Saturday, July 22, 2006

Grand Slam Propels Catfish

Down by five runs, the Columbus Catfish put together a five-run sixth inning, capped by Lucas May's grand slam, to catch and eventually surpass the Asheville Tourists (Rockies) 11-10 Friday night.

The Catfish were led by RF Lucas May's three hits, which included a double in addition to his grand slam homer. Also with three hits were C Tony Harper, 2B Travis Denker (who had a double), and CF Bridger Hunt.

Down 8-5 after five innings, the Catfish rallied in the sixth when Bridger Hunt singled, but was replaced at first when LF Adam Godwin grounded into a fielder's choice. Godwin stole second, his team-leading 24th stolen base of the year. Following SS Ivan De Jesus' called strikeout, C Anthony Harper singled to score Godwin. Travis Denker then singled, moving Harper to third. After DH Jason Mooneyham walked, Asheville changed pitchers. That's when Lucas May hit his grand slam to left field, tying the game.

The Catfish took the lead in the seventh, when, with one out, Ivan De Jesus walked and moved to third on a passed ball. With two out, Travis Denker reached on an error by Asheville SS Christopher Nelson and De Jesus scored. That unearned run turned out to be the difference in the game.

The Catfish scored two more runs in the eighth inning, but Asheville pulled to within a run with two of their own in the bottom of the eighth. Reliever Arismendy Castillo picked up his second save, despite walking in a run and allowing another in the eighth, and allowing two runners on in the ninth. With the winning run on base, Castillo managed to get the last two outs to secure the win for Nate Hochgesang, who picked up his first win of the season.

The win secures at least a split in the four-game series, and brings the Catfish back into third place in the division. The series ends Saturday night in Asheville. The Catfish return home Monday for an eight-game home stand.

Fans of former Catfish Sergio Pedroza might find it interesting that others noticed the discrepancy between his performance in Columbus and his failure to make the all-star team. Lisa Winston, a reporter for Major League Baseball ( and writing for Minor League Baseball ( noted many such oversights with her report on minor leaguers that deserved to make their leagues' All-Star teams but didn't:

... there is no apparent reason for the glaring exclusion of Columbus Catfish (Dodgers) right fielder Sergio Pedroza from the South Atlantic League Southern Division All-Star team, since he was among the league leaders in homers and RBIs. So, Sergio, welcome to MY team. We are proud to have you and your .281 average, 21 homers and 75 RBIs at Columbus on our squad and congratulate you on your recent promotion to Class A Advanced Vero Beach.

Based on the article, Pedroza wasn't the only All-Star calibre player to be overlooked by a league, but he was recognized by a reporter that covers the minor leagues for Major League Baseball, for USA Today, and for Baseball Weekly. Perhaps he won't be overlooked in the future.

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