Thursday, May 2, 2013

Miracle Blogapalooza: Game Balls

The Fort Myers Miracle were tried out an interesting promotion on Thursday evening. "Blogapalooza" was set up to bring bloggers to Hammond Stadium and also to encourage on-line writers from outside their market.

Seth Stohs and the folks over at Twins Daily held a chat during the game. Fans could listen to the game online and post their comments to the site.

It was a close contest with neither team able to break out on the offensive side of the ball. St. Lucie scored a run in the top of the first and the Miracle would tie the game with a Kennys Vargas HR. The Mets answered back quickly in the top of the fifth to take back their lead.

Miguel Sano had been huge for the Miracle in the first month and he came through with a big two-out single to tie the game in the ninth. Things would get even more exciting in the bottom of the ninth. Kyle Knudson singled to start the frame and was replaced by a pinch runner, Drew Leachman. Andy Leer was the next batter and he laid down a sac bunt to move the winning run into scoring position.

Stephen Wickens singled to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Adam Petterson stepped up to the plate with a chance to be the hero but he was intentionally walked to fill this bases. Levi Michael was left to play the hero. It was somewhat anti-climactic, as he didn't get a big hit. Instead, he was walked to score the winning run.

Baseball America just named the Miracle as the best team in all of the minor leagues for the month of April so it is an exciting time to be a fan for Fort Myers. Cedar Rapids, another Twins affiliate finished second on the list.

To do my part for the Miracle's "Blogapalooza," I handed out game balls to the best hitter and best pitcher in the game.

Photo Courtesy of Ft. Myers Miracle
Hitter Game Ball: Stephen Wickens (3-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB)
There wasn't a ton of offense so it was tough to pick out the man on top. Sano had a big hit in the eighth inning and Vargas smashed his fourth home run of the year. My vote goes to Wickens because he was involved in two of the important offensive innings for Fort Myers. He scored the tying run in the bottom of the eighth and he had an important single to keep the rally going in the ninth. There were a couple of deserving candidates but Wickens gets the game ball.

It was the fourth straight game with a hit for Wickens and he has multi-hit games in two of his last three contests. He was only hitting .200 entering play today so hopefully he is making strides in the right direction. The Twins took him in the 33rd round back in 2011 from Florida Gulf Coast University. He was recently featured in the first episode of the "Miracle Insider Show" so you should check it out.

Pitcher Game Ball: Cole Johnson, RHP (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 SO, 0 BB)
Jason Wheeler had a very good start for the Miracle by throwing five innings and allowing two earned runs. He gave up three walks and only struck out two batters so the game was turned over to the bullpen. Cole Johnson followed Wheeler and pitched two very important innings in the middle of the game. His two innings of work were almost perfect as he allowed one man to reach base and he struck out two batters.

Johnson, a product of Notre Dame, is in his third year with the Twins organization. He was a 44th round pick back in 2011. His month of April was very good out of the bullpen for the Miracle. He tossed 10.2 innings and limited opponents to five hits and two earned runs. Right-handed batters have almost no chance against him. So far this year, he has seven innings pitched against righties and they have managed one hit.

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