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2007 Erie Seawolves Diary/Blog

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Phillies leave 'Wolves all wet

Published: July 05. 2007 6:00AM

READING -- The Erie SeaWolves began their six-game road trip a little later than expected Thursday night and fell short in a game that ended at 12:05 a.m. this morning at Reading's Energy Park.

Michael Costanzo, tied with Erie's Jeff Larish with the Eastern League's home run lead, hit his 16th homer of the season as the Phillies took an early 5-1 lead and held off the 'Wolves before a crowd of 8,812.

Officials delayed the start of the game for 2 hours, 17 minutes because of rain.

The Phillies (42-43) scored three runs on five hits in the first inning off of Erie starter Matt Righter (2-2), with two of the runs coming on a two-run blast by Costanzo.

Erie's Larish cracked his 16th home run off of starter Chris Rojas (3-3) in the second inning, but Michael Garciaparra homered to lead off the second inning for Reading, which led 5-1 after two.

Nick McIntyre hit his second home run of the season to lead off the third for the SeaWolves (46-37), who added single runs in the seventh and eighth innings against Julio De La Cruz.

Larish led off the eighth inning with an infield single with the SeaWolves trailing 5-3. However, he was waved home and thrown out at the plate on Kody Kirkland's double. Kirkland scored the final run on Nick Treszniak's ground out.

Chris Key came on for his seventh save, getting Matthew Joyce to ground into a double play to end the game.

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SeaWolves' game against Phillies suspended

Published: July 06. 2007 6:00AM

READING -- Thursday's Eastern League game between the Erie SeaWolves and Reading Phillies was suspended by officials because of rain in the top of the fifth inning with Erie trailing 3-1.

The game will resume today at 6:05 p.m. with the SeaWolves batting in the fifth.

Today's resularly scheduled game will follow as a seven-inning game 30 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game.

The start of Thursday's game was delayed nearly an hour because of rain.

Reading did not let the delay affect its offense. The Phillies scored two runs in the first inning on Greg Jacobs' 23rd double of the season.

Erie starting pitcher Andrew Kown was fortunate to allow just two runs as Reading had the bases loaded with one out before Jacobs drove in Javon Moran and Jesus Merchan.

Erie cut the deficit in half on a one-out solo home run from catcher Steve Torrealba in the second inning.

Moran got the run back for Reading in the bottom half of the inning with a sacrifice fly to score Peter Ramos.

Kown then retired the Phillies in order in the third and fourth innings.

Erie outfielder Andres Torres extended his hit streak to 14 games with a two-out double in the first.

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'Wolves stumble out of Reading

Erie loses for 6th time in past 7 games

Published: July 07. 2007 6:00AM

READING -- Even a stellar pitching performance could not snap the Erie SeaWolves out of their week-long funk.

The SeaWolves lost for the sixth time in seven games Friday night, dropping both games of a shortened doubleheader to the Reading Phillies despite the effort of Dallas Trahern, who threw a seven-inning two-hitter in the second game.

In a contin-uation of Thursday's game, suspended because of rain, the SeaWolves lost 4-2 at Reading's Energy Park. The game had been halted in the top of the fifth inning Thursday with Erie trailing 3-1. When play resumed Friday, Reading scored a run in the sixth inning and the SeaWolves (46-39) added one in the ninth.

Starter Andrew Kown (2-5) took the loss. Steve Torrealba had two hits for Erie, including his sixth home run of the season in the second inning.

In the second game, Trahern threw a two-hitter but it was not enough as the 'Wolves fell 2-1 in seven innings before a crowd of 7,673. Trahern struck out four and allowed three walks but dropped to 10-4.

Michael Costanzo hit his 17th home run of the season for Reading (45-43) in the first inning to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. That lead stood until the top of the fifth inning, when Erie's Matthew Joyce homered to tie it.

Reading came back in its half of the fifth, scoring the winning run when Greg Jacobs came across on a wild pitch by Trahern.

Reading, which swept the three-game series, used five pitchers in the second game, with Cory Wiley getting the win by pitching one inning and allowing Erie's only run.

Andres Torres' 14-game hitting streak came to an end in the second game when the outfielder went 0-for-3.

Erie starts a three-game series today in Akron (53-34), which has a six-game lead over the 'Wolves in the Eastern League's Southern Division

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SeaWolves rally in 10th after wasting late lead

Published: July 08. 2007 6:00AM

AKRON, Ohio -- Steve Torrealba hit a two-run home run with two outs in the 10th inning, helping the Erie SeaWolves snap a three-game losing streak and come away with a 7-5 win over the Akron Aeros on Saturday at Canal Park.

Erie had lost six of its past seven games. The 'Wolves were coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Reading Phillies before Saturday's opener against the top team in the Eastern League's Southern Division.

Matthew Joyce had three RBIs and went 3-for-5, including an inside-the-park home run. Erick Almonte went 4-for-5 for Erie (47-39).

Erie trails first-place Akron (53-35) by 5 games in the Southern Division.

Erie, which trailed 1-0 after a first-inning home run by Trevor Crowe, responded with a three-run second. Jackson Melian doubled and scored on an Almonte RBI single, and Joyce doubled to plate Jeff Larish, who reached on an error. Almonte later scored on Kody Kirkland's sacrifice fly, which gave Erie a 3-1 lead.

Erie led by a run heading into the eighth when Akron scored to even the game at 5-5.

With one out in the top of the 10th inning, Melian struck out swinging, but reached first base when the throw from Akron pitcher Jim Warden eluded catcher Christopher Gimenez. With Melian on first, Torrealba hit his seventh homer of the year over the left- field wall for a 7-5 lead.

The SeaWolves' Alan Mills shut down the Aeros in the 10th, striking out two to record his seventh save.

Erie continues its series in Akron today at 2:05 p.m. Erie's Eddie Bonine (8-4, 3.56 ERA) will face Scott Lewis (2-5, 3.96 ERA).

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SeaWolves' Joyce a hit vs. Aeros

Published: July 09. 2007 6:00AM

AKRON, Ohio -- The Erie SeaWolves rejoiced over Matthew Joyce for the second time in less than 24 hours.

Joyce went 4-for-4 and drove in a run in Erie's 4-1 victory over the Akron Aeros on Sunday afternoon before 4,801 at Canal Park. The victory pulled the 'Wolves within four games of Akron for first place in the Eastern League's Southern Division.

Erie won 7-5 in 10 innings Saturday night, a game in which Joyce went 3-for-5 with a home run and three runs batted in. The right fielder followed up that performance with four singles Sunday.

Joyce's third single drove in Andres Torres and gave the 'Wolves a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning. Akron scored its lone run in the bottom of the seventh on doubles by Ryan Goleski and David Wallace, but Erie answered with single runs in the eighth and ninth.

Jackson Melian gave Erie a 3-1 lead with his ninth home run, a solo shot off Aeros reliever Jeffrey Stevens. Michael Hollimon then drove in his second run of the game with a single that scored Nick McIntyre.

