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New-look O-Tigers take 1st step


Star photo by Brit WorganOneonta Tigers infielder Luis Palacios fields a groundball Tuesday at Damaschke Field. Most of the O-Tigers arrived Tuesday in prepration for their season-opener at 7:05 p.m. Friday against the visiting Tri-City ValleyCats.

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ Wade Gaynor signed his first professional contract around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and two hours later he took part in the Oneonta Tigers' first workout of the season at Damaschke Field.

Things are happening quickly for the Detroit Tigers' third-round selection.

The third baseman drafted out of Western Kentucky said he's ready to get things rolling and get on the field.

"It was great," said Gaynor, who hit .371 and was fifth in the nation with 25 homers as a junior for the Hilltoppers this spring. "It's been a dream of mine since I was tiny. It's great to get that over with and now I'm ready to go play."

As Gaynor and other wide-eyed Oneonta Tigers prepare for their first season in professional ball, they'll join the new ownership of the Tigers in their first season running the team.

A group headed by New York City attorney E. Miles Prentice III purchased the team last year from Sam Nader and Sid Levine. The sale became final Dec. 5.

General manager Andrew Weber, who worked with Nader last season, will run the organization this season.

The new ownership has made several changes, including upgrading the concession and souvenir areas, creating a picnic area along the right-field line and eliminating free nights. Weber said the franchise is also planning to sell beer for the first time in team history, though its liquor licence is still pending approval from New York state.

Nader and Levine, who owned the team since its inception in 1966, will be honored on opening night with "Sam and Sid Night."

The festivities are scheduled to begin at about 6:30 p.m. Friday at Damaschke Field. Former O-Tigers coach Bill Monbouquette, Minor League Baseball president Pat O'Connor and New York-Penn League president Ben Hayes will be in attendance. Weber said Prentice and other members of the ownership group will also be on hand.

Weber said the team will also read several comments throughout the game from people involved with professional baseball who have been associated with Nader and Levine over the years. A full list of those who sent in comments wasn't completed, but Weber noted that one was from former New York Yankee first baseman Don Mattingly.

"I think it's important on so many different levels," Weber said of Friday's ceremony. "First and foremost in that not only does the community need to recognize what they've had and the types of individuals that Sam and Sid are, but minor league baseball needs to as well.

"I didn't know Sam prior to last summer, but I consider the nine months working along side Sam to be an absolute privilege," he continued. "Although this is essentially the beginning of my baseball career, I can tell you however long it may be, I'll definitely remember working with him and the type of individual he is. And, even in the short amount of time I worked with him, the lessons that I learned from him."

Following the ceremony, the Tigers open against Stedler Division rival Tri-City. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

"It's kind of hectic right now," said first-year Oneonta manager Howard Bushong. "But by the time Friday gets here, we'll settle in and things will be ordered and everything will be here. We'll have our players and we'll do the best job we possibly can."

Bushong, who previously managed professionally in the Arizona League with the Padres in 2000 and with the Gulf Coast League Tigers from 2001-2003, has a few days to get acclimated with his team. Several players from this year's amateur draft haven't arrived yet. Of the 30-man roster released by the team Tuesday, 15 were acquired through this year's draft. The highest draft pick on the team is Gaynor.

Gaynor said he played in Elmira two summers ago in the New York Collegiate Baseball League.

"This is what I expected," Gaynor said. "It seems like a nice town. I haven't really been around, but I look forward to playing here."

Outfielder Jamie Johnson (seventh round out of Oklahoma) and catcher John Murrian (ninth round out of Winthrop University) are also on the roster.

"Detroit is a top-notch organization from top to bottom," Weber said. "They heavily take care of their minor-league teams. This looks to be a very good team and based on where these guys have played and the numbers that they've put up, I'm excited. I think it looks great."

Following Friday, Oneonta travels to Troy to play Tri-City, before returning home at 6:05 p.m. Sunday to finish the three-game series with the ValleyCats.

The Tigers then head on the road for six games at Lowell and Vermont from June 22-27.

PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE: With the elimination of free nights this year, the Tigers have created several promotional nights.

Two of the most noteworthy ones are July 6 and July 8, when Oneonta will again honor Nader and Levine with bobbleheads. Nader's bobblehead will be given to the first 1,000 fans on July 6 and Levine's to the first 1,000 fans on July 8.

Oneonta's second home game, this Sunday against Tri-City, will be magnet schedule night. The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive the schedule. Also that night, any fan who has a ticket from the Hall of Fame Classic in Cooperstown will receive general admission tickets for $3.

"It's things that have worked in other minor-league markets," Weber said. "We haven't done everything the same. We've tried to put our spin on it with things that are geared toward Oneonta and the surrounding areas. As with any major change, I think there's going to be a little of an adjustment period, but I think it'll definitely show that there's other ways to have fun at the ballpark without having to have it be free. ... That's on my shoulders and my staff's shoulders to make sure people are having fun."

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A whole new ballgame

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ With every change comes a new beginning, and a new generation of the Oneonta Tigers will be on display tonight.

With its new ownership in place, Oneonta begins its 76-game schedule in the short-season, Single-A New York-Penn League at 7:05 tonight, when the Tigers host the Tri-City ValleyCats on "Sam and Sid" night at Damaschke Field.

Sam Nader and Sid Levine, who had owned the franchise since its inception in 1966, sold the team last year to a group headed by New York City attorney E. Miles Prentice III. The sale was completed Dec. 5. Tonight's game will be the first under the new owners.

Nader and Levine will be honored with a pre-game ceremony that starts at 6:30 p.m. Former O-Tigers pitching coach Bill Monbouquette will be in attendance, as will Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Connor and NY-Penn President Ben Hayes. Prentice and other members of his group also are scheduled to appear.

Comments from former Oneonta players and coaches will be read over the public address system throughout the game. General manager Andrew Weber said Tuesday that former New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly was among the well-wishers to send in a note. Mattingly played for the Oneonta Yankees in 1979.

Prentice's group also plans to showcase changes made during the offseason, including an upgraded concessions menu, different souvenirs, a picnic area at the end of the right-field bleachers and an advanced ticket system at the main gate.

Oneonta will broadcast every game on the radio for the first time in team history this season. Assistant general manager Eric Knighton will handle play-by-play duties on WKXZ 93.9 FM. The broadcast also will be available online at Oneonta Tigers: Home. The live stream will start when Knighton goes on the air 15 minutes before first pitch.

Oneonta also plans to sell beer this season, but as of Thursday night, Weber said the team was still awaiting approval from New York state on their liquor license.

Fans can enter the park at 5:45 p.m. for 7:05 games this season. The home dugout also has been switched from the first-base side to the third-base line.

There will be baseball, too, of course. Tonight, the O-Tigers turn to a familiar face.

Jeff Gerbe, a 16th-round draft pick in 2006 who went 1-4 with a 5.08 ERA for the O-Tigers that year, has been pegged as the opening-day starter by first-year manager Howard Bushong.

Gerbe, who didn't play last year after having surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder, is rehabbing with Oneonta this season. He said he'll be capped at five innings or 75 pitches, whichever comes first.

"This has been pretty tough," said Gerbe, who reached Double-A Erie in 2007 and was at Detroit's major league spring training camp in 2008 before being shut down. He said he had surgery April 11, 2008. "You're pitching with a shoulder that didn't feel normal like it did before. The biggest thing for me is just learning how to pitch again, to get consistent strikes. Command hasn't really been a problem for me since I've been with the Tigers, but I'm finding myself having problems throwing strikes."

Bushong said consistency will be important for Gerbe.

"The key for him is if he's throwing strikes and if he's repeating his mechanics," Bushong said. "Because of the injury, he hasn't been out there enough to where he doesn't repeat his mechanics all the time. When he does, he's going to be fine and he has a chance to be OK."

Tri-City will send 19-year-old Colton Pitkin, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-hander, to the mound tonight. Pitkin, picked in the 41st round of the 2007 draft, is 2-2 with a 3.66 ERA over two professional seasons.

As for which nine will oppose Pitkin, Bushong said Thursday a lineup wasn't set yet and he likely wouldn't have it finished until this afternoon. But no matter who Bushong starts, he said, he's ready for baseball that counts.

"What's tough is extended (spring training) because you're playing in games and competing in games," he said, "but in reality, the game doesn't mean anything. Here, the games mean something."

He'll have a lot of tough choices, however, as Detroit sent seven of its top 15 picks from this year's First-Year Player Draft to Oneonta. That list includes third baseman Wade Gaynor, who was selected in the third round out of Western Kentucky. Gaynor, who hails from Hawesville, Ky., hit .371 and was fifth in the nation with 25 home runs for the Hilltoppers this spring.

"I can't wait," Gaynor said during the team's media day Tuesday. "My mom's coming up to watch the game. This is the first step toward the dream of playing in the major leagues, which a lot of these guys want to do, and we're looking forward to (tonight)."

One difference Gaynor will have to adjust to will be wood bats instead of aluminum.

"I have thought about that," Gaynor said. "Aluminum bats (balls) jump off there pretty hard, but pro hitters know how to swing it, so I don't know how big of an adjustment I'll have to make. It should be about the same."

Outfielder Jamie Johnson and catcher John Murrian were also top-10 picks for Detroit.

Johnson was picked in the seventh round out of Oklahoma. The Calhoun, La., resident hit .353 (90-for-255) in 63 games for the Sooners. Johnson had 13 home runs and 44 RBIs and was 18-for-20 in stolen base attempts.

Murrian, selected in the ninth round out of Winthrop University, hit .327 (67-for-205) with six home runs and 42 RBIs.

