Saturday, September 15, 2007

Snappers tie up MWL series

William Joe Benson
Joe Benson

West Michigan 0 at Beloit 5

W: M. Fox (1-0, 0.00); L: J. Gerbe (1-1, 3.07)
HR: BEL: J. Benson (2), D. Romero (1).

For Matt Fox, shoulder sugery became a learning process. Robbed of a fastball in the mid-90's, Fox had to learn to pitch. It's been a long struggle for the former first round sandwhich pick since joining the Twins organization, but it all came to head on Friday night when Fox pitched for a career-high 10 strike outs and blanked the West Michigan Whitecaps. The Snappers tied up the best-of-5 series with a 5-0 blanking and it will call come down to a decisive game 5 tonight at Pohlman Field.

Fox struck out 3 in the first inning, then got some help from his batting staff starting with a Joe Benson walk and a Steve Singleton line drive. Deibinson Romero hit his first home run in a Snappers uniform to drive the pair in, and giving Belot a big 3-0 lead.

A Greg Yersich double helped Chris Parmelee to a run in the 4th, while Joe Benson clobbered one over the right center field wall in the 5th.

The Whitecaps were only able to get 3 hits and walk off Fox in his 6 inning on the mound. We was replaced by Australian reliever Matt Williams for 1 inning, and fireballer Aaron Craig for 2. The pair only allowed 1 hit each during their time on the mound.

Only Santo De Leon had some success against the Beloit pitching staff, going 2-for-4 at the plate.

Jeff Gerbe absorbed the loss for the Whitecaps, allowing all 5 Snappers runs on 6 hits and 1 walk while striking out 9 over 7 innings.

Beloit ace Alex Burnett will face off against West Michigan's Charlie Furbush for the MWL crown.


On the brink of elimination and facing Eastern League Pitcher of the Year Alan Horne, the Akron Aeros came up with an ace of their own Friday night. Jeremy Sowers tossed six scoreless innings and Rodney Choy Foo drove in three runs as the Aeros stayed alive with an 8-2 victory over visiting Trenton in Game 3 of the Eastern League Finals.

Noah Hall knocked in both runs for the Thunder, while former Tampa Yankee Matt Carson was 2-for-4 at the plate for New York farm team.

The International League Championship Series Game between the Durham Bulls and the Richmond Braves was postponed due to rain. The Bulls lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is slated for Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Snappers Snap West Michigan win streak

Joe Benson

West Michigan 5 at Beloit 8

W: D. Vais (1-0, 2.25); L: M. O'Brien (1-1, 10.80); SV: A. Slama (3)
HR: BEL: G. Olson (2).

The Beloit Snappers got back into the Midwest League playoff series, storming out to a 7 run lead in the first 2 innings and then hangning on to win 8-5. West Michigan leads the best-of-5 series, 2-game-to-1.

Joe Benson doubleed out to left field to start the game, and moved to 3rd on a fielding error by Jeramy Laster. Steve Singleton knocked him in. Deibinson Romero hit into a force out that nabbed Singleton a 2nd, but Chris Parmelee's line drive over the Snapper's 3rd baseman over to third. Greg Yersich plated Romero. After Rene Tosoni was taken out on strikes, Danny Santiesteban brought Parms in with a line drive to center. Garrett Olson would ground out to end the inning, stranding 2 but with the Snappers leading 3-0.

Danny Berg doubled to get things started in the 2nd, followed by a Benson bunt and a Singelton grounder to bring him home. Romero's line drive saw Benson across the plate for the 2nd time in the game, and Parmelee's sac-fly brought Singlton in. Tosoni doubled to bring in Romero before the Whitecaps brought in Lauren Gagnier to end the inning.

A pair of walks, a single by Gorkys Hernandez and a double by Laster saw West Michigan pick up 3 runs in the top of the 3rd. Undaunted, Olson homered for Beloit in botttom of the inning, before the scoring frenzy began to die down.

Jordan Newton hit a ground ball to left to get on base in the 4th followed a Michael Bertram single, but Joe Tucker would ground into a force out, which took Bertram out at second. Hernandez would plate Newton with a grounder to left before James Skelton struck out and Scott Sizemore popped out to end the inning.

The Whitecaps continued to chip away at the Beloit lead in the 5th when Brennan Boesch walked. Danny Vais was brought into the game to replace starter Cole Devries. Ryan Strieby greeted him with a ground ball single. Boesch would score on a Bertram single with 2 outs before Tucker would ground out to retire the West Michigan.