Erie had 11 hits off five Akron pitchers, including five off starter Scott Lewis (2-6). Hollimon and McIntyre each had two.

The 'Wolves' Eddie Bonine (9-4) pitched the first seven innings and allowed Akron's lone run. Alan Mills retired the Aeros in the ninth for his eighth save.

Erie and Akron will conclude their three-game series tonight, then break for Wednesday's Eastern League All-Star Game at Dodd Stadium, in Norwich, Conn. The 'Wolves open a seven-game home stand Thursday against the Bowie Baysox.

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'Wolves sweep first-place Aeros before break

Published: July 10. 2007 6:00AM

AKRON -- The Erie SeaWolves made it a three-game sweep over the Eastern League Southern Division-leading Akron Aeros with a 7-4 victory in front of 6,243 fans Monday night at Canal Park.

The sweep was the third of the season for the SeaWolves. It was the first time Akron has been swept this season.

With Erie ahead 4-1 after six innings, the teams combined to score seven runs in the last three innings.

Akron cut the lead to 4-2 in the seventh inning when the Aeros' Asdrubal Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly to score Chris Gimenez.

The 'Wolves answered in the top of the eighth, scoring two runs when Jackson Melian walked to lead off the inning and Matt Joyce, an Aeros killer throughout the series, slammed his 13th home run of the season to give Erie a 6-2 lead.

The Aeros scored twice in their half of the eighth to make it 6-4. The SeaWolves added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Mike Hollimon singled and stole second. Erick Almonte drove in Hollimon with an RBI single for the final score.

Alan Mills came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth and recorded his ninth save and his third in the past three days.

Jon Connolly got the win after going 62/3 innings, allowing two runs on nine hits. Connolly improved to 4-3, with two of those wins coming against Akron.

Erie now trails Akron by three games in the Southern Division.

The 'Wolves will break for the Eastern League All-Star Game, set for Wednesday night at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Conn.

Next up is Thursday's game against the Bowie Baysox, the start of a seven-game home stand.

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Right direction

Playoff-hungry SeaWolves prove they're a postseason-caliber club in first half

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 11. 2007 6:00AM

No matter the level of professional baseball, players want to come to the ballpark every day knowing they have something to compete for.

Erie SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck and his staff - pitching coach A.J. Sager and hitting instructor Glenn Adams - have helped give their club that opportunity.

As the Eastern League prepares to resume its schedule Thursday after its two-day all-star break, the SeaWolves (49-39) sit in second place in the Southern Division, three games behind first-place Akron (53-37).

"I'm very grateful for where we are in the standings, knowing you're in the top of the heap and you have a chance to continue your season to the postseason," Walbeck said. "It means a lot to the guys' psyche, as opposed to a team that's still developing yet being in last place. That can be a drag."

Erie headed into the break riding the momentum of a three-game road sweep of Akron. The SeaWolves begin a seven-game home-stand today with the start of a four-game series against the Bowie Baysox at Jerry Uht Park.

The SeaWolves have proved to be a playoff-caliber club, and Walbeck believes if his pitching staff can stay relatively intact during the remaining 54 regular-season games, there's a good chance the club could reach the postseason for the first time since 2004.

"With what the pitching staff has gone through, it's really impressive, I think, what we've done so far," Walbeck said. "Akron has had quite a few upgrades and they just have a powerhouse of a team. We've had a little bit of a different scenario over here with our bullpen and our starting pitching. We've had quite a lot of movement."

Since April, the SeaWolves have won consistently and stayed near the top of the Southern Division standings despite a pitching staff that's been in flux because of promotions and injuries.

On at least two occasions, Erie has been without three-fifths of its starting rotation.

Left-hander Andrew Miller, the Tigers' No. 1 draft pick last season, made just four starts with the SeaWolves before he was promoted to the Tigers for a second time. Right-hander Eulogio De La Cruz has spent the past month with Triple-A Toledo and the Tigers.

Right-hander Jair Jurrjens has missed time with groin and finger injuries, and left-hander Jon Connolly just rejoined the team following a second Triple-A call-up this season.

Erie also spent most of the first half without two of its better relievers: right-hander Anthony Tomey and lefty Ian Ostlund. Both pitchers shuttled between Toledo and Erie, each getting promoted to the Mud Hens three times. Also, the SeaWolves lost right-handed reliever P.J. Finigan, who underwent elbow ligament-replacement surgery June 12.

"Our pitchers have a really good plan," Walbeck said. "If things were to stay the same, I'd think we'd be fine. I think the overall reason it's been staying so consistent is because of A.J. Sager and the way he has gone about his business."

One of Walbeck's biggest concerns in the first half of the season has centered on a bullpen that's seen its ups and downs, due in part to injuries, inconsistency and promotions that left some relievers handling roles they struggled with.

Walbeck has had to use relievers Andrew Kown and Matt Righter in the starting rotation at times, creating depth and role problems in the bullpen.

"We've spit up a lot of wins in the bullpen, and it's nobody's fault," Walbeck said. "They've had to pitch in situations where probably if a couple other guys were down there, they wouldn't have been in that situation. My hat's off to Danny Zell for being pretty much the only lefty in that bullpen all year, and he's done a great job. Having lost Finigan, and with the other moves that were made, our bullpen has really had to grind it out. Most of the damage against our team has been done later in the games."

Erie has strengthened its closer role with the addition of former major leaguer Alan Mills, 40, who has recorded nine saves since joining the club in May.

When Walbeck managed low Single-A West Michigan to three straight Midwest League playoff appearances from 2004-06, including league championships in 2004 and last season, his teams were renowned for strong second-half finishes.

At Double-A, that development scenario changes. At West Michigan, Walbeck's teams kept most of its position players while its pitching staff steadily improved.

"It's a little bit of a different feeling here," Walbeck said. "I am confident in my ability, but the big questions will be how will our pitching hold up, how will our bullpen be, what kind of starting pitching are we going have? If we have tired arms and a limited bullpen, then things are going to be a little bit different."

Despite all the rotation and bullpen movement, Erie's pitching has allowed the fewest walks in the league (235) and ranks third in team ERA (3.75).

"You never know who's going up and who's going down," right fielder Matt Joyce said. "You have to stay pretty constant with your mindset knowing you have to play defense behind whoever is pitching. If everybody takes care of their little things, the big picture comes together at the end. We'll see how it works out."

Defense has carried the club at times and is a big reason why the SeaWolves find themselves contending for a Southern Division title.

Left fielder Andres Torres, center fielder Clete Thomas and Joyce comprise what Walbeck calls "the best outfield defensively in the league."

"For the most part, we've been catching the ball very well," Walbeck said. "Our outfield takes a lot of pressure off our pitchers. Matt Joyce has done such a great job with his arm, throwing runners out. Thomas and Torres track down nearly everything. It's really because of our outfield and the middle of our diamond. "(Second baseman) Michael Hollimon has solidified that infield, and I think (catcher) Steve Torrealba has done a very good job behind the plate."

