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USPBL Weekend Recap: Beavers bounce back with pair of wins

Missed any of the action down at Jimmy John’s Field this weekend? Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here is a summary of the week that was for the United Shore Professional Baseball League in Utica.

Thursday, May 18 | Beavers 6, Diamond Hoppers 4

The Beavers were itching for their first win after dropping the first two during opening week and being shutout in both games. They got off the shneid for both with a 6-4 win over Eastside.

It wasn’t looking good early on for Birmingham-Bloomfield, however. The Diamond Hoppers held a 4-0 lead after four innings. But a 5-run 5th for the Beavers turned the tides. The big blow came on a bases-clearing triple from DonAndre Clark, which tied the game at 4-4 at the time. B-B took the lead two batters later on a base knock from Nick Buckner.

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Clark added an insurance run for the Beavers in the sixth inning on a bunt single, his fourth RBI of the night.

Eastside starter Conner Root was on auto pilot until the fifth inning and was eventually pulled after 4.2 innings of work, allowing seven hits and was charged with all five runs in that inning.

Beavers starter Randy Wynne was able to go five innings and of the four runs charged to him, only two were officially earned.

Collecting RBIs on the night for the Hoppers were Joe Moroney and Brendan O’Brien.

Friday, May 19 | Woolly Mammoths 1, Unicorns 0

Friday’s tilt was the first between the defending champion Unicorns and the newcomer Woolly Mammoths. It turned into a pitcher’s duel, as the new kids on the block were able to hold serve with a 1-0 shutout win.

Nine different players for both teams combined for just ten total hits between the two clubs, with the victorious Mammoths being responsible for six of them. That’s because the starters took care of business on Friday.

Utica starter Seth Brenner only went four innings and allowed just the one earned run on five hits, but also walked three batters. The run allowed came on an RBI double from Westside third baseman Riley Palmer, the only player in the game to record multiple hits. His double in the very first inning was all the Mammoths needed.

Westside hurler Jeremy Holcombe did the rest. Holcombe went seven strong innings, allowing just three hits and one walk, striking out four. He’s now logged 13 innings pitched and allowed just six hits and struck out 12 batters in his first two starts.

Saturday, May 20 | Diamond Hoppers 6, Unicorns 5

After enduring defeats in the days before, both the Diamond Hoppers and Unicorns were looking to get back in the USPBL win column on Saturday. Eastside was able to get back on track with a 6-5 win in extras.

The walk-off win for the Hoppers came on a a throwing error from Utica second baseman Mike Rampone. With the bases loaded and one out in the 10th, a ground ball of the bat of Eastside’s Brendan O’Brien was hit to Rampone, who fielded and threw home. Unfortunately for the Unicorns, a poor throw pulled the catcher Jovan Hernandez off the plate.

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It was a good back-and-forth affair Saturday night. Utica struck quick in the first with a leadoff dinger from Taylor Grzelakowski. But Eastside answered with two runs in both the second and third frames to take a 4-1 lead.

The Unicorns tied it up at 4’s with single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings. That tie was short-lived, after Eastside reclaimed the lead in the home half of the seventh. And after Utica tied it in the top of the ninth, Eastside walked it off in the tenth.

Unicorns left fielder Chris Cruz and Hoppers first baseman Esteban Gomez were the big run-producers on Saturday. Cruz went 2 for 4 with a solo home run, two runs scored and three RBI. Gomez matched Cruz in the RBI department, didn’t score but walked twice, officially going 1 for 2 with a double.

Credit to the Utica bullpen for holding down the fort, after starter Donny Murray could only go four innings and allowed four runs. A 5-man crew combined to go 5.1 innings and allow just four hits and two runs, both of which were unearned.

Sunday, May 21 | Beavers 1, Woolly Mammoths 0

This had the makings of another pitcher’s duel as the capper for the weekend. Unfortunately, some on-and-off inclement weather in Michigan throughout the day played a major role in the game.

The Beavers were able to hang on for a 1-0 win in a rain-shortened game, which was called in the home half of the sixth inning.

The lone mark on the scoreboard for either team came in the top half of the second, an RBI double from Beavers catcher Bobby San Martin.

It proved to be more than enough for B-B starter Kevin Matthews, who tossed five scoreless, hitless innings against the Woolly Mammoths. For Matthews, he’s now made two starts, both against Westside, and has allowed one run on one hit, striking out 18 batters versus seven base on balls.

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Three base on balls for Matthews on Sunday prevented it from being a flawless outing. Albeit a condensed version, it was the second no-hitter in USPBL history, the first since Utica’s Donny Murray accomplished that feat on July 10 last year.

Westside starter Jared Gaynor is the tough-luck loser in this one. Gaynor pitched six innings, allowing just the one run on eight hits and one walk.

Updated USPBL Standings (Through 05/21)

W L RF RA
Eastside Diamond Hoppers 3 1 22 17
Westside Woolly Mammoths 2 2 9 7
Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers 2 2 7 13
Utica Unicorns 1 3 12 13

Written by Alex Muller

MSU Graduate. Just a city boy born and raised in south Detroit. Baseball is life, a pitcher at heart. Freelance writer for MIPrepZone (News-Herald, Press & Guide).

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