Besides Gerbe, two others played for Oneonta last season in pitcher Nick Cassavechia and first baseman Wade Lamont, the son of Detroit first-base coach Gene Lamont.

Cassavechia went 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA in three games with the O-Tigers last season. He allowed two runs in five innings, striking out eight and walking three.

Lamont played in 34 games last season, hitting .255 (27-for-106) with nine doubles and nine RBIs.

Bushong also will get help from coach Luis Quinones, who returns for his third season at Oneonta. An eight-year major leaguer who won the 1990 World Series championship with the Cincinnati Reds, Quinones will coach first base.

"He's huge," Bushong said. "This entire extended spring, I've gone to him with all kinds of questions about what's going to go on here, what to look for and things like that. He knows the league. He knows what different teams are going to try and do. You can't say enough about all the things (Quinones) can do to help us out."

Jorge Cordova takes over as pitching coach for the Tigers. Cordova, a pitching coach in the Venezuelan Summer League the past three seasons, went 44-26 with a 3.30 ERA over eight minor-league seasons with the New York Yankees, Florida Marlins, Reds and Tigers.

"He's new and he's young, but he's energetic and has a ton of fire in him," Bushong said. "He is really looking forward to this opportunity and I'm looking forward to working with him. ... He knows what he's doing. He knows pitching and he's been in this organization. He cares about the Tigers organization like all of us do and that's very important."

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O-Tigers have plenty of pitching

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ Pitching depth shouldn't be a problem for the Oneonta Tigers this season.

First-year manager Howard Bushong's 28-man roster includes 14 pitchers. The O-Tigers will also carry two catchers, eight infielders and four outfielders heading into their New York-Penn League season-opener at 7:05 tonight against the Tri-City ValleyCats at Damaschke Field.

The following is a position-by-position look:


Bushong said he was pretty sure his squad has solid pitchers.

Jeff Gerbe, a 6-foot-3 right-hander who pitched in Oneonta in 2006, is coming off a surgery on his right shoulder that cost him the 2008 season. Gerbe, who went 2-3 between Single-A West Michigan and Double-A Erie in 2007, will get the start tonight.

"Gerbe is still rehabbing and still trying to get consistent," Bushong said. "He's had really good games and he's struggled in some games. I'm expecting him to come out here with the added adrenaline of a competitive league where you're playing for a championship. I'm expecting him to do real well for us."

Two others _ Gary Perniar and Luis Sanz _ will also start for Oneonta.

Three players from this year's draft _ Adam Wilk (11th round out of Long Beach State), Nathan Newman (17th round out of Pepperdine) and Cory Hamilton (23rd round out of the University of California at Irvine) could be part of the rotation, Bushong said.

Wilk and Kenny Faulk are the only lefties on the roster for Oneonta.

"We were hoping to get a few more lefties in there," Bushong said. "But at the same time, if the right-handers are your best guys, we'll put them in. It doesn't matter who you are throwing against, you have to get them out."

Perniar is also coming off surgery _ the right-hander missed the 2008 season after having his right elbow operated on, according to Detroit's media guide. Perniar has pitched in one professional game _ allowing one run on two hits over 2/3 of an inning for the Gulf Coast League Tigers in 2007.

Sanz, who started the season with West Michigan, is in his fourth professional season. A right-hander, Sanz went 0-1 with an 8.64 ERA in eight games with the Whitecaps. He's 13-10 in his career.

"I think we have some good guys, pitching-wise," Bushong said. "We got some help when Sanz came down from West Michigan. I think he's really going to help us. Perniar pitched real well in extended (spring training)."

Oneonta should have depth in the bullpen as well.

Faulk could serve as Oneonta's closer, Bushong said. Drafted in the 16th round out of Kennesaw State (Ga.), he went 7-4 with four saves and a 3.16 ERA in college this season.

Of the remaining pitchers, two were drafted this year. Kevan Hess (14th round out of Western Michigan) and Wade Kapteyn (24th round out of Evansville) will join Nick Cassavechia, Clemente Mendoza, Jose Ortega, Michael Torrealba and Mike LaLuna out of the bullpen.

LaLuna, who signed as a free agent this past October, is from Port Jefferson. Cassavechia, Mendoza, Ortega and Torrealba have been with the Detroit organization.

Cassavechia pitched in three games with Oneonta last season, going 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA.

"Some of the other guys are coming from other programs that are extremely competitive," Bushong said. "I think our bullpen is going to be OK, to be honest. We have some guys who can go out there and compete very well."


Versatility could be key for Oneonta's infield.

Third-round draft pick Wade Gaynor _ the highest pick from this year's First-Year Player Draft on Oneonta's roster _ will play third base. It's likely the Tigers' organization will keep a close on Gaynor.

"I don't think there's much pressure, really," Gaynor said. "I was happy where I went. I'm ready to play ball. It's an even-playing field. It doesn't matter what round you were drafted in now."

Gaynor, a 6-foot-4, 213-pounder out of Western Kentucky, finished fifth in the nation with 25 home runs this spring for the Hilltoppers.

Wade Lamont, the son of Detroit Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont, is back for his second season in Oneonta. A first baseman, Lamont hit .255 in 34 games with the Oneonta last year. Rawley Bishop, a 19th-round pick out of Middle Tennessee State, will also see time first base.

The middle of the infield could be a strong point. Alden Carrithers, who played last season with the GCL Tigers, and Christopher Sedon, a 10th-round pick this year from Pittsburgh, will see time at second base. Jimmy Gulliver, selected in the 20th round of Eastern Michigan, will play shortstop.

Carmelo Jaime and Luis Palacios are utility players who can man most infield spots.

"I'm certainly hoping the infield is one of our strong suits," Bushong said. "Just from talking to people about the draft and the people we have from the draft and knowing the guys we have and being able to use them in the right situation, I think we have a chance to be OK in the infield."


John Murrian, selected in the ninth round out of Winthrop, will join fellow draftee Eric Roof (18th round out of Michigan State) as Bushong's choices for catcher.

Roof is the son of Detroit roving outfield and baserunning coordinator Gene Roof, who played three seasons in the major leagues with St. Louis and Montreal in the early 1980s.


With 38 of the team's 76 scheduled games at spacious Damaschke Field, outfield speed is a necessity and Bushong said the Tigers have plenty of it.

Recently signed draftees Jamie Johnson (seventh-round out of Oklahoma), Michael Rockett (13th round out of the University of Texas-San Antonio) and Matthew Mansilla (22nd round out of College of Charleston) can all run.

How their speed translates to game conditions remains to be seen, Bushong said.

"I'm looking forward to seeing all these guys," Bushong said. "The key to baseball is you can watch a guy take batting practice, you can watch him take groundballs and you can evaluate some tools, but there's nothing like watching them in a ballgame, and seeing them adjust and adapt. That's what will make a baseball player."

Alexis Espinoza is in his fourth year with the organization. He played two years with the Venezuelan Summer League Tigers and last year in the GCL.

Over those three years, he hit .288 (124-for-430) with 20 home runs and 64 RBIs.

"He's kind of hit-and-miss at times, but boy he has tremendous power," Bushong said. "He'll need to work a little on his defense and making a little more contact."

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Bushong ready to take big step

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ Howard Bushong is back where he wants to be _ managing professional baseball.

Bushong, 56, will manage his first season in the New York-Penn League with Oneonta this season. It'll mark his fifth season in professional baseball as he managed the Gulf Coast League Tigers from 2001-03 and the Arizona League Padres in 2000.

After leaving Detroit following the 2003 season, Bushong went back to the college ranks where he served as an assistant coach at Texas State University.

"For the last couple of years, I've been putting the feelers out and keeping in touch with the Tiger organization," Bushong said. "I wanted to get back in. I love the Tigers and love the people in this organization. They really are good people and the opportunity to come back and move up and come to Oneonta became an adventure for me. I'm looking forward to it. ... I'm back in it."

Bushong takes over for Ryan Newman, who is now managing Bristol, a short-season Single-A team in the Chicago White Sox organization. The O-Tigers went 33-41 under Newman in his first and only season with Oneonta. The Tigers finished second in the Stedler Division _ 7 1/2 games behind the Lowell Spinners. The 33-41 finish tied the franchise's worst record since becoming affiliated with Detroit in 1999.

Success, however, is something that has followed Bushong at all levels.

He played for the University of Texas, helping the Longhorns to the NCAA championship in 1976. Following college, Bushong had a successful run coaching high school. He finished 311-84 at Austin Westlake High, winning two Texas state championships over a 12-year span.

Bushong also served as an assistant coach at Texas and was the head coach at Texas State from 1993-99. He earned Southland Conference Coach of the Year honors in 1996.

Managing at this level seems like a perfect fit.

"I like to teach. I grew up as a teacher," Bushong said. "I've been a high school coach and teacher and everything else, so teaching is something I believe in.

"At this level, you're still teaching players how to play," he continued. "Players are listening and players are coming in. I also like the college-aged kid, which this level basically is."

His previous professional managing experience was in rookie ball. Bushong coached for the San Diego organization in 2000, leading the Arizona League Padres to a 17-38 finish. He joined Detroit the following season and went 85-92 over three seasons with the Gulf Coast League Tigers, finishing second twice.

He returned to Texas State as an assistant coach, but said he eventually wanted to return to the professional stage.

"I think professional baseball, in my opinion, is real baseball," Bushong said. "The wood bats. The speed of the game is more. I think you see more powerful, athletic kids and you play everyday. I'm pretty much a baseball purist and I like to practice, but I'd rather play games."

