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Link Report Thurs. 9/6 - Manatees Take Series; Helena a Wild Win

Mass Haas

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Here's all the Nashville info -- unfortunately, unlike Wednesday, the game is not on MiLB.TV.


Nashville: LHP Adam Pettyjohn at New Orleans (Mets) in Game Two of a Best-of-Five series, 12:45 PM Central pre-game, 1:00 gametime; Zephyrs lead the series, 1-0


Audio link:



Box Score / Game Log / Gameday:



Nashville Media Notes:

Chock-full as always...



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Smokies' nemesis to start for Stars


Huntsville Times Sports Staff, markcolumn@aol.com


The grounds crew was stretching out the large vinyl stencil early Wednesday afternoon, to paint the Southern League playoffs logo in foul territory at Joe Davis Stadium. The Stars had just finished a relaxed batting practice before adjourning to the clubhouse for a brief meeting.


The stage was set for the Southern League North playoffs between Huntsville and Tennessee, opening tonight at 7:05 at Joe Davis Stadium.


The Smokies' roster had a last-minute reshuffling, with pitcher Kevin Hart and outfielder Sam Fuld called up to the big leagues. Sean Gallagher, who was at Tennessee for the playoff run, has also gone back to the majors. Outfielder Eric Patterson, sent down from Triple-A, has been added to the roster.


Sam Narron (7-9, but a 1.61 ERA in four starts against Tennessee) will start for Huntsville tonight against Mark Holliman (10-11, 3.57 ERA). Huntsville's Corey Thurman goes on Friday at 7:05 p.m. against either Donnie Veal or Justin Berg.


Leaning on the batting cage Wednesday morning as his team worked out, Stars manager Don Money said, "The key for us is to keep them off base and from stealing bases. But we have to play our own game. We have to do the simple things for us. We've got to get men on and move them around and get two-out base hits."

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Lab rats wore white coats in Katin's nightmare

Contact Mark McCarter at markcolumn@aol.com

Huntsville Times


He didn't even get an apology. Not even an embarrassed "Oops!" Just a formal letter that finally tracked down Brendan Katin on a July road trip and told him what he already knew, what he had told people ad infinitum:


Not guilty.


As if some letter would restore all the shininess on the Huntsville Stars outfielder's reputation. As if a letter would make up for the gnawing feeling in his belly every day that impacted his play and concentration, that had him shrugging an answer every day when somebody would ask, "Have you heard anything about the steroids test?"


An early season drug test threw up a red flag. Something was out of the ordinary. Katin was suspended, then immediately unsuspended until the lab-coat guys could review his test again. "There was a lot of weight on my mind," Katin said.


A couple of weeks for the review turned into a month. Into a month and a half. "Absolutely ridiculous," he said.


Must have been a busy summer down in the labs. What's the rush? Just because a 24-year-old guy's career is twisting in the wind? What? Too busy dealing with beakers and test tubes and shopping for pocket protectors to realize it's a human, not a white rat, you've got running on your treadmill?


Ridiculous, indeed.


Meanwhile, despite professing his innocence, Katin is employed in a business that has created a guilty-until-prove-innocent culture when it comes to steroids. He's also employed with a minor-league franchise that provided the poster children for performance-enhancing drugs: Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi.


Katin's initial test showed a higher level of testosterone than normal. Upon further review, the lab guys "determined that my high level did not constitute a positive result (for steroids)," he said.


Brendan Katin was and is clean.


Despite the angst, despite a strikeout total he recognizes as "too much," despite a season that he said "had its ups and downs," Katin emerged as a Southern League All-Star outfielder. He led the league in homers (24) and RBIs (94), the first Star to lead both categories in the same year since the late Mike Coolbaugh in 1997.


At Wednesday morning's batting practice, he was treating the scoreboard like it was a target. A few minutes later, he was asked to explain what the sensation of a home run was like. You know, for us mortals to understand.


"It feels like nothing, I guess. When you really get a hold of one, it feels like you didn't really hit it," Katin said. "It's kind of like you don't hear it, you don't really feel it. It's just perfect."


