at the fence, but that was only a prelude to Richardson's strong catch on Jamieson's 2-out drive in the top 9th. That one came with Nunley and O'Dell on base. They did not make it home… other than Ivan Vega, who hit a leadoff double off Surginer in the bottom 9th, then was singled in by Justin Godown. 3-2 Crusaders. Nunley 2-4; Jamieson 2-3, BB; Nomura 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K;

(sighs dramatically)

It gets better. Rafael Gomez fractured his hand in multiple spots when it got wedged between his body and the fence. He is probably on the pile with Gonzalez as out for the year. So here was another one for the DL. The Raccoons called up Justin Gerace again, five days after sending him back to St. Pete.

Mark Roberts made the All Star Game and thus was scratched from the Sunday start. Alvin Smith (0-0, 1.80 ERA, 1 SV) got the assignment.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Mora – 1B Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Gerace – CF Magallanes – C Burrows – P Smith
NYC: CF Ugolino – SS Kane – 3B Schmit – 1B Richardson – RF I. Vega – LF R. Torruellas – 2B Fletcher – C Leal – P Cannon

Both teams had only one base hit the first time through, and only the Raccoons did something with it. Burrows hit a leadoff single in the third inning, was bunted over, advanced on a wild pitch, then was plated by Ramos with a sac fly to Ugolino in center. That run was just as deserved as the one the Coons got in the fourth inning when Mora hit a leadoff single, Kopp struck out, Nunley grounded out to move Mora to second, and then Fletcher threw away Gerace's grounder for two bases. Not that it mattered, because the middle-innings meltdown was coming, and coming hard. Smith walked the leadoff batter Kane *and* Andy Schmit in the bottom 4th, then allowed a single to left to Jamie Richardson. Kane went for home, was thrown out by Gerace, but the runners advanced behind him and both scored on Vega's double off the wall near the foul pole in leftfield, erasing all of the Coons' shady lead.

All in all, Alvin didn't do all that bad. He lasted five innings, allowed only those two runs, and was competitive, but he was also over 90 pitches after five innings, but it was a decent performance for a spot start on short notice. Plus, he still had a chance for the win with the top 6th coming around and Mora reaching on an infield single to begin the frame against Cannon. He stole second, advanced on a groundout by Kopp, then was driven in by Nunley with a soft single over the leaping Richardson at first base. That was it for the inning with Gerace whiffing and Magallanes flying out before being removed in a quad switch. Mora to center, Kopp to right, Koel to first, and Legleiter in to pitch and bat seventh, and to issue a leadoff walk to Schmit in the bottom 6th, but the middle infield found a double play somewhere in the shards of their season to get Legleiter out of the inning.

Top 7th, Ramos earned an intentional walk as the last action by Cannon, who drilled Burrows to begin the inning, after which Koel grounded out and advanced the runner. Jon Ozier came on, rung up Spencer, but then threw an egg to Mora, and Abel hit it where it hurt, 395 feet over the fence in right-center for a 3-run bomb! Legleiter went on to work himself through another inning, and then Brotman survived the eighth despite two walks issued. The Critters won another gift run in the top 9th in which Ramos singled, stole second and raced for third on Armando Leal's throwing error, then scored when Spencer flew out to Rafael Torruellas in the gap. Would five runs be enough for Surginer, facing the bottom of the order, to not send the Coons to the All Star break on a 5-game losing streak? Tough to tell – Mike Fletcher led off with a single. Leal doubled, and this sent Snyder warming up… J.D. Laughery struck out, as did Fabien Ugolino. Jose Ramirez pinch-hit in the pitcher's spot, #2 … and went down on three strikes. 7-2 Critters. Ramos 1-2, 2 BB, RBI; Mora 3-4, BB, HR, 3 RBI; Smith 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, W (1-1); Legleiter 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K;

In other news

July 6 – The Warriors, led by the two dingers by INF Ricky Tello (.243, 5 HR, 28 RBI), out-homer the Gold Sox, 5-2, but blow a 6-run lead and lose a wicked one, 17-13. DEN RF/1B Brad Gore (.264, 8 HR, 29 RBI) drives in five on three base hits.
July 6 – DAL RF/1B Chris Hollar (.267, 7 HR, 41 RBI) might miss the rest of the month with a strained foot.
July 8 – NAS INF John Muller (.276, 3 HR, 25 RBI) is traded to the Condors along with a minor-league catcher and cash in exchange for OF Nick Hatley (.228, 3 HR, 15 RBI).
July 9 – The Canadiens beat the Indians, 6-5, when IND MR Mike Lake (1-3, 4.99 ERA, 2 SV) issues a walkoff balk to awards home plate to OF/2B/1B Ted Gura (.261, 3 HR, 31 RBI) on third base.
July 9 – The Blue Sox send another player to the Condors, this time SP Adam Potter (5-9, 5.38 ERA) for two prospects, including #89 SP Mario Gonzalez.
July 10 – SFW MR Tony Cash (4-3, 3.18 ERA) ends a 10-inning game against the Pacifics with a wild pitch that allows LAP 1B Allen Retzer (.243, 1 HR, 21 RBI) to score and L.A. to walk off, 3-2.

Complaints and stuff

With the arrival of Matt Jamieson in addition to f.e. Kyle Koel, the feeling, no, the screaming question of who the heck were these people on the roster, and were they getting paid for being awful, too, continues to intensify. Good thing the team collapsed BEFORE everybody got hurt. Otherwise we'd blame it on the baseball gods again, when it fact it was just the personnel that was again not up to snuff. I wonder whether a dead mammoth, buried under frozen tundra for 11,000 years, has more dead inertia than this ****ing team… oh well, at least Cookie comes off the DL after the All Star Game, so maybe he can give us … uhm… good vibes?

Only two All Stars on this team; one has already been named – Roberts – and the other is Jonathan Snyder, who has only 11 saves, but what do I know about baseball?

With Gomez and Gonzalez both out for the season and the rest of the team being what it is, the season is now officially in the bin. No point in trading up when your team is playing like raw ass for six weeks straight, you are down a few of your better hitters, and you are trailing three teams by a handful or more.

Oh well, yeah, there's always next year.

And at times, there was a loaded gun in this top drawer, but – (pulls open drawer) … but these days…. Maud! – MAUD!!

In the nearer future, we will have four at home with the Loggers on the other side of the break, then three more with Indy before we will tour the Southeast in Atlanta and Charlotte. August will be weird; we have only seven scheduled road games in August.

Fun Fact: We are 154-146 against the Crusaders since the end of the 2009 season.

Keith Ayers – OUT AT HOME.

Nope, still haven't unseen that.
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Old 10-03-2018, 02:17 PM   #2622
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Before the All Star Game even broke, the Coons demoted Juan Magallanes, batting a beefy .122, back to St. Pete to bring Cookie Carmona back from the DL.

All Star Game

Tijuana's Shane Sanks wins MVP honors in the 2026 All Star Game on the strength of two base hits … including a walkoff grand slam off Topeka's Mike Baker. Sanks drive in five runs in total in the game which ends a 9-5 Continental League victory.

Four of those five FL runs were on Raccoons; Mark Roberts surrendered a pair in the first inning, and Jonathan Snyder surrendered two more in the fifth…

Raccoons (47-42) vs. Loggers (40-48) – July 16-19, 2026

With the season series even at four and neither team having much to look forward to anymore, this was the first series of the rest of the year. The ruffled Raccoons would host the third-worst offense in the Continental League, not helped out by thoroughly average pitching all too much.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (8-4, 3.92 ERA) vs. Ben Jacobson (9-8, 4.60 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (6-3, 2.52 ERA) vs. Danny Soto (6-3, 4.06 ERA)
Mark Roberts (8-6, 2.93 ERA) vs. Joe West (2-4, 4.26 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (5-5, 3.58 ERA) vs. Philip Rogers (2-6, 5.60 ERA)

Their only left-handed starter would lead off the series, after which it would only be righties.

And then there was the slight hiccup with land down under in torrential rain on the Thursday after the All Star Game. The game was wiped out and a double header scheduled for Friday, although ill weather was expected to last throughout the weekend.

Game 1
MIL: CF S. Green – 3B Mesa – SS Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – C J. Young – 2B Berntson – RF I. Flores – 1B Aquino – P Jacobson
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – CF Mora – C O'Dell – 1B Kopp – RF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – 2B Stalker – P Gutierrez

Rico Gutierrez retired 14 straight a day late, then Jon Berntson singled to centerfield with two outs in the fifth. Ivan Flores' groundout ended the inning anyway before the Coons' fragile 1-0 lead, courtesy of Brett O'Dell going yard in the fourth, could become seriously endangered. Offense remained slow through six and limited to solo home runs; Matt Jamieson hit the only other one in the middle innings, that one coming in the bottom of the sixth; it was also his first one in Portland. While Rico kept the Loggers appreciably short, the Coons had something going, more or less, in the bottom 7th. Tim Stalker hit a leadoff single, then got forced on a poor bunt. However, Ramos and Spencer both singled to load the bags with one gone for Abel Mora, who was 0-3 with 2 K and hit for by Kyle Koel, because we were wicked like that! Koel coaxed a walk from Jacobson before O'Dell bounced into an all too likely double play, keeping the score at 3-0 for Rico. Jon Berntson was the only guy able to hit Rico apparently; he legged out an infield single in the top 8th, then was wrapped up on Flores' grounder to Stalker for a 4-6-3 inning-killer. While Rico was the hottest **** on the block at this very moment and wouldn't have come out of the game anyway, Terry Kopp took off the save opportunity with a homer off Lisuarte Paradela in the bottom 8th. Wilson Aquino, Ken Hanagriff, and Sam Green went down in order in the ninth. 4-0 Furballs! O'Dell 2-4, HR, RBI; Jamieson 3-4, HR, 2B, RBI; Stalker 2-2, 2 BB; Koel (PH) 0-0, BB, RBI; Gutierrez 9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, W (9-4);

Rico blanked the Loggers on 85 pitches (!) for his sixth career shutout, first one this season.

Game 2
MIL: CF S. Green – RF R. Amador – SS Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – 3B Mesa – 2B I. Flores – C Salazar – 1B Aquino – P D. Soto
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – CF Mora – 1B Kopp – 3B Nunley – RF Carmona – LF Gerace – C Burrows – P Delgadillo

Delgadillo conceded a run in the second inning on the best plays of all, a 2-out RBI single by the opposing pitcher, that one plating Flores, who had hit a 1-out single earlier. John Salazar had also walked in the inning. The Coons would tie the game the following inning when Ramos got on with a walk, then scored on 2-out singles by Mora and Kopp, but the grief was soon back with Portland, who lost Delgadillo to injury by the fourth inning. The elbow was barking apparently. Yes, the surgically stitched one.

Under the gloom of doom, the bullpen got involved in this second leg of a Friday double header. Billy Brotman inherited two on with one out, got Wilson Aquino on a soft fly to Mora, then would have gotten Soto on a grounder to short if Ramos hadn't thrown it into Stalker's face to make the positionally shifted shortstop at the keystone panic and dart for the dugout. The Loggers loaded them up on the error, but Brotman prevailed when the right-handed Green struck out in a full count. After that jam situation we turned to one of our long men (we even had three…) in Lance Legleiter, the shortest of the three long men, if that made any sense at all, who took over in the 1-1 game after Ramos grounded out to strand Gerace and Bullock on the corners in the bottom 4th. Lance got around a Ron Tadlock double in the top 5th by whiffing the next two, then again had a man on second with one out in the sixth. Aquino struck out, but Soto singled AGAIN and plated Flores AGAIN. The lead didn't last for the Loggers; Cookie led off the bottom 6th with a soft single to right, leading the home crowd to make rather much noise for unassuming base hit #2,216, but they ramped that up tremendously when Justin Gerace followed up with a blast to right-center, a score-flipper, 3-2 Portland!

Top 7th, Legleiter put Tadlock aboard again, this time with a 1-out walk. Willie Trevino popped out in foul ground, which brought up the left-handed Alex Mesa. The Coons went to Josh Boles here, and the Loggers sent Berntson, a.k.a. the reason why Rico Gutierrez was not in the ABL No-Hitter Club. Before Berntson got to do damage, Tadlock took off for second – and Burrows nailed him out to end the inning. In turn, Justin Gerace joined the still important club of hitters to bang home runs in back-to-back innings; he hit another 2-spot off David Warn in the bottom 7th, plating Terry Kopp alongside himself. Berntson didn't get to see Boles again, with Ricky Ohl taking over in the eighth. Berntson shrugged and homered off Ricky instead, cutting the gap to 5-3. Ohl managed to get the next three batters out to hand a lead over to Snyder in the ninth. Alexis Rueda to begin the ninth and Roberto Amador to end it both hit deep fly balls, but both hit them into outs to Mora and Cookie, respectively, and somehow Snyder retired the side in order. 5-3 Coons. O'Dell (PH) 1-1; Kopp 3-4, 2B, RBI; Gerace 2-3, BB, 2 HR, 4 RBI; Bullock (PH) 1-1; Legleiter 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, W (3-5);

Jarod Spencer pinch-hit for a groundout in the bottom 8th to maintain his perfect attendance record in 2026. He is the only Raccoon who has showed up in all games this year, and he has been the only one for a good long while.

The Druid diagnosed Dan Delgadillo with elbow soreness, which could mean anything and everything. He was off to the DL but was supposed to be back in early August. The Raccoons cooked up something here, and promoted top pitching prospect George James from St. Pete, where he had an ERA just under four, but Carrasco claimed he was ready for the show at 22. The right-hander (and our #7 pick two years ago) would bump Anderson from the Sunday start. He would then return to St. Pete pronto as we would get through the month on off days and/or spot starters again, probably to be called back in September.

