Senators 5, SeaWolves 4
• The come from behind victory over the SeaWolves moved the Senators back into first place, 1/2 game ahead of Erie with eight games to play. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the team. Robbie (Ray) struggled a little bit, but the guys picked him up and they fought,” manager Matt LeCroy said, “That was a total team effort. I’m just really proud of them and hopefully we can use this momentum for the rest of the home stand…We needed something like this. I didn’t want to see them come in here and win three out of four.” Pitching coach Paul Menhart threw in his two cents, “You can’t manage any better than what he did today. The decisions he made today were storybook.”
• Down 4-0 in the fifth inning, LeCroy brought the team together for some offensive strategy, “I gave them a new hit plan to find a nice pitch that they can hit out of the park.” The Senators went down in order as Carlos Rivero and Destin Hood both struck out. “That didn’t work, so we changed it,” LeCroy said, “I got them back together the next inning and I said, ‘I want everybody to try to do whatever they can to get on base.’ I had the grounds crew down there chanting ‘On Base! On Base!’ I didn’t want them to feel like I was getting mad, so we just tried to do something a little different and it worked.” One of the many heroes of the day, Sean Nicol said, “LeCroy brought us together to think about as one base at a time…Everyone stepped up and didn’t try to do too much. It ended up paying off for us.”
• Even though the Senators commited two errors, when it mattered the most the defense stepped up. Billy Burns went balls out to catch a foul fly ball in the eighth and Jason Martinson ended the game with a nice backhand play and strong throw from the hole. LeCroy also singled out his catcher for stopping an 0-2 Aaron Barrett slider in the dirt, “(Brian) Jeroloman did a nice job on that block. That’s a tough thing when you have a really good slider and the ball is down to trust your catcher. Him and Sandy are really, really good at what they do. There’s trust. A lot of times a guy will get to third and it’s a different animal, they don’t want to throw it because they know a wild pitch will allow the tying run to score.”
• Robbie Ray’s outing only lasted four innings. “He didn’t have command,” LeCroy said, “He had bases loaded in back to back innings. Paul and I call that ‘living on the edge’. I just thought it was enough, 80 pitches in four innings. I didn’t want to push him and I thought it was the right time.”
• Justin Bloxom was picked off of first base on a bizarre play. After Bloxom singled up the middle to lead off the second inning, Ricky Hague was next up. Hague swung and missed the first pitch and flung his bat into the first row above the visitors’ dugout. As third-base coach Eric Fox went to retrieve the bat and medical staff rushed to check on the fans, Erie first baseman James Robbins seemingly tagged Bloxom out. What?!?!? In the apparent aftermath, not a single umpire out of the crew called timeout. “I guess I assumed umps always killed it,” LeCroy said, “I talked to Brian (De Brauwere) and he admitted he didn’t call time. When I went out there the second time, I asked if they normally call time. I think it was a yes, but I think when there’s runners on they’re directed to not. It was something I’ve never had happen before. But Bloxom learned a lesson.”
• Destin Hood’s struggles at the plate continued as he was the only Senator who didn’t reach base. The designated hitter went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts as his average dipped to .225 on the season. With Steven Souza’s return and the next eight games against National League opponents, I expect Hood to be used sparingly down the stretch.