Tonight, Katin can begin to write the ending to the up-and-down season perfectly. He'll be making his Southern League playoff encore, albeit in a considerably different role. He has gone from passenger to pilot, from a cameo actor to the star, from a role player a year ago after his Aug. 19 promotion, to the team's primary run-producer.


"It's easier to show up at the ballpark, knowing you're going to be in the lineup."


Easier to show up, too, knowing that everybody else knows what you knew all along.

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Quotes from MiLB.com's coverage of Wednesday's Manatees game:

Gamel, Manatees rally, stay alive
By Chip Haunss / Special to MLB.com

In a game in which the tying run scored on a controversial hit batter call in the ninth inning, Mat Gamel delivered an even bigger hit for the Manatees.

Gamel singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as Brevard County edged St. Lucie, 7-6, to even their Florida State League first-round playoff series at 1-1 on Wednesday.

With the Manatees trailing, 6-5, Yohannis Perez ripped a leadoff single and advanced on Ned Yost's bunt single before both runners moved up on pitcher Joe Hietpas' throwing error. One out later, Darren Ford was intentionally walked to load the bases. The game's most controversial play followed.

Lorenzo Cain was hit by a pitch, forcing in Perez with the tying run. The Mets argued that Cain was not hit but the ruling stood.

"The ball just nicked him and I guess their dugout didn't think so, and I can understand because you don't really want to see the game tied that way," Gamel said. "I was in the on-deck circle, but I didn't really see the play. I wasn't tuned in, I was watching the pitcher and focusing on my at-bat."

The 22-year-old third baseman followed with his biggest hit of the season as he laced a single to center field off reliever Jose De La Torre to score pinch-runner Freddy Parejo and keep the series going.

"I had faced [De La Torre] before and knew what he threw, so I felt comfortable," Gamel explained. "I wasn't trying to do too much, just trying to hit a fly ball. I worked the count and got a good pitch, a fastball on the outside part of the plate, and hit it better than I thought."

Gamel, who was held hitless with three strikeouts on Tuesday, went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and said his mind-set completely changed in that final at-bat with the score tied.

"It definitely eased the nerves and it was helpful knowing you don't have to swing for two runs in that spot. I adjusted my approach and was just trying to hit what he gave me," he said.

Trailing, 6-1, Brevard County staged a four-run rally in the sixth, highlighted by Mike Bell's RBI double and Chris Errecart's three-run homer.

Gamel said the team could feel the momentum beginning to shift.

"Everyone was still fired up, and while it crossed the back of our minds that it mind be the end of the season, we tried to stay positive and pick one another up," he said. "Chris' homer really changed the game and gave the team a huge lift."

The 2005 fourth-round pick feels this win is something that could carry over to Thursday's game.

"I think we definitely have the momentum going into tomorrow's game and we just have to take it out there and play a solid game tomorrow," Gamel said.

Brevard County reliever Kevin Roberts (1-0) yielded one hit and two walks, striking out five over 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Dan Murphy was 2-for-2 with three walks, two RBIs and two runs scored for the Mets. Nick Evans collected three hits, an RBI and a run scored and is 5-for-9 in the series.

Hietpas (0-1) was charged with two runs on two hits and one walk in 1 1/3 innings.

The decisive third game is Thursday at 7:00 PM in Brevard County (6:00 Central).

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The rest of Thursday's Daily Menu:


All times Central; pitchers subject to change --


Huntsville: LHP Sam Narron at home vs. Tennessee (Cubs), 6:50 PM pre-game; 7:05 gametime; Game One of a Best-of-Five


Audio link:



Brevard County: LHP Brae Wright at home vs. St. Lucie (Mets) in Deciding Game Three of a Best-of-Three series, 5:45 PM pre-game, 6:00 gametime


Audio link (game will also archive at this link):



West Virginia: Idle; best-of-three resumes Friday night in Charleston; Power up, 1-0


Helena: RHP Chad Robinson at home vs. Missoula (Diamondbacks), 7:50 PM pre-game, 8:05 gametime; keep in mind Helena's regular season doesn't end until Friday the 7th...


