Dan Vaughan tells the story of Justin Erasmus‘ shaky start to Independent Ball in his 4X4 article on his blog Sportsdandotcom.
Justin Erasmus has found a home after being released by the independent Grand Prairie Air Hogs of the American Association. Erasmus was signed by the Air Hogs on May 5th and had little time to unpack his bags before being released on May 15th. His stay on the street lasted a few hours as that same day the Brisbane Bandits reliever was picked up by another “Indy” league the Frontier League. The stay in the Grand Prairie right between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas was a short one but the move a bit longer as Erasmus is now with the Joliet Slammers#.
Erasmus was born in South Africa and grew up in Brisbane has been one of the more interesting ABL stories from a background perspective. In affiliated ball last season with the Boston Red Sox club the Greenville Drive in the South Atlantic League Erasmus was 1-3 with a 9.24 ERA in 26 games. In 2011 the righty worked 40.2 IP with a 1.11 ERA out of the pen for Greenville. Back in the pen for the Slammers in 2013 Erasmus has gotten off to a good start working an inning over the weekend on May 18th. In that game he picked up his first save of the season in a 6-3 win over Traverse City.
Dan also talks about Ryan Battaglia, David Kandilas and Andrew Russell. Well worth a read.
# Dan explains their name:- We finish with a fun note on the week. The Joliet Slammers are named after? Well if you had a jail you had it right! The Slammer name comes from the Joliet Correctional Facility which also has a baseball team and also was the home of fictitious character Joliet Jake from the movie the Blues Brothers. Jake and Elwood have to be proud of the Slammers!
James Beresford is on an 8 game hitting streak after going 2-5 yesterday for New Britain. He scored a run and an RBI and is hitting .343.
A promotion to AAA would seem to be appropriate considering his age, experience and recent performances.
Andrew Russell picked up his 2nd win yesterday despite actually blowing the save.
He came on in the 8th with Mississippi leading Jacksonville 3-2 and allowed a run on 2 hits to tie the game. His team then scored the go ahead run in the bottom 8th and maintained the lead to give him the win.
As they say:- A Win is a Win.
Stefan Welch came off the bench going 0-1 and a walk as his slump continues at Altoona. He is hitting .145.
Peter Moylan would have been pleased with his work yesterday, throwing 2 scoreless innings for Albuquerque in their 7-3 win over Colorado Springs. Colorado had just scored 3 runs in the 8th when Peter was brought to stop the onslaught. There were none on following the bases clearing home run that prompted the call to the bullpen and despite allowing 2 hits no runs scored with Pete getting some defensive help with a great throw to nail the runner at the plate from Tony Gwinn at LF.
In the 9th he struck out all three in a 1-2-3 inning. His ERA is 4.05.
Trent Oeltjen made a major contribution to Salt Lake’s 10-3 win over Memphis with a total of 3RBI including a 2 run double and a sac fly.
Miles Community College head baseball coach Jeff Brabant has announced the commitment for the 2013-2014 season from Michael Gahan- Lismore, New South Wales, Australia.
Michael Gahan- 6’0- 185- P/IF Lismore, New South Wales, Australia/St. John’s College Woodlawn
Gahan is the son of Anthony and Emma Gahan. He prepped at St. John’s College Woodlawn where he participated in basketball and was awarded the Mitchell Medal for the baseball player of the year.
During the summer months, Gahan played for the Surfers Paradise club team along side current Pioneer Myles Wesener(Banora Point, AU), and for head coach Peter Yates. Surfers Paradise competes in the Greater Brisbane Baseball Major League A Grade.
In his junior season, Michael hit .408 with 10 RBI’s, scoring 10 runs and stealing 5 bases.
He has also played for the Marist Brothers Baseball Club, the Far North Coast Timberjacks and has also been a representative of the Australian National Team three times. While at MCC, Gahan plans on working towards his degree in Sports Management. Why Michael chose Miles Community College, “I chose Miles Community College because of the reputation of the baseball program. I like the small community and want to gain further education in my goal of becoming a professional baseball player”.