Newton would hit a double off reliever Dan Leatherman in the top of the 8th, and the Snappers threatened briefly in the bottom of the inning, but the big lead was too much for the Whitecaps to overcome.

Cole Devries would be tagged for 5 runs on 7 hits and 4 walks while striking out 4 in 4.1 innings of the no-decision. Vais picked up the win on 2 hits while striking out 2 in 2.2 innings.

Matt O'Brien suffered the Whitecaps loss, giving up 7 runs on 10 hits while striking out only 1 in 1.2 innings.

The two teams rematch tonight at 6:30 central, 7:30 eastern, at Pohlman Field. Matt Fox will make the start for the Snappers, West Michigan will counter with right-hander Jeff Gerbe.


The Eastern League series had the night off for travel. In Richmond, the Braves fell to the Durham Bulls, 3-2. Francisley Bueno threw a no hitter for the Braves through 6 innings. He was replaced in the top of the 7th by Buddy Hernandez after throwing 99 pitches, and Hernandez would start out by hitting Jason Pridie with a pitch. After that the Durham bats got to work, with the Bulls picking up 3 runs in the inning, to rally past Richmond.

Wes Timmons had both runs for the Braves. The Bulls now lead the series, 2-game-to-1 and clinch tonight with a victory in Richmond at The Diamond.

Pridie had been taken by the Twins in 2006 in the Rule-5 draft, but Minnesota decided not to keep him, sending him back to the Devil Rays at the end of spring training. Pridie's brother Jon was a former Miracle and pitched in the Twins minor league system for a number of years. MiLB

Ryan resigns: Twins general manager Terry Ryan resigned after 13 years in the Minnesota hot seat to focus on scouting. Assistant General Manager Bill Smith takes over the reins from him. Ryan will remain with the organization as a special advisor to Smith.

"I felt a lot of elation when we won, and sorrow when we lost," Ryan said in his resignation speach as it was reported on "Now, all of a sudden, the defeats are getting a little harder to take, and the wins aren't as much fun. That's not a good thing to experience as a general manager."

The change becomes effective at the end of the 2007 season.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Snappers find themselves in 2 game hole

Tyler Robertson
Thanks again to Joe for the Bowman!

Beloit 2 at West Michigan 3

W: D. Below (2-0, 2.63); L: T. Robertson (0-1, 0.77); SV: C. Fien (3)
HR: BEL: G. Olson (1).

E: Betsill (1, missed catch), Cates (5, fielding), Yersich (1, pickoff).

Jeramy Laster knocked a triple out to Chris Parmelee in the bottom of the 5th Wednesday to tie up the 2nd game of the Midwest League finals. Greg Yersich's throwing error on a pick-off attempt led to the game winning run.

No one probably feels worse about that Yersich right now, whose throw bounced after Laster's foot and went caromed out to left field. Yersich will be one of the catchers participating in the upcoming Fall Instructional League at the Lee County Sportsplex, which begins Wednesday, September 19. Several Snappers will be reporting to Fort Myers on Tuesday for the month long camp.

That doesn't give Beloit much time to win the Midwest League finals and with the team down 2, they'll need to play catch up for the first two games at Pohlman Field starting Thursday.

The Snappers had taken an early lead in the 2nd inning when Yersich drew a walk. Greg Olson then homered in a fly ball to left to give the Beloit squad 2.

The Whitecaps came back in the 2nd with Brennan Boesch doubling to right, progressed on a catching error by former Miracle Matt Betsill and then came home on a Santo De Leon force out.

Starter Tyler Robertson allowed 3 runs - only 1 earned - on six hits and 1 walk while strking out 9 in six inning to take the loss. The game was largely about the outstand performance of West Michigan's Duane Below on the mound.

The 21-year-old Michigan native allowed only 1 hit - Olson's yarder - and 2 walks while striking out 10 in 7 innings.

"I wasn't too frustrated after the homer, because [Olson] hit a good pitch, low and inside, and he got the bat on it and took it out," the Tiger prosect was quoted as saying in wrap. The Miracle faithful will have a look at the 6'2" lefty as part of the Lakeland Flying Tigers pitching staff next season.

Much like Rob Delaney who came to the Miracle crediting his mustache for his success, Below says his facial hair has helped his pitching.