Bushong doesn't seem like he'll be afraid to push things on offense this season. Bushong said he likes his teams to run, hit-and-run and play small ball. Pitching will have to be strong for Bushong to play that type of game, he said.

"Honestly, I like to run and like guys who can run," he said. "I'm not a sit-still type of guy unless you get to certain guys in the order and you want them to develop into that role of driving the ball and sitting in there and hitting. But for the most part, to be honest with you, I like to run. I like action as an offensive guy. Hopefully we do it in a smart way. I'm big on baserunning and doing it correctly and defense is the biggest thing for me. I'll spend all the time we need to spend to play good defensive baseball."

Bushong, who added he wouldn't be opposed to eventually climbing the ladder of managing in the organization, said he's happy where he's at. He also said he liked the look of Oneonta and is ready for this season.

"The first goal of this program is the players," he said. "We develop the players. We hopefully put players in a position to where they can move up at any time. There's nothing I enjoy more than calling a kid in and sending him up. Even if he's our best player and we're doing well and all that stuff, if we have a chance to move a kid up, I have absolutely no problems whatsoever with seeing that kid advance. Even if it hurts the team as a whole.

"Winning is important when the game starts," he continued. "Until that time, we want to develop these kids as much as we can both as people and professional athletes, as baseball players and give them every opportunity to go forward with their dreams. They have dreams and it's about them. As long as we always remember that it's about these kids and not about us, we're going to be fine."

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O-Tigers open with home win

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ Jeff Gerbe looks like he's well on the way to a full recovery.

Gerbe pitched six solid innings Friday and the Oneonta Tigers received timely hitting during the third inning to earn a 2-0 New York-Penn League victory over the Tri-City ValleyCats in front of 1,242 fans on opening night at Damaschke Field.

Gerbe, who played for Oneonta in 2006 but missed the 2008 season after having surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder, scattered four hits. He struck out three and walked two.

"I felt pretty comfortable," Gerbe said. "I was just excited to get out there again. ... Even with the first inning being rough, I felt comfortable."

Before the game, the new ownership honored former owners Sam Nader and Sid Levine with an on-field ceremony that included Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Connor, NY-Penn League President Ben Hayes and former Boston Red Sox pitcher and O-Tigers pitching coach Bill Monbouquette.

Also in attendance was E. Miles Prentice III, who led a group to purchase the team from Nader and Levine last year.

"This is what it's all about," Prentice said. "Having a good time. ... It's also a nice turnout. It's a lot of fun to be involved with a professional team _ especially baseball."

Oneonta (1-0) visits Tri-City at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Tigers return home for a 6:05 p.m. game Sunday, also against Tri-City.

Gary Perniar will start Saturday for the O-Tigers and Luis Sanz on Sunday.

Oneonta got all the offense it needed Friday during the third inning. After Alexis Espinoza struck out looking and Eric Roof grounded out to second, Michael Rockett singled to left. Jamie Johnson then got hit by a pitch.

Jim Gulliver followed with a single to center, scoring Rockett for a 1-0 lead.

Wade Gaynor, Detroit's third-round pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft, then doubled over the head of Tri-City right-fielder Russ Dixon, scoring Johnson for a 2-0 lead.

"I was trying to tell myself all day it was just a game," Gaynor said. "I haven't been that nervous in a while. Getting the first at-bat out of the way got it back to normal."

Gaynor's double came off a 1-0 pitch from losing pitcher Colton Pitkin.

"I knew it was a double off the bat," Gaynor said of his opposite-field drive.

The rest was up to Oneonta's pitching and defense.

"I'm tickled with the way we pitched and played defense," first-year Oneonta manager Howard Bushong said. "The hitting was timely. We didn't have many opportunities. The one time we cashed in with two runs, the other time we didn't. That's a credit to their club, too. It's a great win for us."

Gerbe struggled early as he gave up a one-out single to Brandon Wikoff in the first inning before walking Jhonny Medrano and Russ Dixon to load the bases. He got out of the jam by striking out Renzo Tello swinging and getting Nicholas Stanley to fly out to center.

Gerbe gave up three hits over the next five innings but issued no walks and didn't allow a runner past first base.

"It's how Gerbe has thrown in extended (spring training)," Bushong said. "He's had an inning where he couldn't throw it over the plate and the ball was up. Then he settled in. I was only going to let him go five, but I asked how he felt and he said, Âlike a million bucks.'"

Rockett, who finished with two hits, also helped Gerbe twice with tough catches in right field.

The first came in the second inning when he dived forward to make a grab on Rene Garcia's diving liner.

"It's great to have a guy like Rockett out there," Gerbe said.

He topped that in the fourth when he made an over-the-shoulder catch on the run on Stanley. If he hadn't made the catch, Stanley would have had a shot at a triple.

"Those two plays Rockett made were big time," Bushong said. "I never gave him a chance (on the second catch) and he came down with that ball. That's a great play on his part."

Mike LaLuna followed Gerbe with three strong innings to earn the save. LaLuna struck out the first four batters and finished with six. He allowed one hit and walked none.

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O-Tigers lose first

Staff Report

The Oneonta Tigers stranded eight runners and went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position in a 2-1 New York-Penn League loss at Lowell on Tuesday night.

It marked the first loss for the O-Tigers (2-1), who had the tying run at third base with one out in the ninth inning before Michael Rockett grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Rockett also grounded into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play in the fifth when the Tigers had loaded the bases.

Oneonta finishes its three-game series with Lowell (3-2) at 7:05 p.m. tonight. The Tigers then head to Vermont for a three-game set beginning at 7:05 p.m. Thursday.

The Tigers were limited to six hits.

Oneonta threatened in the top of the fifth as Rawley Bishop singled and Chris Sedon followed with a bunt single. Bishop moved to third on a throwing error by winning pitcher Jeremy Kehrt.

After Sedon stole second, Wade Lamont struck out looking. Matt Mansilla was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.

But Kehrt induced Rockett into a come-backer that started a double play.

Lowell took the lead in the bottom of the inning.

Ronald Bermudez doubled off losing pitcher Clemente Mendoza and went to third on a wild pitch. He scored on Chia-Chu Chen's double to left to make it 1-0. Mendoza struck out Wilfredo Pichardo and got Ryan Westmoreland to fly out to center.

But Derrick Gibson followed with an RBI single.

Oneonta scored in the eighth. With two outs, Jim Gulliver walked and went to second on Wade Gaynor single. Eric Roof's single to left to score Gulliver to make it 2-1.

Mendoza (0-1) took the loss, giving up two runs on four hits in three innings of relief. He struck out two and walked none. Oneonta starter Nathan Newman pitched three innings of one-hit ball, striking out five and walking two.

NOTE: Catcher Keith Hernandez, who was scheduled to be on Oneonta's opening roster, has returned to the team. Hernandez had been called up to Triple-A Toledo and played one game. He went 0-for-2.

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O-Tigers rained out at Lowell

Staff Report

The Oneonta Tigers' New York-Penn League game Friday at Vermont was postponed because of rain and poor field conditions.

The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, O-Tigers general manager Andrew Weber said Friday night. Each game will be seven innings.

The Stedler Division-leading Tigers (4-1) have won two straight.

Following Saturday's doubleheader, the O-Tigers return home for a three-game set against Lowell that opens at 6:05 p.m. Sunday.

Oneonta then returns to the road for three games at Aberdeen, starting Thursday.

Note: Catcher Keith Hernandez is on the move again.

Hernandez, who started the season in Single-A West Michigan, had been in Oneonta for the beginning of the New York-Penn League season earlier this month.

Hernandez later moved up to Triple-A Toledo but returned to Oneonta on Tuesday, when the Tigers were in Lowell.

On Thursday, however, Hernandez was sent to the Gulf Coast League Tigers.

In six games this season, Hernandez is hitting .118 (2-for-17) with two runs and a double

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O-Tigers get bats going in 9-3 win

P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ Michael Rockett took off Sunday night, helping the Oneonta Tigers snap out of an offensive slump.

Rockett went 3-for-4 with a home run to lead the Tigers to a 9-3 New York-Penn League victory over the Lowell Spinners in front of 849 fans at Damaschke Field.

"The big thing is we started swinging the bat," said O-Tigers manager Howard Bushong, whose team finished with 10 hits and set a season high for runs. "We've been struggling. This has to give them confidence and that's the big thing."

Rockett capped the scoring with a two-out homer in the eighth inning that cleared the left-field fence despite light rain and a strong wind blowing in from the outfield. His shot, off an 2-0 fastball from Kyle Rutter, marked the first home run at Damaschke Field this season.

"Honestly, I was looking for anything to drive," said Rockett, who is hitting .478 this season. "I got the pitch to hit. ... It felt really good, but knowing this park, I thought it was a flyout to left."

Oneonta (5-3) entered Sunday night with 13 runs in seven games, including two seven-inning losses Saturday at Vermont, 3-0 and 2-1.

"One thing we did was we didn't take batting practice today," Bushong said. "We told them to sleep in, but a lot of the kids were here on their own doing some work. We didn't do or say anything. They executed and they get all the credit."

Oneonta remained in first place in the Stedler Division, with a one-game lead over Vermont (5-5). The Tigers and Spinners _ last at 4-6 in the Stedler _ continue their three-game series at 7:05 tonight. Oneonta will throw Nathan Newman (0-0) tonight and Adam Wilk (0-0) in Wednesday's series finale.

On Sunday, the O-Tigers erased a 2-0 deficit in the fourth inning.

