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A Visit to Lowell

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 – LeLacheur Park, Lowell

IronBirds 1, Spinners 0, 11 inn.

LeLacheur Park in Lowell was the setting for tonight's game between the Spinners and the IronBords.

LeLacheur Park in Lowell was the setting for tonight's game between the Spinners and the IronBirds.

The day after Jacoby Ellsbury’s walkoff hit, I went to Lowell to watch the short-season Single A Spinners take on the Aberdeen IronBirds, an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.  I’m pretty familiar with the higher levels of the Red Sox organization, but I didn’t know many of the Spinners players coming in.  I had heard of left fielder Seth Schwindenhammer (who, if he makes the majors, would beat out Jarrod Saltalamacchia for longest last name in franchise history) and the Moanaroa brothers – first baseman Boss and outfielder (DHing tonight) Moko.  (There are also three Garcias on the roster – shortstop Jose, second baseman Joantoni a.k.a. “J.T.”, and pitcher Jason – but they’re not related.)  But the player who intrigued me the most was Matt Gedman, son of former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman.  Rich now serves as hitting coach for the Spinners, and Matt plays third base.

Matt Gedman played third base. I did see his father the hitting coach in the dugoout, but couldn't get any good pictures.

Matt Gedman played third base. I did see his father the hitting coach in the dugout, but couldn't get any good pictures.

Luis Diaz was the starting pitcher, and between him and IronBirds starter Parker Bridwell, we were treated to a nice pitchers’ duel.  Both starters threw six scoreless innings, and in the middle of the sixth it was 8:20, only an hour and 15 minutes into the game.

Luis Diaz allowed only one hit and one walk over 6 scoreless innings.

Luis Diaz allowed only one hit and one walk over 6 scoreless innings.

On the offesnsive side, Schwindenhammer picked up two hits, Moko Moanoaroa had one hit, and center fielder Keury De La Cruz had three.  Those were the only Spinners hits of the day, and De La Cruz’s sixth inning double was the only extra-base hit.

When Diaz had finished his strong outing, Brandon Kapteyn followed with two more scoreless frames.  Mike McCarthy came on for the ninth, and after a leadoff walk got two consecutive 1-6 fielder’s choices and then a groundout to second to escape unscathed.  Schwindenhammer led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, but he was erased on a double play and the game headed for extra innings.

Both teams went down in order in the tenth, and McCarthy was on for his third inning of work in the eleventh.  He hadn’t given up any hits yet – in fact the entire Aberdeen lineup had only one hit all night – but with one out (a strikeout of Connor Narron that wound up getting Narron ejected) he hit Austin Knight.  The next batter was the #9 hitter in the IronBirds’ lineup, right fielder Kyle Hoppy, who had picked up his team’s lone hit in the third (before being caught stealing).  Hoppy hit a triple deep to right, and Knight bowled over Spinners catcher Jayson Hernandez to score the first run of the night.  The next batter hit a fly ball to shallow center, and Hoppy tagged up.  I was focusing the camera on home plate, so I missed whether he hesitated a bit or tried to go back, but when the throw came in, he was out by a mile, and that ended the inning without any further damage.

Jayson Hernandez tags out Kyle Hoppy in a collision in front of home plate to end the top of the eleventh.

Jayson Hernandez tags out Kyle Hoppy in a collision in front of home plate to end the top of the eleventh.

In the bottom of the eleventh, Keury De La Cruz picked up his third hit of the night with a two-out single, but Schwindenhammer, who had two hits himself, stranded him there and the rally fell short.

The Spinners players put on their rally caps for the bottom of the eleventh, but it didn't work.

The Spinners players put on their rally caps for the bottom of the eleventh, but it didn't work.

Even with extra innings, the game was still finished before 10:00.  When I got back to my car, the Red Sox/Indians game was still in progress, and they were tied 3-3 going into the bottom of the ninth.  In the ninth, Jacoby Ellsbury launched a walkoff home run into the center field stands, giving him walkoff hits in two straight games.

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