The Stockton Ports came in to Friday’s matchup with the Lancaster Jethawks (Astros affiliate) having collected 129 Home Runs on the season. In the bottom of the first inning, Chad Pinder drilled a pitch over the wall in right-center to give the Ports an early 1-0 lead. The second baseman had a fantastic night at the plate, and with the glove. Pinder went 3 for 4 with a walk, HR, 2 runs and 2 RBI. The 3 for 4 night raises Pinder’s average to .303 on the season.
On the defensive end, Pinder turned a broken play into a double play. A ball was scorched to second off the bat of Roberto Pena, and Pinder bobbled the ball initially, but recovered in time to tag Teoscar Hernandez going to second, before firing to first to retire Pena as well. The reaction time, and the quick-thinking was very impressive on the part of one Chad Pinder.
Not to be outdone, teammate Matt Olsen clobbered a 2-run shot in the 3rd, to increase the Ports’ lead to 3-0. The Home Run is Olsen’s 29th on the season, and puts him within shouting distance of the club record of 39, set by Chris Carter.
With the Ports later up 6-0, starting pitcher Jake Sanchez was on cruise control. There was a calm on Banner Island until the 6th inning. In the frame, some ill luck befell Sanchez, with two balls hit to center that were just out of the reach of Zeke DeVoss. DeVoss showed off his range by getting to the balls, but couldn’t quite reel them in. Tyler White of Lancaster delivered the big blow with a 2-run double, that trimmed the Ports’ lead to 6-3 at the conclusion of the 6th.
A’s fans may remember Jake Sanchez as the player that the A’s received for Michael Taylor in a trade on June 14th. The 24-year old righty Sanchez (5-1, 3.64) went 6 IP, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs while striking out 4. In a hitter’s league, and at Banner Island where the ball really carries, that is a pretty solid start.
Nolan Sanburn came on in relief of Sanchez, going 2 innings, allowing 2 runs, 1 ER and striking out 3. With the score at 7-5, Austin House came in to close out the 9th and did so in a quick manner, striking out 2 en route to his 13th save on the season.
I would also like to call attention to a player from the opposition, the Jethwaks’ catcher Roberto Pena. Watching him toss a ball to second in between innings, I turned to my fiancé and said, “This guy has a cannon”. Sure enough, Pena caught Bobby Crocker trying to steal second shortly thereafter. Pena would also show off his arm with quick-throws to first, a la Yadier Molina. To further illustrate how good his arm is:
— Jason Schwartz (@jasondschwartz) July 26, 2014
Keep an eye out for Roberto Pena.
Lastly, I would like to express gratitude to Paul Muyskens, Kellie Ryan and the Stockton Ports for being so hospitable to both myself and my fiancé. We had a great time, and will be back very soon!