Audio link (game will also archive at this link):


Arizona: Season complete

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Follow Thursday's action as it happens:

Here's what you do, right click on each of the links below and choose "Open in New Window". Choose "Log". While you're listening to your minor league game of choice (or watching/listening to the big league Crew when they are playing), simply refresh your game log browsers every so often.






Brevard County:





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Pioneer League Second Half Standings through Wednesday's action:


 Pioneer League (R+) - PIO North Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Great Falls 26 9 .743 - 14-4 12-5 W7 Helena 20 16 .556 6.5 9-9 11-7 W6 Billings 16 20 .444 10.5 9-8 7-12 L6 Missoula 13 23 .361 13.5 7-12 6-11 L7 

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Congratulations to Brevard County on advancing to the championship round. After the walkoff win last night, you sort of got the feeling that today would be a good day. Contributions from everybody on offense and a great job by Brae Wright...solid win!
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Congrats indeed! The Manatees sporting a rather different lineup to put a thumping on St. Lucie.


Nashville managed a few miracles last postseason IIRC with a picked over squad, hopefully they have a few more left in them as they return home for the rest of this series. Go Sounds!

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Final: Brevard County 13, St. Lucie (Mets) 2


Wright pitches Manatees into Finals
By Zack Hample / Special to MLB.com

Brae Wright's first win for the Brevard County Manatees could not have come at a better time.

Wright hurled 7 2/3 solid innings as the Manatees pounded visiting St. Lucie, 13-2, on Thursday to advance to the Florida State League Finals for the first time since 2001.

After going 0-2 in seven regular-season games for the Manatees, Wright (1-0) pitched seven scoreless frames before giving up two runs in the eighth. He allowed eight hits and one walk while striking out three.

"I came out feeling great," said the 23-year-old left-hander, who kept hitters off-balance with curveballs, sliders, changeups and fastballs that topped out in the high 80s.

"I was getting ahead early, moving the ball in and out, not letting guys get too comfortable with one side of the plate," he added. "I did what I could for [my teammates], and they stepped up as well. The defense was phenomenal."

Brevard County committed three errors in an 8-0 loss in Game 1 and made one in a 7-6 win in Game 2 before playing errorless ball in the clincher.

The Manatees used a balanced attack Thursday as every player in the lineup contributed at least one hit, starting with a solo homer by Cole Gillespie in the first.

"It felt pretty good to get a lead like that in the first inning," Gillespie said.

Brevard County padded its lead with a five-run third. Mat Gamel and Mike Bell delivered RBI singles before Chris Errecart stroked a two-run triple and scored on an error by third baseman Dan Murphy.


Audio: Errecart triples in a pair


The Manatees added two runs in the seventh and five in the eighth to put the game out of reach. Yohannis Perez went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs and Gamel was 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Gillespie and Bell each scored three runs, while leadoff batter Lorenzo Cain reached base five times, going 2-for-2 with three walks.

"That was the most amazing thing I've done in a while, and that really put us over the top," Cain said. "We were down after the first game, but we got our minds right. Tonight, we put together a big win."

"Everybody stepped up and delivered," said Gamel, who won Game 2 with a ninth-inning single. "It was a team win, a good victory for all of us."

The Manatees will face the winner of Friday's Game 3 of the West Division Finals between Clearwater and Sarasota.

"Everyone's rolling right now," added Bell. "We got the momentum."

"It's been a great ride," Manatees mnager John Tamargo added. "I'm so proud of these guys who never gave up."

After Wright exited, Patrick Ryan retired all four batters he faced.

Mets starter Eric Brown (0-1) was tagged for six runs -- four earned -- on five hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings.

Nick Evans hit an RBI double and scored on Murphy's single for St. Lucie. Emmanuel Garcia, the only player on the defending FSL champions with more than one hit, went 3-for-4.


Brevard County Box Score:

Darren Ford suffered a hand injury in Wednesday's game and did not play in the clincher, Freddy Parejo started in right field, with Lorenzo Cain in center; Manager John Tamargo went with light-hitting but solid defensive catcher Nestor Corredor in each game of the series -- Anderson de la Rosa showed a surprising bat all season, and seemed to have a solid catcher's ERA when he got a chance behind the dish, but the more "veteran" Corredor was the choice throughout...




