Sunday, September 2, 2007

Miracle Grand Slam caps off 2007 season

Erik Lis
Erik Lis

Fort Myers 17 at Dunedin 5

Record 40 - 30 Final - 2nd Half

W: K. Waldrop (7-5, 3.40); L: B. Magee (9-8, 3.91)
HR: FTM: E. Lis (18), J. Christy (2).

The Miracle season came in like a lamb - with 8 straight loses, and went out like a lion - with 5 straight wins. Unfortunately Fort Myers never got closer to the playoff then 4th in a six team division, as their season came to a close with 17-5 drubbing of the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Kyle Waldrop ran through six scoreless innings before getting into to trouble in the 7th, his final line being 3 runs (earned) on 9 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3.

But by the seventh inning, three runs hardly mattered.

Back-to-back triples by Brian Dinkelman and Steve Tolleson coupled with an Erik Lis single put 2 runs on the board for the Miracle. Dustin Martin would move Lis to 3rd, but he'd be stranded there and Martin would be taken out at second on a play by Dunedin catcher Kyle Phillips.

Brandon Magee, one of the highly ranked prospects by Baseball America in Toronto's system, lasted only two innings, being replaced by Russ Savickas in the 3rd. The Miracle would let him get settled in for an inning.

In the fourth, Danny Valencia and Jeff Christy both double, with a Toby Gardenhire singled moving Christy to 3rd. Tolleson single would plate him, but an Erik Lis pop out would strand Gardenhire at 2nd.

The Jays put John Zinnicker in to pitch for the 6th inning, with Christy having a season-high day at the plate, hitting yet another double. Gardenhire's line drive got him on base, and Tolleson drew a walk. Dinkelman and Lis would both strike out, but Martin's double brought the trio of runners home. Valencia's strike out would Martin and Juan Portes, but the Miracle were certainly cruising with 7 runs on the board.

Eric Fowler came in for the 7th inning and, after Dwayne White sent a fly ball to center field, Christy hit his 2nd home run of the year out center to give the Miracle yet another point on the board.

Jesus Gonzalez singled to start out the bottom of the seventh and came home on Joel Collins ground out. Jacob Butler would double, and Cory Paterson walk. Luke Hetherinton's single moved the runners and a Chris Gutierrez single would score the first 2. Hetherington would be taken down at 3rd to end the inning on a throw from Portes in left field.

After Tolleson struck out to start the 8th, Lis singled and scored on Dustin Martin's double. Portes would pop out but White singled and Christy reached on a throwing error by Eric Fowler. Gardenhire would drive White in. Dinkelman would get plunked by a pitch to keep the bases loaded before the Jays went to Orlando Trias to get them the 3rd out in the inning. Tolleson would reach on a force attempt that got Christy home and the Lis would hit a grand slam over the right field wall. Martin's ground out ended the inning, with the Miracle holding a 15 run lead.

Dunedin would put two more on the board in the bottom of the inning, but their fate was already sealed.

Martin went 4-for-5 at the plate with a run and 4 RBIs, Gardenhire was 3-for-5 with 2 runs and 1 rbi, Christy and Lis were both batting .500, 3-for-6 with 6 runs and 7 RBIs between the pair.

The Miracle now head home. A select few will return for Instructional League starting on September 18. The roster and schedule is available at

The FSL playoffs start Tuesday with Clearwater facing off against Sarasota for the West Division crown, and St. Lucie against Brevard County for the east division crown.

The Miracle finish the season with a .500 record, 70-70, good for fifth overall in division. Tampa lead the regular season play with an 83-56 record but failed to qualify for a divisional championship in either half.


Second & Short: Former Miracle pitchers Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn have been promoted to Minnesota. Infielder Luis Ugueto was activated from the AAA DL. Oufielder Doug Deeds, who played for the Miracle in 2004, hit 2 home runs in the Red Wings' 3-0 victory over the Buffalo Bisons (Indians.) The AA Rock Cats swept a double header from the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox) Sunday. In the first game, Rock Cats starter Josh Hill lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four walks and four hits. He struck out four. Eduardo Morlan picked up the win – his first in Double-A – with 2 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He struck out four. Armando Gabino notched his fourth save with a scoreless seventh. Gabino has yet to allow an earned run in 16 innings of work with the Rock Cats. In the second game, former Miracle 1st baseman Brock Peterson hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning and the Rock Cats never looked back as the Cats cruised to a 12-3 win over Portland in the nightcap of Sunday’s doubleheader. Speaking of former Miracle 1st baseman, Matt Betsill hit his 3rd home run of the season in Beloit's 13-0 win over the Swing of Quad Cities. Despite the loss, the Swing still secured a playoff berth. All three teams play again on Monday to conclude their regular seasons. Only Beloit will see post season action opening their first round of Midwest League playoffs Wednesday, September 5 on the road and then will host games two and three (if necessary) on Thursday and Friday.

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