Minor league baseball is full of crazy things that you don’t see much when you only pay attention to the major leagues. Earlier this season, we saw an incredible comeback by the Clinton Lumberkings in the Midwest League. The Lumberkings were down by 16 runs after five innings but staged an almost unheard of rally when they scored 18 unanswered runs to eventually with the ballgame in 12 innings on May 7. The rally caps must have been out last night because there was some big-time rallying going on in Greenville.
Yesterday’s South Atlantic League action featured some consistent pestering of Savannah Sand Gnats pitchers by the Red Sox-affiliated Greenville Drive and some dominant work on the mound from Sox prospect Teddy Stankiewicz in a 21-1 Greenville victory. Third baseman Jon Leroux of the Mets-affiliated Sand Gnats single-handedly made four errors, resulting in 12 of the 21 runs being unearned. The interesting part of this equation is that three of the four errors (all three fielding) came off the bat of Greenville left-fielder Kevin Mager.
The game was off to an innocuous start, with a 0-0 tie after two-and-a-half innings with starters John Gant (Savannah) and Stankiewicz (Greenville) only allowing one runner in the first sixteen batters between the two of them.
Starting in the bottom of the third, Greenville took advantage of shoddy defense by Savannah. Kevin Mager led off the third by getting on base thanks to an error by Jonathan Leroux and went to second on a balk. Two singles and a walk followed, scoring one run before the first two outs were made on force outs at the plate. At this point, Gant and the Sand Gnats looked like they could emerge relatively unscathed but Carlos Asuaje singled to drive in a pair and another error by Leroux allowed a fourth run in before the inning ended.
Leroux began the bottom of the fourth with his third error of the game, allowing Kevin Mager to reach again and three more runs came in to score for Greenville, giving the Drive a 7-0 lead. A six-run fifth followed, which including yet another fielding error by Leroux off the bat of Mager and was highlighted by a Tim Roberson double and a Weldell Rijo triple.
In the sixth, Mager led off with a walk and another Tim Roberson double drove in three more runs. Mager actually got a hit in the seventh, driving in a run with a double as part of a three run inning and two more were scored in the eighth with the help of yet another Tim Roberson double and three consecutive singles.
In the end, Tim Roberson was 4/6 with four doubles and seven RBI whle Wendell Rijo was 3/6 with a triple and two RBI. Kevin Mager was only 1/5 but scored four times.
On the other side of the ball, Stankiewicz allowed only one unearned run thanks to a throwing error by Tzu-Wei Lin with two outs and a runner on second. Stankiewicz only allowed two hits and two walks over his three innings of work and reliever Jacob Dahlstrand finished with a three-inning save (despite coming into the game with a 15-run lead), allowing just one hit and walking two batters.
All in all, it was a tremendously one-sided game that Jonathan Leroux wishes he had back. The great thing about baseball is that there’s no time to dwell on the past, just time to play again today. If you want to watch on MiLB TV, you can tune in at 7:05 PM ET with Trey Ball, one of the Red Sox’ top prospects, on the hill for Greenville.