Game 3
MIL: CF S. Green – 3B Mesa – SS Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – C J. Young – 2B Berntson – RF Rueda – 1B I. Flores – P J. West
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Jamieson – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – C O'Dell – 1B Koel – P Roberts

Had the Coons found their power stroke now, with the season easily in its fourth month? Terry Kopp opened the scoring with a 2-piece in the first inning, and they would pile another three base hits and two runs (the latter on Kyle Koel's 2-out single) on the board before Koel also ended the inning when he was picked off first base by Joe West. An inning later, Jamieson missed a homer only narrowly and was robbed at the fence by Trevino, but that was still good enough for a sac fly. With Roberts, who's last win had come during approximately the Fourth Crusade, staked to a 5-0 lead, we were sure stoked to see what would happen. Only good things, surely! For example Alexis Rueda's leadoff jack in the third… that was actually the only hit off Roberts through five, but the Loggers loaded them up on two singles and a walk in the sixth inning. Tadlock batted with one out, which was high danger, but grounded out to Nunley, who conceded a run and instead took the safe out at first base, after which Trevino grounded out to short, keeping the Critters 5-2 ahead. Roberts was not threatened again in his last two innings, leaving after eight with 105 pitches under his belt. The Raccoons suddenly awoke from a snooze of almost two hours in the bottom 8th, got Nunley on against Paradela, then Koel to double him in with two outs. Gerace grounded out in Roberts's spot, which was then taken over by Alvin Smith with a 4-run lead. Singles by Alex Mesa and Jim Young put the tying run in the on-deck circle with two outs, but Smith would still face Berntson, and then we'd have Brotman for the left-handed Rueda. Billy never got involved – to his mother's delight – with Berntson ending the game when he flew out to Cookie in leftfield. 6-2 Raccoons! Ramos 2-4; Nunley 1-2, 2 BB; Koel 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Roberts 8.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, W (9-6) and 1-3;

Game 4
MIL: CF S. Green – C J. Young – SS Tadlock – LF W. Trevino – 3B Mesa – 2B I. Flores – RF R. Amador – 1B Aquino – P Rogers
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Kopp – RF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – LF Gerace – P James

James struck out Sam Green on four pitches, his first batter in the major leagues going down for a K, and the Loggers would not reach base in the first inning. Soon after that he had his first lead, Ramos singling, advancing on Spencer's groundout and then coming home on Mora's single to center. Alex Mesa was the first guy to beat James, hitting a 1-out single in the top 2nd, and Roberto Amador added himself to the firsts with a walk drawn with two down. Wilson Aquino, however, struck out, ending that inning, too. After three, he had four strikeouts on his ledger, the Loggers looked bad, but then again James had been called up roughly 24 hours earlier and the Loggers probably had not expected him up at such short notice and likely hadn’t been prepared with video material… but that swift start would not be the most amazing thing happening on that Sunday. In the bottom of the third, it was James' first time at bat, leading off against Philip Rogers, who threw right down the middle and soon learned that you're not doing that to a 22-year-old debutee pitcher. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause – George James took a 93mph heater and barraged it over the leftfield fence for a leadoff jack, much to the ecstasy of the assembled crowd … and myself no less! YES, WE GOT A SLUGGER!!

Meanwhile the rest of the batting was not very excitable as far as the Critters were concerned. They got Ramos and Spencer to the corners with two outs in the fifth, but Mora flew out to center, and the Loggers were taking better aim at James in the middle innings, too. Roberto Amador had a very deep out in the fourth, stranding a runner, and they also left Trevino on second base in the sixth. How much deeper to push the debutee? Might also depend on offense, but he was only over 80 pitches through six and would be good for more. Bottom 6th, Kopp smacked a single to center and then Jamieson hit one up the rightfield line for a double. Nobody out, runners in scoring position for Nunley, who had popped out with Jamieson on third and one out his last time up, now whiffed. O'Dell flew out to left, Kopp was sent and thrown out, and the Coons didn't score. George James got through the 6-7-8 batters without ill events in the seventh, K'ing Aquino to get to the stretch, and we decided that this would constitute a wonderful story and a job well done – not even the Agitator would be able to poke holes into this! Ricky Ohl did the honors in the eighth, which set up Snyder to face the meat of the order in the ninth. Tadlock swung and missed a 3-2 to start the inning, Trevino grounded out to the mound, and then Snyder nicked Mesa with an 0-1 pitch. Flores came up as the tying run, batting .218 and sinking, especially after being struck out by Snyder to complete the 4-game sweep. 2-0 Furballs! Ramos 2-4; Jamieson 2-3, 3B, 2B; James 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K, W (1-0) and 1-2, HR, RBI;

George! James! George! James! George! James!

In other news

July 13 – The Crusaders trade MR Jon Ozier (1-0, 3.96 ERA) to the Falcons for two prospects.
July 14 – Pacifics and Knights exchange veterans as SP Brian Cope (4-7, 3.59 ERA) goes to L.A. in exchange for RF D.J. Fullerton (.391, 3 HR, 29 in 69 AB) and a prospect.
July 16 – Four hits, three walks, and two errors help the Condors to a 6-run, comeback eighth inning against the Falcons, and are enough for a 6-5 win. The Condors only have one more base hit in the ballgame.
July 18 – The Cyclones relax after a 7-run opening inning and still beat the Rebels comfortably, 12-1. Cincy's LF Ray Meade (.266, 10 HR, 44 RBI) drives in five runs on two homers.
July 19 – OCT 3B/SS Lorenzo Rivera (.292, 2 HR, 39 RBI) has a 20-game hitting streak after connecting once in a 3-2 win over the Knights.
July 19 – WAS OF Jeremy Houghtaling (.246, 8 HR, 37 RBI) collects four hits and as many RBI in the Capitals' 13-0 rout of the Blue Sox.
July 19 – Season over for SFB MR Alex Cordova (1-1, 3.91 ERA, 1 SV), who has been diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff.

Complaints and stuff

Some more detail on everybody's new favorite toy, George James. Funny story. His middle name is Edward. His father's name is Henry. And his mother's maiden name is Richard, no S attached. That is most of 1,000 years of English kings since the Norman Invasion assembled here. No-not that I am a fan of monarchy! Liberty, ya-ay!

And he can let 'er rip!

Mark Roberts is a winner again! It had been merely 50 days since he had last down a team, in that case the Bayhawks. In between he had gone 0-4 in seven starts, with a few real clunkers among them, but also a 1-0 loss mixed in. His ERA had still been not worthy of a Pitcher of the Year: 5.49! Yikes!

That prospect in the Cope/Fullerton deal? Angel Salazar. He was also the prospect in the Jamieson/Mudge deal, a trade that looks really good right now with Jamieson batting .440 since coming over (with Mudge, who shaved once he arrived in Cali, unscored upon in 6.2 innings for L.A.). Usually this works the other way round with the Raccoons, so I can only guess that Jamieson is mere minutes away from having both legs and an arm torn off in a household accident involving a toaster, a fork, and a third, mystery utensil.

Fun Fact: The Loggers really hate Rico Gutierrez, who has thrown four shutouts against them in his career.

That is 67% of all his shutouts, as indicated above, and the 2-hitter on Friday was also the closest he came to a no-nothing. He has never shut out a team outside the North, with the Indians and Elks also on his ledger.
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Old 10-06-2018, 06:16 PM   #2623
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The week began with a roster change. The Raccoons sent George James back to St. Petersburg after his delightful major league debut. There would be more of him about six weeks from now, but the Raccoons had off days both this Thursday and next Monday and could well scrape by on just four starters until the end of the month. The Raccoons added an additional left-handed reliever in Hector Morales, who got into a total of 22 games with Portland between 2023 and 2024, pitching to a 4.08 ERA, but with 5.6 walks per nine innings. Recent numbers in St. Pete and Ham Lake indicated that things had not improved for the 26-year-old.

Jon Gonzalez was moved to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster, so there's a hint about late-season availability for the alleged slugger.

Raccoons (51-42) vs. Indians (37-53) – July 20-22, 2026

Who better to face than the miserly Indians with the Coons now on a 5-game winning streak once again? Indy was not going anywhere, mired second from the bottom in runs scored in the Continental League, which was not something average pitching was going to solve. And they were pitching just barely around the league average, too. The Raccoons had a 6-3 lead in the season series and eager to build on that, so all was well, right? Well… after three months of getting kicked and battered, the Indians were actually 10-7 in July…

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (5-5, 3.58 ERA) vs. Myles Mood (4-0, 2.67 ERA)
Rin Nomura (2-2, 2.92 ERA) vs. Tom Shumway (6-10, 3.65 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (9-4, 3.64 ERA) vs. John McInerney (6-8, 3.45 ERA)

A right-handed spot starter in Mood, who got the assignment with injuries to Mark Matthews and Brian Leser, then two southpaws. We actually hadn't seen Shumway in a long time…

Game 1
IND: CF Zanches – 3B C. Castro – RF Good – 1B Herlihy – C T. Perez – LF Kaczenski – 2B Folk – SS Pizano – P Mood
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – 1B Kopp – RF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – LF Carmona – P Anderson

The Raccoons posed no threat early on except for Alberto Ramos with a leadoff double in the first and a 2-out walk in the third, and general ignorance at his presence on base. The Indians didn't do much either in the early going, except for Tony Perez' leadoff single in the second, and a 4-pitch walk to Gary Kaczenski issued by Anderson. Soft and easy contact to the outfielders kept the Indians in check then, but trouble was brewing in the fifth inning with Mario Pizano's leadoff double into the left-center gap. He advanced on the bunt by Myles Mood, but then Alex Zanches popped a pitch to Matt Nunley for the second out. Maybe things would turn out okay! No, they didn't. Cesar Castro, a 24-year-old rookie with more of a defensive reputation so far, hit a shallow pop that Ramos and Mora would charge for. Neither got it, it fell for a single, and the Indians were up 1-0. Bottom of the inning, Cookie hit a single, stole second, but the days where we had personnel behind him to drive him in were long gone. Anderson grounded out to short, keeping Cookie at second base, and then Ramos failed with a grounder to Brody Folk, the despicable ex-Elk. Maybe Jarod Spencer's leadoff double up the leftfield line in the bottom 6th would bring us joy? Well, while Mood plated him with a wild pitch after Mora's groundout, the Raccoons even would have brought him in on their own after Terry Kopp's 1-out walk (generous call, but we'd take it) and Matt Jamieson doubling past Matt Good in rightfield. A walk to Nunley loaded them up, but Brett O'Dell was on pat to ground into a double play…

Bottom 7th, Cookie leading off with a double that didn't even get past Good, but the veteran was trying to force the issue now. Anderson was over 90 pitches – a job well done – and was going to be hit for. With the Coons' bench looking like the immediate aftermath of a tsunami, Kyle Koel grabbed a stick, grounded out (but advanced the runner), and the Indians were scared of the rookie shortstop and walked Ramos intentionally. There was a "no steal" on here; Cookie's run was to go ahead, and Tony Perez had some arm! Jarod Spencer got it done anyway, lining a ball into the gap between Zanches and Kaczenski and that would score both runners! While that one worked out well in the end, the Coons would have the bags full again in the bottom 8th and would bring up Koel again after the garbage pile pickup had stayed in the game at first base; now he hit into a double play, home-and-first, Ramos got another four-finger salute to bring up Spencer with three on and two out against Jose Fuentes, and Jarod came through AGAIN, lining over Castro at third base for a 2-run double! Mora struck out, ending the inning, and while the save was taken off for the moment, the Coons put it right back on. Brotman allowed a single to Kaczenski to begin the ninth, then Alvin Smith walked Folk. Third batter up, third pitcher in, this time Snyder. Three angry strikeouts for having to interrupt a hummer meal did away with the Indians. 5-1 Coons. Ramos 1-2, 3 BB, 2B; Spencer 4-5, 3 2B, 4 RBI; Carmona 3-4, 2B; Anderson 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, W (6-5);

Minus a Jamieson double, all our hits rested in Ramos, Spencer, and Cookie. Abel Mora had a particularly nasty day, going 0-for-5 with 3 K and stranding seven. How about a day or two off for you, Abel? Or twenty.

Game 2
IND: 3B C. Castro – 2B Folk – RF Duarte – SS Pizano – 1B Good – C T. Perez – LF Zanches – CF Mack – P Shumway
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – CF Jamieson – RF Kopp – 2B Stalker – 1B Koel – 3B Bullock – C Burrows – P Nomura

Again offense started out somewhere between "slow" and "none". The Raccoons had a Jamieson double in the first, but Kopp struck out, and that was it until the fourth when a Tony Perez homer put the Indians 1-0 in front. Again, that was all the other team would get off the Coons' starting pitcher, and like Anderson, Rin Nomura went seven innings in this game. He sprinkled three hits, but that was already one too many. The Coons through six also had three well-scattered and forgettable base hits, and Tom Shumway looked most excellent against them after a rough first half. Bottom 7th, leadoff walk drawn by Stalker, but Koel smacked into another double play. After that, Daniel Bullock hit a double to leftfield, but the completely irrelevant Jake Burrows flew out gingerly to Matt Tinsley in leftfield. Lance Legleiter handled two innings on just 22 pitches, with Burrows throwing out Castro trying to steal third base in the top 8th, and Tom Shumway tried to handle nine when he entered the bottom 9th against the meat of the order on his 4-hitter and a 1-0 lead. Jamieson singled, and the Indians acted at once, sending Nick Salinas in, who was walking quite a few for a closer and who's ERA was over four. He hit Terry Kopp, then got some D from Craig Mack, who spoiled a Tim Stalker drive in deep center. Jamieson advanced, putting them on the corners for Matt Nunley, who batted for Legleiter in the #6 hole and bounced straight into a double play. 1-0 Indians. Jamieson 2-4, 2B; Nomura 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, L (2-3) and 1-1; Legleiter 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K;

What a forgettable team…

The following day, Rin Nomura's interpreter inquired why the team's lousy batting display had them not punished by standing in the steaming sun with winter parkas on the entire day. This supposedly was how youth coaches handled gross incompetence in Japan. I was believing in an error in translation there, but then again, the idea sounded nice to me…

Game 3
IND: 3B C. Castro – 2B Folk – RF Duarte – SS Pizano – 1B Good – C T. Perez – LF Kaczenski – CF Mack – P McInerney
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – CF Jamieson – 1B Kopp – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – RF Carmona – P Gutierrez

For once, the Raccoons scored first; Matt Jamieson was the early hero in the rubber game, homering for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the opening frame, and then threw out Pizano at home plate on Perez' wannabe sac fly in the second inning. Pizano had reached on a Stalker error and had stolen his 20th bag off O'Dell before tagging up on the fly that was not quite deep enough and ended the top 2nd on an 8-2 double play. That was also IT for Jamieson's heroics; he was gone by the third inning, having left the contest with back spasms. Abel Mora entered the game after all.