Brevard County Game Log:



Pitcher Rafael Lluberes celebrates the Manatees' first Finals appearance since 2001. (MiLB.com Photo by Jake Mentch)



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Manatees Released This:

The Brevard County Manatees came back from the brink on Tuesday night to pull off the miraculous 'Comeback on the Coast' on Wednesday night and then slam home game #3 on Thursday night, 13-2. The 'Tees were dead in the water 48 hours earlier after rumbling, stumbling, fumbling itself right out of game #1, 8-0. But a Mets 6-1 lead wasn't safe in game #2 and the Manatees carved back to a 7-6 victory and the clubhouse felt the momentum shift. By the time the players took the field Thursday night there was nobody who doubted that the game was going to be won. Even the staff dubbed it Guarateed Win Night, offering a pair of tickets to every 2008 home game to one lucky fan if the 'Tees lost game #3. Like Chicagoans, the Manatees voted early and often in the election to put the Manatees back into the championship series for the 1st time since 2001.


The Manatees will have Friday off to await the Western Division finals and then host games #1 & #2 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Both of those games will begin at 7:00 PM (6:00 Central) at Space Coast Stadium. Sunday's game will be the final home game of the season for the Manatees as they will have to travel to the west coast of Florida for games #3 - #5.

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Florida Today

Manatees romp over Mets



Bring on the Florida State League championship series.

But first, a day of rest.

The Brevard County Manatees stormed into the best-of-five series on Thursday night, beating the St. Lucie Mets 13-2 in the third game of the best-of-three Eastern Division playoffs at Space Coast Stadium. They begin the title series at 7:00 PM Saturday (6:00 Central), at home against either Clearwater or Sarasota. Clearwater defeated Sarasota 3-2 on Thursday night to force a deciding third game in the Western Division playoffs tonight in Sarasota.

Game two of the Class A FSL championship series will be played Sunday evening in Viera before shifting to the west coast for game three. Four and five will follow if necessary.

Manatees winning pitcher, lefty Brae Wright, scattered eight hits over 7 2/3 innings before about 950 fans. He allowed only three runners to reach second base through the first seven innings before losing his shutout in the top of the eighth when Nick Evans' double plated Hector Pellot.

Daniel Murphy followed with a single to score Evans and chase Wright who received a rousing ovation for keeping the Mets at bay and pitching his teammates into the championship round for the first time since 2001.

"He kept his ball down and threw some off-speed pitches and gave us a chance to win and that's all you can ask of the kid," a beaming Manatees manager John Tamargo said.

"He got a little bit tired in the eighth inning. He threw 109 pitches. He did an outstanding job."

The Manatees collected 14 hits off seven Mets pitchers in their strongest offensive performance of the series. They had only four hits in losing the opener 8-0 but rallied to win the second game 7-6 on Wednesday in a stirring 10-hit performance.

"We swung the bats well and we hit in crucial situations," Tamargo said of Thursday's effort. "These guys came to play today. We had fallen behind over there and didn't look real good losing 8-0 and came back and fell behind 6-1. The guys never gave up."

The Manatees struck first on Thursday night with two outs in the bottom of the first when Cole Gillespie deposited a 0-2 pitch from Mets starter Eric Brown onto the left field berm for a 1-0 lead.

Nestor Corredor led off the bottom of third by reaching second on a two-base error by centerfielder Ambriorix Concepcion who saw a routine fly hit off the top of his glove. Lorenzo Cain walked and Mat Gamel singled to the left-center gap, scoring Corredor and moving Cain to third putting the Manatees in position to do serious damage with no one out.

However Gillespie grounded into a fielder's choice with Mets' third baseman Daniel Murphy throwing home to nail Cain at the plate.

Mike Bell followed with a sharp infield single scoring Gamel to make it 3-0. Chris Errecart followed with a triple to straightaway center, his second big hit in two nights, to make it 5-0. Murphy then booted Yohannis Perez's grounder allowing Errecart to score, making it 6-0, and chasing Brown.

That was all the Manatees and Wright needed.

Wright was matter-of-fact about his performance.

