Saturday, May 22, 2010

Strandlund collects first pro hit in 14-3 loss

It was a windy and bitterly cold evening, but the Maui bats were definitely hot on Saturday night. The Strong Warriors of Maui manhandled the Victoria Seals 14-3 to even up their five-game series at one win apiece. Given the playing conditions, it wasn't surprising that it was a sloppily played affair -- the game featured three errors and 13 walks. The Seals also left 12 men on base.

Aaron Trolia started for the Seals and he got roughed up pretty good. He gave up three homers and eight earned runs in his 3 2/3 innings of work. He also got a base hit in his only at-bat with Josh Arhart on second and Chris VanRossum on first in the bottom of the second inning. Unfortunately, manager Bret Boone was overly aggressive and he waived in the not-so-speedy Arhart who was thrown out by a wide margin at the plate. Boone's base running tactics will backfire occasionally this year, but he'll get it right the majority of the time.

The turning point of the game was in the bottom of the third with the Seals trailing 4-2.  They loaded the bases with two outs, but Chris VanRossum struck out to end the inning. In the next half-inning, Trolia gave up four more runs to make the score 8-2 and that was the ballgame.

Boone was quick to get all of his backup players into the game once it was clear that the game was out of reach. Unfortunately, he did not have any pinch-hitters remaining in the bottom of the 8th inning when pitcher Nick Martin was forced to bat with the bases loaded and only one out. Although the score was 10-2 at the time, a grand slam would have put the Seals right back into it.  Martin struck out and then left fielder Sean Smith was also retired on strikes to end the inning.

The highlight of the game was Charlie Strandlund's appearance in his first professional game. In the seventh inning, the Victoria native made a sparkling defensive play at second base by ranging to his left and diving to come up with a ground ball. He then threw out the runner at first from his knees. Strandlund collected his first professional hit in the bottom of the ninth, a bouncing ball up the middle. A number of his teammates immediately motioned to the opposing pitcher (Jason Mackintosh, who pitched in AAA in 2007) for the baseball, so Strandlund will have a nice souvenir of his accomplishment. Our boy Charlie went on to steal second and he eventually scored on a passed ball. It's too bad that there were only a few hundred fans left in the stands when he got his base hit, but the frigid temperature had chased away all but the most ardent of fans. Of this you can be sure: Charlie Strandlund belongs in the GBL. As Bret Boone himself said, he is not a token local.