The Indians kept looking bad; Kaczenski ended the third inning like Pizano had ended the second, with being thrown out at home plate, this one by Cookie Carmona. While Rico Gutierrez carefully moved through the middle innings while displaying little in terms of stuff – he whiffed only two through six innings, and that included one instance of the opposing pitcher – the Raccoons twice let doubles with less than two outs get away and didn't add to their early lead. Rico went on to unexpectedly strike out pairs in both the seventh and eighth innings, and needed only 83 pitches through eight. At this junction, and five days after his shutout against the Loggers, it dawned on me – Rico had transcended being scored upon like a mere pawn, he was surely untouchable now! All the Raccoons did in the bottom 8th was delaying the inevitable, another shutout, and he would pitch shutout after shutout for all eternity! The bottom 8th, peskily intermingling with fate itself, saw Spencer hit a single, steal second and nip third on Ricardo Vargas' throwing error, further an intentional walk to Kopp, an unintentional walk to Stalker, and Nunley batting with three on and two outs against righty Jose Fuentes. He got a ball past Castro for a 2-run single before O'Dell grounded out to end the eighth. Good, good! Bring on the progidy, the demigod! The demigod allowed a leadoff single to Vargas in the ninth, then whiffed Castro. Brody Folk popped out. Alex Duarte, the ex-Critter, singled to right – intermingling with the divine would sure see him struck down by lightning any second now. Vargas went to third and beat out Cookie's throw, as Pizano came up as the tying run. Rico got this – there was no doubt about it. Mario Pizano agreed. Devotely he snipped a ball back into Gutierrez' holy mitten, and was out by 55 feet to end the game. 3-0 Furballs! Spencer 2-4, 2B; Jamieson 1-1, HR, RBI; Gutierrez 9.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, W (10-4);

PRAISE RICO THE DIVINE! PRAY FOR HIS HOLINESS TO HAVE MERCY UPON US!

Matt Jamieson was not fatally hurt on that throw, but was day-to-day for the weekend series against the Knights.

The Raccoons made a different roster move though before the weekend, demoting Jake Burrows and bringing up Elias Tovias, who had just found his stick in AAA.

Raccoons (53-43) @ Knights (31-64) – July 24-26, 2026

The Knights had lost six in a row, only cementing their status as worst team in the Continental League even more. They were rock bottom in runs scored, third from the bottom in runs allowed, and were heading for a ghastly -200 run differential by the end of the season. The Raccoons would want to beat up on that, and so far had three wins in the bank against them in the only three games these teams had played so far this season.

Projected matchups:
Mark Roberts (9-6, 2.89 ERA) vs. Leon Hernandez (2-7, 3.70 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (6-5, 3.43 ERA) vs. Mario Rosas (7-11, 3.80 ERA)
Rin Nomura (2-3, 2.68 ERA) vs. Estevan Delgado (1-2, 4.70 ERA)

Like in the first set this week, right-left-left.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Mora – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – 1B Koel – LF Gerace – P Roberts
ATL: CF N. Hall – 3B V. Ramirez – SS Showalter – C Luna – RF G. Ramirez – 2B T. Jimenez – LF Stuckey – 1B Siebuhr – P L. Hernandez

The second inning saw Portland go up 1-0 on Koel's 2-out walk and Justin Gerace's subsequent RBI double into the corner in left, then the Knights choke after Guadalupe Ramirez' 1-out triple in the bottom of the inning. Tony Jimenez struck out, and Johnny Stuckey popped one over to Ramos to keep the tying run at third base. No, tying the game would be the honor of Jon Siebuhr, who hit a real moonshot off Roberts to begin the bottom 3rd, tying the game at one there, and in the fourth Ramirez hit another triple, this time over Mora's head, and this time the Knights didn't strand him with one out. Jimenez singled, Ramirez scored, and it was 2-1 for the home team.

Kyle Koel's leadoff single in the fifth was only the Coons' third base hit in the game, and nothing good happened immediately. Roberts would bunt him to second for as many outs after Gerace was rung up, and a wild pitch advanced the runner further before Ramos walked in a full count. Spencer beat Vinny Ramirez with a fast bouncer and two outs, and the RBI single knotted the score again. Mora inherently not useful at this point, struck out. At least the opposing teams kept playing even dumber… Nate Hall drew a walk off Roberts in the bottom 5th, then went into motion on Andrew Showalter's 2-out double to left. He went around third base for home and was tagged out by Tovias right there, Gerace's throw and Ramos' relay arriving well in time to axe the go-ahead runner for the Knights. But the offense refused to shift out of neutral, and Mark Roberts refused to stop giving up extra bases. He got around Ruben Luna's leadoff double in the sixth, mostly because Luna was a tardy runner that could not easily be sent. He did not get out of Jeremy DeFabio's leadoff double in the seventh inning. Devin Hibbard's pinch-hit single plated him, and the Knights took a 3-2 lead into the eighth with Roberts done now and on the hook once again. The middle of the order stunk it up in the eighth, then faced closer Alfredo Morua in the ninth with the highly exciting trio of Tovias (0-for-3…), Koel, and Gerace. Cookie pinch-hit to begin the inning, but flew out to Cory Briscoe in leftfield. Koel was unretired in the game (!), but struck out. Stalker hit in Gerace's place and grounded out. 3-2 Knights. Koel 2-3, BB;

No, they just aren't a playoff team. They probably never were, not even when they fraudulently got to a 32-15 record.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Stalker – LF Spencer – CF Kopp – C O'Dell – 3B Nunley – 1B Koel – RF Carmona – P Anderson
ATL: CF N. Hall – 3B V. Ramirez – C Luna – SS Showalter – LF Stuckey – 2B T. Jimenez – 1B Siebuhr – RF Briscoe – P Rosas

The Knights sure had a good chance to bury Anderson early under an unremovable of one, maybe two runs in the second inning after a single by Johnny Stuckey and a double by Tony Jimenez to begin the inning. The runners were in scoring position with no out, and they were still there with three out after Siebuhr's pop to short, Briscoe's lineout to Nunley, and then a K on a 3-2 to Rosas. Bottom 3rd, Nate Hall appeared on third base with nobody out after singling on an 0-2, stealing second, and gaining third on O'Dell's errant throw. Vinny Ramirez popped out again, but the Knights scored the run on Ruben Luna's groundout eventually, and would load the bases on two singles, an error, and then Siebuhr's K stranded three, which to recap meant that just that little bit of clutch could have seen them up by like six runs at this point.

At least the Raccoons were entirely and truly dead. They had a bloop single by Cookie in the third. They had a soft single by Ramos in the sixth. At this point, Anderson was even already gone, having expended 103 pitches in five near-nightmare innings, yet was only on a 1-0 hook. Josh Boles did the sixth, and then the Raccoons had the tying run on with nobody out after Jarod Spencer hit a leadoff single in the seventh inning, also a soft roller that fit just through the gap between Ramirez and Showalter on the left side. Kopp flew out ****tily to left. O'Dell walked on four pitches. Nunley came up, I thought about a double play, and he hit into a double play. ****ing ass, why didn't you think about a 3-run homer!!?? The bottom 7th began with a 4-pitch walk by Boles to Rosas, and the southpaw then smacked Hall, which indicated that this game was indeed really in the bin. Even then the Knights got only one run on a 2-out base hit by Andrew Showalter off Ricky Ohl, but what did another run matter when the Raccoons couldn't even out-pace zero runs against the worst team in the league? The Knights stranded another three in the bottom 8th when Stalker caught a scorched liner by Vinny Ramirez off Kevin Surginer, and the Coons carted up the top of whatever order that was supposed to be in the ninth inning, facing Morua again. Ramos flew out to center before Stalker got nailed, which – hear, hear – brought up the tying run in Jarod Spencer, ye old slugger. He flew out to Nate Hall, too, and Terry Kopp would strike out to end this ****ing game. 2-0 Knights.

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – CF Jamieson – 1B Kopp – RF Gerace – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – 2B Bullock – P Nomura
ATL: CF N. Hall – LF Stuckey – SS Showalter – C Luna – RF Briscoe – 2B T. Jimenez – 3B Hibbard – 1B DeFabio – P E. Delgado

Sunday's game was lost on Jeremy DeFabio's run-scoring groundout in the bottom of the fourth inning. It could have been worse. The bases had been loaded with nobody out after a leadoff single by Luna, a double by Briscoe, and a walk issued to Jimenez. Devin Hibbard had fouled out, but DeFabio wouldn't go down. Delgado struck out after that, so the damage was only one run, but one run was one run too many with this team that had ceased any and all hitting approximately on Tuesday. They had window-licked their way to five base hits in four innings, all singles, and had never seen third base. Poor Rin Nomura, although he had surely had other offers this winter and could have signed more or less anyway…

Nomura hit a leadoff single past Showalter to begin the fifth inning, which was for most teams the start of something beautiful, but for the Raccoons would surely once more end with the phrase "double play". Ramos grounded to Jimenez, who had no trouble turning two, and Spencer flew out gingerly to Johnny Stuckey. The Knights single-double-groundouted again in the bottom 5th, adding another RBI to Luna's ledger, and moving the game out of range for good at 2-0 since now they could even survive the unlikely, unlucky longball. You know, the one Terry Kopp hit in the sixth with absolutely nobody on base. Nomura went seven while getting absolutely no love whatsoever and was still on a 2-1 hook when he got a sad pat on the bum in the dugout. Delgado was grinning at how easy this whole pitching deal was when you were not facing a proper team as he started the top of the eighth, which put him up against the top of the lineup, which in the Coons' realm meant guys you were more disappointed about when they grounded out to the second baseman in lifeless fashion than when the guys at the bottom of the lineup did it. Ramos led off with a single to right. Ramos then stole second base, his first bag in a while, which was a byproduct of NOT HITTING A LICK. But Nomura came off the hook when Spencer singled to left, Stuckey had a slight fumble (but not errorworthy) and Ramos ignited the afterburners and screamed for home plate unimpeded, knotting the score. Delgado's grin vanished for good when Jamieson took him into the gap for a double; Spencer couldn't score because Stuckey came pretty close to that ball and Spencer had to wait at second base, and then Nate Hall was on the ball right away. Runners in scoring position, nobody out for Kopp, who grounded out to the first baseman, and then the Knights walked GERACE to get to a badly slumping Matt Nunley. On the other hand, the Knights sent a right-handed reliever in Alex Silva. Nunley didn't care; he could hit into a double play against anybody, spanked one at Hibbard, and that was it for the Coons with three on and one out.

Bottom 8th, Billy Brotman faced only Ruben Luna and surrendered a leadoff single. Great stuff. When Vinny Ramirez pinch-hit for the left-handed Briscoe, the Coons sent Ricky Ohl, who got a double play grounder, then got Jimenez to ground out. Maybe we could at least make a 19-inning brain-melter out of this one… Or maybe the Knights would beat Alvin Smith to death in the ninth. D.J. Fullerton's pinch-hit, leadoff double put them in the driver's seat in a 2-2 tie. Jose Gomez struck out. Jon Siebuhr drove a ball to deep left, but Cookie Carmona inserted himself in the path out there after pinch-hitting in Bullock's spot for no good result at all in the previous half-inning. He also caught Nate Hall's high but short fly to left after that, sending the game to extras. Freddy Heredia, another nondescript right-hander, sat down the top of the order without fuss in the top 10th, then had to bat leading off the bottom 10th because the Knights were out of bench players. Smith ran a 3-1 count on him. Then Heredia singled. Then Showalter singled, with Heredia racing for third base. Justin Gerace's throw was utterly wild, up the line, Nunley couldn't chase it down, and Heredia turned for home and scored to walk off the Knights. 3-2 Knights. Ramos 2-5; Jamieson 2-5, 2B; Kopp 2-4, HR, RBI; Tovias 2-4; Nomura 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K and 1-3;

That was 31-year-old Freddy Heredia's second career base hit.

In other news

July 22 – The Rebels' SP Rich Guerrero (11-6, 3.15 ERA) not only loses a seven-inning no-hitter, but also the game against the Miners, 1-0, on Pittsburgh's three singles in the eighth inning.
July 23 – Falcons and Bayhawks play nine scoreless innings before a pinch-hit home run by INF Raul Mendez (.247, 6 HR, 22 RBI) gives the Falcons the 1-0 win in the 10th inning.
July 23 – The Loggers deal MR Lisuarte Paradela (1-1, 3.51 ERA, 2 SV) to the Condors for two prospects.
July 25 – Oklahoma 3B/SS Lorenzo Rivera (.288, 2 HR, 40 RBI) sees his hitting streak end at 24 games in a 3-0 Thunder win over the Indians. Rivera comes to the plate four times, but does not connect even once.
July 25 – TIJ SP Alex Hichez (7-5, 3.16 ERA) and CL Tony Harrell (3-5, 2.12 ERA, 28 SV) combine for a 1-hit shutout, 3-0, of the Titans, who get their only hit with one out in the eighth inning on a single by 1B Jay Elder (.251, 3 HR, 39 RBI).
July 25 – PIT C/1B J.J. Henley (.298, 14 HR, 60 RBI) will miss the rest of the season with a broken hand.
July 26 – Three weeks on the DL is the likely outcome from a strained calf for VAN OF Brian Wojnarowski (.247, 6 HR, 27 RBI).

Complaints and stuff

50 years on, the Baseball Gods have lost the element of surprise. I always knew that any guy coming over and batting north of .400 was absolutely bound to get hurt. See Jamieson.

I don't want to talk about the offense at all. If it was legal to test the ill effects of new cosmetics on raccoons in Oregon, I'd donate all o' them to the nearest lab. 'nuff said. Just this much: the Raccoons this week scored two runs per game, OUTSCORED their opponents … and STILL had a losing week. It was THAT ****ing bad.