"In late July, I just wanted to switch things up [after two straight losses], so I grew a mustache and won my first start. I was going to shave, but the guys told me to go one more start and after I won the next game, I knew I couldn't shave it," he explained to MILB. "Here I am today with my [seventh] straight win since I grew it."

The Snappers are hoping that facial hair - and errors - will not be a part of the game Thursday when former Golden Gopher Cole Devries (9-5, 3.41 regular season) takes to the mound for game 3. The Witecaps will be sending up righthander Matt O'Brien, who posted a 7-2 record for West Michigan this season, with a 2.19 ERA. The game starts at 6:30 central/7:30 EST and can be heard live over the internet at

MLive (Below)
MLive (Laster)
BDN (08/12/07)

The Trenton Thunder found themselves 2 games up in the Eastern League Playoffs Wednesday night when Colin Curtis walked, moved to 2nd on a wid pitch and scored on Noah Hall's ground ball to right field in the ninth inning to give the Yankees farm team a 3-2 win over the visiting Akron Aeros.

A Michael Aubrey double and throwing error by Marcos Vechionacci helped the Aeros to an early 2-0 lead in the 4th inning.

The Yankees took one back in the fifth when Curtis was plated by a P.J. Pilittere line drive. They then trailed until the 8th inning when Gabriel Lopez doubled in Vechionacci.

The series now travels to Akron's Canal Park for game 3.

The Devil Rays' affiliated Durham Bull bashed their way to a 5-1 win in Raleigh to tie up the Governer's Cup International League Championship Series at one game each.

Michael Hernandez was 3-for-4 with a run and 2 RBIs for the home team, while Evan Longoria was 2-for-4 with a run and 2 RBIs.

Blaine Boyer suffered the loss for the Richmond Braves, which will host game three of the series Thursday night at The Diamond.

Jeff Niemann fanned nine over a career-high eight innings for Durham allowing only 1 run - a home run to Richmond lead off man Gregor Blanco - on six hits to pick up the win.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Snappers drop Game One

Chris ParmeleeGarrett Olsen
Thanks to Joe for the great cards!

Beloit 3 at West Michigan 4

W: J. Nickerson (1-0, 3.00); L: A. Burnett (1-1, 2.08); SV: B. Jensen (3)
HR: WMI: J. Laster (3), S. Sizemore (2).

When it's playoff baseball it's going to be tight. That's the only way to describe Tuesday's first game in the MWL title series.

Alex Burnett walked the Whitecaps' James Skelton with one out in the first inning. Scott Sizemore would pop out, but Jeramy Laster hit a home run off Burnett to put 2 on the board for West Michigan.

Beloit answered back at the top of the second when Chris Parmelee doubled and Gregry Yersich singled to put 2 men on the bags with one in scoring position. Johan Nickerson fanned Danny Santiesteban, but former Miracle Matt Betsill drew a walk to load the bases. Nickerson then walked Garrett Olson forcing in a run. A Chris Cates double saw Yersich cross the plate to tie the game up, but Joe Benson hit into a double play to end the Snappers threat.

The game would stay tied until the bottom of the fifth. Gorkys Hernandez would reach on a fielding error by Cates. After Burnett took Sketon down swinging, Sizemore would put one yard over the left field wall to double the Whitecaps score.

Again the Snappers would answer back when Yersich got on base with ground ball out to center. With 2 outs, Betsill moved him to second. A throwing errory Audy Ciriaco put Garrett Olsen on base and let Yersich cross the plate, but Cates would come up empty against Nickerson to end the inning.

Beloit's best chance to tie the game came in the 8th with 2 outs when Santiesteban slammed a double out to left. Luis Marte would then intentionally walk Betsill to get at Olsen, who would fly out to end the inning.

The two teams will rematch tomorrow rookie southpaw Tyler Robertson taking the start for the Snappers against West Michigan lefty Duane Below at Fifth Third Ballpark.

Burnett pitched all 8 innings for the Snappers, allowing all 4 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 2. Nickerson struck out six, but allowed 7 hits and 2 walks over six innings. Brett Jensen picked up the save for the Tigers affiliate, striking out 2 in the ninth inning to preseve the Whitecaps win.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Beloit, Clearwater capture wins

Matt Fox

Clinton 0 at Beloit 2

W: A. Craig (2-0, 0.00); L: A. Laughter (0-1, 11.57); SV: A. Slama (2)
HR: None.