Jamie Johnson lined the first pitch from Jeremy Kehrt up the middle for a single and went to second when Jim Gulliver walked. Wade Gaynor then hit a sharp grounder that bounced over first baseman Christopher McGuiness, easily scoring Johnson to make it 2-1. Lowell right fielder Shannon Wilkerson bobbled the ball, allowing Gulliver to tie it at 2 and Gaynor to reach third. Gaynor gave Oneonta a 3-2 lead when he scored on Rawley Bishop's ground out to short.

Lowell tied it in the fifth on an RBI double from McGuiness, but the Tigers scored three in the sixth and two in the seventh.

Gulliver singled to right to open the sixth and Gaynor reached on a fielder's choice when he bounced a ball to short. Derrik Gibson's throw to start a potential double play went wide of second baseman Drew Dominguez, giving Oneonta runners at the corners as Gaynor went to third on the error.

"That's the way the ball bounces for you," Gaynor said. "The offense as a whole tonight was good. It was a good job. Yesterday, after coming out and doing not too well, everyone wanted to score runs tonight."

Gulliver gave the O-Tigers the lead for good _ at 4-3 _ when he scored on Bishop's grounder to first. Gaynor was forced out at second, but Bishop beat the throw back to first to spoil the double-play attempt.

Alexis Espinoza singled to put runners on first and third and stole second to set up two more runs. Bishop made it 5-3 when he beat the throw home by Gibson on an Eric Roof grounder to short. Espinoza stayed at second on the play but scored when Matt Mansilla doubled to deep center.

In the seventh, Gaynor got hit by a pitch and stole second. After Bishop walked, Espinoza hit a two-run double down the right-field line to make it 8-3.

"We had to step it up with people on base," Rockett said. "We were able to come through tonight."

Three pitchers combined to scatter seven hits for the Tigers. Starter Luis Sanz gave up three runs on four hits over four innings. He struck out five and walked two. Winning pitcher Cory Hamilton (2-0) followed with three innings of one-hit ball, striking out five. Wade Kapteyn pitched the final two innings, allowing two hits and walking two.

"The kids stepped up and that was huge," Bushong said. "We're hoping this is the start of things. We got shut down (Saturday against Vermont). We were basically embarrassed and weren't competitive at the plate. The kids came back tonight."

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Mendoza pitches O-Tigers to victory

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ Clemente Mendoza made life easier for Oneonta's offense Sunday.

Mendoza pitched six strong innings _ the first 5 1/3 of perfect ball _ as the Oneonta Tigers earned a 6-4 New York-Penn League victory over the Aberdeen IronBirds in front of an announced attendance of 717 fans at Damaschke Field.

A 6-foot, 200-pound righty, Mendoza (2-1) struck out four and walked none. He allowed one run on one hit during his 73-pitch performance, which lowered his ERA from 3.18 to 2.31. Of his pitches, 49 went for strikes.

"That was unreal," Oneonta left fielder Michael Rockett said. "He came right out and went at batters. It makes it easy to hit when your guy is dealing like that."

Aberdeen's Levi Carolus snapped Mendoza's bid at perfection with a one-out double down the third-base line in the top of the sixth. Carolus stole third and scored when Jason Stifler reached on an error by Oneonta first baseman Rawley Bishop.

Mendoza got Mike Mooney to fly out to right and Blake Davis to ground out to second to end the inning. Oneonta led, 5-1, at that point.

"He's always focused," said Oneonta catcher John Murrian, who added Mendoza's fastball was his best pitch Sunday. "He showed what he has. ... He didn't try and overdo things. All his pitches were working and he was spotting up and putting (the ball) where he wanted it."

The O-Tigers (9-5) remained in first place in the Stedler Division and opened a two-game lead over Vermont and Lowell. Tri-City is four games back. All three of Oneonta's division foes lost Sunday.

The Tigers, who have won two straight and are 4-1 against the IronBirds, finish their three-game set with Aberdeen (5-11) at 7:05 p.m. today on Sam Nader bobblehead night. The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a free Nader bobblehead.

Jeff Gerbe (1-0, 1.04 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for Oneonta tonight. The O-Tigers then host Vermont for three games, beginning at 7:05 Tuesday.

The O-Tigers snapped a scoreless tie Sunday in the bottom of the third.

Luis Palacios led off with a double and moved to third when Chris Sedon grounded out to short. After Jim Gulliver popped out to third, Jamie Johnson doubled down the left-field line to score Palacios for a 1-0 lead.

Rockett worked a 3-2 count before lining a double to right-center, scoring Johnson for a 2-0 lead.

"I was trying to hit it hard," said Rockett, who finished 3-for-5 and is hitting .404 this season. "He got ahead early, but I was able to battle back. I was just trying to hit it hard and get (Johnson in)."

Palacios made it 3-0 with an RBI single in the fourth. Oneonta kept the pressure on in the fifth.

Rockett and Wade Gaynor each struck out to open the inning, but Bishop singled to left and went to second on a wild pitch by losing pitcher Colin Allen. After Alexis Espinoza walked, each moved up on a another wild pitch from Allen.

Murrian, a right-handed hitter, then hit a 3-2 fastball low and away to right-center for a two-run single to make it 5-0.

"I got in the hole quick and tried to work my way back," Murrian said. "I just tried to put it in play."

The Tigers made it 6-1 in the sixth on an RBI single from Rockett.

Aberdeen rallied in the ninth against Oneonta's bullpen. Jose Ortega pitched 2/3 of an inning and was charged with three runs on one hit and two walks. He left with a runner on second _ Richard D'Oleo _ who scored when Kenny Faulk gave up a single to Lance West to make it 6-4.

Faulk earned his second save when he got Carolus to pop out to second for the final out.

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Tigers sweep at home

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ Michael Rockett's slumps don't seem to last too long.

Rockett went hitless in his first three at-bats Monday but came through with a two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the seventh inning as the O-Tigers rallied for a 5-4 New York-Penn League victory over the Aberdeen IronBirds.

The O-Tigers (10-5) completed the sweep of Aberdeen in front of an announced crowd of 691 on Sam Nader bobblehead night at Damaschke Field.

"Not a lot surprises me with him," O-Tigers manager Howard Bushong said of Rockett. "He'll look bad at times, but he's such a competitor and he'll find a way to beat you."

The O-Tigers have won five of six against the IronBirds this season. Oneonta increased its Stedler Division lead to three games over Lowell (8-9) and Vermont (8-9) and five games over Tri-City (5-10). All three division rivals lost Monday.

Oneonta opens a three-game set with Vermont at 7:05 p.m. today at Damaschke Field.

The Tigers, who rallied twice Monday, faced a 4-3 deficit heading into the seventh.

Jim Gulliver drew a leadoff walk but was forced out at second when Matt Mansilla's sacrifice-bunt attempt went back to pitcher Stephen Procner, who threw to shortstop Garabez Rosa for the out at second.

Carmelo Jaime then grounded to Rosa, who threw to second baseman Michael Mooney to force Mansilla out at second. Jaime reached on the play and moved to second when Jamie Johnson walked.

That brought Rockett to the plate. Rockett, who is batting .392 this season, failed to get the ball out of the infield and was hitless to that point.

"Coming to the plate, I was struggling," Rockett said. "I knew I had to settle down and barrel up."

Rockett, a right-handed batter, said he got a fastball away about belt-high. He went with the pitch, driving it down the right-field line. The ball bounced into the corner as Jaime and Johnson scored easily on Rockett's triple.

"I tried to stay back and I got a pitch to drive," Rockett said. "I squared up well. As soon as I made contact, it was a matter of running. ... With a guy on first, I knew we would try to score him, so I was going for three."

Winning pitcher Mike LaLuna (1-1), who struck out two in the eighth, allowed a leadoff triple to Levi Carolus (4-for-4) to start the ninth. With Oneonta's infield playing in, LaLuna got Brian Ward to ground to second baseman Jaime, who looked Carolus back to third before throwing to first for an out.

Bushong then went to the bullpen for Kenny Faulk, who got Arthur Bonevacia to fly out to shallow right field for the second out. Rockett threw a one-hopper to the plate after making the catch, but Carolus stayed within 10 feet of third.

Faulk then struck out Mooney looking to end the game and earn his third save.

"That was our first come-from-behind win," Bushong said. "Our kids have to learn not to quit and they did two times tonight and we did it with a two-out hit again."

Aberdeen (5-12) opened a 3-0 lead in the second off starter Jeff Gerbe. Carolus and Ty Kelly each had RBI singles and Ward an RBI triple.

The O-Tigers made it 3-1 in the bottom of the inning when Rawley Bishop led off with a home run to left field off Brandon Erbe. It's Bishop's third homer this season and third in three games. He hit two homers in a 7-2 victory over Aberdeen on Saturday.

"My college coach always said home runs come in bunches," Bishop said. "I've been pretty good wood on the ball. ... I got a fastball and (Erbe) caught too much of the plate and I tried to yank it. I never know when I hit it, but it felt pretty good. Playing here, you never know."

Wade Gaynor had an RBI single in the third to make it 3-2 and the Tigers pulled a double-steal for the tying run. With Johnson on third and two outs, Gaynor went to steal second. As soon as Aberdeen catcher Ward threw to second, Johnson broke home and scored standing up without a throw.

Aberdeen took the lead back in the sixth on an RBI single from Carolus.

Bushong also credited relief pitcher Kevan Hess, who threw 3 2/3 innings in relief of Gerbe. He allowed one run on four hits. LaLuna followed with three innings of scoreless ball, allowing three hits and striking out three and walking one.

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Tigers halted by rain

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ Adam Wilk flirted with perfection Tuesday night. Mother Nature left him with a no-decision, however.

