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Live blog: Lowell Spinners vs. Tri-City ValleyCats

Posted by Craig Forde  September 1, 2013 04:36 PM

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Game over: The Tri-City ValleyCats (42-31) leave Lowell holding a half game lead in the Stedler Division with both teams having three games to play. As fat would have it, both will face off against the two teams vying for the McNamara Division title. Lowell (40-30) will finish their season in Aberdeen, owner of a game and half lead and Tri-City heads back home to wrap their regular season against the second place Brooklyn Cyclones.

Bottom 9th: Nathan Minnich with a solid single into center field to get the crowd back into this game. Minnich pulls into second on a passed ball, as Lin draws a full count. Lin draws the walk, giving Lowell two on with no outs. Moore (0-for-4) goes down on strikes for the third time tonight. Jose Colorado comes on to pinch-hit for Jerez and gets yoked on a nasty hook from Sanudo for the second out of the inning. Sanudo busts out the hook again and pulls Asuaje down for strike three and the win. ValleyCats, 7-4

Top 9th: Booth Ks to start the inning. Kemmer singles, the 12th hit of the night for Tri-City. Rodriguez picks up the golden sombrero with his fourth K of the night. Moon follows Kemmer's steal of second with a walk. Grover gets Ramsey swinging for the third K of the inning. Spinners will need a miracle in their final at-bat to avoid being dropped back into second place. ValleyCats, 7-4

Bottom 8th: Gonzalo Sanudo on to pitch for Tri-City and he gets Margot to pop one up to second base for the tenth straight Spinners out. Mager gets rung up on a ball in the dirt. He started for first thinking it was a walk and was not pleased with the call for out two. Bethea ends the inning on the next pitch with a ground out to second. ValleyCats, 7-4

Top 8th: Rodriguez goes down on strikes. Moon, an NYPL All-Star, is having a game. Improved to 3-for-4 with a double down the left field line. Ramsey draws a free pass, giving Tri-City runners on first and second with one out. They move up on a wild pitch, causing Aro to serve up the IBB to Dineen and Crabbe to make another pitching change. Taylor Grover on for his 14th appearance of the season. White hits a sharp grounder to third that Moore boots, bringing in another ValleyCat run. Gregor's liner to Margot brings in Ramsey as Tri-City continues to pad their lead. The bleeding ends on a Mitchell pop-out to Lin at short. ValleyCats, 7-4

Bottom 7th: Jerez with a lazy swing on strike three to start the inning. On a 1-0 count Asuaje breaks his bat on a ground-out to third base. Romanski goes down on strikes for the second 1-2-3 inning for Tri-City. Feliz, who has gotten stronger as the game has gone on, has retired nine straight and had struck out ten. ValleyCats, 5-4

Top 7th: Dineen with a long fly to center, one pitch, one out for Aro and the Spinners. White laces a one-out single into left. Gregor ropes a double into the right-center gap, but White does not have enough in the tank to score from first. Mitchell's grounder in the hole at second, coupled with a hesitation by Asuaje, brings in the go-ahead run and puts Mitchell at first with Gregor at third. The Spinners get away with one as Booth's squeeze bunt in front of home plate looked to plate Gregor, but the Aro-to-Bethea transfer was called an out at the plate. Kemmer ends the inning with a bloop handled by Lin behind the mound. ValleyCats, 5-4

Bottom 6th: Minnich takes one for a ride to leadoff the inning, but Mitchell tracks it for the first out. Lin Ks for the second out. Moore grounds to first for the 1-2-3. Game tied, 4-4

Top 6th: Aro gets Rodriguez looking to start the frame. Moon (2-for-3) makes his first out of the game, flying out to Mager in left. Ramsey contributes to a 1-2-3 inning with a 1-0 flyout to center. Game tied, 4-4

Bottom 5th: Jake Romanski gets on to start the inning, catching Feliz off guard on a come-backer. Romanski advances on a slow roller where Margot was out at first. Mager goes down on strikes for the second time tonight. Bethea then takes some back cuts at some bad pitches and also goes down swinging. That's strikeout number seven for Feliz. Game tied, 4-4

Top 5th: For the third straight batter of the game, it's a one pitch out as White grounds to third. Gregor walks and Mitchell singles on the next pitch to put two ValleyCats on with one out. Aro gets Booth on a check-swing strikeout and Kemmer on chopper to short, getting out of the jam unscathed. Game tied, 4-4

Bottom 4th: Nick Moore swings at high-heat, striking out to lead off the inning. Jerez with a weak pop to short makes it out number two and Asuaje grounds to second in back-to-back first pitch outs, aiding Feliz as he gains traction. Game tied, 4-4

Top 4th: Callahan back on track as he uses a deadly curve to buckle Jon Kemmer. He is not shying away from his breaking ball right now, tossing a steady diet of them to Tri-City, and he seems to be getting stronger with the pitch as he goes on. He sets up Rodriguez with his curve as well, then fires a 91-mph fastball past him for the second out. After working the count full, Chan Moon strokes one off the right field wall for a long, two-out single. Manager Bruce Crabbe comes out to pull the plug on Callahan as Jonathan Aro comes on for Lowell. With Moon on the move, Ramsey does his part in the hit-and-run, smacking to where Asuaje would have been had he not been moving to cover second base, Moon moves to third. Dineen grounds to third as Minnich gets low to scoop the throw and end the threat. Game tied, 4-4

