Erie SeaWolves 6, Richmond Flying Squirrels 2 (box)
The SeaWolves pulled out all the stops, mixing three different starting pitchers to tame the Squirrels in Game 2. However, it reliever Adam Wolf who came up clutch, while Quincy Nieporte landed the big blow, launching a three-run shot that carried the SeaWolves to victory.
Erie built a first inning lead on a pair of walks and a Richmond defensive miscue. With one out in the top of the first, Andrew Navigato and Parker Meadows walked. Nieporte struck out, but a little flare in shallow left field saw Richmond’s third baseman and left fielder converge in confusion as to who was taking charge. Neither did. The ball dropped and both Navigato and Meadows roared around to score for a 2-0 lead.
Ty Madden got the start, and it did not go well. He got through the first but was not in command of his stuff. It bit him in the bottom of the second as he allowed back-to-back solo shots that tied the game. He went on to issue a pair of walks and escaped further trouble by the skin of his teeth.
That was enough for manager Gabe Alvarez, managing in must-win fashion knowing he had Wilmer Flores ready to go for Game 3 if necessary. He turned to Sawyer Gipson-Long for the third inning, and then, after Gipson-Long was drilled in the leg with a line drive to start the fourth, brought in Carlos Guzman. Guzman handled the fourth and fifth under difficult circumstances, keeping Richmond off the board long enough for his teammates to seize the lead again.
Dane Myers walked to lead off the fifth, one of seven walks issued by Richmond pitching, though Erie wasn’t far behind with six walks issued. With one out, Parker Meadows singled to left, and that brought Nieporte to the dish.
Quincy Nieporte and the @erie_seawolves are SPRINTING to the championship!— Detroit Tigers Player Development (@RoadtoDetroit) September 23, 2022
His go-ahead three-run homer propelled them to the league championship series for the first time in team history! pic.twitter.com/dixNO4GC8p
Leading 5-2, lefty Adam Wolf took over in the sixth. He got in a bit of a jam in the inning but recorded a strikeout and a pop-up to keep Richmond off the board. The only baserunner he’d allow over the next two innings came on a Danny Serretti error as Wolf punched out four in his three scoreless innings.
Walks to Serretti and Michael De La Cruz in the top of the eighth led to the final run of the game, as Jon Rosoff singled in Serretti to make it 6-2. Brendan White closed the door on the Squirrels with a pair of strikeouts in a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Here’s the final call from Greg Gania, and you can see manager Gabe Alvarez’s postgame interview here.
Meadows: 1-4, 2 R, BB, 2 SO
Nieporte: 1-5, R, 3 RBI, HR, 3 SO
Serretti: 1-3, R, 2 RBI, BB
Wolf: 3.0 IP, 0 ER, BB, 4 SO
Coming Up Next: The Somerset Patriots took down the Portland Sea Dogs on Thursday to take their best-of-three series. The best-of-three matchup for the 2022 Eastern League title will begin on Sunday at 6:05 p.m. EDT at UPMC Park, with games two and three moving to Somerset.
Columbus Clippers 9, Toledo Mud Hens 8 (Gm 1)(F/7)(box)
After the Mud Hens won Tuesday’s delayed game on Wednesday, and then followed it by winning the nightcap, they had won 12 in a row, two more than the franchise record streak stretching back 100 years. The streak finally ended on Thursday in a tight contest that came down to the final pitch.
Columbus came out swinging, dropping five runs on starter Elvin Rodriguez in the top of the first inning, including a pair of home runs. However, the Mud Hens fought back with three of their own in the bottom half.
With two outs, Daz Cameron got things started with a double. Josh Lester singled him in and then scored on a Brendon Davis triple. Andre Lipcius singled home Davis, and it was 5-3 after the first.
Rodriguez settled in after giving up five runs and striking out three in the first, spinning three scoreless innings to give his teammates a chance to come back, and they got it done in the bottom of the second inning. Cameron’s second double of the day scored Zack Short and Kody Clemens to tie things up.