But, ah, pitching! Back-to-back shutouts by Rico Gutierrez! That makes it seven for his career, and still all against the North. That will change though; the Church of Rico will welcome its followers again on Tuesday, then in a road temple in Charlotte, which is an inconvenience, I will admit, but if we start the march to North Carolina right now, we can get there by first pitch. Maud says it's some 2,800 miles, so come on, come on, come on – let's go! (grabs knotted wooden stick) I shall lead the way of the procession, in person and in song! A-maaa-zin' Graaace … (marches out of the office, stick raised, with Chad and Slappy following obediently)

Fun Fact: Eight years ago today, Brian Furst no-hit the Indians in a 13-0 rout.

Furst became only the second pitcher to toss multiple no-hitters in the ABL, joining Henry Selph, and is the only player to break out both of his no-hitters with the same team, the Thunder in his case.
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:19 AM   #2624
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Entrιe: Trade

The Raccoons scooped up SAL 1B Kevin Harenberg (.305, 17 HR, 59 RBI) on Tuesday, sending three players to the Wolves: SP/MR Lance Legleiter (3-5, 4.15 ERA), AA C Elijah Bean – our 2023 first-rounder – and A OF Jesse Stedham, who had been taken in the sixth round last year. The Wolves also added $50,000 in cash to the deal, because the Raccoons were thumping against their budget with this trade.

Bean is the main loss in the panic-born deal, who could have been a potential major leaguer some way down the road. Stedham looks like nothing, and Lance Legleiter himself is not quite sure whether he has a role after all. Kyle Koel was demoted in the aftermath of the deal, while the Raccoons promoted Nick Derks to the major league roster, if only for a few days.

Harenberg can whack it. He is under a big contract through 2030, but that will be something to sort out in the offseason after we have wrapped up our third championship and first since '93.

(snickers madly)

Raccoons (53-46) @ Falcons (48-48) – July 28-30, 2026

The battered Raccoons crawled into Charlotte to face the Falcons, who they were 2-1 against in 2026, but what had being up by X helped them against the hopeless Knights? The Knights had been only hopeless until the Raccoons had crashed into Atlanta, lying motionless on the field for three straight days. The Falcons had the worst pitching in the league, which was not encouraging to me anymore, either, with the worst rotation, worst pen, and most runs allowed. They were third in runs scored, which wasn't helping them a great deal. Despite being .500, their run differential was a whopping -50.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (10-4, 3.39 ERA) vs. Doug Moffatt (5-12, 5.07 ERA)
Mark Roberts (9-7, 2.93 ERA) vs. Jesus Chavez (7-5, 3.78 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (6-6, 3.35 ERA) vs. Greg Gannon (11-6, 4.08 ERA)

Only right-handers, maybe, unless our common off day on Monday would give them thoughts about bringing left-hander J.J. Rodd (6-7, 5.67 ERA) into the series.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – LF Carmona – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Gutierrez
CHA: 3B Czachor – C A. Gonzales – 1B Fowlkes – RF Kok – LF B. Adams – 2B Pelles – SS Burns – CF Cano – P Moffatt

Inspired by the signing of Kevin Harenberg, the Raccoons did absolutely nothing in the first three innings. Matt Nunley reached base, but then only on a throwing error by Ryan Czachor, and the Raccoons weren't going to exploit this; they were playing the game the decent way or whatever. Nunley would reach on an error again his next time up, in the fourth inning. Then, the scoreless game saw three Raccoons aboard, Spencer having singled and stolen second base, Harenberg having been put on intentionally before he could do any damage, and Cookie had reached on a soft 2-out single. Nunley lined a 2-2 pitch to left, right at Bill Adams, but Adams lost it for a split second and then was almost decapitated by the ball, which hit the glove that he had raised to cover his face, but then fell to the ground. Two runs scored, putting Rico Divine up 2-0. Rico flew out to Barend Kok after another intentional walk to Elias Tovias.

Rico's streak ended in the fifth inning, which saw a 1-out single by Ruben Pelles, the extremely useless ex-Coon, then TWO wild pitches to Kyle Burns, who eventually singled to put Pelles over home plate. Ricky Cano also singled. With runners on first and second and one out in the inning, the Falcons had Doug Moffatt swing away, but his sharp grounder was intercepted by Nunley at third base, who tapped said base, but couldn't complete the double play. Gutierrez allowed two more 2-out RBI singles to Czachor and Alfonso Gonzales, which put Charlotte up 3-2. Back to sucking again, Rico, huh? Barend Kok hit a leadoff triple in the bottom 6th, left the game injured and was replaced by Chris Mendoza, but the Falcons of course drove Mendoza in, too, when given the chance. Adams' single extended their lead to 4-2 against the Raccoons, who continued to be much better at blowing music out of their bum holes rather than their day job. They had only two hits through six innings. They would get a third in the seventh inning, a pinch-hit homer in the #9 hole by Justin Gerace. Of course there was nobody on base. Maybe the Falcons' defense could give them some assistance again. Burns fumbled Spencer's grounder to begin the eighth inning, putting the tying run aboard on the Falcons' third error of the contest. Jamieson struck out against Moffatt, who now sat on 7 K. Harenberg flew to right, but right at Mendoza, remaining hitless as a Coon. Terry Kopp whacked away at the first pitch – high to right, long, and OUTTA HERE!! Terry's eleventh flipped the score back in the Coons' favor after all hope had been abandoned, and the Coons' Surginer and Boles kept the Falcons away in the bottom 8th. The top 9th saw Jon Ozier issue leadoff walks to Nunley and Tovias, Abel Mora chop into a double play, an intentional walk to Ramos, and then Spencer flying out to Ricky Cano, which left Snyder to his own devices in the bottom 9th. He struck out left-handed pinch-hitters Danny Munn and Paul Mattaliano, then had Cano at 1-2 before he grounded to second. Spencer had it, dropped it, chased it into the infield, and the Falcons brought up the winning run, PH Geoff Simko, on the error. Another 1-2 was put in play, high to left, but not deep at all. Cookie had it easily, and the Coons ended their losing streak. 5-4 Critters. Gerace (PH) 1-1, HR, RBI;

Kevin Surginer picked up the win in relief, his sixth of the season. That puts him even with Kyle Anderson for third on the team.

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – LF Gerace – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – P Roberts
CHA: 3B Czachor – C A Gonzales – 1B Fowlkes – RF Kok – LF B. Adams – SS Ra. Mendez – 2B Pelles – CF Cano – P Chavez

Harenberg cashed his first Coons RBI with a 2-out double in the first inning that plated Jarod Spencer, who himself had singled and swiped second base. The 1-0 lead would not stand up because "Rockets" Roberts was getting smacked all over the place. Barend Kok, despite a sore ankle, hit a leadoff jack in the bottom 2nd to rightfield, and Bill Adams would have smacked a back-to-backer to left if that hadn't been caught up in the wind and dropped into Gerace's mitten. To illustrate the state of Roberts in this game, he struck out nobody in his first run through the Falcons' order, and that lack of whiff would come back to bite him in the fifth inning, where Raul Mendez was on second base with two outs, Roberts for the **** of it couldn't get rid of Chavez even in a 1-2 count, and surrendered a bloop RBI single to give the Falcons the lead. It only got worse from there – and no, the Coons did not do anything great offensively. Roberts allowed a single to Gonzales to begin the sixth, another single to Pat Fowlkes, threw a wild pitch, and fell to 3-1 on Kok's single. After a pop out by Adams, Roberts walked Mendez, then was removed after 5.1 innings and only *65* pitches. Ricky Ohl spared him from major damage when he got a double play grounder to short from Pelles, ending the inning, but that 3-1 deficit still towered tall over the tiny Coons, that didn't amount to anything in the seventh and eighth innings. Top 9th, Jon Ozier to the mound and immediately a leadoff walk to Terry Kopp. Maybe NOW, please? Justin Gerace tried to use the power void in the outfield mess/mix and hit a double that put the tying runs in scoring position for the struggling bottom of the order. Matt Nunley was in a hole about 90 feet deep, ran a full count, hit a blooper to shallow center, and that damn thing actually fell in for an RBI single. Gerace couldn't score since Cano almost got to the ball after all. O'Dell struck out. Cookie batted for Billy Brotman, flicked a single to left center, and that tied up the game – COOKIE POWER!! Tied game, runners on first and second with one out for the top of the order, but Ramos struck out and Spencer grounded out to third…

Kevin Surginer put himself in line for yet another win by pitching a quick ninth against the bottom of the order. When extra innings rolled along, lefty Joe Perry got Jamieson to ground out, then surrendered base hits to the actual left-handed batters. Harenberg doubled to right, Kopp singled in the same vicinity, and Harenberg raced home to break the 3-3 tie. He also drew a throw that missed the cutoff man, allowing Kopp into second base. Gerace was walked intentionally (!), after which Tim Stalker batted for Nunley to get a platoon advantage against the southpaw Perry. He got good wood on a 2-1 pitch, but lined out to Danny Munn, and O'Dell struck out to strand the runners for good. Snyder did away with the Falcons in the bottom of the inning, whiffing a pair. 4-3 Blighters. Harenberg 2-5, 2 2B, RBI; O'Dell 2-5; Carmona (PH) 1-1, RBI;

…and now Kevin Surginer actually has MORE wins than Kyle Anderson. The good news for the team leader? He's up next. The bad news? Not in Charlotte. The third game was washed out by bad weather.

The game will be made up in Portland on September 18 as part of a mixed double header.

Raccoons (55-46) vs. Thunder (57-41) – July 31-August 2, 2026

The Thunder were fourth in both runs scored and runs allowed, which did not sound that impressive, but they had a +61 run differential. Fourth place was actually their rank in so many statistics, except for a few key stats. F.e. the Raccoons were still first in batting average (unbelievably), but the Thunder also managed to walk a ton and were second in batting average AND on-base percentage. And since they were also second in home runs, they were a real pain for any pitching staff… The Raccoons couldn't handle them this year, having lost four of the six previous games with them in '26.

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (6-6, 3.35 ERA) vs. Mike Homa (11-5, 2.98 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (6-3, 2.53 ERA) vs. Jose Diaz (10-5, 3.31 ERA)
Rin Nomura (2-3, 2.67 ERA) vs. Andy Palomares (8-7, 3.40 ERA)

Two southpaws up front, then the right-handed Palomares. Dan Delgadillo would not be activated until Saturday morning. Right now, Nick Derks was still on the roster, but had not actually gotten into a game since being called up after the Harenberg trade.

The Thunder had a crippling injury to contend with though, with CF Dave Garcia (.295, 8 HR, 29 RBI) after two relatively healthy years having another one to forget. He went to the DL with a broken elbow this week and would have to work towards making Opening Day in 2027.

Game 1
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – SS Serrato – 1B M. Rucker – CF Pizzo – RF Sagredo – C Burgess – LF Millan – 2B Ts'ai – P Homa
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – LF Gerace – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Anderson

In a stunner, the Coons roughed up Mike Homa for five runs in the opening inning; Ramos and Spencer hit singles, scored on Jamieson's gapper, with the centerfielder coming home on two groundouts before Gerace's double and Nunley's 2-piece over the fence in right put the Thunder in a significant hole against Kyle Anderson. Mike Pizzo's leadoff jack made it 5-1 immediately in the second, but that wouldn't help Homa, who left the game with an apparent injury in the second inning just after receiving a groundout from Anderson, which sure was an odd spot to remove him for anything else than an injury. Although, maybe Pizzo could single-handedly tear down Anderson and the Critters… the fourth inning saw a Mike Rucker single, then a 2-run homer crashed outta leftfield by Pizzo, and by now this was a 5-3 game.

Time for more offense for the home team! Nunley hit a soft leadoff single in the bottom 4th, followed by a hard double over Pizzo's head in centerfield smacked by Tovias. No outs and runners in scoring position, but with the pitcher up, yet long man Mike Tandy couldn't strike him out. Anderson's fly to center was caught, but Nunley scurried home with the team's sixth run. That was all; Tovias was thrown out at home plate when he tried to tag up on Ramos' fly to right. That run was pulled back by the Thunder in the fifth: leadoff single by Zhang-ze Ts'ai, then a balk by Anderson (…!), and Tandy's bunt moved the runner to third base, from where Lorenzo Rivera singled him in. Anderson was not seen again in the sixth with Josh Boles trying to contend a bit better with the lineup, but allowed a leadoff single to Pizzo. Hey, at least not another dinger… Jamieson and Kopp would make strong catches on rockets hit by Luis Sagredo and Mike Burgess, followed by another left-hander singling to centerfield, Omar Millan. Pizzo chased for third base with two outs, was not a great runner, really, and was thrown out by Matt Jamieson to end the inning.

Bottom 6th, with rain setting in now. Gerace coaxed a leadoff walk out of Tandy, then was in motion when Nunley flew a ball to centerfield, past Pizzo and to the track for a double on which the speedy Gerace then easily scored, 7-4. That was the final at-bat in the game that would see completion; Tovias saw two pitches from Tandy before the game went to a rain delay from which it never emerged. 7-4 Coons. Spencer 2-3; Nunley 3-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI;

The rainy demise of this game gave Josh Boles his second career save, and we even nursed Anderson's seventh W over the finish line, too! Nick Derks indeed never got into a game in his most recent stint in the majors.

Game 2
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – SS Serrato – 1B M. Rucker – CF Pizzo – RF Sagredo – C Burgess – LF Millan – 2B Ts'ai – P Jo. Diaz
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – CF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – LF Gerace – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – P Delgadillo

"Butch" Diaz was the newly minted Pitcher of the Month in the Continental League and was looking forward to continue domination against the Raccoons, who sent out Dan Delgadillo straight off the DL, and he barely showed any rust in the first inning, walking Alex Serrato on four pitches (Serrato would eventually be caught stealing third base) and nailing Mike Rucker. By the way, last night's rain was still hanging around. It drizzled in the second, it rained in the third inning, and there was also a delay of about a quarter of an hour when Delgadillo had a 3-inning, 1-hit shutout. Rucker hit a leadoff single in the fourth inning, but was doubled up when Pizzo bounced a ball back to the pitcher. At least it happens to other teams too from time to time… And at least other teams at least got on base… the Raccoons had three hits through four innings, all singles, and none to lead off an inning.