"Obviously it was a big game," the strapping, 6-foot, 5-inch Memphis resident said. "From the first inning I felt good, comfortable. Keeping the ball in the strike zone and kind of letting them get themselves out rather than trying to strike a bunch of guys out and just letting the defense play.

"Sometimes it's tough pitching when you've got so many runs but in this situation I think there was a little more adrenaline pumping knowing what you have on the line. It kind of carried over inning to inning."

Around the bases: The Manatees only league championship came in 2001 as they shared the laurels as co-champions with Tampa after the series, tied 1-1, was cancelled in the wake of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Championship series tickets are $7. More information can be found at www.manateesbaseball.com or by calling 633-9200.

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Final: Tennessee (Cubs) 6, Huntsville 3


Huntsville Site Game Summary:

Link, text follows --




Smokies Steal Playoff Opener


Mark Holliman twirled seven strong innings and Rocky Roquet survived a rocky eighth and ninth inning to nail down a 6-3 win for Tennessee over Huntsville Thursday night in the opener of the best-of-five North Division playoff series. The Smokies ended a seven-game skid at Joe Davis Stadium and won on the Stars' turf for only the second time in ten tries this season.


Stars' starter Sam Narron retired the first two hitters of the game before Casey McGehee walked, Tyler Colvin doubled and both runners scored on an Issmael Salas double. Chris Robinson followed with a single to center field to plate Salas and then scored two batters later on a base hit by Robinson Chirinos that capped off a four-run first inning rally. The southpaw was scored on in the first inning in 11 of his 26 regular season starts, including four of twelve at home. McGehee added a two-out run-scoring hit in the fourth to make it 5-0. Narron was lifted after four frames, giving up five runs, four earned, on eight hits and a pair of walks.


Holliman walked Adam Heether with two outs in the fourth and Lou Palmisano followed with a double to score the Stars' third sacker with the home team's first run of the night. The Tennessee right-hander gave up a run-scoring double to Steve Sollmann in the seventh inning that cut the lead to 5-2. Holliman, who spun a no-hitter against the Stars on June 21, gave up two runs on five hits while striking out six, and was replaced in the eighth inning by southpaw Geoffrey Jones.


Ryan Crew drew a one-out walk as a pinch-hitter, moved to second on a ground out and scored on a single by Hernan Iribarren that sliced the Smokies' lead to 5-3. Jones walked Heether and was taken out of the game and replaced by right-hander Rocky Roquet, who walked the righty-swinging Palmisano on four pitches to load the bases before getting Sollmann to fly out to end the threat.


Bo Hall worked a perfect fifth inning in relief and Robert Hinton threw three scoreless innings, retiring nine out of ten, before E.J. Shanks took over in the ninth for Huntsville. He gave up a scoring fly ball to McGehee that pushed the visitors' lead back to three. Roquet then walked Brendan Katin and gave up a single to Steve Moss to open the ninth before striking out Guilder Rodriguez and getting Crew to ground into a game-ending double play to earn the save.


The series continues Friday night with right-hander Corey Thurman taking the hill for Huntsville against Smokies' right-hander Justin Berg. Coverage of the game begins at 6:50 pm central time and can be heard locally on 92.5 WVNN FM and through the internet at www.huntsvillestars.com.


Huntsville Box Score:

Only 1,182 in attendance -- at least it was four digits...




Huntsville Game Log:


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David Weiser's






Here's hoping Corey Thurman (2-6 in 12 starts this year with a 5.74 ERA) has his game on Friday night because the Stars are in an instant hole after Sam Narron faced his biggest nemesis this season --- the 1st inning.

That opening inning has been a big obstacle in Narron's year....... In 26 first innings going into this game, Narron had given up 25 runs on 44 hits and eight walks (a fine control pitcher, most of Narron's passes had been issued in the 1st as opposed to any other inning). That's an ERA of 8.31...... He seems to gradually settle down after that (a 4.91 ERA in the 2nd inning and a 5.32 ERA in the 3rd), then gets down to business. From the 4th inning on, Narron's ERA this year has been 2.24....... But tonight, after getting the Smokies in order on eight pitches in the 3rd, he was gone after four innings, giving up a 5th run that inning, leaving the Stars in a 5-1 hole.