Offensively, Erie ranks seventh in the league in hitting with a .256 team average. The SeaWolves have a league-high 80 homers and are fourth in runs scored (423), 10th in hits (731) and third in strikeouts (664).

Some of Erie's top offensive catalysts have been first baseman Jeff Larish, outfielder/designated hitter Jackson Melian, Hollimon, Thomas and Torres.

Larish, a Double-A rookie, is hitting .231 in 80 games, but leads the league with 66 RBIs and is second in the league with 16 homers.

"Overall, it's been a fairly successful year," Larish said. "There's some stuff I need to improve on and get more consistent at, and that just takes experience and discipline."

Despite his production, Larish was left off of the Eastern League Southern Division All-Star team.

"I'm a little surprised at Larish's average, and I'm surprised at the incredible power numbers he's put up," Walbeck said. "Without Larish's power numbers, we wouldn't be where we are right now."

A half season of Double-A development has reaffirmed to Larish what he believes he needs to do to be successful.

"Going through those struggles at times and battling through them and understanding what happens when I go bad helps me realize what I need to do to get better and more consistent," Larish said. "I guess I have some pretty high expectations for myself and I'm tougher than anyone would ever be on myself. All it comes down to is having an approach, being consistent to it and going and having fun. I think that's the biggest battle right there."

Melian is having one of the best seasons of his 11-year career. He has nine homers and 47 RBIs in 73 games, and his .319 average ranks ninth in the league.

"Jackson has been the Cinderella story," Walbeck said. "I never would have thought he'd be hitting around .320 with the numbers he's put up. He's been incredibly hot at the right time."

Hollimon, Thomas and Torres have been catalysts at the top of the lineup. Hollimon, 24, has made a successful Double-A jump from West Michigan. In 85 games this season, he has eight homers, 52 RBIs and a .273 average.

"Hollimon has done more than I expected," Walbeck said. "I didn't think he would quite make the adjustment and the transition that he has gone through. His offensive numbers have gone up steadily since the beginning of the season."

Thomas, also in his first Double-A season, has been as good defensively as any outfielder in the league, and has improved his average to .278 in 86 games.

The switch-hitting Torres, 29, in his second tour of duty with the SeaWolves, has given the club leadership and production with five homers, 31 RBIs, a .282 average, 16 steals and a league-high 10 triples in 79 games.

"Thomas is finally up in the .280 range, and I'm very impressed with the way Joyce has come back," Walbeck said. "He was struggling and was really close to getting sent down to Lakeland. He continues to improve and mature."

Appointed to the SeaWolves in November to restore winning and development to an organization reeling from back-to-back last-place Southern Division finishes, Walbeck has succeeded in making the SeaWolves a competitive team.

"Our effort will continue to improve and the overall preparation will continue to get better," Walbeck said. "Whether or not the wins are going to be as much or more the rest of the way, I can't answer that. I think we have a good chemistry all the way around. It's a humble team. They're very coachable, and I think a lot of that has to do with our coaching staff with Glenn and A.J. It all fits very nicely together and I think everybody picks each other up."

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

http://www.goerie.com/baseball

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'Wolves blast 5 HRs in rout

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 13. 2007 6:00AM

This season has been all about making switches for Erie SeaWolves switch-hitting infielder Michael Hollimon.

Making the jump to Double-A from low Single-A West Michigan figured to be a big enough obstacle.

On the first day of spring training, another challenge materialized when he was told the Tigers organization wanted him to make the jump to second base from shortstop.

Both moves have gone pretty smoothly for the 25-year-old Dallas native. Hollimon homered from both sides of the plate for the first time in his three-year professional career Thursday in Erie's 9-1 rout of the Bowie Baysox in front of 5,309 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

The SeaWolves (50-39) pounded a season-high five homers and extended their winning streak to four games.

Erie remained three games behind Eastern League Southern Division-leading Akron, which defeated Altoona 5-3 on Thursday.

Hollimon and first baseman Jeff Larish each hit two homers, while Erie third baseman Kody Kirkland added a two-run homer in the seventh, his 10th of the season and first since June 15.

Hollimon finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs. He has been solid defensively at second base and continues to be a top-of-the-order threat who can score runs, drive in runs and give the club consistent quality at-bats.

Hollimon said he fully embraced the move to second the day he learned about it.

"I thought it was a great opportunity," Hollimon said. "I was really excited and I knew it was going to be a lot of hard work. I know all that playing second can do is help me out because I know I can play both positions and I feel like I can play more than two positions."

Hollimon took a .273 average into Thursday's game, the opener of a four-game series. Hitting left-handed, Hollimon drilled an opposite-field, two-run homer to left-center in the first inning off Bowie right-hander Fredy Deza. He hit his second homer, this time from the right side of the plate, leading off the eighth against Bowie lefty David Haehnel.

"I think the organization felt Brent Dlugach was more suited for playing shortstop," Walbeck said. "My personal feeling is that Hollimon could be a utility guy in the major leagues, if not an everyday player at second. He's made huge strides coming from low-A, and moving from shortstop to second base he's taken to that like a duck to water. He's certainly making himself a major league prospect here day by day."

Notes: SeaWolves right-hander Andrew Kown (3-5) threw a complete game, scattering six hits, striking out five and walking none. ... Erie is 9-3 against Bowie this season and 4-1 at home. ... Larish's two homers gave him 18, putting him in the league lead, one ahead of Reading's Michael Costanzo. ... SeaWolves right fielder Matt Joyce went 0-for-4, ending an 11-game hitting streak.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070713/BASEBALL01/707130471/-1/SPORTS

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'Wolves rip 'Sox

Bowie basher Melian hits slam, helps Erie roll to 5th straight win

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 14. 2007 6:00AM

Jackson Melian wasn't aware of his numbers against the Bowie Baysox this season, but the Erie SeaWolves' outfielder/designated hitter probably isn't in any hurry to see Bowie leave town anytime soon.

Melian, enjoying one of the best offensive seasons of his 11-year professional career, belted a grand slam and drove in five runs in leading Erie to a 10-5 win over Bowie on Friday before 4,270 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

Erie (51-39) stretched its winning streak to five games and defeated the Baysox (44-48) for the sixth straight time. The SeaWolves, second in the Eastern League's Southern Division, were unable to pick up any ground on the first-place Akron Aeros, who defeated Altoona 2-1 on Friday. Erie remained three games behind Akron.

From early June, Melian, a Venezuela native, has been on a tear at the plate. He went 3-for-4 Friday, and in 10 games against Bowie this season is hitting .471 (16-for-34) with three homers and 15 RBIs.

"Latin guys are not used to cold weather, and it's kind of hard for us to get loose earlier in the season, but we're always waiting for the warm weather to come," Melian said. "We feel better. I feel better."

Erie built an 8-2 lead in the first two innings against Bowie right-hander Beau Hale, scoring four runs in each inning.