A rain storm that came through Oneonta at around 9:30 p.m. suspended the Tigers' New York-Penn League game against Vermont at the end of the fifth inning with the score tied at 1-1 at Damaschke Field. The start of the game also had been postponed by rain, for about an hour.

The nine-inning game will resume at 5:05 p.m. today. About a half-hour after its completion, the two teams will play a regularly scheduled game, which has been cut to seven innings.

Sid Levine bobblehead night, originally scheduled for today, will start with the 5:05 p.m. game, Oneonta General Manager Andrew Weber said.

Fans who present ticket stubs from Tuesday's suspended game will receive free admission to both of today's games, Weber said. The first 1,000 fans through the gate today will receive a free Levine bobblehead.

On Monday, 691 fans showed up for Sam Nader bobblehead night. Nader and Levine sold the O-Tigers last year.

Oneonta (10-5) leads the Stedler Division by three games over Vermont (8-9). Lowell (8-10), which lost to Tri-City on Tuesday, is 3 1/2 games back. Tri-City trails by 4 1/2 games.

On Tuesday, Wilk became the second Oneonta pitcher in three days to take a perfect game into the fourth inning. Clemente Mendoza pitched 5 1/3 innings of perfect ball in a 6-4 win over Aberdeen on Sunday.

Wilk opened with 11 straight outs _ perfect for 3 2/3 innings _ before J.P. Ramirez reached base on a low, knuckling liner to short that Jim Gulliver dropped. The next batter, Adam Amar, drove an RBI double to the wall in right-center field to end Wilk's no-hit and shutout bids.

Wilk, who struck out seven and walked none, sent the Lake Monsters down in order in the fifth. Wilk, who said the fifth was going to be his final inning, threw 45 of his 61 pitches for strikes.

"The ball was coming out of my hand well and it felt good," Wilk said. "I went out there and threw a lot of strikes down in the zone."

Wilk throws four pitches _ fastball, curve, changeup and cutter _ but he said his fastball worked the best Tuesday.

"I was able to command it," he said. "I was able to keep it down. ... I was ahead in a lot of counts and that puts hitters off-balance. I let them put it in play and let my defense make the plays."

The Tigers opened the scoring in the second. Rawley Bishop walked and went to third when Alexis Espinoza blooped a double into left-center field. John Murrian then lined a single to right, scoring Bishop. However, Espinoza was thrown out on a sharp relay from right fielder Justin Bloxom to first baseman Amar to catcher Sandy Leon.

Chris Sedon and Matt Mansilla struck out to end the inning.

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Tigers sloppy in loss

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ There are nights when nothing seems to go right for a baseball team.

The Oneonta Tigers experienced that kind of night Wednesday.

Oneonta pitching combined for seven walks and the Tigers committed two errors as the Vermont Lake Monsters earned a 9-4 New York-Penn League victory in front of an announced crowd of 623 at Damaschke Field on Sid Levine bobblehead night.

"Ball four killed us," O-Tigers manager Howard Bushong said. "That's the bottom line. Ball four killed us. It gave us no chance. We came back and swung the bats really well, but if you can't throw strikes, that's going to happen. Then we didn't play defense late."

The O-Tigers (10-7), which lost the continuation of Tuesday's suspended game earlier Wednesday, 3-2, saw their Stedler Division lead shrink to 1 1/2 games over Vermont (10-9). Lowell (9-10), which beat Tri-City (6-11), is in third place.

Oneonta and Vermont finish a three-game set at 7:05 p.m. today. The O-Tigers then travel to Tri-City for a 7 p.m. start Friday and return to Damaschke at 7:05 p.m. Saturday before completing the four-game, home-and-home series with a doubleheader against the ValleyCats at 5 p.m. Sunday in Troy.

The Tigers are off Monday before heading to Auburn for three games.

Tigers third baseman Wade Gaynor, who finished 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, said today's game could set the tone for the weekend.

"Anytime you can come back (from a loss) the next day is huge," Gaynor said. "I don't think we are going to dwell on today that much. It's a long season. We're not done until September. We like where we're standing right now and we're confident going into the rest of the season."

The Tigers allowed a run in the top of the first Wednesday but responded quickly. Jamie Johnson and Michael Rockett had back-to-to back singles to put runners on first and second before Gaynor hit an RBI double to center that tied the score at 1 and moved Rockett to third. Rawley Bishop followed with a soft single to center, scoring Rockett and Bishop for a 3-1 lead.

Losing pitcher Gary Perinar (1-2) walked Adam Amar and Justin Bloxom before striking out J.R. Higley in the second. Each runner advanced on a passed ball charged to catcher Keith Hernandez, and Jack Walker walked to load the bases. Jay Sferra followed with a single to right, scoring Amar and re-loading the bases.

Perinar went to a full count on Jeffrey Kobernus before walking him and forcing in Bloxom to tie the score at 3.

"Again, ball four will take a lot of things out of you," Bushong said. "All the walks and stuff like that didn't keep us in the game very well. It didn't give us a chance to stay in the game."

Wade Kapteyn relieved Perinar, but Sean Nicol hit his first pitch up the middle for an RBI single and a 4-3 advantage. Nicol finished 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.

J.P. Ramirez then hit a two-run single to right and, after Daniel Killian struck out, Nicol scored on a wild pitch from Kapteyn to make it 7-3.

"That's something we've struggled with all year and it's starting to come around," Nicol said about Vermont taking advantage of walks. "The team chemistry is starting to come around."

Gaynor's sacrifice fly in the second pulled Oneonta to 7-4.

The Lake Monsters scored two more runs in the sixth, taking advantage of Jim Gulliver's two errors at shortstop. Sferra reached to start the inning when the ball bounced off Gulliver's glove. Sferra stole second and later scored on Nicol's double to left. Ramirez then hit a shot between Gulliver's legs, scoring Nicol to make it 9-4.

"Our pitching has done great all year and anytime we get a lead, we feel comfortable," Gaynor said. "But baseball is a funny game and guys have bad nights. Tonight we just didn't play well."

Lake Monsters 3, Tigers 2

Jack Walker doubled in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th before the O-Tigers went down in order in the bottom of the inning as Vermont won a game that was suspended by rain Tuesday night and resumed Wednesday.

Adam Amar opened the 11th with a double to center field off Michael Torrealba (1-1). Justin Bloxom then bunted pinch-runner Jay Sferra to third before Walker doubled to center to give the Lake Monsters a 3-2 lead.

In the last of the 11th, Vermont reliever Clayton Dill struck out Carmelo Jaime and Christopher Sedon before getting Matthew Mansilla to ground out to third to end it.

The game resumed at the start of the sixth inning with teams tied at 1.

Vermont's Francisco Soriano drew a leadoff walk against Cory Hamilton, who took over for Oneonta's Tuesday starter, Adam Wilk. Soriano moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dani Arias and scored when Brian Pruitt singled to right field.

John Murrian rallied the Tigers with a leadoff double to left in the ninth. Christopher Sedon then bunted to third for a single that put runners at the corners and chased Vermont reliever Johan Figuereo. Mansilla followed with a sacrifice fly to left off Evan Bronson to tie the score at 2.

Dill relieved Bronson and got out of the jam by inducing back-to-back flyouts by Luis Palacios and Jamie Johnson. Dill (2-1) threw 2 2/3 innings of hitless ball for the win.

Murrian finished 3-for-4 with an RBI to pace the Tigers, who received two hits from Johnson. Oneonta committed three errors _ two fielding by shortstop Jimmy Gulliver and one throwing by right fielder Michael Rockett.

Amar went 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI to lead Vermont.

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Tigers lose fourth straight

Staff Report

Three Oneonta errors helped the Vermont Lake Monsters to two unearned runs and a Tigers rally in the ninth inning fell one run short in a 7-6 New York-Penn League loss Thursday before an announced attendance of 734 at Damaschke Field.

The loss extended the O-Tigers' skid to a season-high four games _ all coming against Vermont (11-9), which swept the four-game series and pulled even with Oneonta (10-8) atop the Stedler Division standings.

Oneonta starts a four-game set against to Tri-City at 7 p.m. tonight at Joe Bruno Stadium. The Tigers then return home to play the ValleyCats at 7 p.m. Saturday before playing their next two games at Tri-City.

Trailing, 7-3, to start the bottom of the ninth Thursday, Chris Sedon walked to lead off against Vermont reliever Jose Pinales.

Jamie Johnson followed with a single to right that sent Sedon to second. Michael Rockett then hit a two-run double to center to make it 7-5.

Steven Stewart relieved Pinales and struck out Wade Gaynor for the first out. Oneonta pulled to 7-6, when Rawley Bishop reached on a fielding error by third baseman Dani Arias that allowed Rockett to score.

But Stewart struck out John Murrian and Alexis Espinoza grounded out to first to end it.

Vermont scored five runs _ four earned _ off O-Tigers starter Luis Sanz (0-2), who lasted six innings.

J.R. Higley hit an RBI double and Sandy Leon scored a run on a sacrifice fly to give the Lake Monsters a 2-0 lead in the second inning. The Lake Monsters doubled their lead in the fourth, when Higley scored a run on a single to right and a throwing error by Sanz on a pickoff attempt plated Arias to make it 4-0.

Back-to-back RBI doubles by Sean Nicol and J.P. Ramirez in the fifth inning extended Vermont's lead to 5-0.

The Tigers got two runs back in the fifth off winning pitcher Graham Hicks (2-1).