Bottom 3rd: Danny Bethea lifts on out towards the Spinners bullpen in right, but Ronnie Mitchell makes a spectacular play, diving in foul territory for the first out. Minnich grounds out innocently to second base. Lin hits a slow grounder to second, creating a bang-bang play at first. It's Feliz and the ValleyCats first 1-2-3 inning of the game. Game tied, 4-4

Top 3rd: Callahan gives up a lead off walk to Jon Kemmer. Jake Rodriguez follows up with a single through the left side for the first ValleyCats hit of the night. Chan Moon uses his speed to bunt his way on, loading the bases with no outs. Cats getting to Callahan now as Ramsey punches one to left to put them on the board. Dineen skies one to center, Margot eases under it for the first out, but another run crosses the plate for Tri-City. A walk to White reloads the bases for the ValleyCats with one out and Lowell pitching coach Walter Miranda comes out to calm Callahan. Gregor rips a bullet that is just out of reach of Nathan Minnich's leap at first and two more runs score, tying the game at four. Callahan has really hit a wall here as Jonathan Aro begins to warm up in the pen. Mitchell goes down on strikes Callahan has had mixed results in trying to work his breaking ball, but was solid with two of them to Brett Booth before K'ing him. Damage done. Game tied, 4-4

Bottom 2nd: Asuaje pulls the leadoff walk for Lowell as Feliz is struggling a bit with his command. Romanski swings through strike three for the first out. Margot does the same on an 80-mph changeup. Asuaje steals second and moves to third on a wild pitch. Mager goes down with a wild swing an a 79-mph off speed offering. So Feliz seems to have now found his control and gets the ValleyCats out unscathed. Spinners, 4-0

Top 2nd: Callahan gets Congrad Gregor to ground out, 4-3, for the first out. One the very next pitch, Ronnie Mitchell pops-out to first. Brett Booth lines out to Mager, the third out to come his way in left field, and Callahan gets out of the inning having to use up only 9 pitches. Spinners, 4-0

Bottom 1st: Tri-City starter, 19-year-old Michael Feliz enters the game with a league best 1.60 ERA. He has 68 Ks in 62 innings. Spinners leadoff hitter Carlos Asuaje grounds out to first. On an 0-1 pitch, catcher Jake Romanski was grazed by a Feliz offering and the Spinners get the first base runner of the game. Manuel Margot rips a 94-mph heater for a single through the left-side of the infield, giving the Spinners runners at first and second with one out. Kevin Mager takes the second pitch he sees back up the box, it takes a friendly hop over the second baseman's glove, allowing Romanski to score and Margot to advance to third as Lowell takes an early, 1-0, lead. Danny Bethea earns the intentional walk to load the bases with no outs. Nathan Minnich follows with a first pitch bouncer over the third baseman, plating Margot and Mager, and the Spinners are off and running to start this one. The whole Spinners team is hanging over the railing of the dugout, feeling the intensity of this one. Tzu-Wei Lin with a hard grounder to short, bounces over Chan Moon's glove and Bethea scores to make is a 4-0 Lowell lead. Nick Moore cannot heed the crowds chants of "we want more", as he goes down swinging for out number two. Williams Jerez signifies the Spinners have batted through here in their first at-bats, but he grounds out harmlessly to first. Feliz tops out at 95 miles per hour with his fastball, but the Spinners are not impressed as they inflect heavy damaged in the first. Spinners, 4-0

Top 1st: Lowell's Jamie Callahan, two-time New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week, makes his third start of the season versus the ValleyCats. He is 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA against Tri-City. Callahan gets James Ramsey to lift a 1-1 pitch to left for out number one. After running the count full versus Ryan Dineen, Callahan induces another pop-fly to Kevin Mager in left. Tyler White goes down on a 91mph high-heater for the third out. 14 pitches in that inning for the Red Sox 2012 second-rounder. No score.

Preview: The most untimely four-game losing streak for the Spinners in late August has completely been erased as they have won five straight games to not only put themselves back in the playoff race, but in the driver’s seat with four games to play. Now, with a half-game lead in the Stedler Division over the visiting Tri-City ValleyCats, Lowell will look to increase that lead in the standings before heading off to Aberdeen for their final three games of the season. Tri-City, the defending Stedler Division champs, hold a 5-4 lead in the season series.

Tonight’s regular season finale at LeLacheur Park is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. and there is nothing but blue skies and sunshine soaking the field right now. It’s the biggest home game for the Spinners since their last playoff run in 2009 and we will be here to live blog it for you, so please check back for updates and feel free to comment throughout.

Starting lineups:

Tri-City ValleyCats
CF James Ramsey
2B Ryan Dineen
3B Tyler White
1B Conrad Gregor
RF Ronnie Mitchell
DH Brett Booth
LF Jon Kemmer
C Jake Rodriguez
SS Chan Moon

RHP Michael Feliz (3-2, 1.60 ERA)

Lowell Spinners
2B Carlos Asuaje
DH Jake Romanski
CF Manuel Margot
LF Kevin Mager
C Danny Bethea
1B Nathan Minnich
SS Tzu-Wei Lin
2B Nick Moore
RF Williams Jerez

RHP Jamie Callahan (5-1, 3.54)

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About the author

Craig Forde covers baseball talent as it develops into the next big thing. He has covered high school and college sports for the Boston Globe, and the minor league teams More »

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