Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

June 25, 2013

Still searching: P-Rays fall to Burlington

PRINCETON — The Burlington Royals scored a run in the first and three in the fifth and then held off the Princeton Rays to gain a 4-1 Appalachian League victory, Monday night at Hunnicutt Field.

“Right now we’re in a position where we’ve got a lot of young kids and they’re putting a lot of pressure on themselves,” said Princeton manager Danny Sheaffer. “We saw what these kids could do the last two months in extended spring (training). I’m looking at any day for these guys to break out and start playing as a team. I’m not panicking. We’re pitching OK, it’s just a matter of time.”

For the second consecutive game the Royals scored in the first inning. Monday night Ramon Torres got a one out single and then Mauricio Ramos doubled to right off Princeton starter German Marquez to give the visitors an early run.

That one run would stand for quite some time as the game’s only score. Burlington starter Luis Santos retired the Rays 1-2-3 in the first and Travis Flores smacked a two-out single to left in the second for Princeton’s first hit of the game.

Johnny Eierman doubled off the fence in right in the second, but was stranded as Santos got Spencer Edwards to foul out down the left field line, and Bralin Jackson grounded out. The Rays got a two-out double from Yoel Araujo in the fourth, but he also was stranded when Flores fouled out down the right field line.

In the meantime Marquez was working through the Burlington lineup with success. He retired the side in order in the second, allowed a walk in the third, and a runner got aboard on an error in the fourth. In the fifth the Royals struck with a vengenace.

Back-to-back singles by Jerrell Allen and Lewis Urena opened the frame and put runners on first and third. A wild pitch moved Urena to second and Torres slapped a triple into the right field corner to score both runners. Torres later touched home on Ramos’ ground out to make it 4-0.

Marquez, on a pitch count as are all Rays, left the game after four-and-two-third innings and 72 pitches. He allowed four runs on six hits, walked one and struck out two. Rick Teasley came on and got the final out of the inning and then worked an additional two innings of scoreless ball.

Satos exited the game after five innings of scoreless pitching in which he gave up four hits and walked three. Burlington manager Tommy Shields then turned to his bullpen, using a different pitcher in each of the last four innings.

Princeton mounted a rally in the sixth when David Garcia and Hunter Lockwood collected back-to-back one out singles. Garcia, however, was caught in a rundown and tagged out between home and third, but runners still remained on second and third, but with two outs. The rally fizzled when Flores grounded out to end the inning.

Darren Fischer took the ball for the Rays in the eighth. Bobby Brown picked up a double, but was stranded as Fischer fanned Alfredo Escalera and got Chad Johnson to pop out to short.

Ryan Mattes put Princeton down in order in the seventh and in the eighth the Rays mounted another rally against Javier Reynoso. Edwards walked and went to third on Garcia’s one-out hit to left. Again the rally was snuffed out as Reynoso picked up a foul pop-out and a K to end the inning.

Isaac Gil took to the hill in the ninth for the Rays and sat the Royals down 1-2-3, for the first time since the sixth inning, setting the stage for a possible Rays rally for their first victory of the young season.

Facing Niklas Stephenson, Flores opened the ninth with a walk and Coty Blanchard followed with a double to left, his second hit of the game, putting runners on second and third. Wilmer Dominquez grounded out to second, pushing Flores across the plate and moving Blanchard to third. Stephenson then ended the game as he picked up a strikeout and fly out to keep Burlington perfect and Princeton winless on the campaign.

"Another strong pitching performance tonight,” said Burlington manager Tommy Shields. “We had situational hitting in that big inning for us and the three runs were key.

“We’d like to score a few more runs and not put so much pressure on our pitching staff, which we’ve been doing, so they have risen to the challenge. I think tonight was our best hitting night. We struck a lot of balls hard tonight, hit them on the nose, it was good to see.”

Torres led the Royals with two hits including a triple. Blanchard and Garcia each had a pair of hits for the Rays.

Marquez was tagged with the loss, while Santos picked up the win.

“If you look at the linescore, it’s not as good as he (Marquez) actually pitched,” Sheaffer said. “He’s got good stuff. He’s a young kid, a teenager and he’s going to get the ball every five days and he’s got a bright future ahead of him. We’re going to do our best to take care of him and give him an opportunity to succeed.”

The two teams play the finale of their three game series tonight at Hunnicutt Field with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05.

*****

At Hunnicutt Field

Burlington..........100  030  000  —  4  6  0

Princeton............000  000  001  —  1  8  2

Santos, Guevara (6), Mattes (7), Reynoso (8), Stephenson (9) and Gonzalez. Marquez, Teasley (5), Fischer (8), Gil (9) and Dominguez. W-Santos (1-0), L-Marquez (0-1). HR: None. Att. - 538.

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