February 16, 2013 - North American League (NAmL) - Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings
The Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings overcame an 8-run Edinburg Roadrunners rally in the top of the seventh to win, 10-9, in the first game of Texas Winter League baseball action Saturday afternoon at Harlingen Field.
The WhiteWings (4-4-2) led 9-1 heading into the final frame, buoyed in large part by five strong innings from right-handed Michael Oros.
Oros, last year's staff ace at Stephen F. Austin, allowed only five hits and one run in his start.
In the meantime, the WhiteWings' scored their nine runs off Donald Whitt, Justin Yoo, with an offensive attack led by catcher Cody Brooks, shortstop Kori Melo, and left fielder Bobby Villante, all of whom collected two hits and drove in two runs. Harlingen South grad Rolando Zamarripa also collected two hits and scored twice.
But in the top of the seventh, the Roadrunners (5-5) capitalized on a dropped fly ball by right fielder Brian Williams to score seven unearned runs in their 8-run frame off Los Fresnos High graduate William Martinez, who had retired the side in order in the sixth. After Tsuyoshi Takashima hit a sacrifice fly to left to make the score 9-4 with two outs, Martinez hit the next batter and then allowed four straight batters to collect singles, with shortstop Jimmy Williams' infield hit plating the tying run before Martinez traded positions with first baseman Jacob Douglas (1-0), who struck out Thomas Schull for the final out.
But in the bottom of the seventh, lefty Takeshi Shioga hit Cody Bishop with a pitch. Kori Melo then reached when right fielder Ginjiro Fujiwara dropped a fly ball, and the two WhiteWings then pulled off a double steal.
Shioga came back from a 3-0 count to strike out Douglas, then walked Cody Brooks intentionally with one out to load the bases for Lopez High school grad Jose De Leon.
De Leon then drove in his second run of the game when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, allowing the WhiteWings to even their record.
BROWNSVILLE STARS 12 McALLEN THUNDER 3
In the second game of the four-team doubleheader, Keisuke Saito threw five strong innings to win his first game of the season as the Brownsville Stars moved into first place with a 12-3 victory against the struggling McAllen Thunder.
Saito (1-2), once an outstanding prospect in the Yomuri Giants organization, came into the game with a 24.50 ERA in three appearances for the Stars (5-4-1). But his fastball seemed to regain its velocity in his second start of the season and he allowed only one earned run, in large part because of a pop up lost in the sun by second baseman Austin Fraker, an outfielder trying his hand at second base in this game.
Trailing 2-1, the Stars scored six runs in the top of the fifth inning off reliever Bryan Kloppe. Newcomer Nick Lancisi drove in Austin Newell with the tying run on a single to left, and, after Fraker's groundout drove in the go-ahead run, Dave Angle added a 2-run single to center following Fraker's steal of second to make the score 5-2. Kago Miyogi's double to left then plated Angle, but left fielder Derrick Pyles throw to the infield was wild and Miyogi was able to circle the bases to make the score 7-2.
The Stars also scored five runs in the top of the seventh off Kloppe (0-1), with Miyogi's RBI single to right highlighting the nine-batter frame.
Newell, Angle, Miyogi, and Alex Foltz each had two hits for the Stars, and Sean Gaughan earned a save in his first pitching appearance of the season by retiring all four batters he faced, including a strikeout of Pyles with the tying run on deck in the bottom of the sixth.
"Steve Maddock and Kevin Griffin helped our team a lot," said Stars manager Chris Paterson, who had the two assistant coaches take over his team last week while he ran a tryout camp. "And our new additions [Miyagi, Lancisi, Fraker, shortstop David Sweeney] have really helped, too."
Daiki Komori had three hits in a losing cause for the Thunder (4-5-1).
The WhiteWings and Thunder will play at 11 a.m. and the Stars and Roadrunners at 2 p.m. on Sunday.