All five runs off Narron came with two out....... In the 1st, Narron easily dispatched leadoff hitter Eric Patterson, who was dropped down from Iowa, where he spent most of the season, hitting .297 in 128 games, and Jemel Spearman on a routine grounder to short. Narron threw first-pitch strikes to both hitters, then inexplicably fell behind Casey McGehee 3-and-0 before he walked him on a 3-and-2........ No sweat right? One out shouldn't be hard to get. But then Tyler Colvin doubled deep to right on a ball that I feel Brendan Katin should have hustled more on, taking the rebound off the wall. Issmael Salas then doubled to left-center off the wall on a 2-2 pitch, giving the Smokies a 2-0 lead. Catcher Chris Robinson, a .382 hitter in August, dropped a single into shallow center on a 1-2 pitch, scoring Salas to make it 3-0........ Gary Cates then fought off a few 2-2 pitches before he slipped a hard grounder past the glove of Adam Heether, putting Robinson on 2nd........ I've seen tougher grounders handled by Adam this season and converted into outs, but taking away nothing from him, this was one that simply got out of his reach this time....... Robinson Chirinos finished the hit parade with a looper to right to score Robinson....... Narron finally escaped the inning by getting his counterpart on the hill tonight, Mark Holliman, to hit into a force out at second....... It took Narron 39 pitches (26 for strikes) to get out of the inning.

Holliman, who on June 21, pitched a seven-inning no-hitter against the Stars at Smokies Park, is not a hard thrower, usually topping out at 87-89 mph, but he commanded the game well, mixing all four of his pitches, keeping Stars hitters constantly guessing......... After Alcides Escobar and Hernan Iribarren came up with back-to-back singles in the 1st, Holliman retired the side in the 2nd and 3rd innings and got the first two hitters out in the 4th before walk and a clutch double to left-center by Lou Palmisano on a 3-2 pitch put the Stars on the board........ (A successful pickoff from Holliman to 2nd baseman Gary Cates erased the Stars' first threat in the 1st.)....... The Stars tried to rally late, but left Steve Sollmann on 2nd with one out in the 7th after he doubled in Palmisano to make it 5-2, then got as close as they would ever get when Iribarren singled into short center in the 8th to score Ryan Crew, who drew a walk in a pinch-hit role. Sollmann wound up leaving the tying run on 2nd and the bases loaded when he flied out to right....... The Stars put runners on the corners in the 9th with one out, but Crew hit into a 6-3 double play to end the game.

Narron was chased from the game after throwing 75 pitches...... Chirinos led off the 4th with a single up the middle, but Holliman was retired when he fouled off a bunt on a two-strike count and Patterson flied out deep to Moss. The Stars would have gotten out of the inning, but Escobar, ranging near second base for Spearman's grounder, failed to make the pick-up, and it led to the Smokies' 5th run....... Chirinos would score from second on Casey McGehee's single through the left side into left........ The Stars' bullpen -- sometimes shaky in the last three months of the season (17-12, 4.47) -- did a fine job. Bo Hall pitched a 1-2-3 5th inning and Robert Hinton (1.76 ERA in 11 appearances in August and September) gave up just one hit in three scoreless innings....... E.J. Shanks, 3-0 and unscored upon on the road over 7 2/3 innings, but 1-0, 10.29 at the Joe, allowed a run the Smokies didn't need after walking leadoff hitter Nate Spears on four pitches. Spears took a tour around the bases on a bunt single in front of the plate, a sacrifice, and a sacrifice fly....... The park filled up slowly tonight for Game One, reaching 1,182, including Southern League President Don Mincher, owner Miles Prentice, wearing a Stars cap, and Gord Ash, assistant General Manager of the Brewers.