If you've been watching the Midwest League playoffs, you might have realized by now that next years starting rotation for the Fort Myers Miracle is looking pretty spectacular. Alex Burnett, Tyler Robertson and Cole Devries have all dominated in their starts.

Now, you can add the name Matt Fox to the growing list. Fox allowed only 3 hit and 3 walks while striking out 4 over 5 innings of worth to help blank the Clinton Lumber Kings and lead the Snappers to a sweep of the Semi-Final round in the playoffs.

Jose Lugo worked 2.2 scoreless innings of relief, allowing only 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 2. Fireballer Aaron Craig picked up the win in the bottom of the 8th inning, needed to get only 1 out, which he managed with a strike out.

The Clinton pitchng staff was just as stingy though with Kasey Kiker keeping the Snappers off the board for 5.2 innings before giving way to Andrew Laughter.

Steve Singleton used a ground ball to second to get onto base in the 8th. Rene Tosoni, inserted into the game as a pinch hitter, doubled him in and managed to get to 3rd on the throw by Lumber Kings right fielder K.C. Herren. This prompted the Rangers farm team to bring Joshua Lueke to the mound. Chris Parmelee would knock a line drive out to right to bring in Tosoni for the insurance run. Parmelee would steal 2nd, but Lueke got Greg Yersich and former Miracle Matt Betsill to strike out and Danny Santiesteban to ground out to strand the Twins 2006 first round pick at 3rd.

Still, it would be enough as Anthony Slama came in to Slama-the-door shut on Clinton for the win.


The Snappers will not have to wait for an oppenent though as they continue to seek their first championship since 1993. The West Michigan Whitecaps swept their series with the Silver Bend Silverhawks and the MWL finals, which start on Tuesday could be a preview of the next season's FSL West Division Championship battle.

James Skelton delivered a go-ahead two-run double for the Tigers farm team who edged the Silver Hawks 6-5. Trailing, 4-3, in the fourth inning, Brandon Timm reached on a fielder's choice, Audy Ciriaco singled and Gorkys Hernandez walked to load the bases. South Bend starter Chase Christianson uncorked a wild pitch and Timm raced home with the tying run before Skelton ripped a two-run double to put West Michigan on top.

The Whitecaps have captured the Midwest League championship in four of the past 11 seasons. They will host game one of the best-of-5 finals series on Tuesday. Alex Burnett will face West Michigans' Johan Nickerson.

Clearwater 6 at Brevard County 4

W: W. Savage (1-0, 0.00); L: T. Wendte (0-1, 4.15)
HR: BRE: M. Bell (1).

It took 11 innings, but the Threshers took game 2 from the Brevard County Manatees, 6-4 and look to sweep the best-of-5 series when it returns to Clearwater tonight at 7:00 PM

Matt Thayer singled his way onto base off Brevard County's Travis Wendte and moved to 2nd on P.J. Antoniato's sac-bunt. Brian Burgamy walked before Brad Harmon doubled to bring in Thayer, breaking open a 4-4 tie. Jason Donald's ground ball to left brought in Burgamy for the insurance run.

It would then fall to William Savage who struck out 3 and walked 1 in four innings to end the game.

Harmon would go 3-for-6 in the game with 1 run and 2 RBIs for the Threshers, while Matt Thayer was 2-for-3 with 1 run and 2 walks and Clay Harris was 3-for-5 with 1 run and 1 RBI.

Brevard County managed only 4 runs on 4 hits, taking the early lead in the 3rd inning on a pair of doubles by Ned Yost and Cole Gillespie. Mike Bell belted a solo homer, his first of the playoffs, in the sixth.

The Manatees will have to beat Clearwater's ace, right-hander Andrew Carpenter, to avoid the sweep at Brighthouse Networks Field. Carpenter was 17-6 this season with a 3.20 ERA in 163 innings over 27 games including the perfect 7-inning game over the Miracle.

Florida Today

Neither the Eastern League nor the International League played last night as both move into the final rounds of their playoff series.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Beloit drops Clinton, Threshers rip Manatees

Chris ParmeleeJoe Benson

Beloit 6 at Clinton 1

W: C. Devries (1-0, 1.00); L: J. Hyatt (0-1, 2.25)
HR: BEL: D. Santiesteban (1). CLI: C. Tracy (2).