Melian legged out an RBI infield grounder to shortstop in the first to put Erie up 1-0.

In the second inning, the SeaWolves had the bases loaded with two out when Melian lined Hale's first pitch onto the Tullio Arena walkway in left. It was his 10th of the season and hiked his RBI total to 53.

Melian's three-hit game raised his batting average to .326. He went into Friday's game eighth in the league in hitting with a .320 average.

"I kind of thought in the beginning of the season that his bat was sort of slow," SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said. " I didn't think he had a real good spring training. When the temperatures started to rise, his average started to rise and his bat got quicker. He really filled that cleanup role for us and gave us some cushion to take some pressure off (first baseman) Jeff Larish."

Notes: Erie leads the Eastern League with 86 homers. ... SeaWolves first baseman Jeff Larish has a league-high 18 homers and 69 RBIs, including five homers and 20 RBIs in 13 games against the Baysox this season. ... Erie second baseman Michael Hollimon is second in the league in runs scored with 64 and center fielder Clete Thomas is third (62). ... Erie has five players with at least 10 homers: Larish (18), Joyce (13), Melian (10), third baseman Kody Kirkland (10) and Hollimon (10).

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070714/BASEBALL01/707140456/-1/SPORTS

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SeaWolves battered by Baysox

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 15. 2007 6:00AM

After watching the Bowie Baysox pound 19 hits and score six unearned runs in a 11-2 rout of the SeaWolves, Erie manager Matt Walbeck already was looking ahead to today's series finale against Bowie.

From the SeaWolves' perspective, Saturday's loss before 3,430 fans at Jerry Uht Park was an easy one to forget.

It ended the SeaWolves' five-game winning streak, although second-place Erie (51-40) didn't lose any ground in the Eastern League Southern Division, remaining three games behind first-place Akron, a 3-2 loser to Altoona on Saturday.

"Bowie came out swinging tonight, and everything they hit was on the screws," Walbeck said.

The Baysox (45-48) also combined errorless ball with good pitching.

Bowie right-hander Radhames Liz, ranked by Baseball America as the Baltimore Orioles' fifth-best prospect before the season, limited Erie to one run and one hit over six innings. He walked five, but did not allow Erie to capitalize on any of his four leadoff walks.

"I felt like I had to win tonight," said Liz (7-4, 3.59), who threw a no-hitter against the Harrisburg Senators in a 5-0 win June 1. "I was ready mentally and I went out and did it."

Baysox designated hitter Matt Cepicky and center fielder Jeff Fiorentino each went 4-for-5 with four RBIs.

"We've been starting to hit a lot better as a team and waiting for that time to click altogether," Cepicky said. "It seems like one or two guys will do well, but never the whole team. Tonight, everybody contributed."

Bowie (45-48) had lost six straight games to Erie and had been outscored by a combined 47-15 in those games.

SeaWolves starter Dallas Trahern (10-5, 3.76) entered Saturday's outing as the Eastern League leader in wins, but the right-handed sinkerballer got rocked early and suffered his second-straight loss.

"It looked like he had a hard time getting his breaking ball and off-speed over for strikes, and a couple sinkers he got up in the zone, and they just didn't miss them," Walbeck said.

Bowie collected 10 hits and built a 5-1 lead in the first three innings. Cepicky hit a two-run homer in second inning and added an RBI single to right to cap a three-run third inning.

That was more than enough offensive support for Liz, who allowed a solo homer to Erie designated hitter Jeff Larish in the second inning. Erie catcher Nick Trzesniak had a seventh-inning RBI single off Baysox reliever Felix Romero.

"It was important for us to win this game because they're in front of us in the standings and we were able to beat one of the best pitchers in the league," Bowie third baseman Oscar Salazar said. "We haven't been doing so good lately as a team, but with fifty-some games left, we think we have a lot of opportunities to make the playoffs."

Trahern gave up 12 hits in five innings. Erie reliever Kevin Ardoin was summoned to start the sixth and allowed five unearned runs. Bowie right fielder Val Majewski's RBI triple made it 6-1 before first baseman Luis Jimenez added an RBI double and Fiorentino a three-run homer to right-center.

Notes: Erie concludes its four-game series against Bowie today at 1:05 p.m. at Jerry Uht Park. Right-hander Jair Jurrjens (3-4, 3.63) is scheduled to start for the SeaWolves. He missed his last start because of a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand. Bowie's scheduled starter today is lefty Oscar Alvarez (6-3, 4.88).

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail

http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070715/BASEBALL01/707150478/-1/SPORTS

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Mills brings stability to SeaWolves' bullpen

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 15. 2007 6:00AM

The lack of a bona fide closer was one of the Erie SeaWolves' biggest concerns at the start of the season.

Former major leaguer Alan Mills, 40, has made manager Matt Walbeck and pitching coach A.J. Sager write off that former problem.

Since joining the team June 5 after signing a minor league free-agent contract with the Detroit Tigers, the right-handed Mills has made 13 relief appearances and is 10-for-10 in save opportunities.

Overall he's 0-0 with a 1.50 earned-run average.

"He's been an absolute godsend," Walbeck said. "The guy comes here when we needed a closer. He comes with years of major league experience. He knows what the game is all about and what it's like to close."

When Erie swept a big three-game series at Akron last week before heading into the Eastern League All-Star break, Mills recorded saves in all three games. He is pitching professionally for the first time since 2001, when he threw for the Baltimore Orioles and Bowie Baysox.

Mills, a Lakeland, Fla., resident, spent 12 years in the big leagues, from 1990-2001.

"I was retired and I've always enjoyed the game," Mills said when he joined the SeaWolves in June. "I don't want to say the things I retired for kind of changed, but the window of opportunity to play again was closing, so I thought I would give it a shot."

Since then, Mills has declined to discuss anything about himself, and will only talk to the reporters if questions center on the team.

And while his manager doesn't speak for Mills, he's eager to speak about Mills' impact.

"He's told me and made it quite evident he wants to continue to play," Walbeck said.

"You always see him on the bike, or stretching or running or reading a book or doing something to make himself better all the time. He's got a gift. He's a real interesting guy. He's very intellectual, very spiritual, takes good care of his body and mind, and it's definitely very contagious in (the clubhouse). We've been a lot better since he's been here."

The SeaWolves have given Mills ample save opportunities, and he has responded by being aggressive on the mound, throwing strikes and keeping hitters on their heels.

"If you don't see a birth certificate and you just watch Alan Mills out here pitching and running around and playing the game with the guys, he just looks like one of them," Sager said. "That's a pretty big compliment to him, because for where he's been and what's he's experienced, to come back with the energy that he's come back with is a real credit to the type of person he is."

In 12 innings, Mills has struck out nine, walked four and allowed just two runs and two hits.

"When I first saw him (in June), he didn't quite have the breaking ball that he has now," Walbeck said. "Right now he has a really good breaking ball that bites. His fastball has a little late movement through the hitting zone, his arm is getting in better shape and he's getting stronger and I really think he has a chance to pitch in the big leagues maybe some time this year."