Friday, the Stars compete with high school football, but should attract a good crowd. At the gate for the season, they finished 9th in the league with 164,079 in attendance, just 5,304 above last year's record-low mark....... The Smokies will call on Justin Berg (0-2, 5.82 in 4 starts against Huntsville) to face Thurman, who has given up 18 home runs this season, tying him for the 6th-highest total in a Huntsville season with Mark Brownson, Bill King, Stacy Hollins, and Kirk McDonald. Steve Hammond was the team leader in gopher balls this year with 19, placing him all alone for the 5th-highest total...... The home runs are going to worry me tomorrow, for Huntsville pitchers were 3rd in the league, but Tennessee pitchers actually gave up the most home runs with 134, and it's a safe bet we'll see one or two from Brendan Katin, Lou Palmisano, and Adam Heether, the latter two who've only had one each in August and September, before this series is over, but it's now practically a must-win situation.

Mike Goetz made his Joe Davis Stadium debut for the Stars tonight as a pinch-hitter, and on Holliman's first pitch, hit into a 4-6-3 double play that ended the 5th.

Dennis Sarfate is on his way out of the Brewers' organization. After reacquiring pitcher Ray King from the Washington Nationals, Sarfate has been designated for assignment and general manager Doug Melvin has put him on the trading block. Melvin says, "There's interest in him. I talked to a couple of teams. There's a chance of doing a deal."......... Sarfate was 2-7 with a 4.52 ERA for Nashville in 45 appearances this year. He walked 47 and struck out 68 in 61 2/3 innings...... Thanks to Jerry Staneiro for the information culled from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

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Final: New Orleans (Mets) 5, Nashville 1


Nashville Site Game Summary:

Link for Callix Crabbe photo, text follows --




Zephyrs Take 2-0 Series Lead With 5-1 Victory


METAIRIE, La. - The Nashville Sounds suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Zephyrs on a muggy Thursday afternoon at Zephyr Field in Game Two of the PCL American Conference Finals


With the win, the Zephyrs took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series, pushing the Sounds to the brink of elimination. Nashville must defend its own turf and win all three potential contests at Greer Stadium this weekend to gain a berth in the Pacific Coast League Championship Series.


First baseman Andy Tracy gave New Orleans a first-inning lead for the second straight contest when he slugged a two-out, two-run homer to right-center off Sounds starter Adam Pettyjohn. The blast - which came on a 2-0 pitch and gave the Z's a 2-0 lead - scored Anderson Hernandez, who had opened the frame with a double.


The Sounds got a run back in the top of the sixth when Chris Barnwell led off with a single off Z's starter Jason Vargas, moved to second on a Pettyjohn sacrifice, and scored on Callix Crabbe's two-out RBI single to left.


AUDIO: Callix Crabbe RBI Single


New Orleans got the run right back in the bottom of the frame. Chip Ambres walked and David Newhan (3-for-4) singled to chase Pettyjohn, then former Sound Chad Hermansen (3-for-4) greeted reliever Alec Zumwalt with an RBI single to left that gave the home team a 3-1 advantage. After issuing a walk to Robinson Cancel to load the bases with none out, the right-hander escaped further damage in the frame and kept the Sounds within striking distance by retiring the next three batters on a pop-up and a pair of groundouts.


The Zephyrs added a pair of two-out insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh against Nashville reliever Franklin Nunez. After Ambres drew a two-out walk, Newhan followed with an RBI double that sliced just beyond the reach of a diving Tony Gwynn in left-center field to give the Z's a three-run cushion. One batter later, Hermansen added his second run-scoring single of the afternoon to extend the lead to 5-1.


Vargas (1-0) was very efficient in his six innings of work, allowing one run on only three hits while striking out four batters and walking none.


Eddie Camacho and Carlos Muniz each worked a scoreless inning behind Vargas before turning things over to Ryan Cullen, who wrapped up the victory with a perfect ninth.


Pettyjohn (0-1) was saddled with the loss after he allowed three runs on seven hits over five-plus innings of work.


The series shifts to Music City on Friday evening for the final three games as necessary. Right-hander Mark DiFelice (4-2, 3.10) will take the hill for the Sounds in Friday's 7 p.m. Game Three at Greer Stadium to face New Orleans right-hander Brian Lawrence (8-5, 4.73).


Nashville Box Score:

"We have to swing the bats better, produce some offense, take some pressure off the pitching," Sounds Manager Frank Kremblas said.