A Joe Benson triple and Rene Tosoni dobule helped the Beloit Snappers to a 3 run 5th inning to salt away the Clinton Rangers, 6-1.

Beloit got on the board in the first when Tosoni singled his way onto base and was moved over to second by Chris Parmelee's ground ball to left field. Danny Santiesteban's ground out served to plate Tosoni, who was 2-for-4 in the game with 2 runs and 1 RBI.

Garrett Olson doubled his way onto base in the six, and moved to 3rd on a Chris Cates sac-bunt. He'd come home on a Steve Singleton grounder to right.

Santiesteban went yard to center field in the 7th to top of the scoring for the Snappers.

Cole Devries worked all nine innings for Beloit, allowing 1 run on 4 hits while striking out 5. The one run was a solo shot by Chad Tracy over the right field wall in the bottom of the ninth with 2 outs.

Devries, a former Golden Gopher, allowed a double in the 2nd inning, so there was little talk of a no-hitter, but the near shut out performance was impressive none the less.

Santiesteban, from Miami, Florida, was also 2-for-4 at the plate with 1 run and 3 RBIs. Benson, a 2nd round pick in the 2006 draft, was 2-for-4 with 1 run at the top of the order. Tosoni and Devries are both playing their first year of professional baseball. The 21-year-old Tosoni already won a championship with the Elizabethton Twins of the Appalacian League this season, before being re-assigned to the Snappers.

The best-of-3 series now shifts to Pohlman Field in Beloit for Game 2 on Sunday, starting at 6:30.


West Michigan blanked the South Bend Silver Hawks in game one of their series. Jeff Gerbe worked 7.2 innings, holding the Arizona affiliated Silver Hawks to only 3 hits. Casey Fien struck out 3 in 1.1 innings work to pick up the save.

Ryan Strieby was 2-for-3 for the Tiger's affiliate with a run and a walk. Gorkys Hernadez and Jeremy Laster were both 2-for-5, Laster with a run and 2 RBIs.

Clearwater 8 at Brevard County 1

W: N. Johnson (1-0, 1.50); L: R. Lluberes (0-1, 7.20)
HR: CLE: J. Blalock (1), B. Harman (1). BRE: M. Gamel (1).

Nate Johnson held the Manatees to 1 run on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4 in six innings worth of work to help Clearwater thresh out a win over Brevard County in game one of the Florida State League finals series.

A Jake Blalock home run and doubles by Jeremy Slayden and Clay Harris led to a 5 run fifth inning for the Threshers. Harris also scored in the 7th while Brad Harman put one over the left field wall in the ninth to score Brian Burgamy.

The Manatees only run came when Mat Gamel launched one over the right field fence in the bottom of the sixth.

The two teams rematch Sunday at Spacecoast Stadium at 7:00 PM EST.

Burgamy was 3-for-4 for the Threshers, Blalock was 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs while Harman and Harris were both 2-for-5 for the Clearwater team who pounded out 16 hits in the game.

Cory Willey struck out 5 in 2 innings of relief work, while Brett Harker pitched the ninth for West Divsion champions.

Florida Today

In the Eastern League, Trenton blanked Portland 4-0 to win the best of 5 series from the Red Sox affiliated Sea Dogs. Reegie Corona and Austin Jackson were both 2-for-5 with a run each at the top of the line up for the Yankees affiliate. P.J. Pilittere was 2-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBIs while Matt Carson accounted for the other two RBIs.

Jeffrey Marquez worked 7 innings for the Thunder allowing 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3, Eric Wordekemper stuck out 2 in the 8th inning and West Palm Beach native Justin Pope finished off the game with 1 ground out and a pair of fly outs.

The Akron Aeros downed the Erie Sea wolves 8-6 to earn the right to progress in the Eastern League finals. Dallas Trahern gave up 7 runs on 7 hits, including 2 home runs, for the Detroit affiliate while striking out only 3 in five innings worth of work. Robert Brownlie picked up the win for the Cleveland affiliate, allowing 6 runs - 3 earned - on six hits while striking out 5 in 5 innings.

The Richmond Braves finish off the Scranton/WB Yankees in the International League playoffs with a 4-3 win, they will face the Durham Bulls in the finals for the AAA league. The Braves staged a 3-run ninth inning rally to pick up the win. Yankees slugger Bronson Sardinha was 2-for-4 in the game, both hits for doubles, with 1 run for Scranton/WB.