By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
In 1992 the Princeton Reds and Bluefield Orioles took the Bluefield-Princeton Appalachian League rivarly to another level with the introduction of the Mercer Cup. The Mercer Cup goes to the winner of the season series between Bluefield and Princeton. While the Reds and Orioles have abandoned their local ships and the flags of the Rays and Blue Jays fly over Hunnicutt and Bowen Fields, the battle for “The Cup” continues.
Tonight marks the 2013 season’s first meeting between the two teams. A game on July 3 in Princeton was rained out, to be made up as part of a doubleheader on Aug. 6.
Coming into tonight’s contest the Bluefield Blue Jays are 21-12 and sit atop the Appy League East Division. The Princeton Rays are 7-26, in fifth place in the East.
Bluefield holds an 11-9-1 lead in the annual series since ‘92. Princeton won the Cup last year, winning six of the 11 games between the two teams and the initial victory went to Princeton in 1992.
Under Mercer Cup guidelines, when a team wins three consecutive Cups, the trophy is retired and a new one instituted. Bluefield has retired Cups in 1997 and 2001.
Princeton retired the trophy in 2007. The two teams played to a 5-5 tie in the 1994 season.
In tonight’s game at Bowen Field, Blue Jays manager Dennis Holmberg will send Tim Mayza to the mound. Rays manager Danny Sheaffer will counter with Dennis Faria.
Mayza has a 1-1 record and 9.53 ERA in two outings this season. He has pitched five-and-a-third innings and struck out five.
Faria is 0-1with a 1.80 ERA which is among the best in the Appalachian League. Faria has worked 25 innings and struck out 27xx batters.
Bluefield is led at the plate by third baseman Mitch Nay with a .306 average. Shortstop Dawel Lugo is second in the league with 23 RBIS and D.J. Jones leads the circuit with six triples.
Princeton is led offensively by catcher Armando Araiza with a .302 average. Travis Flores is second in the league with five home runs.
First pitch is set for 7:05.