Unfortunately, in the top of the fifth reliever Zac Houston took over and was rocked for three runs. Cameron walked and later scored on a wild pitch, but it was 8-6 Columbus. Clemens launched a solo shot in the sixth to pull within one, but in the top of the seventh, the Clippers scored again, taking advantage of a Lester error and a hit by pitch by reliever Nick Vincent to re-open a two-run lead.
Brendon Davis launched a one-out solo shot in the bottom of the seventh to close the deficit to one. Lipcius grounded out, but Jamie Westbrook doubled with two outs to put the tying run at second. Unfortunately Dustin Garneau struck out to end this one.
Cameron: 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 2B, BB, SO
Davis: 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR,
Clemens: 2-4, 2 R, RBI, HR, SO
Rodriguez: 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 6 SO
Toledo Mud Hens 7, Columbus Clippers 2 (Gm 2)(F/7)(box)
The Hens rode one big inning to victory in the nightcap. However, they remain five games behind first place Nashville with just six games to play, despite the furious push over the past two weeks.
The Hens went with a bullpen day in this one, and apart from two runs surrendered by Nick Kuzia in the fifth, the relief corps did a great job.
John Valente doubled with two outs in the third inning, and scored on an Andre Lipcius single to open the scoring. In the fifth, Ali Sanchez reached on an error, and a Corey Joyce single followed, with both runners advancing to second and third on another Columbus error. Three straight walks followed, the last putting Daz Cameron at first and forcing a run in as Joyce came across to score. RBI knocks from Josh Lester and Lipcius followed, and it was 6-0 Hens when the dust cleared.
Kuzia allowed two runs in the bottom of the fifth, but in the top of the seventh, Kody Clemens hit another solo shot to open the lead to 7-2, and that’s where it ended.
Clemens: 2-3, 2 R, RBI, HR, BB, SO
Short: 2-3, R, RBI, BB, SO
Spitzbarth: 3.0 IP, 0 ER, H, BB, 2 SO
Coming Up Next: RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (3-3, 4.76 ERA) takes on LHP Konnor Pilkington (2-4, 5.66 ERA) on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. EDT.
Tigers Mini-Camp begins
The Detroit Tigers fall instructional camp got underway on Thursday, and will run through September 30. The idea is to go over everything players learned during the season, and set them up for a productive offseason by addressing their strengths and weaknesses at the end of the long regular season.
45 players not yet on the 40-man roster, apart from those still playing with Toledo and Erie, are taking part at the Tigers’ training complex in Lakeland, with most of the minor league coaches, as well as special instructors like Alan Trammell will all be on hand to work with players.
Several Erie SeaWolves, such as Wilmer Flores and Ty Madden, are still in the postseason, but Jackson Jobe, Dylan Smith, and Keider Montero are all attending mini-camp. On the position player side, Jace Jung, Cristian Santana, Peyton Graham, Colt Keith, Izaac Pacheco, Parker Meadows, and most of the other top prospects will all be on hand.
The Arizona Fall League will get underway shortly after camp ends, beginning on October 3rd and running through November 12th.
Lynn Henning has the minicamp story for the Detroit News.
“We’ll do everything we can do to review the past season, focus on strengths and weaknesses, and set them on the right path for 2023,” said Ryan Garko, who is the Tigers’ vice-president for player development.
“We’ve got the sports-science group there, the analytics group, all the coaches — we’ll try to surround them with support.”
2022 @tigers Player Development Fall Camp is underway in Tigertown, and Hall-of-Famer Alan Trammell is hard at work with top @RoadtoDetroit prospects Jace Jung and Cristian Santana.— Dan Hasty (@ThatDanHasty) September 22, 2022
: Tom Hagerty pic.twitter.com/mbo1B6Zvz0
There’s also a really interesting and inspiring feature from Cody Stavenhagen on Texas Tech special assistant Ray Hayward. The former MLB pitcher and Tigers’ area scout was the one who helped Tigers first round pick Jace Jung develop his unique setup. Hayward went in for what appeared to be a routine heart valve procedure, but ultimately needed both heart and kidney transplants before making a remarkable recovery.