Mills pitched with the New York Yankees in 1990-91, with the Orioles from 1992-98 and 2000-01, and with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1999-2000.

"To have his major league experience at this level is amazing," said Walbeck, 37, who played 11 major league seasons with five teams. "He's like a player-coach. He's not afraid to talk to the players about things, but he also knows he's still a player and he doesn't try to be a coach. He's riding that line just right and making me better as a manager."

SeaWolves right-hander Dallas Trahern, 21, who leads the Eastern League with 10 wins, said Mills' experience has been a big help to the pitching staff.

"He shows us young guys what it takes to get there," Trahern said. "He works hard, he's 40 and he can keep up with any of us as far as conditioning and throwing. He shows a constant work ethic. He talks to us a lot about mental preparation to the game and how you think and how you watch ESPN SportsCenter and weird things like that which make a big impact when you get out on the mound."

As good as Mills has been on the mound, Sager said, he has been better in the clubhouse.

"For all the guys, including me," Sager, 42, said. "He doesn't want to be seen as a player-coach. He told me when he showed up to treat him the same as everybody else, which I do, but he has things to share. It's nice to have a guy who has had experience and success in the big leagues to kind of reinforce some of the stuff I'm talking about. He talks to the guys, he fits in great, they love him. Whenever you have a guy who has been around as long as he has at the level he's pitched at, there's a lot to be learned for all of us."

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

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Jurrjens keeps Sox at bay

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 16. 2007 6:00AM

It was gut-check time for Erie SeaWolves right-hander Jair Jurrjens.

Runners on second and third, no outs in the sixth, Erie leading 4-1.

"I was struggling throwing strikes in that inning, and at that point I was thinking, 'I'm not going to blow a three-run lead,' " Jurrjens said. "I had that mentality."

Jurrjens struck out the next two Bowie Baysox hitters and eventually worked himself out of a bases-loaded situation with an inning-ending flyout to preserve the lead in a 10-2 Erie victory Sunday before 2,475 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

One day after seeing their five-game winning streak end in an 11-2 loss to the Baysox on Saturday, the SeaWolves (52-40) rebounded Sunday with good pitching, defense and hitting, winning three of four games in the series.

A native of the Caribbean island of Curacao, Jurrjens (4-4) was back on the mound after missing his previous start because of a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand.

And he had extra incentive to do well Sunday; an aunt, uncle and cousin from Curacao were on hand to see him pitch.

"I had a little pressure on me with the family here," Jurrjens said. "When the family is in, you try and do your best, you try to impress them and make them happy."

He made more than his family happy, working six innings, striking out nine, allowing five hits and limiting Bowie (45-49) to one run.

"He hadn't been on the mound for a while and he looked like he stayed under control," SeaWolves pitching coach A.J. Sager said. "Sometimes when you feel real fresh, you tend to overthrow and your mechanics will break down, but that wasn't the case with him. He faced seven left-handers in the lineup and he had a good, live fastball and a good change-up."

At the time Jurrjens was working himself into that sixth-inning jam, Erie lefty Danny Zell was warming up in the bullpen and ready to relieve, but SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said he wanted to keep Jurrjens in to see if he could pitch his way out of trouble.

"That was really what we were looking for, to see if he could do that," Walbeck said. "When that sort of thing happens, it does nothing but build your confidence knowing that you can get out of a jam like that."

A double, walk and wild pitch put Bowie runners on second and third with none out. Jurrjens then struck out Bowie first baseman Luis Jimenez and center fielder Jeff Fiorentino. After walking Baysox designated hitter Matt Cepicky to load the bases, Jurrjens retired catcher Morgan Clendenin on a foul flyout to third.

"The sixth inning was a big inning for him," Sager said. "He was throwing well, his velocity was fine and everything looked fine. He was in a little bit of a jam and sometimes you want to give a guy a little bit of rope and see if he can work out of it because those things are going to happen to you. It's nice to have that experience and to learn from it."

Jurrjens threw 104 pitches and improved to 3-0 against the Baysox in as many starts this season.

"I wasn't trying to overthrow today, just trying to hit my spots," he said. "I wasn't trying to strike out a lot of people, but just throw strikes. I've been struggling a lot at home this season and I really don't know why. But with family in town this weekend, I really wanted to show them something."

The SeaWolves improved to 11-4 against Bowie this season and have won three of four series against the Baysox. Erie has won six of its past seven games.

Third baseman Kody Kirkland sparked the SeaWolves offense with three runs batted in and shortstop Erick Almonte drove in two runs. Almonte, center fielder Clete Thomas and catcher Steve Torrealba all had two-hit games.

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SeaWolves Notebook

Published: July 16. 2007 6:00AM

Erie's 31-17 home record is the best in the Eastern League's Southern Division. ... Designated hitter Jackson Melian's second-inning homer on Sunday was Erie's league-leading 88th. ... The SeaWolves are 37-30 against Southern Division opponents. ... Bowie starter Oscar Alvarez (6-4) dropped to 0-3 against the SeaWolves this season. ... Erie is 11-4 against Bowie this season, including a 6-2 record at Uht Park.

SeaWolves first baseman Jeff Larish was hit by pitches in the fourth and seventh innings of Sunday's game. He also was hit by a pitch in Saturday's 11-2 loss to Bowie. Larish has six homers, including three in the series, and 21 RBIs in 15 games against Bowie this season. Larish's 19 homers and 70 RBIs lead the league.

Erie third baseman Kody Kirkland's three-RBI performance Sunday was his 11th multiple-RBI game this season. ... Erie center fielder Clete Thomas collected his team-leading 26th multiple-hit game with a 2-for-5 game Sunday. ... SeaWolves outfielder Andres Torres drove in two runs with an eighth-inning triple, his 11th, which leads the Eastern League and is tied for the minor league lead.

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Series Preview

Published: July 16. 2007 6:00AM

Reading Phillies (48-46) at Erie SeaWolves (52-40)

Today-Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday, 12:05 p.m.

Jerry Uht Park

Pitching matchups:

Today: Erie RH Eddie Bonine (9-4, 3.41) vs. Reading LH Matt Maloney (7-6, 3.97)

Tuesday: Erie LH Jon Connolly (4-3, 4.14) vs. Reading RH Zack Segovia (2-1, 3.24)

Wednesday: RH Andrew Kown (3-5, 3.86) vs. Reading RH Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.16)

Reading notes: The Phillies have won eight of their past 12, but had a four-game winning streak snapped in a 6-2 loss to Harrisburg on Sunday. Reading is 16-6 against Harrisburg this season. ... Infielder Jesus Merchan leads the league in hitting with a .342 average after going 0-for-3 against the Senators on Sunday. ... Third baseman Michael Costanzo has a team-leading 17 homers and ranks second in the league behind Erie first baseman Jeff Larish (19). ... Maloney is fourth in the league in strikeouts (93). ... Catcher Jason Hill had a 20-game hitting streak end Thursday. ... Outfielder Greg Jacobs leads the club with 11 assists. ... First baseman and former SeaWolves player Juan Tejeda was placed on Reading's disabled list Saturday with a strained left oblique muscle. Tejeda is hitting .257 with six homers and 45 RBIs in 71 games. ... Carrasco has appeared in five games, including four starts, since his June 21 Double-A promotion from Single-A Clearwater. The Venezuelan native entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the Philadelphia Phillies' top minor league prospect. He earned a callup to Reading after going 6-2 with a 2.84 ERA in 12 starts with Clearwater.

