Monday, February 20, 2012

Game #5 - Canovanas

After a well deserved day of rest and relaxation on Sunday the team again got down to baseball on Monday. Sunday was spent at the beach, Condado, and Old San Juan. Muscles were tired as were the player's minds after playing four games and a scrimmage in 3+ days.

The GAB's first ups looked promising. After a quick pop-up and a K, Carlito Arroyo drilled a hit off the fence in dead center for a stand-up double. With two outs and Buddha Blake at bat, Buddha drilled a liner right at 2B for the third out.

The game plan for this final game was to distribute the innings around so everyone got a chance to pitch. Larry Pagano took the mound for the GAB to start the game. The instructions were simple, throw strikes and keep the ball low. Larry did his part but defensively the team was a little slow out of the box giving up a single on a routine flyball and a little defensive indifference on a grounder to 3B. Larry got out of the inning but the GAB was down 4-0 after one.

In the second inning it was time for the GAB to take the game back. Ron Emanuelson led off with a walk and later scored on Stefan Livsey's basehit. After a walk to Larry Pagano, a basehit to Christian Colon and a fielders choice to Barrett Couden the GAB had the bases loaded. Will Ramos hit a moon-shot over the wall in RF for a GAB Grand-Slam. When the inning ended the GAB held a 5-4 lead. Barrett Couden pitched the second and third, giving up one run and notching four K's. The GAB's offense in the third was a quick 1-2-3. The score was now tied 5-5 after three.

Ron Emanuelson came on to pitch the fifth and sixth innings. Ron's ERA for the trip is 0.000 over five innings pitched. Ron's combination of off-speed stuff and other pitch selection kept the Puerto Rican players off balance all week. In the fith the GAB broke the tie open with three runs on base hits by Buddha Blake and Ron Emanuelson and doubles by Dallas Mickey and Will Ramos. Buddha got two RBI's for his effort and Dallas picked up the other as the inning ended with the score now 8-5 GAB.

Stefan Livsey pitched the sixth and seventh innings. Stefan faced seven batters in the two innings, and gave up one run in the process. The GAB's offense was quiet at this time too. The 8-9-10 GAB batters went 1-2-3 in the sixth and the 1-2-3 batters went 1-2-3 in the seventh. The Canovanas team didn't want to lose this game and started to pitch their studs. The Canovanas team recorded four K's over the six batters faced over those two innings.

In the 8th the GAB offense saw some action starting with Ron Emanuelson dropping down a surprise bunt for a basehit. Ron though was charged with the second out when Dallas hit into a fielders choice. A 4-3 offering by Stefan ended the GAB 8th. Will Ramos came on to pitch the 8th with the GAB holding an 8-6 lead. But a couple of base hits and stolen bases soon made the score 8-8. Carlito Arroyo came on to relieve Will with two runners on, the score tied, and one out. Carlito got out of the inning without giving up any more runs.

In the ninth the GAB offense sputtered a bit. With two out Barret Couden and Will Ramos draw back to back walks. But with Steve Eavans at the plate Barrett got thrown out trying to steal 3B to end the inning. In the bottom of the ninth probably the heat and long day (9 inning game) got to the GAB team. After a basehit, there was a come-backer to Carlito for a tailor-made doubleplay. The ball tailed a bit and was missed by the second-baseman which gave the Canovanas team runners at 1B and 2B. The next batter hit a ball again fielded by Carlito but the throw to 1B was high and wide, which allowed the winning run to score.

The Canovanas team was a 19u Puerto Rican team and the GAB effort was commendable. The main purpose of this trip is to get ready for the high school season, not necessarily win games. The GAB team did a great job and we played some very competitive baseball. We had our chances to win a few of these games. This is my second year doing this and I wouldn't shy away from a third. Special thanks must go out to the GAB and the other coaches Rick DeMatties, Angel Ramos, Dave Blake and Ron Emanuelson, and Laurie Pagano for taking the many pictures used in this blog. I would also like to thank the players who made the committment such as Will Ramos, Stefan Livsey, Carlito Arroyo, Buddha Blake, Ronnie Emanuelson, Dallas Mickey, Larry Pagano, Steve Eavans, Barrett Couden, and Christian Colon. Best of luck guys in your respective upcoming high school and summer league seasons.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Game #4 - The Carolina All Stars

The second game of the doubleheader was against a team of players all wearing different uniforms, hence the nickname Carolina All Stars. For this game the GAB was the home team. Stefan Livsey took the hill to start the game, pitching five complete innings and only giving up three runs. Stefan recorded 6 K's on the day. Ron Emanuelson was again at shortstop and even recorded a nice 6-6-3 doubleplay with Buddha Blake to help close out the second inning.