Coach Brabant on Gahan: “”We are excited to have another Aussie in our program, especially one from the same program as Wesener. ‘Mick’ will be a difference maker for us and as a SS will fill some big shoes in the history of our program. We feel that Mick will excel offensively as well and should find himself in the upper half of our lineup. Mick will fit well in our program and help us continue our successful ways”.
An injury to starter Bud Norris brought Travis Blackley to the mound in the 7th inning and whilst he was able to get his 6th Hold he did contribute to two Royal’s runs as the Astros blew a 3-0 lead to lose to Kansas City 7-3.
His line for today was 0.2 IP, 2H, 2R, 1K. Today’s outing raised his ERA to 4.60.
Dan Straily outpitched Yu Davish today. Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo home run to dead center in the 3rd. And Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour closed out a rare 1-0 victory deep in the heart of the Dallas metroplex.
Between Straily, who finished the 7th on 6 pitches, and Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour, the Rangers were kept quiet all night. Doolittle struck out 2 of the 3 men he faced, and Balfour got Profar to groundout, struck out Elvis Andrus, and got David Murphy to fly out to Cespedes – fittingly- to end it and give him his ninth save of the season. The right-hander has now converted his last 27 save chances dating back to last year.
By Ryan Shaver
GLENDIVE, Mont. — The NIACC baseball team made history on Sunday.
NIACC scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and topped Dakota County Technical and Community College 4-1 to claim the North Plains District championship and advance to the NJCAA Division II World Series for the first time.
NIACC (29-16) plays at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the opening round of the national tournament in Enid, Okla vs. Madison College (39-11).
“Give all the credit to our players,” NIACC coach Travis Hergert said. “They did a fantastic job.
“It wasn’t easy. Dakota County played an unbelievable ball game. We just continued to grind and grind and grind. We did a great job getting that 3-spot (in the eighth). It was a heck of an at-bat from Jake Adams and Tanner Unkel getting the 2-run single was huge. That gave us a little bit of a cushion.”
In the eighth inning, Adams, a freshman who prepped at Newman Catholic, plated Drew Verstegen with a sacrifice fly to center field to give NIACC a 2-1 lead. The sophomore Unkel drove in two runs later in the inning to give the Trojans a couple of insurance runs.
“I was looking for something to hit in the zone,” Adams said. “I got it to a 3-2 count, but I expected to get something off speed and I just wanted to get the job done. Luckily, I did.”
Lucas Bakker then pitched a scoreless ninth inning as the Trojans turned an around the horn double play (Alex Stuart to Brett Guba to Max Waletich) to lift them into the World Series for the first time in school history.
Bakker (9-1) pitched a complete-game 2-hitter with 10 strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter in winning for the 16th time in his career.
“We’re blessed with good pitching and it starts with him,” Hergert said. “He’s won big ball games for us all year long. He’s phenomenal.”
Bakker allowed an unearned run in the first inning and held DCTC scoreless over the next eight innings. He set DCTC down in order in the second, fourth and eighth innings and the Trojans turned double plays in the fifth and ninth innings.
After falling behind in the first inning, NIACC tied the contest at 1-1 with a single run in the third inning. Alex Stuart plated Robert Swenson with a sacrifice fly to center field.
The game remain tied until the eighth inning when the Trojans broke through with three runs to take the lead.
A leadoff single in the ninth by DCTC, a fielder’s choice and the Stuart to Guba to Waletich double play later and the Trojans punched their ticket to Enid, Okla., and the NJCAA Division II World Series.
“It’s a great feeling,” Bakker said. “It’s unbelievable that we’ve come this far.”
“We’re playing our best baseball right now. I’m really proud of the team.”
Hergert said making it to the national tournament is always a goal for a team at the beginning of the season.
“We got this thing rolling in the regional tournament,” Hergert said, “and you could see it. We had a shot, we had a shot.
“Now, we believe. My feet haven’t touched the ground yet.”
NIACC 4, DCTC 1
DCTC 100 000 000 — 1 2 1
NIACC 001 000 03x — 4 4 2
Lourey (10K, 5BB), Matt Buss (7) (0K, 3BB), Klinkhammer (8) (0K, 0BB) and Gunderson, Lowe (3).
and Robert Swenson. W — Bakker. L — Buss. Multiple hits — Max Waletich (N). Multiple RBIs — Tanner Unkel (N) 2.
Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bees DH Trent Oeltjen looks into the crowd after stealing third base aginst the Nashville Sound, Sunday, May 19, 2013. Oeltjen is the latest in a growing line of minor and major leaguers to hail from Australia.
By Kyle Goon/Salt Lake Tribune
He was a novelty in his home country growing up. As teens around him whiled away time with cricket or rugby, Trent Oeltjen, the son of an American, was finding his way in baseball.
Over a decade later, he’s still a novelty: an Australian in baseball. The 30-year-old has long dealt with the same questions about growing up Down Under, and his home country still is warming up to the American pastime
“Even people back home would probably say, ‘Pick a real sport,’ ” the outfielder said. “My friends back home still can’t believe the following baseball gets here.”
But he’s not with the Salt Lake Bees as a cultural oddity. On Sunday afternoon, Oeltjen found his way on base by a walk, a hit, and a strikeout on a passed ball. He stole two bases, and batted in a run as the Bees notched an 8-7 extra-innings win.
Even in a year when he’s not hitting his best — he’s batting .216 but his career Triple A-average is .298 — he’s found ways to keep the team alive in games. And the hitting is coming around, too.
“I think the most important part is the consistency of his approach,” manager Keith Johnson said. “He was fighting for that early in the year, he was searching for it. Over the course of time, you get that swing and timing down, it gets a little easier.”
The veteran has had a steadying presence in the outfield, getting starts in center and right. But a sunny disposition has helped just as much as his play for the clubhouse. On a team that has taken a few lumps this season, Oeltjen has been among the players who can lift spirits after disappointment.
His last big-league game was with the Dodgers in 2011, and like everyone in Salt Lake, he’s hoping the majors will come calling sooner or later. But for now he’s just enjoying playing the game, cheering for other Aussies who are still in the big leagues and those still coming up.
In Australia, elite baseball players make up a pretty small circle. But since Oeltjen was signed by the Twins when he was 18, he’s seen some great growth in the sport. Players such as Travis Blackley and Luke Hughes who are still around in the pros are just a few of his countrymen.
“There’s something like 50 Aussies in the minor leagues, so there’s some good players out there,” he said. “Baseball is getting better over there; not everyone knows that.”
And Oeltjen has been a part of that. He goes home every summer — mind you, that’s December and January in Australia — and helps out coaching young would-be sluggers. It gives them someone to look up to, and a goal to aspire to reach.
He’s already given much to his country, winning a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics and competing in the World Baseball Classic. Could more coaching be in store after his playing career?
“I haven’t thought that far ahead yet,” he said. “But I enjoy giving back to the same system that brought me up. Baseball is a great game, and I like to let people back there see what I’m doing over here.”
Grant Balfour in cowboy boots before the game. (John Shea/The Chronicle)
By John Shea/Chronicle
Closer Grant Balfour, who’s known to swear every bit as well as he pitches, dropped a cuss word during an on-field interview aired live on the Bud Selig Channel. His teammates were howling while watching from the A’s clubhouse.
“At least he didn’t use the word he uses the most,” Melvin said. “He’s got one particular word that he can conjugate using any number of instances.”
During the interview, Balfour was wearing shorts and cowboy boots.
Only in Texas.
Things continue to improve for Tim Atherton who recorded his 3rd Win today in Cedar Rapid’s 8-7 win over Kane County. Coming on in the 6th he threw two 1-2-3 innings which actually included 1 hit but a double play fixed that for him.
His record is now 3-2 with a 2.53ERA.
However, things aren’t getting any better for John Hussey. He came on in the 5th with 1 out. A combination of 4 hits, including a grand slam, and 2 walks saw him allow 6 runs against his record before he retired the side. This was his 3rd outing for Lake Elsinore, who lost to Stockton 16-4, and his ERA has blown out to 27.00.
His line was 0.2IP, 4H, 1HR, 6R, 2BB.