Top 5th, Mike Burgess opened with a single past Spencer before Delgadillo lost Millan on balls. Two on, nobody out, clutch situation for Ts'ai, who popped out to Terry Kopp, followed by Diaz whiffing as he tried to bunt. Lorenzo Rivera, who led the league in stolen bases with 27, grounded out to the pitcher, and the Thunder had been turned away again. Millan would hit a 1-out single in the seventh and be caught stealing as slowly but surely lots of zeroes lined up on the scoreboard. Maybe the bottom 7th would end that. Justin Gerace led off with a single to left, stole second, then reached third on Nunley's single to Luis Sagredo's feet, and you don't run on Sagredo unless you really want a pinpoint throw to cave in your left temple as you are still ten feet shy of the plate. O'Dell ran a full count before grounding out to Serrato, who looked back Gerace before getting O'Dell at first; Nunley moved up, and everybody wondered if they could have gotten two. In any case, they got Delgadillo, because in this situation we needed a hitter. Tim Stalker came off the bench by virtue of being right-handed and that pick was golden; Stalker lined into left-center, it split Millan and Pizzo, the ball went all the way to the fence, and Stalker put the Coons in front with a 2-run triple! Ramos hit an RBI single, was caught stealing, but the Coons were now up 3-0 and had lots of choices in their pen. Ricky Ohl retired the Thunder on seven pitches in the eighth inning, but the save opportunity then went to Billy Brotman. The meat of the order was up for the Thunder, and they were all left-handed. Snyder was tossing casually though and could be called upon if things went pear-shaped. They didn't. Soft grounders by Rucker and Pizzo made for two easy outs, and Sagredo went down on strikes. 3-0 Furballs! Stalker (PH) 1-1, 3B, 2 RBI; Delgadillo 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K, W (7-3);

And here's another winning streak. You never know with this team…

Game 3
OCT: 3B L. Rivera – SS Sertato – CF Rummelhart – C Burgess – 1B J. Elliott – RF Sagredo – 2B Ts'ai – LF Dobbs – P Palomares
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – CF Mora – LF Gerace – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Nomura

Except for walking Abel Mora in the second inning, Andy Palomares carried a no-hitter against the nauseous Raccoons into the fifth inning where he met Justin Gerace, who hit a 1-out single, and Elias Tovias, who whammied one out of right center to flip the score, 2-1, in Portland's favor. Tovias' homer erased a solo shot by Mike Burgess in the second inning against an otherwise flawless but not overpowering in any sense of the word Rin Nomura, who scattered three base hits in the first five innings, but whiffed only two batters, reaching three only at the end of the sixth inning with a swinging strike three on Brian Rummelhart. Bottom 6th, leadoff double to left for Spencer, and how much would we love an insurance run! Harenberg walked, setting up a perfect double play opportunity for Kopp, who didn't have to be asked twice. 4-6-3, Spencer to third, where Mora stranded him with a fly to Brett Dobbs. At least the pitching was awesome; Nomura ended up with eight very controlled innings, four hits and four strikeouts at the end, and would have had room left for the ninth inning, but that would require the Raccoons to move their bums in the bottom 8th, and they couldn't have made less of an impression on Palomares, who also went eight, and who also would have room left for a ninth inning on only 84 pitches, if only his team could do something about Jonathan Snyder. The top of the order was up, but there were also plenty of left-handed bats on the bench; Mike Pizzo hit for Rivera right away, which was a ballsy choice. Snyder rung him up, just like he did with Serrato, but Rummelhart was hit for again with Carlos de Santiago. 1-2 pitch, contact and deep drive to center, Mora on his ****ing horse out there, and he made the catch in deep, deep centerfield, putting this game away for a series sweep and season series triumph for Portland. 2-1 Blighters. Tovias 1-3, HR, 2 RBI; Nunley 2-3; Nomura 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, W (3-3);

In other news

July 27 – The Titans will be without All Star outfielder Adrian Reichardt (.306, 5 HR, 39 RBI) for a month. The 28-year-old has strained a groin muscle.
July 28 – A bruised wrist puts VAN OF Tony Coca (.305, 19 HR, 63 RBI) out of action for three weeks.
July 29 – Swiss Army knife Brody Folk (.268, 2 HR, 28 RBI) is traded from the Indians to the Condors for four minor leaguers and prospects, none of them ranked in any way.
July 29 – The Bayhawks trade SP Jonathan Shook (9-9, 3.89 ERA) to the Cyclones for #94 prospect SP Eric Fox.
July 29 – SAL C Matt Wittner (.302, 8 HR, 45 RBI) ends a 16-inning game with the Blue Sox in a 4-2 Wolves victory with his walkoff homer off MR Tim Colangelo (2-5, 3.27 ERA, 2 SV).
July 30 – The Indians deal CL Nick Salinas (2-4, 4.26 ERA, 22 SV) to the Capitals for two prospects.
July 30 – Once a Sock, always a Sock, sort of: the Blue Sox trade CL Mike Greene (1-4, 1.09 ERA, 19 SV) to the Gold Sox for four prospects.
July 31 – CIN SP Diego Mendoza jr. (12-7, 3.92 ERA) is expected to miss ten months with a partial tear in his UCL.
July 31 – The Pacifics rally from a 4-0 deficit and claim victory, 7-4, plating all their runs in the eighth inning.
August 1 – A sprained ankle will cost DEN RF/1B Brad Gore (.255, 8 HR, 34 RBI) the next six weeks.
August 1 – Another sprained ankle will put out CHA 3B Ryan Czachor (.280, 8 HR, 44 RBI) for much of August.
August 2 – SAC 3B Jason LaCombe (.319, 2 HR, 52 RBI) joins the 2,000 hits club at age 37 with one hit against the Buffaloes in a 4-2 Scorpions defeat. TOP SP Nick Danieley (7-6, 3.81 ERA) gives up the single in the first inning. LaCombe, a 13-year veteran, has been a career Scorpion with a .325/.443/.407 clip, 28 HR and 721 RBI, as well as eight All Star nods, four Gold Gloves, four Platinum Sticks, a World Series ring, and the 2014 Rookie of the Year award.

Complaints and stuff

While the CL Player of the Week title went to the Elks' 24-year-outfielder Alarico Medina (6-for-11, 2 HR, 9 RBI) in his first week in the major leagues, back in 2014 Jason LaCombe was the other end of Matt Nunley in the ROTY results, so two third basemen collected bling that year. Yet Matt Nunley is still 136 base knocks short of 2,000…

Also, the name Alarico reminds me of Alarico Violante, one of those nondescript, no-good catchers that we trotted out routinely for decades and still do.

Lose three, win six, lose three, win four … from zero to 65 and hard on the brakes… this team is wearing on everybody's clutch right now… which is not to be confused with clutch hitting.

Kevin Harenberg was named Batter of the Month with a .327 clip, 5 HR, and 20 RBI. Technically the award was given to the Raccoons, although he of course did virtually all the damage as a Wolf. His Portland resume at the end of July was going 3-for-11 with 1 RBI. No homers. Nobody's got homers on this team. Matt Nunley's got five now, which is the third-place threshold on this team. A guy of Harenberg's profile could make it into the top 3 with a solid month…

Jeff Kearney started a rehab assignment on the weekend and might be back in ten days or so. Right now we have three left-handed relievers on the roster, and none of them are tearing out any tree trunks. Maybe Kearney will be of help.

What will August bring? Mostly home games! In fact, we only have seven road games this month and we will not cross the mountains until right at the very end of August. There are three games in Tijuana (coming right up), then three more in Salem after a 7-game homestand against the Titans and Miners. The Elks will come in for a 3-game weekend from the 21st through the 23rd. There will be Nick Brown bobbleheads on the 22nd, remembering his September 9, 2016 no-hitter against the ****ing Elks because they will not come in again this year, and also because I'm an ***hole. (wears bright grin)

Fun Fact: With the sweep over the Thunder on the weekend, the Coons' worst all-time record against a CL South team is now their .510 mark against the Condors.

Yup, we have all-time winning records against all the teams in the South, and not just by a game and a half. The full list goes:

Aces (.535)
Bayhawks (.528)
Knights (.517)
Falcons (.516)
Thunder (.513)
Condors (.510)

But we currently have only two winning records, all-time again, in our own division, against the Loggers (.534) and Indians (.515). The Raccoons are a .513 team after almost 50 years of ABL.
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:41 AM   #2625
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Raccoons (58-46) @ Condors (55-50) – August 3-5, 2026

Both these teams were roughly a handful of games back in their division and could not afford losing anymore ground. Both had also already lost some ground playing against each other previously this season, with the season series locked at three wins per team. The Condors had a slow offense, with the third-worst batting average and the fifth-fewest runs in the Continental League, but their pitching was ready to press the next pillow onto the Coons' little snouts, sitting third in runs conceded. They even had the second-best rotation.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (10-4, 3.50 ERA) vs. Jeff Little (9-6, 2.62 ERA)
Mark Roberts (9-7, 3.01 ERA) vs. Adam Potter (8-10, 4.71 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (7-6, 3.52 ERA) vs. Alex Hichez (7-6, 3.14 ERA)

Little was their lone left-hander with Luis Flores on the DL, where he had spent most of this season just like the one before.

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – CF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Gerace – 2B Stalker – C O'Dell – 3B Nunley – P Gutierrez
TIJ: 2B B. Rojas – C Sanford – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – LF O. Larios – RF M. Matias – SS Muller – CF Chaplin – P Little

Portland got on the board in the first with a bouncer by Ramos that got through Kevin McGrath somehow for a soft leadoff double, then ultimately two groundouts after that. Harenberg got the RBI after Jamieson had walked. Unfortunately, Rico Gutierrez was very much back down to earth after consecutive shutouts a few starts ago and completely lacked aim to begin this game. After having walked only 17 batters in 138.2 innings this year, he walked three the first time through. Only timely double play grounders and bringing up the pitcher with Scavengers aboard saved him in the first two innings. So it was on the offense! Oh bother… Nah, actually the Coons focused on Little well, adding three runs in the third inning. Granted, two were unearned when Rico Gutierrez reached base on a McGrath error to begin the frame. After that, Ramos walked, Spencer grounded out, Jamieson singled in two, then scored himself on Justin Gerace's 2-out double over the head of Omar Larios. The Condors would get on the board as well before long with a leadoff jack by Shane Sanks in the bottom 4th, but the second time through Rico actually looked a wee bit better…

The offense didn't, despite the 4-1 lead that Rico nursed through six. While they got Jeff Little out by the top of the sixth, they only actually logged four base hits against him. That was the same total that the Condor would log off Gutierrez in 6.1 innings, but they also got into a great spot against him in the bottom 7th after a leadoff walk to Mike Matias, who stole second and then scored on John Muller's single to right. Gutierrez whiffed Mike Chaplin, a left-handed bat, before the Condors sent Brody Folk, their recent acquisition, in the pitcher's spot. That was the tying run, and it was time to mix and match with a righty. Kevin Surginer appeared, allowed an RBI single, disappeared, and Billy Brotman took over, ending the inning on two grounders. The lead was now down to 4-3, and the Raccoons hadn't been seen on base in a while. Ricky Ohl would retire the middle of the order in order in the eighth, but the offense remained dead from the waste up and got no base hits against the Condors' pen at all. Jonathan Snyder was left to his own devices in the bottom 9th, where Matias went to second base as the tying run right away, although it wasn't Snyder's fault; Alberto Ramos had thrown away Matias' grounder. Muller popped out to Spencer, Chaplin walked on four pitches, and then Danny Zarate flew out to right, moving the tying run to third base. Switch-hitter Dave Bross came to the plate, batting .286 with one homer. Like Matias before, he put the first pitch into play and hit it to a middle infielder. Unlike Ramos earlier, Tim Stalker kept his calm and threw easily to Harenberg to end the game. 4-3 Coons.

Here's something – a win for the Coons and not one player with a good stat line. Not one! Way to have a 6-game winning streak…

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – CF Mora – LF Gerace – C Tovias – 3B Nunley – P Roberts
TIJ: 2B B. Rojas – C Sanford – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – LF O. Larios – RF M. Matias – SS Bross – CF Denzler – P Potter

Offense remained slow. Through five innings, the Coons built a 2-0 lead while Roberts was nursing a 2-hitter. Both Portland runs were scored by Matt Nunley, who singled to lead off the third inning and again with one out in the fifth, was bunted over by Roberts each time and then scored on a Spencer double and a Ramos single, respectively, both times with two down. So far, so well, but the general lack of clutch elsewhere in the order was coming back to bite in due time. The Coons had Harenberg and Mora on with singles in the sixth inning, but Gerace whiffed and Tovias flew out gingerly to rightfielder Mike Matias to end that inning before the Condors opened the bottom 6th with consecutive doubles by Pat Sanford in the gap in left-center and then McGrath to due left, which placed the tying run in scoring position with nobody out. Sanks' pop over home plate, Larios' fly to left, and a K to Matias kept him right where he was, but the Coons really needed an add-on run. Top 7th, Nunley worked a leadoff walk, then was bunted over by Roberts again. Oh, here comes the goodness! Ramos was walked intentionally once more, after which Spencer grounded up the middle. Dave Bross cut off the ball way deep behind second base, but had no play; the bags were full on the infield single with one out for Kevin Harenberg, who was a .261 batter with 2 RBI from his first 23 at-bats as a Critter. It was time! To hit into a double play. Piss poor grounder to the pitcher, Potter to Sanford to McGrath, with enough time for the Condors to pick in the sad Mark Roberts' intestines in between outs.