Stefan gave up one run in the first and another in the top of the third but the GAB came storming back in the bottom half of the inning with a single by Larry Pagano, which was followed by a walk to Stefan Livsey. With two runners on Will Ramos made them pay with a 2 RBI double to tie the game at 2-2 after three innings of play.

The tie didn't last long as Stefan surrendered another run in the fourth but the GAB couldn't match the offense and leaving Emanuelson and Mickey on base when the inning ended. Stefan pitched a scoreless fifth but was showing signs of tiring in the Puerto Rican heat.

Carlito Arroyo pitched a scoreless sixth and final inning. These series of games were part of a round-robin tournament and we were playing under a time limit. In the bottom of the sixth Carlito helped his own cause with a single but was thrown out on a stealing attempt. With Buddha Blake, Ron Emanuelson and Dallas Mickey coming up the GAB had to like thier chances to tie or win this game but it wasn't to be. Buddha got the K, Ron a walk, and Dallas got a single and the runners advanced to second and third on an error. So with two runners in scoring position, the GAB down 3-2, and two outs, Barrett hit a comebacker to the pitcher for a 1-3 putout to end the game.

Game #3 - The Gigantes in Carolina

Game #3 was the first game of a doubleheader in Carolina. The field was a different field from Game #1. The GAB team was facing the Gigantes in this game. To help conserve pitching the Gigantes gave us a pitcher to start the game. For this game the GAB was the visiting team and we went down in order to start the game. Will Ramos led off with a deep drive to LF which was caught for the F7. Barrett Couden drew a walk but was caught stealing and Carlito Arroyo went down swinging.

The Gigantes pitcher who started for us ended up being hurt. He gave up six runs, including a bases clearing triple befofre being pulled. Barrett Couden came on in relief and got us the two outs needed to end the inning. Barrett pitched a good game for us, recording 8 K's and giving up only 4 runs in 4.2 innings, but the damage was already done. The GAB lost this game 10-0. Ron Emanuelson had a nice day at Shortstop recording a couple of 6-3 putouts in addition to a nice double during the day at the plate. Ron's double and Dallas Mickey's single was the only offense the GAB could mount in this game.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Game #2 in Caguas

We finally got to play the PRBAHS team on Friday. But first we had a stop at the Fonza Bat Company in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Check out for more information. These bats were pretty nice and a bunch of the kids bought one for use and.or a souvenier. After visiting the Fonza factory we made our way to the stadium for our game against the PRBAHS team.

The GAB jumped out strong against the PRBAHS team but failed to plate anything. Will Ramos lead off drilling a shot into CF but it was caught for the first out. Larry Pagano drew a walk and after two stolen bases the GAB had runners at the corners when Carlito Arroyo drew a walk. But a well executed 1st and 3rd play got both Carlito and Larry out to end the inning. Stefan Livsey took the hill for the GAB but after a scoreless first starting feeling muscle tightness in the second. Stefan surrendered two runs and left with the bases loaded. Ron Emanuelson came on to get the GAB out of the jam. The score was 2-0 PRBAHS after two.

The GAB plated a run in the top of the 3rd when Barrett Couden ripped a single to open the inning. After a stolen base, Barrett scored when the PRBAHS team committed an error when Christian Colon's put the ball in play. With the score 2-1 PRBAHS, Carlito Arroyo came on to pitch the 3rd and 4th innings. Carlito pitched a scoreless 3rd and gave up one run in the 4th. In the 4th Carlito got in a little trouble giving up a basehit and a walk. After a liner to 1b which was gloved by Dallas Mickey and another walk, Carlito had runners on second and third with two out. The next batter hot a shot to deep RF which was caught by Larry Pagano to end the inning.

The GAB got a runner on in the 5th but failed to score. Dallas came on to pitch, giving up one in the 5th and two in the 6th to put the GAB in a 6-1 hole. After going down in order in the top of the 6th the GAB got two runners on in the top of the 7th when Larry Pagano led off with a basehit and Carlito drew a walk. But the trio of Buddha, Ron and Dallas went K, 4-3, K to end the game. For the record, the PRBAHS team was coached by former Brewer, White Sox, Dodger, and Met Jose Valentin.