Erie notes: Reading's three-game home sweep of Erie July 4-6 marked the first time this season the SeaWolves were swept in a series. ... Reading is 4-2 against Erie and is one of only two teams with a winning record against the SeaWolves this season. ... Erie won two of three games from Reading at Uht Park from May 2-3. ... Erie enters this series in second place in the Eastern League's Southern Division, five games ahead of third-place Reading. ... The SeaWolves are 37-30 against Southern Division opponents. ... Bonine was among six pitchers Sunday tied for second in the league with nine wins, one behind Erie's Dallas Trahern (10-5). Trahern also leads the league with three complete games. ... Kown threw a complete game in his last outing, a 9-1 win over Bowie on Thursday

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On short notice

Hollimon switches positions, then leads SeaWolves to victory

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 17. 2007 6:00AM

Michael Hollimon got a chance to play shortstop - his old position - for just the second time this season and he made the most of the opportunity.

The SeaWolves' everyday second baseman collected a pair of RBI doubles and nearly turned a triple play in the eighth inning of Erie's 7-4 win over the Reading Phillies on Monday at Jerry Uht Park.

The SeaWolves, playing before a Buck Night crowd of 5,521, collected five two-out RBIs and improved to a season-high 13 games over .500 at 53-40.

Erie's win, combined with Akron's 7-4 loss to Harrisburg on Monday, moved the SeaWolves within one game of the first-place Aeros in the Eastern League's Southern Division.

"Hollimon brings a lot of value to the club in that he can play both second and short and very well," SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said.

"He's a good hitter, a good baserunner and I've said it over and over, he's our team captain and one of those guys you can look to for something special every night."

The SeaWolves have won seven of their past eight and four of their past five since the All-Star break.

Hollimon will be seeing more time at shortstop after Erie shortstop Erick Almonte's promotion on Monday to Triple-A Toledo. Hollimon is no stranger to the position, having played shortstop at Oneonta in 2005 and at West Michigan last year before making the move to second base in spring training.

"I've been a shortstop my whole life and now that I'm back, you remember it, but it's little unfamiliar," Hollimon said. "After a couple ground balls, you get back in the swing of things."

In the eighth, the SeaWolves just missed turning a triple play. With Reading's Jovan Moran on second and Jesus Merchan on first, Phillies third baseman Michael Costanzo lined out to Hollimon at short. He stepped on second to double off Moran and fired to first, but Merchan was just able to beat the throw.

"I've never had a triple play and still haven't, but it was fun to try, that's for sure," Hollimon said.

Later in the eighth, Merchan scored from third when Erie pitcher Anthony Tomey failed to catch catcher Steve Torrealba's return throw following a pitch. Tomey was charged with the error.

Leading 3-2 in the sixth, the SeaWolves broke it open with four two-out RBIs on outfielder Andres Torres' RBI single, Hollimon's RBI double and designated hitter Jackson Melian's two-run homer to left-center.

Torres finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI. Melian drove in three runs and first baseman Jeff Larish was 3-for-3 with one RBI.

SeaWolves closer Alan Mills pitched a scoreless ninth to record his team-leading 11th save.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

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SeaWolves notes

Published: July 18. 2007 6:00AM

Injured Lakeland Flying Tigers center fielder Cameron Maybin is continuing his rehabilitation in Lakeland after injuring his right throwing shoulder while diving for a ball nearly two weeks ago.

"He's making good progress," said Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, who's visiting Erie this week to evaluate the club. "We thought originally that he would be out two to three weeks, and he's on that same time frame. He's doing well. As of (Sunday), he was pain-free, so I would think he would be back playing relatively quickly."

Whether Maybin, 20, the Tigers' 2005 first-round draft pick, will get a Double-A promotion to Erie this season is uncertain.

"I'd say the possibility has been discussed, but we really had not made a definitive decision, and then when he was hurt, it put everything on hold," Dombrowski said. "The first step is getting him back, getting him healthy and seeing how he performs when he gets back in the lineup. Is it a possibility? Yes. Is it definite? No."

Maybin is hitting .303 (80-for-264) with eight homers and 38 RBIs in 74 games this season with Lakeland. He has 11 doubles, four triples, 23 steals in 29 attempts and has 76 strikeouts and 41 walks.

Maybin attended the July 8 Futures Game in San Francisco as part of the Major League Baseball All-Star festivities, but his injury prevented him from playing in the Futures Game. He will remain on Lakeland's disabled list indefinitely.

"With prospects, you let their own timeframe dictate a great deal of what you think they can handle," Dombrowski said. "There are a few things we want Maybin to continue to work on down there in Florida. He's making strides, but we want him to continue working on some things from an offensive perspective."

SeaWolves starter Eddie Bonine earned his 10th win in Monday's 7-4 victory over Reading, tying him with teammate Dallas Trahern for the Eastern League lead in wins. Bonine, who ranks 10th in the league with a 3.36 ERA, gave up four runs (two earned) and five hits in seven-plus innings. His 1122/3 innings also tops the league.

Akron Aeros third baseman/catcher Chris Gimenez and Portland Sea Dogs right-hander Justin Masterson are the Eastern League's player and pitcher of the week, respectively.

Gimenez hit .474 (9-for-19) with three homers, three doubles, five RBIs and nine runs scored in five games. Masterson, 22, was promoted to Double-A from Single-A Lancaster and went 2-0 in his two starts last week. In his Double-A debut July 9 at New Hampshire, Masterson struck out nine, walked one and pitched 62/3 innings of no-hit ball before reaching his pitch allotment in a 5-0 win. On Saturday, Masterson threw six shutout innings, striking out seven, against New Britain.

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Rain puts damper on 'Wolves game

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 18. 2007 6:00AM

The Erie SeaWolves and Reading Phillies will have to delay their bus rides out of town on getaway day.

Tuesday's Erie-Reading game, originally set to start at 7:05 p.m. at Jerry Uht Park, was postponed by officials because of rain after a 1-hour, 45-minute delay.

The teams will play a doubleheader today at 12:05 p.m. at Uht Park. They originally were scheduled to wrap up their three-game series today with a single game at 12:05.

"We were hoping we could get this one in, but with the weather and the noon start (today), we waited as long as we could and we felt this was the right decision," SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said. "Even though (today) is a getaway day, it's a long season anyway you look at it. We thought a doubleheader was probably the best bet instead of having to stay here until one or two o'clock in the morning and then having to get up early and play at noon (today)."

