C’s Recap – Former NWL Champs Beat Defending NWL Champs In Season Opener

randy_pondler

Randy Pondler limited Eugene to two runs over five frames in his first Northwest League start.


C's RecapThe Vancouver Canadians could not get the bats going in the curtain raiser of the 2018 Northwest League season. The Eugene Emeralds used single runs in the first two innings to emerge with a 2-0 victory at P.K. Park Friday night.

The game was pretty much decided after the first inning.  Tanner Kirwer began the game by reaching on an error by Em’s starter Faustino Carrera who mishandled the hot smash back to the mound. C’s broadcaster Rob Fai believed it should have been ruled a hit for the Sherwood Park, Alberta native. Kirwer would steal second and would get to third on a Sterling Guzman one-out single.  Guzman’s fly ball could have been ruled an error as the ball clanked off the ball of right field Jonathan Sierra. With two outs, Guzman drew a throw to second as Kirwer took off for home but Kirwer was caught stealing on a 2-6-3-6-3-2 play. It appeared Kirwer may have been safe but the umpire believed otherwise.

The bottom of the first saw Eugene’s Fernado Kelli ground a single to right off C’s starter Randy Pondler before stealing second and advancing to third on a fly ball. Christopher Morel struck out swinging but catcher Owen Spiwak could not catch it cleanly. He looked Kelli back to third and threw to first to complete the strikeout. However, Kelli turned on the jets and scored the first run of the game.

The Emeralds went ahead 2-0 when Luis Diaz singled and reached second on a Pondler balk. A Jonathan Soto single to left beat a defensive shift to plate Diaz. Ponder retired six of the seven hitters before a Soto double to left field that Freddy Rodriguez had trouble tracking down as he misplayed the carom off the fence. Rodriguez was able to fire the ball over to second baseman—normally outfielder—Brandon Polizzi who relayed it to Bryan Lizardo at third to cut down Soto. At first glance, I thought Soto was safe but the call went Vancouver’s way. Kelli was a thorn in the side to Pondler when he singled and stole second again but he would not go any further. Pondler made it through five innings and scattered six hits and struck out three by using an assortment of fastballs in the high 80’s and offspeed stuff in the low 80’s.

Dalton Rodriguez was sharp in his first Northwest League outing of the season as he struck out the first two batters he faced looking and walked just one over two scoreless frames. Lefthander Elio Silva faced the mininum thanks to a baserunning blunder. After striking out Kelli, Silva surrendered a double to Nelson Velazquez but Velazquez apparently forgot how many outs there were when he was doubled off at second. Morel lifted a pop fly by Morel to Guzman at first and he threw it over to shortstop Jesus Navarro for the easy double play.

The only time the C’s seriously threatened to score was the first inning with runners on the corners and one out. They could not put much of anything together against the 19 year-old Carerra who retired eight in a row at one point. A Guzman walk in the fourth and a Spiwak single in the fifth were his only other missteps over six frames. Other than a lineout by Polizzi and Spiwak’s single, the C’s hitters did not make quality contact.

Polizzi blooped a two-out single to right in the seventh and Navarro rapped a base up the gut in the eighth but Em’s reliever Dalton Geekie made sure they went nowhere. Luis Aquino made quick work of the C’s in the ninth to nail down the win.

 

C-Notes

C's Notes

The C’s were 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position and as noted before, that one could easily have been ruled a zero as Guzman’s fly ball was mishandled in right field with Kirwer on second.

The C’s play their second game Saturday night at 7:05 pm. Rob Fai will have the call on CanadiansBaseball.com. You can also watch on MiLB.TV.

With the arrival of eight players from the 2018 draft class, one could expect a few changes in the starting lineup in Game 2 of 76.

C-Tweets

cs-tweet

Here’s a selection of tweets from Opening Day and around the Blue Jays system featuring observations, interviews and other random stuff.

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About Niall O'Donohoe

My name is Niall O’Donohoe and I am an avid follower of baseball, specifically Canada’s Teams – the Toronto Blue Jays and their affiliate, the Vancouver Canadians. My blog beginnings began in 2007 with Batter’s Box, where I’m still allowed to write stories, summaries and photos about the Blue Jays minor league system under the alias #2JBrumfield. The blog formerly known as Niall On Baseball, C’s Plus Baseball follows the C’s from behind the lens at Nat Bailey Stadium. The reason for the name change was to reflect the main purpose of this blog, which is to deliver plus coverage of the C’s through photos and observations of the players striving to make it to the major leagues, be it with Toronto or one of the other 29 MLB teams. From time to time, I do make it to other baseball games outside of The Nat and will post about them here as well. If you like what you see here, please spread the word about CsPlusBaseball.ca by tweeting about this website or using your favourite social media platform about this website that pledges to deliver awesome content about Canada’s only affiliated professional minor league baseball club. Thanks for visiting!
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