Roberts retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning, whiffing seven in seven, and was more or less done on pitch count. The Raccoons opened the eighth with a Kopp double between Larios and Denzler, then a walk (intentional) to Mora and another walk (unintentional) to Gerace. Nobody out, so maybe NOW? Elias Matias Tovias Diaz said no, flying out to Larios in shallow left. Nunley? Fly to left, Larios back for the catch, but that was at least deep enough for Kopp to dally home, 3-1. Cookie Carmona came out to bat for Roberts, cracked a single to left, and Mora scored from second base, 4-1. Ramos walked the bags full against Tony Harrell, but Spencer struck out to end the inning. The Condors would not reach base again, sat down by Hector Morales (1 out), Ricky Ohl (2), and Jonathan Snyder (3). 4-1 Critters. Spencer 2-5, 2B, RBI; Harenberg 2-5, 2B; Mora 2-4, BB; Nunley 2-2, BB, RBI; Carmona (PH) 1-1, RBI; Roberts 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, W (10-7);

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – CF Mora – LF Gerace – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Anderson
TIJ: SS B. Rojas – C Zarate – 1B McGrath – 3B Sanks – RF M. Matias – CF Denzler – LF Chaplin – 2B Muller – P Hichez

Both teams got a run in the early going, with the Condors taking their first lead in the series with a Shane Sanks sac fly that brought in Bob Rojas in the first inning. The Coons equalized in the third, but that required a leadoff single by Anderson AND a wild pitch in the inning to allow Harenberg to get the run in on a grounder. The tie would be broken by Tovias with a leadoff jack in the fifth and that after the Condors had clearly shown what they thought of him in the second inning, when they had pitched to him with Mora in scoring position and two outs and Tovias had grounded out in his usual pathetic way. Not this time – the homer to right-center put the Coons up 2-1. The inning progressed to see Ramos and Spencer single and go to the corners, then Harenberg smacking into a double play. The trades I do!

Tovias was walked intentionally the next time around, then in the sixth to load the bags with one out. Nunley had just hit an RBI single to score Terry Kopp, who had opened the inning with a leadoff double off Hichez, who so far had allowed seven hits, four walks, and had enjoyed some good luck. The Raccoons were tempted to bat for Anderson here to create offense, but the bullpen situation was a concern, with neither Ohl nor Snyder available. And truth be told, if some dork hits into a double play, it can at least be the pitcher… and so he did, on a 3-1 pitch. AH!! COONS!!

Top 7th, Ramos led off with a hard single to rightfield, then stole his 26th bag of the season. Spencer singled right to Matias' feet, keeping Ramos at third base, but then also stole second base, his 20th robbery of the year. Harenberg was now walked intentionally to bring up Kopp with three on and nobody out. Terry. Please! To the Condors' great dismay, no double play, but to my chagrin, an out at home as Kopp bounced one back to the pitcher. Hichez then bowed out with a bases-loaded walk to Mora, Gerace struck out against lefty Bobby Thompson, with O'Dell batting for Nunley now, but O'Dell popped out to strand three… Meanwhile Anderson retired nobody in the bottom 7th, allowing a leadoff homer to Sanks, 4-2, then walked Matias. With left-handers up, the Coons made the change to Josh Boles, who got a 3-U double play when Matias was a-running as Joel Denzler lined a 1-2 pitch into Harenberg's glove and the runner was caught far off base and just gave himself up and walked right into the glove without Harenberg having to move a lot. Surginer did away with the Condors in the eighth, getting the Coons within three outs of a sweep and an 8-game winning streak. There was an insurance run on a Kopp solo home run in the top 9th, then more Surginer in the bottom 9th. The 2-3-4 batters were up, all right-handed, and Alvin Smith was the only available right-handed alternative. Billy Brotman was readying in the pen in case the Condors tried something funny with left-handed batters. Or in case Surginer ****ed up. Zarate – leadoff double. McGrath – RBI double. BROTMAN! BROTMAN NOW!! That didn't make things better… Brotman survived a deep fly to center by Sanks for the first out, then conceded Surginer's second run on a Matias single. The winning run came up in PH Brody Folk. Brotman had nothing – but Folk softly lined out to Ramos, two down. Maybe after all? There was nobody to bat for left-hander Mike Chaplin as the Coons now sent Alvin Smith to warm up after all. He would not get into the game, but not for a walkoff jack. Chaplin instead grounded out to Spencer. 5-4 Coons. Ramos 2-4, BB; Spencer 2-5; Kopp 2-5, HR, 2B, RBI; Mora 0-1, 4 BB;

Mora walked four times – and never scored.

Raccoons (61-46) vs. Titans (54-53) – August 6-9, 2026

Four games with Boston, who were in free fall and their string of four consecutive championships looked like it was going to end. They were 12 1/2 games behind the damn Elks, and that number was growing rapidly as they had won only FOUR games since the All Star Game (4-15 in total), all this despite them still ranging in the top half of the league in terms of runs scored and runs allowed and a +41 run differential that hinted at a team better than .500. But then this was no comparison to the teams of years past that had often chased +200 at this point. Key injuries to f.e. Adrian Reichardt were also part of the equation. Nevertheless, they still held a 4-3 edge over Portland this season.

Projected matchups:
Dan Delgadillo (7-3, 2.39 ERA) vs. Julio San Pedro (4-6, 3.39 ERA)
Rin Nomura (3-3, 2.47 ERA) vs. Jeremy Waite (9-8, 4.13 ERA)
Rico Gutierrez (11-4, 3.54 ERA) vs. Morgan Shepherd (6-5, 4.02 ERA)
Mark Roberts (10-7, 2.93 ERA) vs. Dustin Wingo (6-8, 4.26 ERA)

Again only one left-handed opponent, and this time at the tail end of the series, with Wingo going on Sunday. We'd miss unlucky bastard Guillermo Regalado (6-9, 2.78 ERA).

Game 1
BOS: CF W. Vega – C Leonard – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – SS Jam. Wilson – 2B R. West – 1B Elder – 3B Corder – P San Pedro
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – LF Carmona – C O'Dell – P Delgadillo

Dan Delgadillo was cast into the abyss immediately in a horrendous first inning that saw a leadoff walk to Willie Vega, a single by Keith Leonard, then even a double play hit into by Yasuhiro Kuramoto, and somehow Delgadillo still managed to give up a 3-spot with potential for more. Adam Braun's single put Boston 1-0 on top, and then Jamie Wilson homered to dead center. Rhett West singled, Jay Elder singled, somehow Ramos got paws on Adam Corder's grounder to end the inning, but things looked not great for the Coons' winning streak and the Titans playing more .200 ball. Wilson hit another home run in the third inning, this one a solo deed, which put him at three for the year, and two thirds of those in this very game… Delgadillo limped through five innings, which was going to be all, not only for the 101 pitches thrown (most of them unimpressive) but also for his spot coming up to bat with two outs in the bottom 5th. After lots of nothing, the Coons had just scored their first run on a Cookie single and O'Dell doubling down the rightfield line. Momentum! Gerace struck out in his spot. There was no momentum. There was probably not even a god… The Titans pulled the run right back in the sixth with lots of hard balls against Alvin Smith, who was lucky to elope with only one run scored against him, before the bottom 6th saw one of those juicy chances. Leadoff walk for Ramos. Spencer reached on an error. Then a Harenberg single. Three on, no outs. But I was no longer the fool. They wouldn't score plenty, they probably would not score at all. Terry Kopp flew out to shallow right, nobody daring to run on Braun. Mora chopped a grounder to Rhett West for a double play. Told ya. They kept teasing though. Bottom 7th, Cookie with a 1-out single, then an error by San Pedro to put O'Dell on. Jamieson batted for Morales in the #9 hole, popped out, and Ramos grounded out to West. Bottom 8th, leadoff singles by Spencer and Harenberg put the tying run in the on-deck circle before Kopp was going to move him back to the dugout with another grounder right at West. This time, though, West's lob to short got away from Jamie Wilson. The Titans got nobody, and the Coons got three on with nobody out again. Hah, funny, like that ever got them anywhere nice. San Pedro allowed a sac fly to Mora before yielding for Matt Rosenthal, who walked Nunley on four pitches. With Cookie the go-ahead run, and facing lefty Mike Stank, the tired crowd got to their feet once more and clapped and chanted politely. Cookie hit into a double play to damn Rhett West, and the crowd started to leave shortly after that. Those that left missed the tying run coming up once more in the bottom 9th against Harry Merwin. Ramos drew a 2-out walk, stole second, then scored on Spencer's single. That made the still homerless Harenberg the tying run. Harenberg had four hits in the game, which the baseball gods deemed enough and made him ground out to Gil Cornejo on first base. 5-3 Titans. Spencer 2-5, RBI; Harenberg 4-5; Boles 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K;

Game 2
BOS: CF W. Vega – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – 2B R. West – 3B Corder – SS Spataro – 1B Gasso – C Gio. James – P Waite
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – CF Mora – LF Gerace – 3B Bullock – C Tovias – P Nomura

In a first inning that saw both teams have a middle infielder drop an easy ball (Spencer and Keith Spataro being guilty), the Coons got a 2-0 run lead on Ramos singling, stealing, advancing on a wild pitch, and scoring on Spencer's groundout in but short a time, then Matt Jamieson boinking one over the fence in leftfield. Harenberg and Gerace reached base to no avail when Bullock struck out. Bottom 2nd, leadoff single for Tovias past Gus Gasso, and he advanced on a bunt and Ramos' single, then scored on Giovanni James' throwing error when Ramos tried to swipe another base. Tovias in, Ramos to third with one out, and Spencer's sac fly made it 4-0. Waite reached complete unhingement as early as the third inning with base knocks by Mora and Gerace to begin the inning. While Bullock flew out to center, Tovias ripped a 2-run double up the rightfield line, Waite loaded them up with walks to Nomura and Ramos, then served another gopher ball to Spencer for a bases-clearing double. With that, it was 9-0 Coons, adieu to Waite, and right-hander Dustin Cory saw Jamieson reach base on Corder's error. Not the Titans' game! Harenberg grounded out, keeping the Coons out of double digits for the moment. At this point, Rin Nomura could pretty much do whatever and still win the game… although Elias Tovias' gross throwing error in the fourth inning put two Titans in scoring position that were then singled in by Spataro to cut the gap to 9-2. Those runs were unearned, but the runs that scored on Rhett West's 2-out double off the fence in the fifth inning were not; Willie Vega had doubled, Adam Braun had been nailed. Now it was 9-4, then 9-5 after Corder's single to right. Corder stole second, Spataro ripped a single to right, and Corder scored, too.

Yeah, me and my big mouth. After a 9-run lead, Nomura failed to go five and was yanked for Surginer, who got a grounder to short from Gasso to end the inning, but allowed another run in the sixth on a Vega double and Kuramoto single. The tying runs would be on with two outs in the seventh inning after Surginer had allowed Corder and Gasso aboard. Billy Brotman replaced him and whiffed Giovanni James to get out of that mess. The offense had obviously switched off mentally after pulling out by nine and was no big help, being hardly present at all in the middle innings. 2-out singles by Tovias and Kopp (who had entered with Brotman in a double switch at Mora's expense) were the first significant threat by the Coons since Jeremy Waite had last been seen alive, but Ramos grounded out to his opposite, Spataro, to end the inning. The Titans put them on the corners in the eighth against Brotman, who walked PH Jay Elder, who was then run for by Fernando Rodriguez, and Ohl, who allowed a single to Kuramoto, but somehow the Coons' defense kept the board closed. Spencer made a strong play on Braun to help Ohl out of the inning. This bollocks game was then also the perfect opportunity for Kevin Harenberg to FINALLY hit one out as a Coon, hitting a solo shot off Javy Salomon in the bottom 8th, getting the Coons into double digits FINALLY. Snyder was in the ninth, allowing a leadoff single to Corder. Spataro however spanked a grounder at Spencer, who turned two, and then Gus Gasso went down on strikes as the Coons eeked out a win to even the series. 10-7 Critters. Ramos 2-4; Spencer 1-4, 2B, 5 RBI; Gerace 2-4; Tovias 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Kopp 1-1;

Oh boys oh boys oh boys oh why… I mean, 9-0, and you still managed to drain the pen!?

Woof.

There was a roster move after this game. Hector Morales returned to St. Petersburg despite his best efforts as the Coons brought back Jeff Kearney from a dominant rehab assignment.

Game 3
BOS: SS Spataro – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – 2B R. West – 1B Elder – 3B Corder – CF F. Rodriguez – C Leonard – P Shepherd
POR: SS Ramos – LF Carmona – CF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Gutierrez

Rico allowed hard contact to the first few batters, all right-handers, with Spataro and Braun getting to the corners after base hits, but got a shallow fly out from West and whiffed Elder to escape the inning. The K to Elder was the first of four straight for him, so he would maybe be fine after all as the Coons really longed for a good long outing by their starter. Rico also hit a leadoff single in the bottom 3rd which was followed by Shepherd losing Ramos and Jamieson on balls while he did strike out Cookie. When Harenberg popped it up and Corder registered the second out I began to look for the Kool-Aid, but Shepherd lost Kopp in a full count to push home the first run of the game, then allowed a 2-run single to Stalker to put Rico 3-0 ahead. Maybe, just maybe… we'd be fine?

Bollocks! Adam Braun hit a monster shot to begin the fourth, well outta dead center, to cut the gap to 3-1, then Harenberg mishandled Ramos' good throw to put West on with an error. Elder singled, assembling the tying runs aboard, there was a wild pitch, and there was also a 2-run double by Keith Leonard with two outs and first base open… Two runs were unearned, and it was just getting a bit too easy to blame everything on Harenberg, who continued to be of no more use than… oh… R.J. DeWeese after his first year?