Sedon singled to center to start things. After Hicks struck out Johnson and Rockett, Gaynor walked and Bishop was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Murrian then hit a two-run single to left to make it 5-2. Espinoza walked to re-load the bases, but Luis Palacios popped out to catcher Leon to end it.

In the seventh, Vermont scored twice off of Clemente Mendoza.

Shortstop Palacios misplayed Nicol's grounder for an error to start the inning. Ramirez and Adam Amar followed with a triple and a double, respectively, to make it 7-2.

Murrian doubled to start Oneonta's eighth, went to third on a wild pitch by Shane Erb and scored on Espinoza's sacrifice fly to center to make it 7-3.

Rockett and Murrian had three hits and two RBIs apiece, and Espinoza had two hits for Oneonta, which stranded nine runners.

Rockett raised his average to .381, which is second in the NY-Penn behind Brooklyn's Matt Bouchard (.408).

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Tigers' 17 hits sink Tri-City

Staff Report

The Oneonta Tigers hit for the cycle during a seven-run second inning that carried them to a 13-5 New York-Penn League victory at Tri-City on Friday that snapped a season-high three-game skid.

Jamie Johnson singled in a run, Michael Rockett had an RBI triple, Wade Gaynor hit an RBI double and scored on Rawley Bishop's two-run homer during the second inning.

Bishop's team-high fourth homer of the season, a shot to left, capped an inning that also included three wild pitches, two walks and a hit batsman by losing pitcher Brandt Walker.

The Tigers completed the first quarter of their 76-game regular season with an 11-8 record and hold a one-game lead over second-place Vermont in the Stedler Division. The Lake Monsters (11-10), who completed a three-game sweep of the Tigers with a 7-6 victory Thursday at Damaschke Field, lost, 10-3, to visiting Lowell on Friday.

The Daily Star erroneously reported that Oneonta had lost four straight in Friday's editions.

Oneonta and Tri-City continue their four-game series at 7 p.m. Saturday at Damaschke Field. The final two games of the series are at Tri-City.

Following a scoreless first inning, Oneonta sent 10 batters to the plate in the second inning.

An inning later, Johnson hit a two-run triple to center to make it 9-0.

After the ValleyCats scored twice in the bottom of the third, the O-Tigers answered with two runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Carmelo Jaime and a fielding error by third baseman Erik Castro to make it 11-2.

The Tigers' John Murrian homered to left in the sixth inning, his first of the season. It made the score 12-3.

Jim Gulliver's sacrifice fly to left in the eighth inning capped the scoring for Oneonta.

Bishop led the Tigers' 17-hit attack by going 4-for-6 with two runs and two RBIs. Johnson went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, and Rockett, Gaynor and Alexis Espinoza each had two hits for Oneonta, which hadn't scored more than nine runs in a game before Friday.

Castro hit two homers for Tri-City.

Nate Newman (2-1) earned the victory. He went five innings, allowing three runs _ none earned _ on three hits and lowered his ERA to 0.56.

Newman and relievers Mike LaLuna, Jose Ortega and Kenny Faulk combined for 10 strikeouts and two walks in a six-hitter.

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O-Tigers complete sweep of Tri-City

Staff Report

Over 14 innings of baseball Sunday, the Oneonta Tigers allowed nary a run in sweeping a New York-Penn League doubleheader against the host Tri-City ValleyCats.

Oneonta won both seven-inning games by 3-0 scores and swept the three-game series. The Stedler Division-leading O-Tigers (13-8) have five shutouts in their first 21 games this season.

The teams' game Saturday at Damaschke Field was suspended because of rain with the ValleyCats leading, 6-4. Tri-City scored two runs in the seventh before heavy rains ended things with two outs and Erik Castro batting with the bases empty. That's where it will be picked up when the game continues. No date has been set for the continuation.

Following an off day today, the O-Tigers travel to Auburn for a three-game series before heading to Mahoning Valley for three games. Oneonta returns home July 20 to start a three-game set against Batavia.

Based on the numbers left-hander Adam Wilk has put up through four starts this season, there's no question he's emerged as the O-Tigers' No. 1 pitcher.

Wilk earned his professional victory, his first professional complete game and first professional shutout in the first game.

Wilk, drafted in the 11th round out in June of Long Beach State, limited Tri-City to four hits. He struck out five and walked one, but his ERA did not change. It remained at 0.00 over 18 innings this season. For the season, Wilk (1-0) has 19 strikeouts and two walks.

Oneonta (13-8) scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

In the fifth inning, Wade Gaynor led off with a double to left against losing pitcher Colton Pitkin and took third on Matthew Mansilla's bunt single. Chris Sedon's one-out single to right scored Gaynor for a 1-0 lead.

Alexis Espinoza's RBI double to right in the sixth inning made it 2-0 and Michael Rockett hit an RBI single to center in the seventh inning to cap the scoring.

Rockett and Espinoza finished with two hits apiece.

In the second game, Clemente Mendoza and Kevan Hess combined on a six-hitter to lead Oneonta.

Mendoza (3-1) struck out two, walked one and allowed five hits over five innings. Hess went the final two innings to earn his fourth save. He allowed one hit, two hits and struck out one.

The Tigers opened the scoring with two runs in the fourth inning. Keith Hernandez hit an RBI single and Espinoza stole home.

Rawley Bishop's RBI groundout in the fifth inning plated the final run.

Hernandez finished with two hits

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O-Tigers win fourth straight

Staff Report

Six extra-base hits highlighted a 10-hit attack that helped Oneonta to a 9-2 New York-Penn League victory at Auburn on Tuesday that marked the Tigers' season-high fourth straight win.

Rawley Bishop, Alexis Espinoza, Wade Gaynor and Jimmy Gulliver had two hits apiece for the O-Tigers, who've outscored their past four opponents by a combined score of 27-7.

Stedler Division-leading Oneonta (14-8) plays the second of its three-game series at Auburn at 7:05 tonight. Following Thursday's game at Auburn, the Tigers travel to Mahoning Valley for three games before returning home Monday to start a three-game set against Batavia.

After the Doubledays' Sean Ochinko doubled home a run in the first inning off winning pitcher Gary Perinar (2-2), Oneonta tied the score in the top of the second.

Espinoza led off with a triple to center against losing pitcher Dave Sever and scored on Gaynor's sacrifice fly to right.

The Tigers then struck for three runs in the third.

Michael Rockett led off with a strikeout but reached on a wild pitch. Bishop's double to right sent Rockett to third and both scored on Espinoza's single to left. Espinoza took second on a fielding error by left fielder Markus Brisker and scored on Gaynor's double to left to make it 4-1.

Michael Torreabla relieved Perinar in the sixth, when Auburn scored to make it 4-2.

Welinton Ramirez doubled to left, went to third on Yan Gomes' groundout and scored on Ochinko's grounder to short.

Then the Tigers tacked on four unearned runs in the eighth off Auburn's Steven Turnbull.

Gaynor struck out to start the inning before Eric Roof doubled to right. After Chris Sedon's groundout sent Roof to third, Gulliver walked. Jamie Johnson followed with a grounder to shortstop Dave Nolan, who mishandled it for an error that allowed Roof to score and sent Gulliver to third.

Rockett's single scored Gulliver and moved Johnson to third, and Bishop followed with a two-run triple to center to make it 8-2.

In the ninth, Gaynor doubled to center with one out and scored Gulliver's two-out single to right to cap the scoring.

Perinar worked five innings, allowing one run on four hits. He struck out five and walked two in lowering his ERA to 6.19.

Torreabla allowed one run on one hit over two innings, striking out two and walking one.

Mike LaLuna shut out the Doubledays over the final two innings. He allowed one hit, walked one and struck out one.

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Tigers keep rolling with 8-4 road win

Staff Report

Wade Gaynor and Alexis Espinoza combined for five RBIs Wednesday to help the Oneonta Tigers extend their season-high winning streak to five with a come-from-behind, 8-4 New York-Penn League victory at the Auburn Doubledays.

Gaynor tied the score at 4 in the eighth inning on a two-run single with two out. Gaynor's line drive to center field, which marked his hit in a 1-for-5 effort, scored Jamie Johnson and Michael Rockett.

Johnson started the inning with a walk and moved to second on Rockett's infield single to short. Rawley Bishop flew out to right field before Casey Beck took over for fellow Auburn reliever Austin Armstrong. Espinoza, who homered in the sixth, then moved both runners into scoring position with a flyout to right that set up Gaynor's two RBIs.

Beck then walked Keith Hernandez to put runners at first and second for Matthew Mansilla, who drove in Gaynor as the go-ahead run with a line-drive single to center.

The Tigers _ first in the Stedler Division with a 15-8 record _ built on their 5-4 lead with three runs in the ninth. Johnson, Rockett and Bishop sparked the rally with one-out singles, the last giving Oneonta a 6-4 edge. Espinoza followed with an RBI single to right that scored Rockett and moved Bishop to third.

Bishop scored the final run when Espinoza stole second and drew an errant throw from Auburn catcher Yan Gomes. Beck dropped to 0-2 this season after allowing four runs _ three earned _ on six hits in 1 2/3 innings.

O-Tigers reliever Wade Kapteyn earned his first save by facing the minimum in two innings of scoreless relief. He allowed one hit _ a one-out single to Gomes in the ninth that was negated when Sean Ochinko grounded to third baseman Gaynor for a game-ending 5-4-3 double play.

Kapteyn struck out two and walked one to help Oneonta starter Luis Angel Sanz improve to 1-2. Sanz struck out three, walked one and allowed four earned runs on six hits in seven innings.

