Connor Panas homered to give Dunedin a walk-off win in extra innings on Thursday.
Two big swings from a pair of 2015 Vancouver Canadians gave the Dunedin Blue Jays a come-from-behind victory Thursday. The Tampa Yankees had the D-Jays down to the final out but an error at second base extended the inning and Juan Kelly made the Yankees pay by belting a two-run home run to tie the game at 2-2 to send it into extra innings. That allowed Connor Panas to finish the job by walking it off with his third homer of the season in the 10th to give Dunedin a 3-2 victory. Panas talked about the blast on the @DunedinBlueJays twitter account.
“The inning before, I was just in the outfield and I was just thinking I was going to get this at-bat and I was…just being confident knowing that I was going to do something for my team…I battled off some pitches and took a pretty good curveball and after (Tampa pitcher Hobie Harris) threw that…I sort of had a feeling he was coming with a fastball and put a good swing on it and it left the yard.”
The Blue Jays 9th-round pick of 2015 out of Canisius College is off to a tough start this season by batting just .195 but the 6-foot-0 left-handed hitter has homered in two of his past three games so maybe it’s a sign that things are turning around for the 24 year-old Toronto native. Keep in mind the outfielder/first baseman is just five games in after a stint on the disabled list, causing him to miss two weeks of action.
Juan Kelly put Dunedin on the board with his second home run of the season Thursday.
Panas’ heroics were set up by Kelly, who has been enduring recent struggles of his own by going 2-for-14 in May before his game-tying homer, his second of the year. He’s hitting .257/.322/.390 with eight doubles but has struck out nearly 21 percent of the time. The 22 year-old Dominican is still trying to find a home defensively. He has played at the hot and cold corners where he has made a combined six errors. Kelly was tried out as a catcher when he began his pro career in 2012 with the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays. The last time he donned the tools of ignorance was in 2015 with Lansing and Vancouver.
Andrew Case has picked up the victory in his last two appearances to improve to 3-1 wiht Dunedin.
2014-2015 C’s pitcher Andrew Case was the winning pitcher by striking out two of the three men he faced in a perfect top of the 10th. It was a bounce-back effort for the 24 year-old Saint John, New Brunswick native after blowing the save against Tampa May 2 but still earning the victory. The 6-foot-2 righthander is now 3-1 on the season with three saves on the season. Despite a 6.23 ERA, Case has struck out 14 batters and walked only two in 13 innings.
The efforts of Panas, Kelly and Case prevented Jordan Romano from taking a heart-breaking loss. The 2014 10th round pick of the Jays from Oral Roberts gave up just one unearned run (on his own throwing error) on just four hits while striking out nine and walking nobody over six innings. C’s fans did not get a chance to see Romano at Nat Bailey Stadium. The Markham, Ontario split his rookie season of 2014 with the Gulf Coast League and Bluefield Blue Jays, spending the majority of time in Bluefield where he put a record of 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA with 33 K’s in 25 innings. He missed all of 2015 with Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Instead of starting 2016 in Vancouver, the 6-foot-4 hurler was assigned to Lansing instead near the middle of June and stayed with the Lugnuts where he went 3-2 with a 2.11 ERA, striking out 72 batters in 72-2/3 innings. He had a 10 strikeout effort in Dayton August 24 after six innings but he left the game in the top of the seventh with an injury after two wayward pitches to 2015 C’s catcher Ryan Hissey. However, Romano did finish up the season with two shutout frames September 4. The 24 year-old – after pitching for Italy in the World Baseball Classic – has kept up his K an inning pace by whiffing 33 batters in 29 innings with Dunedin. It’s just a shame C’s fans did not get a chance to see any of Romano’s K’s in person.