When Nunley singled and Tovias walked with two outs in the sixth, Rico – on 96 pitches – was reluctantly hit for against Shepherd, who was on four hits, six walks, and somehow still went on. Abel Mora grounded right at Spataro for the third out and the game remained deadlocked at three through six innings. The Coons squeezed through the seventh with Jeff Kearney despite Leonard's leadoff single, then got Ramos on base with a leadoff walk issued by Salomon in the bottom 7th. Throughout the series, Ramos had stolen bases at will against the Titans, getting up to 29 for the season, so they were definitely going to watch for that now. The hit-and-run was called instead, with Ramos moving up to second as Cookie grounded out. Jamieson whiffed, Harenberg grounded out pathetically with Leonard making the play, and nothing good could ever happen to this team. Harenberg was then purged in a double switch to get Alvin Smith to pitch multiple innings, which was almost guaranteed to lead to disaster. Leadoff walk to Kuramoto, another walk to Wilson, then a West singled. Three on, no outs. I closed my eyes. Jay Elder singled home two, which was actually all the Titans got, but it was still more than the Coons got with three on and no outs if they got into that spot in three consecutive innings. They would not get into that situation in the last two innings. In fact, they did not get on base at all… 5-3 Titans. Nunley 2-4;

Game 4
BOS: SS Spataro – LF Kuramoto – RF Braun – 1B Elder – 3B Corder – CF F. Rodriguez – 2B Jam. Wilson – C Leonard – P Wingo
POR: LF Spencer – CF Jamieson – C O'Dell – 1B Kopp – RF Gerace – 2B Stalker – 3B Nunley – SS Bullock – P Roberts

Spencer singled for his 150th hit of the season right in the bottom of the first, stole second base, reached third on Leonard's throwing error, then was cashed in by Jamieson with a sac fly. None of this mattered because Mark Roberts got battered in the top of the second inning. Elder and Corder hit singles to left, Rodriguez hit an RBI double into the gap in right-center, there was a walk to Leonard, and with the bags full Dustin Wingo hit an RBI single up the middle to put Boston 2-1 on top. Spataro flew out to Gerace, but deep enough to get a run in, 3-1, Kuramoto doubled in a pair by beating Jamieson in center, and then Braun reached on an infield single. The inning just wasn't going to end, ever. No, actually Elder flew out to Gerace after that, but the game was lost regardless with a 5-1 score. Maybe they'd tease a little, but they surely wouldn't dig this one out with their gross ineptitude.

And even their teases were weak or required major help by the Titans. O'Dell hit a leadoff single in the bottom 4th after which little happened until Stalker was clumsily walked by Wingo. Nunley's grounder was then botched into an error by Jamie Wilson, loading them up for … Bullock. He fell to 0-2, put the ball in play somehow, but of course Corder had easy pickings on that grounder and played it for the third out. Roberts after the early shellacking at least at the decency to make it through six in completely unimpressive fashion. There was no excuse for the offense, who through six innings amounted to all of three base hits. Daniel Bullock would get their fourth hit in the bottom 7th, a 2-out infield single. Nothing came of it. 5-1 Titans. Stalker 1-2, BB, 2B; Surginer 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K;

In other news

August 4 – ATL SP Leon Hernandez (4-8, 3.67 ERA) has a no-hitter through 8.1 innings against the Loggers when RF Sam Owens (.281, 1 HR, 1 RBI) hits a home run – the first of his career! – to end Hernandez' night. ATL MR Freddy Heredia (1-4, 2.05 ERA, 1 SV) replaces Hernandez immediately and brings the 2-1 Knights win to conclusion.
August 4 – While the Aces rout the Indians, 12-0, LVA OF/1B Danny Serrano (.347, 9 HR, 51 RBI) raps out four base hits, including two dingers, and drives in five runs.
August 6 – SFW CL Ken Gautney (3-3, 2.61 ERA, 33 SV) has just entered the Warriors' game against the Scorpions in the bottom 11th when he allows Sacramento to walk off on a wild pitch to John Byrd (.273, 2 HR, 56 RBI) that scores OF/1B Chris Barnes (.217, 2 HR, 10 RBI) from third base.
August 7 – VAN SP Warren Polito (12-7, 2.78 ERA) 2-hits the Crusaders in a 4-0 Canadiens win.
August 7 – CIN 3B/SS Ricardo Rangel (.315, 2 HR, 48 RBI) goes 5-for-5 with two doubles and as many RBI in a 7-6 loss to the Buffaloes.
August 7 – Pacifics and Gold Sox play 17 innings before L.A. pull through with a run in the top 17th to take a 4-3 win. LAP SP/MR Tom Grant (7-4, 4.18 ERA, 2 SV) earns the victory with four scoreless innings of relief.
August 9 – The only tally in the Wolves' 1-0 win over the Stars is LF/RF Matt Owen (.289, 19 HR, 71 RBI) hitting a walkoff homer off DAL SP Jonas Mejia (9-10, 4.28 ERA). It is only the second hit allowed by Mejia in the game.

Complaints and stuff

****ing **** week. Even when they won they continued to play like old, stale arse. And that was before they met the Titans again. 28-55 in the last five seasons. This team spots something blue, drops some scat, and is never seen again, every single ****ing time.

Re Sunday and the infield single and the general motion of "Nothing came of it" – that will also be the sentence following the statement that the Raccoons began the 2026 season at 32-15 once the season makes it into the history books. What a loser bunch. Disgusting.

Fun Fact: On October 4, 1986, the Raccoons' Christopher Powell got a double play from the Titans' Isto Grφnholm to end the season finale with a 3-0 shutout win over Boston.

That was of course "Old Chris" Powell's last career start, a 4-hit shutout of the Titans. 40 years later, still golden!

Offense was sketchy back then as well. Powell drove in the first run himself. Kelly Weber would later score on a Kinji Kan error. Tetsu Osanai had an RBI double in the seventh, plating Armando Sanchez with his 121st RBI of the year, a mark still good for third-highest in Coons history, but then a franchise record, trumping Mark Dawson's 119 from '83.

Oh, '83.

By the way, you know how 1986 ended, right? The damn Elks won the North, 102-60, 15 ahead of the second-place Coons. No other North team had a winning record. At least they lost in seven to the Knights in the CLCS, which is not a likely scenario this year.
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1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019
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Old 10-12-2018, 04:01 AM   #2626
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Raccoons (62-49) vs. Loggers (47-64) – August 10-12, 2026

The Loggers were loggering along in another forgettable season, already 20+ games behind first place. They were in the bottom three in both runs scored and runs allowed, their rotation was the second-worst around, and they were wholly not going anywhere. The Coons were up on them on the season, 8-4, and barring major explosions would not lose the season series to the Loggers for the 13th consecutive season.

Projected matchups:
Kyle Anderson (8-6, 3.50 ERA) vs. Philip Rogers (2-10, 5.99 ERA)
Dan Delgadillo (7-4, 2.57 ERA) vs. Jorge Villalobos (10-3, 2.50 ERA)
Rin Nomura (3-3, 2.84 ERA) vs. Danny Soto (7-6, 3.94 ERA)

Only right-handers coming up here; the Loggers had six players on the DL, including – to just name a few – Ian Prevost, Ron Tadlock, Ian Coleman, and Danny Mancia…

Game 1
MIL: 1B Aquino – CF S. Green – C J. Young – LF W. Trevino – SS Ferrer – 3B Berntson – RF Rueda – 2B Holder – P Rogers
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – CF Mora – LF Gerace – 3B Nunley – C O'Dell – P Anderson

Justin "Feast or Famine" Gerace struck once again in the bottom of the second inning with a long homer to rightfield that also collected Terry Kopp and his leadoff double for the first runs in the game. The Loggers had their hits, they just didn't have any runs in the early going. Kaleb Holder and Wilson Aquino hit singles in the third to go to the corners with one out, but Anderson wiggled out of there with a soft fly to center by Sam Green that Mora caught coming in at full steam, thus shying back the runners, and then Jim Young grounded out to Spencer. They had four hits through three innings, while the Critters had only three going into the fifth. There, O'Dell drew a 2-out walk before Anderson singled past a lunging Holder into centerfield. Ramos came up, cracked a single to rightfield, and O'Dell came around to score, 3-0, but Anderson erroneously turned second base and was caught in a rundown, where he gave himself up easily, which ended the inning. Milwaukee didn't get on the board until the seventh inning when Willie Trevino hit a leadoff jack off Anderson on the Critters hurler's 82nd pitch of the game. Manny Ferrer and Jon Berntson cracked line drive singles and Anderson was yanked without getting somebody out in the inning. Billy Brotman replaced him, with the Loggers sending right-hander Sam Owens to pinch-hit for Alexis Rueda. The right-handed Owens turned on a 1-2 pitch, wrapped it around the left foul pole, and just like that the Loggers had flipped the score… Kevin Surginer and Jonathan Snyder would keep the Loggers from doing any more damage, but the damage had already been done. The Coons failed to get to the much-clobbered Rogers, who lasted eight innings, then had to face ex-Coon Joe Moore in the ninth inning, with Kopp up first. Moore rung him up in a full count, and Mora and Gerace ended the game with groundouts to Holder. 4-3 Loggers. Ramos 2-3, BB, RBI;

Game 2
MIL: 3B V. Diaz – 1B Aquino – C J. Young – LF W. Trevino – RF R. Amador – SS Ferrer – CF Hanagriff – 2B Holder – P Villalobos
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – LF Jamieson – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Delgadillo

Vinny Diaz' long leadoff double to begin the game did not lead to a run for Milwaukee, with Wilson Aquino grounding out before Young and Trevino both popped out in foul ground. Alberto Ramos however did score in the first inning; he hit Villalobos' second pitch of the game for 360 feet just to the left of the 342' sign in rightfield for his third career dinger. By the end of the inning, not only Ramos had three bombs – the Coons also had three in the game. Harenberg hit a solo jack, and after that Jamieson singled and Abel Mora went yard. One to right, one to center, one to left, 4-0 lead for Yusneldan. Not for long, though: Manny Ferrer hit a solo home run in the top 2nd to get the Loggers within three again. The wind was not particularly ferocious, by the way… Bottom 2nd, Tovias and Ramos got to the corners with a walk and a single and one out, Ramos stole second for #30 on the year, but when Spencer flew out to Trevino and Tovias went for home, he did so rather sluggishly and was easily thrown out to end the inning.

Maybe the home run parade would continue. Harenberg hit a leadoff jack to center in the bottom 3rd, adding to the lead to get it to 5-1, and Matt Jamieson narrowly missed another home run, doubling off the top of the fence in rightfield with one out. Abel Mora rammed a 2-0 pitch by the overmatched Villalobos into the gap between Willie Trevino and Ken Hanagriff, nobody got to hit before it reached the fence, and Mora easily reached third base standing up with an RBI triple, 6-1. Mora also became the second Coon to be thrown out at home plate in three innings, this one also ending the game when Nunley flew out to Roberto Amador, and there was another accurate murder arm that kept the Coons from adding on. The Loggers scored two off Delgadillo in the top 4th; Trevino singled, Amador tripled, and Ferrer hit a sac fly that did not lead to an out at home… In the end, Delgadillo ended up with the same basic line as Anderson on Monday, six innings and three runs, but at least he was in the lead.

That lead was in danger in the seventh with Kaleb Holder's leadoff double to the wall off Jeff Kearney, who got a grounder from PH Jon Berntson before departing with Ricky Ohl taking over. He starved the runner on third base with a strikeout to Diaz, then an easy fly to Mora off the bat of Aquino. Bottom 7th, Matthew Simonson was in the game, a right-hander with roughly equal walks and strikeouts. He whiffed Cookie in the #9 hole, got Ramos on a grounder, then surrendered a triple to Spencer. It got worse for him, though: Kevin Harenberg hit a 2-run homer to right, his third in the game! HAL-LE-LU-YAH!! Not that the game was over. Josh Boles walked a couple in the eighth and plated a run with a wild pitch, but the same was true for Portland. Gerace and Cookie hit singles in the bottom 8th. With one down, Ramos grounded to Diaz, who got Cookie at second base, but runners remained on the corners until Spencer cracked a Simonson pitch into shallow left for an RBI single. That made it a 9-4 game, and that also brought up Harenberg, who was already on three bombs. The crowd was on its hind paws, but new pitcher Travis Feider kept him on the ground, holding him to an RBI single to left past the diving Ferrer. O'Dell would ground out in Kopp's spot to end the inning. The crowd was delighted anyway. Jim Young hit a 2-piece off Alvin Smith in the ninth inning, but the crowd remained in party mood anyway. 10-6 Furballs!! Ramos 2-5, HR, RBI; Spencer 2-5, 3B, RBI; Harenberg 5-5, 3 HR, 5 RBI; Jamieson 2-3, BB, 2B; Mora 2-4, HR, 3 RBI; Gerace (PH) 1-1;

HARENBERG!!

THE TRADES I DO!!

Game 3
MIL: 3B V. Diaz – 2B Berntson – LF W. Trevino – CF S. Green – SS Ferrer – RF Owens – C Salazar – 1B Aquino – P D. Soto
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – RF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – LF Gerace – CF Mora – 3B Nunley – C Tovias – P Nomura

The rubber game began with a Ramos error on Diaz' grounder. The Coons twice replaced the runner on first base on fielders' choices, but could not turn a double play. Trevino stole second base eventually, but Ramos made up for his earlier mistakes when he snagged a nasty bouncer by Sam Green and turned it for the third out after all. The Coons then had a productive first inning themselves. Ramos and Spencer got on, pulled off a double steal, and Jamieson's groundout brought home Ramos with the first run. Harenberg walked on four cautious pitches, Gerace hit an RBI double into the gap, and Mora hit another run-scoring groundout. Nunley flew out to right, but Portland had another quick lead, 3-0 for Nomura. But just like in the previous game, the Loggers had a swift answer. One after the other reached base against Nomura in the second inning. Ferrer single, stolen base, and an RBI single by Owens. John Salazar walked in a full count, Aquino hit another RBI single. 3-2, two on, nobody out. Soto bunted the runners over, and Nomura kept imploding with a 2-run single to center by Vinny Diaz that put the Loggers in front, 4-3. After an RBI double by Berntson and Trevino's single, Nomura was yanked. Surginer replaced him, struck out Green, then got Ferrer to hit a soft liner to Nunley to end the inning in a 5-3 deficit.