Auburn (9-17), last in the Pinckney Division, took a 3-0 lead in the fifth on an RBI double by Jack Murphy, a run-scoring balk by Sanz and a sacrifice fly by Bradley Glenn.

Oneonta pulled to 3-2 in the sixth when Espinoza hit his first homer of the season, a two-run shot to left that scored Bishop with two out. Espinoza finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a run for the Tigers, who received two hits and two runs apiece from Rockett and Bishop.

Auburn padded its lead to 4-2 in the bottom half of the sixth when Welinton Ramirez homered to left off Sanz.

The O-Tigers complete their three-game series at Auburn at 7:05 tonight, then play three straight at Mahoning Valley.

Oneonta, which won three in a row against the Tri-City ValleyCats before its series against Auburn started Tuesday, returns home Monday to start a three-game set against the defending NY-Penn champion Batavia Muckdogs.

The Tigers hold a three-game lead in the Stedler Division on the Lowell Spinners and the Vermont Lake Monsters, who are both 13-12. Tri-City is last in the Stedler, at 7-15.

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Tigers sweep Auburn

Staff Report

By polishing off their second straight sweep, the Oneonta Tigers raised their season-high winning to streak to six games with a 5-4 New York-Penn League victory at Auburn on Thursday night.

Kenny Faulk pitched out of trouble in the ninth inning, getting Yan Gomes to fly to right for the final out with the potential tying run at second base to earn his team-high fifth save.

Oneonta, which was outhit, 10-7 Thursday, earned a three-game sweep against a Tri-City before taking three straight from the Doubledays. The Stedler Division-leading Tigers will travel to Mahoning Valley for three games starting at 7:05 tonight. Oneonta (16-8), which has a three-game division lead over second-place Lowell (14-12), returns home to face the Batavia Muckdogs at 7 p.m. Monday, the start of a three-game set.

After Welinton Ramirez's RBI single gave Auburn a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Oneonta answered with two runs in the second.

John Murrian, Eric Roof and Carmelo Jaime opened the inning with singles off losing pitcher Scott Gracey (1-4) to load the bases.

Jimmy Gulliver then flied out to right fielder Ramirez, who threw out Murrian at the plate for a double play.

But Jamie Johnson's fly ball to left was dropped by Markus Brisker, allowing Roof and Jaime to score to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

The Doubledays got two runs in the fifth off starting pitcher Nathan Newman.

Jonathan Fernandez reached on an infield single to short with one out and stole second. Eric Eiland followed with a single to left that sent Fernandez to third and ended Newman's night.

Winning pitcher Kevan Hess (1-0) relieved and Eiland stole second. After Hess struck out Ramirez, Gomes hit a two-run single to left to make to give the Doubledays a 3-2 lead.

Oneonta retook the lead in the top of the sixth.

Rawley Bishop hit an infield single to third and Alexis Espinoza walked before Brian Justice replaced Gracey on the mound.

After Wade Gaynor flied out, Murrian walked to load the bases. Roof followed with a two-run single to right to make it 4-3.

The Tigers tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth against Zach Outman.

Murrian singled to center to lead off and was replaced on the bases by Chris Sedon. Roof walked before Jaime laid down a sacrifice bunt to Outman, whose throwing error allowed Sedon to score to make it 5-3.

In the bottom of the ninth, Fernandez walked and Eiland singled to put runners on first and third with one out. Ramirez's groundout to second to score Fernandez and send Eiland to second before Gomes flied out to end it.

Newman, Hess, Jose Ortega and Faulk combined to allow 10 hits, but they struck out 12 and walked four.

Conversely, Auburn pitchers walked six and struck out four.

Murrian and Roof had two hits apiece for Oneonta.

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Tigers' streak is over

Staff Report

Three Oneonta errors helped host Mahoning Valley to three unearned runs as the Tigers' six-game winning streak ended Friday with a 10-8 New York-Penn League loss.

The Scrappers broke an 8-all tie with two runs in the eighth inning off losing pitcher Wade Kapteyn. Both runs were unearned as O-Tigers shortstop Jimmy Gulliver committed two fielding errors in the inning and finished with three errors.

Jordan Henry singled with one to start Mahoning Valley's rally. He then stole second and went to third on a groundout by Kyle Smith. Jason Smithy then grounded to Gulliver, who misplayed it, allowing Henry to score the go-ahead run.

After Smit stole second, Gulliver misplayed a grounder off the bat of Kyle Bellows, allowing Smit to score.

The Stedler Division-leading O-Tigers (16-9) continue their three-game series at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Following Sunday's game at Mahoning Valley, Oneonta returns home to play the Batavia Muckdogs at 7:05 p.m. Monday.

The O-Tigers, who outhit the Scrappers, 13-12, tied the score at 8 with two runs in the eighth. John Murrian's two-out single to right scored Gulliver and Michael Rockett, who had each walked earlier in the inning.

After the O-Tigers tied the score with three runs in the top of the fifth inning, Mahoning Valley scored five times in the bottom half. Juan Aponte homered to lead off Clemente Mendoza and Bellows hit a two-run homer off Michael Torrealba that made it 7-3. A Gulliver fielding error later in the inning helped Mahoning Valley to its final run of the inning.

The Tigers answered with two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to pull to 8-6.

In the sixth, Wade Gaynor and Eric Roof both walked to start the inning. Carmelo Jaime's single to center loaded the bases before Gulliver hit an RBI single to center. Jamie Johnson followed with an RBI groundout.

Rockett then re-loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch by Guido Fonseca, but Rawley Bishop hit a liner to short that Smith caught and threw to second to double off Gulliver.

Another key defensive play Mahoning Valley saved a run in the seventh. Murrian walked with one out and Roof singled with two outs to send Murrian to second. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch before Jaime singled to left to score Murrian. Roof tried to score from second but was thrown by Gregory Folgia.

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O-Tigers snap 3-game skid

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ John Murrian made good on his opportunity.

Murrian's two-out single to left in the bottom of the 10th inning scored Jim Gulliver from second base as the Oneonta Tigers snapped a three-game skid with a 3-2 New York-Penn League victory in front of an announced crowd of 639 at Damaschke Field on Monday night.

"I was just looking for something to hit," said Murrian, who added he waited on a slider from losing pitcher LaCurtis Mayes. "My job was to put something in the outfield. ... I recognized (the slider) early and (Mayes) left it up a little. I put a good swing on it."

Oneonta (17-11) had lost its last three games at Mahoning Valley following a six-game winning streak.

"That was a great game all the way around," Oneonta manager Howard Bushong said. "Our kids were a little fatigued, but they just keep battling. The last three games of that road trip _ the first three went great _ the last three we could have won all three of them. They just got away from us. We got back on the trail tonight."

The O-Tigers continue their three-game series with the reigning NY-Penn champions at 7:05 tonight. After finishing the series with the Muckdogs on Wednesday, the O-Tigers play five straight with Tri-City, starting with two in Troy beginning Thursday.

"Let me tell you something, Batavia's pretty good," said Bushong, whose team leads the Stedler Division by two games over Vermont (16-14) and Lowell (16-14). "That's for sure. They are one sound, solid baseball team. It was impressive watching our kids find a way to win."

Murrian almost didn't get the chance to lead the Tigers to victory.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, third baseman Wade Gaynor drove an 0-1 pitch deep to left field, but it bounced off the top of the wall for a double.

"It felt great," Gaynor said. "... I thought it was gone. I'm going to be honest _ I thought I had enough."

He wasn't the only one.

"I was kind of antsy too," Bushong said. "I thought that ball had a chance at getting out, but this is a big ballpark. We know that and that's the way the park plays. It's just one of those things. But he crushed that ball and it was fantastic to see him do it. Hopefully this will be something that gets him going and he'll swing it like he's capable of."

Winning pitcher Wade Kapteyn then put the Muckdogs (15-16) down in order on four pitches in the top of the 10th.

The game looked like it might go a bit longer as Mayes (0-2) struck out Chris Sedon swinging and got Michael Rockett on a comebacker for the first two outs in the 10th.

"We don't quit with two outs," Bushong said. "Our kids are still battling up there with two outs. We've done this pretty much most of the year. We're not done with two outs. We still fight. We've had a lot of success with it."

Gulliver, who had gone hitless in four at-bats, then lined a single to left and went to second when Rawley Bishop bounced a single to left to put runners on first and second.

Murrian had a 1-1 count when he saw the slider and lined it to left. Batavia's Beau Riportella threw home, but Gulliver scored standing up.

"That's huge," Gaynor said. "We were talking in the late innings that we needed this one to get back on track. It feels good."

Batavia opened the scoring in the top of the fifth. Ryan Jackson had an RBI single and Ivan Castro scored on a wild pitch from O-Tigers starter Luis Sanz for a 2-0 lead.

The Tigers tied it in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double from Chris Sedon and a run-scoring single from Rockett.

NOTES: Any discipline the Detroit Tigers will take against Kevan Hess for a recent arrest for driving while intoxicated will be handled internally, said Dan Lunetta, Detroit's director of minor league operations.

Hess, 21, was stopped at 1:16 a.m. July 14 and charged with DWI, Oneonta Police Department Lt. Dennis Nayor said Friday. Hess, a right-handed relief pitcher from Kalamazoo, Mich., took a breath test and had a blood alcohol content of .08, which is the legal level for DWI in New York. Hess was also charged with failure to signal a turn.

Lunetta said Sunday night that the he wasn't sure of the time but that he was "notified immediately" about the incident, meaning the Tigers knew about the arrest before Hess earned his first professional victory Thursday in a 5-4 victory over the host Auburn Doubledays.

