USPBL Recap: Teams provide plenty of fireworks during holiday weekend

Let's have a look back at the week that was in the United Shore Professional Baseball League. With the holiday weekend, there were five games that took place at Jimmy John's Field.

NOTE: Updated regular season standings at the end of this recap piece do not accurately portray all game results provided by us or the USPBL, as the teams play extra games throughout the week that do not get publicized.

Thursday, June 29 | Beavers 6, Diamond Hoppers 3

After surrendering three early runs in the second inning, the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers score six unanswered from the third inning onward to down the Eastside Diamond Hoppers.

RBI hits from John Kraft and Ricky Castro gave Eastside an early 3-0 lead after two innings. But the Beavers answered back with three of their own in the third, highlighted by a two-run home run by Thomas Roulis. DJ Martinez added an RBI single in the frame as well.

Birmingham-Bloomfield tacked on two more on a two-run blast from Brandon Rawe, followed by a Dan Kennon RBI knock in the eighth for insurance. Beavers starter Brian Bayliss Jr. settled in after the early three runs for Hoppers, going seven innings.

Friday, June 30 | Unicorns 8, Diamond Hoppers 6

The Unicorns are able to take advantage (at least somewhat) of the immediate turnaround for the Hoppers and hand Eastside a second straight loss in as many days.

It was a 3-3 tie after just two innings of play and the score stood pat through five innings. A big five-run sixth inning opened things up for the Unicorns and gave them a lead they would eventually never surrender. Eastside made a rally late in the bottom of the ninth with three runs, but could not quite complete the comeback.

Despite scoring eight times, only half of the runs were formally driven in by Unicorns bats, thanks in part to three errors by the Diamond Hoppers. Four Unicorns each recorded one RBI. In addition, Eastside issued eight base on balls to Utica. For the Hoppers, Ricky Castro and Chris Power each had two hits and two RBI. Power hit a solo shot in the first inning that cut the Eastside deficit to 2-1 at the time.

Eastside starter Devin Alexander was tagged for six runs in 5.1 innings of work, only half of which were earned. Randy Dobnak for Utica went five innings, allowing three earned in seven hits.

Saturday, July 1 | Woolly Mammoths 8, Unicorns 1

A six-run fifth inning spurned the Westside Woolly Mammoths on Saturday, propelling them to an 8-1 win over Utica. It was the first meeting between the two clubs in more than two weeks.

USPBL newcomer Brandon Shaffer for Utica led off the game with a solo homer to give Utica an early 1-0 edge, a lead they held until the bottom of the fifth inning. Then Westside exploded for six runs.

The six-run fifth inning was highlighted and capped by an Ethan Wiskur three-run bomb. Also driving in runs for the Mammoths in that frame were Kent Blackstone and Alex Abbott; Blackstone had three RBI total in the game.

Westside starter Sean Kennedy was superb, allowing just the first-inning run on six total hits over six innings. Alex DeYonker for Utica meanwhile was chased from the game after 4.1 innings and charged with four runs, two of which were earned.

Sunday, July 2 | Beavers 9, Woolly Mammoths 2

Despite two days off, the Beavers were able to continue their hot-hitting ways in a Sunday matinee at Jimmy John's Field, cruising to an easy win over Westside.

Birmingham-Bloomfield was in control almost all game long. They were up 4-0 after their first three at-bats and eventually 9-1 after eight innings. Westside tacked on one in the home half of the ninth before the Beavers shut the door.

Seven of the nine runs were officially driven in by Beaver bats on Sunday. Brandon Rawe and Nic Wilson were the standouts. This 2-3 duo in the lineup went a combined 6 for 10 with three runs scored and five RBI, each hitting a home run (Rawe's second of the weekend).

The runs for Westside came courtesy of the run producers from the day prior, Kent Blackstone and Alex Abbott.

Both starters in the contest — Birmingham-Bloomfield's Jake Welch and Westside's Jeremy Holcombe — each went six innings deep. Welch allowed just one run on three hits; Holcombe yielded four runs (three earned) on seven hits.

Monday, July 3 | Beavers 7, Unicorns 6

Capping off the five-game holiday weekend, the Beavers were able to complete the rare trifecta and collect their third win in as many games, this one of the comeback variety.

The game was scoreless through four innings. Utica plated three in the home half of the fifth. Birmingham-Bloomfield responded with four in the top of the sixth to take a 4-3 lead. Utica reclaimed the lead in the bottom half, 5-4. Beavers get two back, make it 6-5. Utica ties it 6-6 through seven innings. Then the Beavers came through with one in the eighth and never looked back.

Brandon Rawe continued his monster weekend, going 1 for 4 with three RBI in the contest. Beavers catcher Roberto Lucido also plated two runs. Utica meanwhile pounded out 14 hits as a team, with six players recording two hits. Chris Cruz was one of those multi-hit recipients, and was the only Unicorn with multiple RBI in the game.

Both starters — Beavers' Randy Wynne (4.2 IP) and Unicorns' Donny Murray (5.2 IP) — were each charged with three earned runs; Murray allowed four total.

Updated USPBL Standings (Through July 3)


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