Nashville Game Log:

Alec Zumwalt left with one out and no one on base for Franklin Nunez, a decision that burned Frank Kremblas in terms of New Orleans insurance runs, not that it mattered...



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Final: Helena 11, Missoula (Diamondbacks) 10


Helena Site Game Summary:


Walk Off Homer Saves the Day for the Brewers


The Brewers won in dramatic fashion Thursday night, as Kurt Crowell hit a monster walk off home run over the center field wall.


Missoula got the game started off early, jumping to an early 2-0 lead. It wouldn't last for long however, as Helena doubled that in the bottom half of the inning. They then went on to score four more in the next two innings to jump out to what they thought was a comfortable lead of six runs. The Osprey showed some resiliency though scoring four runs in the top of the fourth inning to put the score at 8-6. The next three innings would go scoreless before the Brew Crew scored two more in the bottom of the eighth. Those runs would prove to be crucial though because Missoula brought out the rally sticks and scored four runs, led by lefty Sean Coughlin's two-out, three-run homer over the opposite field fence. The game was suddenly tied, and after striking out the next batter, Helena decided that it would try to win the game in the bottom half of the inning instead. So after two quick outs, Kurt Crowell came up to the plate and delivered a bomb over the 400 feet mark in centerfield. The win was the seventh in a row for the Brewers. Corey Frierichs got the win for Helena after pitching the ninth inning and giving up four runs. Josh Blake ended up with the loss for Missoula.


The two teams will play again Friday night for the final game of the regular season in Helena at 7:05 PM (8:05 Central) at Kindrick Field.




Helena Independent Record:


Crowell hits walk-off homer for Brewers win


Kurt Crowell hit a walk-off home run as the Helena Brewers held off a ninth-inning rally to beat the Missoula Osprey 11-10 in Kindrick Legion Field.


Derrick Walker hit an RBI double before Sean Coughlin cracked a three-run homer to rally the Osprey to a 10-10 before the Brewers came up to bat.


Helena's Caleb Gindl flied out and Zelous Wheeler went down swinging before Crowell pounded one over the centerfield wall. It was Crowell's fifth home run of the season.


Crowell went 2-for-3 and added a double. Lee Haydel and Eric Farris were both 3-4 for the Brewers. Haydel had a triple and two RBI while Farris had a double and three RBI.


Helena jumped to an 8-2 lead after the first three innings, scoring four in just the first. Farris hit an RBI single, Curt Rindal reached on an error to bring him home and Gindl doubled in a run. He would score on a single by Wheeler.


Haydel followed it up with an RBI triple in the second inning before scoring on a sacrifice fly, and the Brewers would score two more in the third inning, thanks to a wild pitch by Missoula starter Thomas Layne and a single.


Layne gave up nine hits and eight runs in the first three innings while walking two and striking out two. Closer Joshua Blake who was given the loss after giving up three runs in the final 1 2/3 innings.


Helena closer Corey Frerichs was awarded the win though he gave up four runs. After starter Chad Robinson gave up the first six runs and was pulled, Dan Merklinger stranded two inherited runners, and struck out three without allowing a man on base in an inning and a third.


Helena Box Score:

Two scoreless innings for 6'6" RHP Dane de la Rosa in his Brewer organization debut, a scoreless inning for "still" 17-year-old LHP Efrain Nieves; Caleb Gindl 3-for-5, now at .372 with an OPS of an even 1.000...




Helena Game Log:




Listen to the game-winning blast -- be sure you're on the archive of September 6th, and go to the two hour, 24 minute mark --



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Merklinger continues to deal, and given his short outing last night, I'm curious if the Brewers are saving his arm for the playoffs. No one on the staff has been pitching better lately.


Plus, I'm pretty excited about such a talented lefty that misses bats as well as Merklinger has. The walks and hits have started to drop, and hopefully that continues for him.

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Doesn't Helena finish their regular season tonight?

Well, I woke up on Friday and read the box score. http://static.yuku.com//domainskins/bypass/img/smileys/happy.gif Doh.

Anyway, my prediction for Friday's Helena game is that Gindl won't play or still somehow finish with a 1000 OPS to make me sound good.


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