Lefty Jon Connolly (4-3, 4.14) will start for Erie in today's opener. Right-handed reliever Matt Righter (2-2, 4.14) will make a spot start for Erie in the sec-ond game.

Reading's scheduled starters today are right-hander Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.16) in the first game and right-hander Zack Segovia (2-1, 3.24). Reading leads the 12-game season series, 4-3.

The SeaWolves (53-40) depart town after today's doubleheader for a seven-game road trip, beginning Thursday with the opener of a four-game series at Bowie.

Reading (48-47) begins a series at Akron on Thursday.

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DD statements rephrased................"we ALL know he's extremely talented and the upside is limitless, however gentlemen, as we have discussed many, many times, the young man is extremely raw and needs to DEVELOP. It's about development of these skill sets, NOT just move them up the ladder and they'll dominate. It's develop the talents he has and move from there. BE PATIENT"

He'll be there, just not now !!

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2 losses keep SeaWolves out of first

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: July 19. 2007 6:00AM

The first inning of Wednesday's second game at Jerry Uht Park illustrated how the day went for the Erie SeaWolves in their 6-3 and 5-4 doubleheader losses to the Reading Phillies.

With a Reading runner on third base and two out, Phillies first baseman Jason Hill hit what looked like a routine, inning-ending flyball to shallow left field.

SeaWolves shortstop Michael Hollimon, however, lost the ball in the sun off of the bat, did not react and watched it fall about 15 feet behind him, just barely past the edge of the infield grass, for an RBI single.

That play cost the SeaWolves a run, but it was one of many situations throughout the doubleheader, played before a crowd of 4,600, where the SeaWolves either failed to execute on defense or take advantage of scoring opportunities.

"It was kind of weird," Hollimon said. "He swung and I was staring at the catcher because I didn't know where it was. I didn't see it. It was a bad break, but tomorrow is a new day. We're going to take about an hour, focus on the good stuff from today, focus on the bad stuff and then flush it."

Consequently, the SeaWolves (53-42), who entered the doubleheader just one-half game out of first place, blew a chance to either tie or move ahead of first-place Akron in the Eastern League Southern Division.

"It was a rough two games and, thankfully, we're getting out of here and we're going to play Bowie with a new mindset," SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said.

Reading (50-47) has won two straight series against the SeaWolves, including a three-game sweep of Erie in Reading July 4-6, and now leads the 12-game season series, 6-3. The Phillies are one of just two teams, including New Hampshire, with a winning record against Erie this season.

The doubleheader sweep was Reading's first since June 18, 2004, against Bowie.

Trailing 2-1 in the second game, the Phillies scored three runs in the fifth, which began with a single from Reading catcher Tim Gradoville. Phillies center fielder Javon Moran then laid down a bunt to third, but SeaWolves third baseman Kody Kirkland elected not to throw to first after fielding the ball because SeaWolves second baseman Nick McIntyre was late covering first.

"That was bad defense," Walbeck said. "Our guy was late covering first, and I think Kody kind of locked up on it. It was a good bunt and a fast runner. All of a sudden, they had three runs. Pitching and defense is what it comes down to and when you give them extra outs, you're going to lose games. Routine plays need to be made."

Designated hitter Jesus Merchan followed with a run-scoring single to tie the game at 2 before third baseman Michael Costanzo delivered an RBI double and first baseman Jason Hills a sacrifice fly to center, putting the SeaWolves in a 4-2 hole.

Walbeck had plenty of mistakes and missed opportunities to dissect after Wednesday's sweep.

In the fourth, Erie loaded the bases with no outs and could only muster one run when McIntyre was hit in the leg by a pitch with two out to force in a run and put the SeaWolves up 2-1.

The SeaWolves had one more chance in the bottom of the seventh. Trailing 5-3, they loaded the bases with no outs for Hollimon, who grounded sharply into a 6-4-3 double play. A run scored on the play, but Reading lefty Chris Key was able to retire Erie first baseman Jeff Larish on a grounder to first with the tying run on third to end the game.

"I was excited about that opportunity," Hollimon said. "I want to be up in that position and I figure I got the pitch I wanted and just didn't capitalize on it."

Reading took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the opening game, helped by a costly Hollimon fielding error that set up two unearned runs.

Six different Reading players had one RBI in their 6-3 opening-game win. The SeaWolves stranded 10 runners and left the bases loaded twice.

"They've played us really tough all year," Walbeck said of Reading. "It seems like all year with Reading we haven't been able to really put them away."

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

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SeaWolves notes

Published: July 19. 2007 6:00AM

SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck received an automatic ejection by home plate umpire Chris Bakke in the bottom of the sixth inning in Wednesday's opener for arguing balls and strikes.

Erie outfielder Andres Torres tried to check his swing on a bunt attempt but was called for the strike on the missed attempt.

Walbeck came out of the dugout to question the call and was tossed before he got to home plate.

"I thought he (Bakke) would ask for some help, but I knew when I was rushing him I was going to get thrown out," Walbeck said. "There were some close plays, I was at my boiling point and I felt it was time for me to go."

Walbeck has been ejected twice this season, the first time May 11 at Akron.

Former SeaWolves shortstop Erick Almonte went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts in his first start with Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday in the Mud Hens' 2-0 win at Norfolk.

Almonte was promoted to Toledo from Erie on Monday.

Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski completed his five-game visit to Erie, which wrapped up with Wednesday's doubleheader between the SeaWolves and Reading Phillies.

Dombrowski usually begins touring the Tigers minor league affiliates in mid-May. Erie was his last trip. He normally tries to see each club for five days. Dombrowski arrived in Erie on Saturday and caught the final two games of Erie's four-game weekend series against the Bowie Baysox.

Boston Red Sox right-hander Curt Schilling is expected to make a rehab start for Pawtucket against Toledo on July 26 at 7 p.m. at Toledo's Fifth Third Field.

It would be Schilling's second rehab start for Pawtucket. Schilling was placed on Boston's disabled list June 19 with tendinitis in his right shoulder.

Former Erie Sailors manager Mal Fichman is in his first season as a scout with the Philadelphia Phillies. Fichman, who scouts the independent leagues, joined the Phillies after a nine-year scouting career with the San Diego Padres.

Fichman managed the Sailors to the 1990 New York-Penn League championship series, where Erie lost to the Oneonta Yankees in the third and deciding game. Fichman managed the Sailors to the 1994 Frontier League championship.

Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson, who spent his 2004 season with the SeaWolves, was named the American League player of the week after hitting .500 (8-for-16) with two doubles, one triple and one homer last week.

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SeaWolves series preview

Published: July 19. 2007 6:00AM

Erie SeaWolves (53-42) at Bowie Baysox (46-51)

Today-Saturday, 7:05 p.m.

Sunday, 6:05 p.m.

Prince George's Stadium, Bowie, Md.