Surginer pitched 2.2 innings without allowing a run while the Critters scrambled. Ramos hit an RBI double to plate Tovias in the bottom 2nd, and they loaded the bases against Soto in the fourth. Tovias walked, Spencer singled, and Jamieson also walked, bringing up Harenberg, who had not a single homer yet in this game. And he didn't get one, grounding out to Berntson to end the inning. Instead, the Loggers got a run off Jeff Kearney, who was abused for two innings to face mostly right-handed batters. The Coons didn't do much in the middle innings, and Soto was still around in the eighth, where he allowed a leadoff single to Mora. The tying run came up in the 6-4 game, but Matt Nunley grounded to the mound for a double play. Bottom 9th, still 6-4, Tim Stalker's pinch-hit double brought up the tying run again with Moore pitching and the top of the order coming up. Ramos and Spencer got him in – but only on groundouts. Jamieson grounded out to Berntson to end the game. 6-5 Loggers. Ramos 2-5, 2B, RBI; Spencer 2-4, RBI; Mora 2-3, 2B, RBI; Stalker (PH) 1-1, 2B; Surginer 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K;

Raccoons (63-51) @ Wolves (49-66) – August 14-16, 2026

Like the Loggers, the Wolves were wrapped up and done for the year, 22 games out in the FL West and in last place. They were also in the bottom three in runs scored, but only allowed the sixth-most runs in the Federal League. Their -40 run differential was not THAT bad. They probably also had a few surprise stun wins in them. These teams faced each other the third year in a row; both had won a 2-1 series in those last two pairings, with the Furballs winning the 2025 set.

Projected matchups:
Rico Gutierrez (11-4, 3.46 ERA) vs. John Waker (1-8, 5.34 ERA)
Mark Roberts (10-8, 3.11 ERA) vs. Alex Contreras (7-9, 4.10 ERA)
Kyle Anderson (8-6, 3.54 ERA) vs. Jorge Beltran (8-9, 2.73 ERA)

Their only southpaw John "Icon" Waker was a former #9 pick by the Raccoons who was on his second team of the year. He had once been part in the package for Hugo Mendoza to the Stars and although that had been eons ago, he was still only 28 somehow. He was not the only former Raccoon on their staff. But we would neither see Lance Legleiter, who was 1-2 with a 3.68 ERA since going over to Salem, as he had pitched on Thursday (our day off), nor Jonathan Toner, who had gone 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in a swingman role before biceps tendinitis had caught up with him. That had been more than two months ago; he was still on the shelf…

Game 1
POR: SS Ramos – LF Spencer – CF Jamieson – 1B Harenberg – RF Gerace – C O'Dell – 2B Stalker – 3B Bullock – P Gutierrez
SAL: CF B. Adams – LF D. Morales – C Wittner – RF M. Owen – SS McGee – 1B R. Morales – 2B Ri. Mendez – 3B Keys – P Waker

Since the Wolves were so very bad, and Portland fans always travelled well down I-5, the sparse crowd was more or less split half-and-half on Friday night, where the Coons went up 1-0 in the first on Harenberg's RBI double that scored Matt Jamieson, who had drawn a walk in a full count against Waker. The Coons fans cheered, the Wolves fans clapped politely but with frustration in their hearts. The Wolves would pull up even with the Coons soon enough, though, with Rico Gutierrez not retiring anybody on his own in the bottom 1st. Danny Morales doubled, then scored on Matt Wittner's sharp single through between Bullock and Ramos, and we were all even at one. It got so much worse in the second; Rich Mendez hit a double into the corner in deep right, Dave Keys hit a no-doubt homer over the leftfield fence, and then even Waker reached base on a 4-pitch walk. He would be caught stealing to end the inning eventually, and then the Critters roared back in the top 3rd: Ramos single, Jamieson triple, Harenberg double, at the score was level again, 3-3.

And while it seemed that both pitchers would get levelled and leave early, that was all the scoring through five innings. Both teams stranded the go-ahead run in scoring position in the fifth, the Coons failing to get Ramos home after a 1-out single and a stolen base, his 32nd. The go-ahead run appeared at second base even earlier for Portland in the top 6th with Harenberg's double precisely laid against the foul line in rightfield to begin that inning. A wild pitch advanced Harenberg after a K to Gerace, but he would have scored anyway on Brett O'Dell's double into the leftfield corner that followed the wild pitch. The Wolves walked Tim Stalker intentionally to get to Daniel Bullock, who saw his batting average sink consistently, now at .179 with an 0-for-2, but here he came through. I squealed as he swung at a 3-1 pitch by the eroding Waker, but he chipped it over the head of Chris McGee for a single to stuff the bags. What now? Rico was not very good in this game, and the bases were loaded with one out. Oy. And there comes Abel Mora – Coons are gonna roll the dice! They would not get anything for their efforts, with Mora flying out to Danny Morales in so shallow leftfield that it was impossible for O'Dell to go, and Ramos grounded out to Keys to end the inning. The Raccoons then lucked into two scoreless innings by Alvin Smith to defend the 4-3, but didn't tack on, and then saw Billy Brotman implode spectacularly in the bottom of the eighth. Dan Cobb hit a leadoff single to right before Brotman made consecutive throwing errors on the grounders of Ben Adams and Danny Morales, which already tied the ballgame, with Wittner's sac fly putting Salem ahead. Kevin Surginer would strand Morales on base when he entered the game, but the damage had been done. Dusty Balzer retired Cookie, Ramos, and Spencer in order in the ninth, and the Raccoons suffered a soul-shattering loss. 5-4 Wolves. Harenberg 4-4, 3 2B, 2 RBI; Smith 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K;

Game 2
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – 3B Nunley – CF Mora – LF Carmona – C Tovias – P Roberts
SAL: CF B. Adams – 2B D. Cobb – C Wittner – RF M. Owen – SS McGee – 1B R. Morales – LF D. Morales – 3B Keys – P Contreras

Come the first, Ramos singled, stole second, and scored on Kevin Harenberg's long homer over the fence in rightfield for a quick 2-0 edge for still-Pitcher-of-the-Year-but-not-for-much-longer Mark Roberts. The Wolves went down in order in the first inning, but loaded them up in the second on an Owen single, followed by the Moraleses reaching on a walk and another single, respectively. Dave Keys struck out in a high voltage at-bat, and Contreras tamely rolled out to short, but geez, how about some aceful dominance? There was a Wolf at third base in the bottom 3rd as well: Ben Adams hit a leadoff single, advanced on Cobb's groundout, then a wild pitch. Wittner struck out, fortunately, and Roberts wiggled out of the inning on another groundout to Ramos. The Raccoons were mostly relaxing after taking a 2-0 lead. From there through the end of five they collected only two more base hits, both Nunley's, and he had no support behind himself in the lineup… Worse yet, in the fourth Abel Mora promptly smacked into a double play after Nunley had singled. In the sixth, Kopp hit a single to center, but now Nunley lined out to Cobb, and Mora still got nothing done, grounding out to McGee at short. In turn, Matt Owen got the Wolves on the board with a solo shot in the bottom 6th, just when Roberts had been about to press his ERA under three again.

Roberts lasted seven for the moment, and Contreras started the eighth, but was replaced after a 2-out walk to Harenberg, the first Coon on in the inning. Kaleb Babcock replaced him, got a grounder from Kopp that McGee threw away, and the error put them in scoring position for Nunley, who grinded out a full count walk to bring up Mora again. Unfortunately we had no smarter idea, especially not against a right-handed pitcher. Mora uselessly grounded out to Cobb, and the Coons stranded three once more. Roberts began the bottom 8th on 95 pitches and with a flimsy 2-1 lead, but retired Rich Mendez, Adams, and Cobb without much fuss. Jamieson batted for him in the top 9th to no great effect, and then it was on Snyder to face the meat of the order, all right-handed batters. He allowed a mighty deep drive to right to Matt Wittner, which Kopp picked off the fence as my heart skipped a beat or three. Owen grounded out to Nunley for the second out, and Matt also speared McGee's sharp bouncer for the final out. 2-1 Coons. Harenberg 1-2, 2 BB, HR, 2 RBI; Nunley 2-3, BB, 2B; Roberts 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, W (11-8);

We had five base knocks total in this game. Salem had only four. Not a great hitting display…

Game 3
POR: SS Ramos – 2B Spencer – 1B Harenberg – RF Kopp – CF Jamieson – 3B Nunley – LF Gerace – C Tovias – P Anderson
SAL: CF B. Adams – 2B N. Cobb – C Wittner – RF M. Owen – 1B R. Morales – SS McGee – LF D. Morales – 3B Eason – P Beltran

Wittner and Owen went yard back-to-back in the bottom 1st for their 10th and 21st shots of the year, respectively, after the Coons had gotten Spencer on in the top 1st, and Spencer had gotten himself caught stealing. Portland opened the second inning with straight singles then; Kopp to left, Jamieson to right, and Nunley up the middle, resulting in the bags being loaded with nobody out for "Feast or Famine" Gerace, who in 91 at-bats had 11 extra base hits, including five dingers, and 25 strikeouts. Famine it was, with his grand slam rip never finding a ball, but Elias Matias Tovias Diaz pulled through for the Critters with a high fly in the gap that neither Morales nor Adams got to and that bounced off the hard warning track over the fence for a 2-run ground-rule double to even the score. Anderson fouled out for the second retirement of the inning, but Ramos rammed a grounder past Cobb for the go-ahead RBI single, after which Spencer rolled a ball near the third base line. Wittner fired to first while still turning around and more or less blindly, missed the target, and the resulting throwing error plated Tovias, 4-2. Astonishingly, the Wolves did not walk Harenberg intentionally with first base open after the 2-base error, but depressingly, Harenberg fouled out to keep Ramos and Spencer on base.

After the early rush, the game slowed down a bit. The next run did not occur until the fifth inning, and then the Coons were aided by Beltran, who struck Spencer with a pitch. Harenberg's grounder advanced him, and Kopp's 2-out single up the middle plated him, 5-2. In turn the Wolves loaded them up with one out in devious fashion, starting with an infield single by Beltran(!) in the bottom 5th. Adams walked, Cobb singled to center, and there were three on for Wittner, who struck out with the Gerace swing. Owen was the bigger danger anyway. He hit a terribly soft grounder where Spencer had rolled one earlier that had led to the Wittner throwing error. Even Nunley couldn't dig this one out; a run scored on the infield single, 5-3, and now a lefty was up with Morales, who singled up the middle to tie the game, and then McGee cracked another RBI single to left to put the Wolves up, 6-5. That also led to Anderson's removal, with Ricky Ohl allowing a bases-loading single to Danny Morales before Bobby Eason struck out to end the miserable inning with a crippling 4-spot.

The Wolves added on, plating a run in the sixth that was very much unearned after Ramos' throwing error placed Beltran on second base with nobody out. Alvin Smith could not get a strikeout against anybody, and the run scored on two groundouts. Ramos tried to make up in the top 7th, hitting a leadoff single off the tough-as-nails Beltran, then took second base by force. Spencer popped out, but Harenberg slugged a double to the fence in leftfield to bring in the runner and put himself up at second base as the tying run with one out in the inning. And Beltran ALMOST had this under control. Kopp grounded out, advancing Harenberg to third base. Jamieson grounded poorly as well, but it was yet another ball in that Bermuda Triangle that had already hurt both starting pitchers in this game. Beltran had to take this one himself, but couldn't get a good enough throw off to first. Jamieson was safe, Harenberg scored, and we were even at seven. Right-hander Cruz Sierra then replaced Beltran and retired Nunley on a pop. Tovias (walk) and Ramos (single) reached in the eighth, but Eason handled Spencer's grounder for the third out, then hit a 1-out double off Kearney in the bottom 8th, only to be left stranded by Mendez and Adams and their poor groundouts. Dusty Balzer retired the meat of the order in the top 9th, but Kevin Surginer didn't quite, going down in defeat on singles by Wittner, Owen, and McGee. 8-7 Wolves. Ramos 3-5, RBI; Kopp 2-5, RBI; Jamieson 2-5, RBI; Tovias 2-3, BB, 2B, 2 RBI;

Kevin Surginer also appeared to be going down with an injury which became apparent after the game, but we do not have a report on that one yet.

In other news

August 10 – The Gold Sox beat the Warriors, 5-1, on a pinch-hit walkoff grand slam by C Jose Vargas (.279, 3 HR, 16 RBI) off SFW SP Vinny Olguin (11-7, 4.84 ERA).
August 11 – SFB C Jaiden Jackson (.273, 10 HR, 39 RBI) cracks five hits, including three doubles, in an 18-2 crushing of the Aces.
August 11 – WAS INF Dave Menth (.288, 8 HR, 27 RBI) drives in five with a home run and two singles in the Capitals' 19-8 mauling of the Blue Sox.
August 11 – The Indians beat the Canadiens, 5-1, despite landing only three base hits, a double and two singles. They get more runners in other ways, with three walks, three Vancouver errors, an uncaught third strike, and a hit batsman.
August 13 – TIJ SP Jeff Little (9-8, 2.61 ERA) will be out for three weeks with elbow tendinitis.
August 16 – TIJ LF/RF Omar Larios (.249, 10 HR, 37 RBI) has a home run, two doubles, and a single with 4 RBI in the Condors' 16-5 thrashing of the Capitals.

Complaints and stuff

Kevin Harenberg was an obvious choice for Player of the Week in the CL, whacking it at a .478 pace (11-23) with 4 HR and 10 RBI! So much for the good news.

Another week facing two absolutely hopeless teams, another 2-4 result. What a farcical team we have here.

As usual, the mantra remains "better luck next year". What is there to look forward to in the last seven weeks? Alberto Ramos' ROTY campaign remains hot, and he has now also taken over the CL lead in stolen bases with 34, with the competition seeing a few guys with 32. The ABL lead is 38, held by WAS Guillermo Obando. Mark Roberts might win the strikeout crown, but nothing else. Maybe we can finish with a winning record, although things are getting very speculative right now.

Well, technically one chance remains. Sweep the damn Elks on the upcoming weekend. Never mind that 3-8 record we have against them this year…

Fun Fact: In 50 years of ABL baseball, players have hit three or more home runs 49 times. This includes two more Raccoons; Ben Simon in 1977 and Craig Bowen in 2007. All of them did the dirty job against the Loggers.

Craig Bowen remains the only ABL player to go yard four times in a game.
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__________________
Portland Raccoons, 49 years of excell-.... of baseball: Furballs here!
1983 * 1989 * 1991 * 1992 * 1993 * 1995 * 1996 * 2010 * 2017 * 2018 * 2019
1 OSANAI : 2 POWELL : 8 REECE : 10 BROWN : 15 HALL : 32 WEST : 46 SAITO

Resident Mets Cynic

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