Lunetta said he wouldn't divulge what discipline the Tigers would take on Hess.

"These types of matters are strictly between the player and the club and we don't publicly discuss how we handle matters of this nature," Lunetta said. "... We take these things very seriously. We have procedures and a process in place and we handle it accordingly, but we don't discuss it publicly. We act upon it quickly.

"There are several factors in handling it and all of those are taken into consideration," he continued. "We deal with it accordingly."

Detroit selected Hess in the 14th round of this year's First-Year Player Draft out of Western Michigan University. A 6-foot-2 right-handed pitcher, Hess is 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA this season. He's given up 18 hits and seven runs over 18 1/3 innings, striking out 14 and walking six.

In his most recent outing, Hess struck out three and walked three over four scoreless innings against Mahoning Valley on Sunday, an 8-6 O-Tigers loss.

"Kevan is a fine, young man," Lunetta said. "He made a mistake. People make mistakes and I'm sure he'll learn from it."

Bushong said he couldn't comment on the incident other than noting that "it's being handled by the Tigers organization."

O-Tigers General Manager Andrew Weber said it was a matter between Hess and Detroit and also could not comment.

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Tigers sloppy in loss

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ It seemed everything went wrong for the Oneonta Tigers on Tuesday.

Oneonta pitching allowed 11 hits and its defense committed two errors in a 7-4 New York-Penn League loss to the Batavia Muckdogs in front of an announced crowd of 609 at Damaschke Field.

O-Tigers pitching also walked six batters and gave up three hits on 0-2 counts.

"Lately, that's what we've been doing," O-Tigers manager Howard Bushong said. "We walk way too many, and we've not gotten good play in the middle infield. We're just struggling in those two areas right now.

"And, we're not consistent with the bat," Bushong said. "It's a total team deal. We got beat tonight. They didn't walk a guy and they didn't make an error. They forced us to have to earn everything that we got. That's how you play the game. My hat is off to them. They beat us tonight. It was a pretty solid whipping, really."

The O-Tigers (17-12) close a three-game set with Batavia at 7:05 p.m. today. Clemente Mendoza (3-1, 2.95 ERA) is set to start for the Tigers.

Oneonta remained in first place in the Stedler Division, holding a 1 1/2 game lead over Vermont. The Lake Monsters (16-14) were postponed Tuesday against Brooklyn.

Cory Hamilton (2-1), making his first start, struggled for Oneonta, giving up four runs (two earned) on six hits over four innings. He walked three and struck out one.

Batavia (16-16) got to Hamilton early as Ryde Rodriguez (3-for-4) and Luis De La Cruz singled to put runners on first and second in the second inning. After Hamilton walked Jairo Martinez to load the bases, Beau Riportella hit into a fielder's choice grounder to first. Oneonta first baseman Rawley Bishop forced Martinez as Rodriguez scored and De La Cruz went to third.

Hamilton got out of further trouble by getting Ryan Jackson to fly out to right and D'Marcus Ingram to ground out to second.

But more trouble found Hamilton in the third.

With one out, Alan Ahmady hit a sharp grounder to short that went off the left shoulder of Jimmy Gulliver for an error. Xavier Scruggs then hit one to the hole at short, which Gulliver grabbed and threw to first for the out. Ahmady went to second on the play. After Hamilton hit Rodriguez to put runners on first and second, De La Cruz tripled to the gap in right-center to score Ahmady and Rodriguez for a 3-0 lead.

The Muckdogs made it 4-0 in the fourth when Ingram walked, and stole second and third. After Vasquez walked, Ahmady singled to left, scoring Ingram.

Oneonta got back into it in the fifth.

Wade Gaynor struck out to start the inning, but reached on a wild pitch by Christopher Corrigan. Matthew Mansilla then grounded to third and Gaynor was forced out at second. Gulliver followed with a single to right to put runners on first and second. Mansilla scored and Gulliver went to second when Chris Sedon singled to center.

After Jamie Johnson popped out to third for the second out, another wild pitch by Corrigan allowed Gulliver to reach third and Sedon to second.

Michael Rockett then singled to left, scoring Gulliver and Sedon to make it 4-3.

"They definitely brought a good pitching staff to the table today," Rockett said. "(Corrigan) came in and was hitting his spots and was doing pretty well. It took us a while to get rolling on the offensive side as well.

"I was just battling at the plate," he said. "He had me 0-2 and I got it to 1-2. And then he just left a slider up and I was able to hit a seeing-eye single."

Batavia scored a run in each of the six, seventh and eighth innings. Its final run in the eighth came on an RBI triple by Vasquez with no outs. Oneonta pitcher Mike LaLuna got Vasquez down 0-2 before the Batavia second baseman lined the ball to right-center.

"Those 0-2 spots, that's pitching," Bushong said. "That's going to happen sometimes, but I think it happened three or four times tonight. That's our pitchers' faults and that's our fault. We have to do a better job and we will."

Oneonta got its final run in the ninth. John Murrian doubled and scored on a one-out single from Mansilla.

"We're going to have those (games) throughout the season," Rockett said. "There's going to be ups and downs. We're just going to learn from this and move on."

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Slumping Tigers fall, 7-6

By P.J. Harmer

Staff Writer

ONEONTA _ The Oneonta Tigers rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth but lost for the fifth time in six games, a 7-6 New York-Penn League setback against Batavia in front of an announced crowd of 567 at Damaschke Field.

The Tigers (17-13), who remained in first place in the Stedler Division, struck out 11 times. Oneonta also left 10 runners on base.

"Some of the disappointment in our hitting is we don't have good focus until the game is on the line late in the ballgame," Oneonta manager Howard Bushong said. "You have to hit all through (the game). We have to learn to stay focused the entire time."

Oneonta is a half-game up on Vermont (17-14), a 2-0 winner over Brooklyn on Wednesday. Lowell (17-15) is a game behind after beating State College, 5-1.

The Tigers play their next five games against Tri-City (9-19), starting with back-to-back road games at 7 p.m. today and Friday. Oneonta then hosts the ValleyCats at Doubleday Field at 2 p.m. Saturday before hosting a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday.

"During the course of any season when you are playing everyday, you are going to have your ups and downs," Bushong said. "Right now we're in a downturn. Obviously, if we are going to be a championship team or if we're going to be a playoff team, we have to limit that. It has to stop here pretty quick. Then we have to get on a little bit of a roll."

The Tigers trailed, 7-3, entering the bottom of the ninth and faced LaCurtis Mayes. Carmelo Jaime hit a sharp grounder through the legs of first baseman Alan Ahmady for an error to open the inning and Jamie Johnson walked.

Michael Rockett then got ahead in the count, 3-1, before hitting his second triple of the night _ this one to the gap in right-center field, scoring Jaime and Johnson to make it 7-5.

"We were taking a strike and trying to get back in the ballgame," Rockett said. "(Mayes) was having a little trouble throwing strikes and got down 3-1 and I knew he didn't want to load the bases so he threw a good pitch to drive and I stuck with it."

Rawley Bishop then followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Rockett for a 7-6 score.

Alexis Espinoza then grounded out to third on a close play at first. Espinoza threw his helmet and was ejected by field umpire John Collins.

John Murrian followed with a single up the middle, chasing Mayes. Santo Maertz then walked Wade Gaynor to put runners on first and second, but Maertz got Eric Roof to strike out swinging to end it. Roof appeared to hold his swing on the low pitch, but Collins said Roof went around when the call was appealed to him.

"It was a tough game tonight," said Bishop, who finished 1-for-3 with a triple. "I guess it just didn't go our way tonight. We played hard and gave ourselves a chance at the end and that's all you can ask for. ... We just have to all come together on the same page. We just have to find ways to pick each other up and find ways to win a ballgame."

Rockett, Espinoza and Gaynor each had three hits for Oneonta.

"We're low on pitching right now, so we have to extend guys and sometimes the extension is we get them when their tired," Bushong said. "Excuse? No. That's what the reason is. There's also a lot of credit to Batavia. Every mistake we made, they just didn't hit it _ they hit it to the gaps."

Losing pitcher Clemente Mendoza (3-2) gave up three runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked four.

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Tigers pound Tri-City

Staff Report

Oneonta's offense broke out of a recent slump Thursday night.

The Tigers had 19 hits en route to a 13-2 New York-Penn League rout of host Tri-City at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. The O-Tigers had lost five of six games entering Thursday.

Oneonta (18-13) leads the Stedler Division by a game over Vermont (18-15), a 5-2 winner over Lowell on Thursday. The Tigers play at Tri-City at 7 p.m. today, then host the ValleyCats at 2 p.m. Saturday at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown. The teams then play a doubleheader at Damaschke field starting at 6:05 p.m. Sunday.

Carmelo Jaime hit his first two professional home runs to lead the Tigers. His first came in the second inning off losing pitcher Brandt Walker. His second came in the sixth, a two-run shot off Antonio Noguera.

Jaime, who is hitting .295, finished 3-for-4 with four runs and four RBIs.

Keith Hernandez, who had two hits, also homered for the O-Tigers, who opened a 3-0 lead after two innings and led, 13-0, before Tri-City scored twice in the bottom of the ninth.

Michael Rockett and Luis Palacios also had three hits apiece for the Tigers. Jamie Johnson, Rawley Bishop and John Murrian each finished with two hits.

Winning pitcher Adam Wilk scattered three hits over seven innings. He struck out eight and walked none. Wilk (2-0) has an ERA of 0.30 this season. Mike LaLuna pitched the final two innings, giving up two runs on three hits. He struck out two and walked two.

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