Pitching matchups:

Today: Erie RH Andrew Kown (3-5, 3.86) vs. Bowie RH Radhames Liz (7-4, 3.59)

Friday: Erie RH Dallas Trahern (10-5, 3.76) vs. Bowie LH Oscar Alvarez (6-4, 5.10)

Saturday: Erie RH Jair Jurrjens (4-4, 3.48) vs. Bowie LH Chris Waters (4-8, 4.89)

Sunday: Erie RH Eddie Bonine (10-4, 3.36) vs. Bowie RH Fredy Deza (3-7, 5.38)

Erie notes:

The SeaWolves have beaten up on Bowie this season, winning 11-of-15 games. Erie is 6-2 against the Baysox at Uht Park and 5-2 at Prince George's Stadium. The SeaWolves won three of four games from Bowie at home last weekend and have defeated the Baysox in seven of their past eight meetings. ... Right-hander Andrew Kown threw a complete-game six-hitter in his last start, defeating Bowie 9-1 at Uht Park on July 12. Kown struck out five and walked none to record the SeaWolves' league-leading seventh complete game. ... Right-hander Dallas Trahern has lost his past two starts and is tied with teammate Eddie Bonine for the lead league in wins with 10. Trahern still leads the league with three complete games. ... Right-hander Jair Jurrjens is 3-0 in as many starts this season against Bowie, including a six-inning, one-run outing on Sunday in a 10-2 win at Uht Park. ... The SeaWolves are 21-23 on the road. ... Erie leads the league with 90 homers.

Bowie notes: The Baysox and SeaWolves have eight games remaining in their 23-game season series, all at Prince George's Stadium. ... Bowie pitching gave up 31 runs to Erie in last week's four-game series at Uht Park. ... Right-hander Radhames Liz earned the lone Bowie win in that series, allowing one run and one hit over six innings on Saturday in an 11-2 win. Liz fired a no-hitter against the Harrisburg Senators on June 1. ... He ranks third in the league with 107 strikeouts. ... Left-hander Oscar Alavarez is 0-3 against Erie this season. ... Right-hander Fredy Deza and lefty Chris Waters have each allowed 14 homers this season, the most in the league. Waters also has given up a league-high 60 walks. ... Entering Wednesday's game at Altoona, third baseman Oscar Salazar was third in the league in RBIs with 62, trailing Erie's Jeff Larish and Reading's Greg Jacobs. Salazar played with the 'Wolves in 2002.

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Baysox pitchers baffle 'Wolves

Published: July 20. 2007 6:00AM

BOWIE, Md. -- The Bowie Baysox entered Thursday's game with the Eastern League's highest team ERA (4.65).

Tell that to the Erie SeaWolves.

Three Bowie pitchers combined to limit Erie to seven hits and one run in a 3-1 Baysox win Thursday before 3,373 fans in the opener of a four-game series at Prince George's Stadium.

The loss was Erie's third straight and dropped the SeaWolves to 53-43. Bowie (47-51) beat Erie for just the fifth time in 16 games this season. Erie had won seven of its past eight games against the Baysox.

Baysox right-hander Radhames Liz (8-4) earned his second victory over Erie in less than a week, throwing 52/3 innings of one-run ball. He struck out eight and walked two. Bowie right-handers Nick McCurdy and Bob McCrory combined to throw 31/3 innings of scoreless relief.

The lone run allowed came in the sixth, when SeaWolves designated hitter Matt Joyce tripled with two outs and scored on a wild pitch to pull Erie within 2-1.

Bowie took a 1-0 lead in the first. Bryan Bass doubled leading off and scored when Erie second baseman Michael Hollimon committed a fielding error on Paco Figueroa's grounder.

Erie threatened in the third but could not score. Erie center fielder Clete Thomas tripled with one out but was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on Hollimon's flyball to center.

The Baysox made it 2-0 in the fourth on Eli Whiteside's one-out homer to left off of Erie right-hander Andrew Kown.

Bowie added a sixth-inning insurance run on Morgan Clendenin's two-out RBI single.

The four-game series continues today, with Erie right-hander Dallas Trahern (10-5, 3.76) set to face Bowie lefty Oscar Alvarez (6-4, 5.10).

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Blunders benefit 'Wolves in victory

Bowie's errors in 9th spark Erie comeback

Published: July 21. 2007 6:00AM

BOWIE, Md. -- The Erie SeaWolves had their three-game losing streak fortuitously end Friday night, gift-wrapped courtesy of the Bowie Baysox infielders.

Second baseman Bryan Bass committed a three-base throwing error on Jeff Larish's potential game-ending grounder to allow the tying run to score, and third baseman Oscar Salazar allowed Jackson Melian's ground ball go through his legs for the winning run to cap a three-run ninth inning in Erie's 4-3 victory.

Forty-year-old reliever Alan Mills (1-0) got the win with two innings in relief of starter Dallas Trahern for the SeaWolves (54-43).

A crowd of 5,829 at Prince George's Stadium saw the Baysox blow a 3-0 lead, with the 'Wolves scoring in the seventh on an RBI single by Larish.

In the ninth inning, reliever Bob McCrory (1-2) hit Nick McIntyre with a pitch and Clete Thomas followed with a single. William Rhymes sacrificed the runners up, and Michael Hollimon's groundout to Bass scored McIntyre. Larish then hit a slow grounder. Bass bobbled and hurriedly threw the ball away as Thomas scored and Larish raced to third, then scored on Salazar's miscue.

Bowie (47-52) got three runs, two earned, in the fourth inning against Trahern

http://goerie.com/baseball

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'Wolves lose to Baysox

Published: July 22. 2007 6:00AM

BOWIE, Md. -- A faulty fire alarm went off during the second inning of Saturday's game between the Erie SeaWolves and Bowie Baysox.

What got Jair Jurrjens' attention happened an inning later.

Bowie's Matt Cepicky and Luis Jimenez hit consecutive home runs off the 'Wolves' starting pitcher in the bottom of the third. Jimenez finished with three hits and three RBIs for the Baysox, who won 5-2 before 8,115 at Prince George's Stadium.

Jimenez staked Bowie to a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single off Jurrjens (4-5). Bowie's designated hitter then hit his 11th homer of the season in the third.

Matt Cepicky preceded Jimenez's blast with his 10th homer. It marked the first time this season that an Erie pitcher allowed back-to-back homers.

The Baysox extended their lead to 5-0 in the fifth when Jimenez drove in Paco Figueroa and Jeff Fiorentino hit a sacrifice fly.

Erie's runs came an inning later when William Rhymes singled and Jackson Melian crushed a two-run homer to center field off Bowie starter Oscar Alvarez (7-4).

Baysox relievers Felix Romero and Nick McCurdy held Erie hitless over the final three innings. McCurdy pitched the ninth for his second save.

Bowie had 10 of its 11 hits off Jurrjens. Blake Davis, along with Figueroa and Cepicky, complimented Jimenez's three hits with two each.

http://goerie.com/baseball

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