Thursday - PRBAHS tour and a game in Carolina

Thursday was supposed to be a game in Caguas against the PRBAHS team but overnight rain washed out the field. The PRBAHS people instead invited us down for a tour and allowed us to participate in a workout session. After a quick conference room session with PRBAHS founder Carlos Berroa, we were introduced to two kids signed to D1 schools (Miami Hurricanes and LSU) who were also looking to be drafted in the upcoming MLB draft. One of the kids was Jose Valentin Jr. After a lunch we broke into two groups. One group did strength and conditioning in a full service gym while the other group did hitting. After a while the groups switched, hitting for conditioning. The hitting instruction was done under the coaching of PRBAHS coaches, most of which were former MLB players.

After returning from Caguas we rested at the hotel getting prepped for our first official game. This game was under the lights in Carolina at the same field we scrimmaged at on Wednesday night. Will Ramos took the mound for the GAB to start the game. The idea was to rotate the pitchers every few innings to conserve arms for the trip. The GAB started things off 1-0 in the top of the first when Stefan Livsey drew a walk and stole 2B. Stefan was plated on Buddha Blake's RBI basehit. The lead didn't last too long as the GAB surrendered three runs in the bottom half of the frame. The second inning proved scoreless for the GAB but we again surrendered three runs to make it 6-1 Carolina after two.

In the third the GAB got basehits from Christian Colon, Barrett Couden, Will Ramos, and Carlito Arroyo to make it 6-3 Carolina. Ron Emanuelson came on in relief of Will Ramos and pitched two scoreless innings after five. It was getting late and the GAB was taking their last ups in the top of the 6th. Ron Emanuelson leads off with a basehit and then moves to third when Dallas Mickey drilled a standup double into the LF-CF gap behind him. But with two on and in scoring position and with no outs, the GAB went down in order...K, F9, and 4-3 to end the game.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Arrival and First Night Scrimmage

Once again we made it to San Juan. After getting off the plane we bumped into the Emanuelson's and Will Ramos down in baggage claim. Rick DeMatties, Angel, Steve Eavans, Christian Colon and Carlito Arroyo had already come down earlier in the week.

After settling in, Rick called to let us know that Angel had arranged a night-time scrimmage against a team we'll probably be facing on Saturday. The field was in Carolina but the ride was a bit of an adventure. We missed the exit off of Rt-26 going east and had to turn around. We missed again coming back heading west and had to turn around again. But the third time was a charm. We made the exit and after a few minutes on local roads we found the field.

To avoid subjecting our pitchers to overuse the Carolina team gave us three pitchers, each of which pitched two innings. The first was a kid who's now in the Twins organization, pitching at the Class-A level. I didn't catch the kids name last night but after a little research on I'm thinking it might have been Josue Montanez. Dallas Mickey was behind the dish to complete the battery at the start of the game.

The Carolina pitcher shut down the GAB to start the game. The Carolina team didn't do much better watching their first three men go down in order. The first few innings were a pitchers duel on both sides. The GAB had Buddha Blake on 1B, Larry Pagano at 2B, Ron Emanuelson at SS and Steve Eavans at 3B in the infield. Christian Colon, Carlito Arroyo and Will Ramos patrolled the outfield. In the fourth inning we switched things up a bit, moving Christian behind the dish, Dallas to 1B, Buddha to 3B, Steve to 2B, and Larry to RF.

The GAB was able to squeak out a run on a combination of walks, fielders choice (Ron Emanuelson) and hits (Steve Eavans). This limited offense held until the 5th inning when the Carolina team scored a run to make it 1-1. The Carolina team brough on their closer in the 6th who really had some good cheddar. Ron, Dallas and Steve went 1-2-3 to close that inning. The GAB took the field and got their three outs to finish the scrimmage at 1-1.

Thursday brings us a day in Caguas to play one of the PRBAHS teams. Hopefully the rust is off the swings a bit. We've been practicing in the cage but nothing beat picking up the ball coming out of the pitchers hand and trying to see if you're looking at a fastball, changeup, or duece before swinging.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

We're Ready to Go!

The last practice in CT for the team is in the books. Some players will be arriving on Monday and Tuesday, with the majority arriving on Wednesday. Angel thinks we might be able to secure a field for some Wednesday night practice so we can work out some of the kinks before Thursday's games. The indoor practice is nice for CT but I think everyone will enjoy really being able to stretch things out on a field in San Juan.