USPBL Weekend Recap: Diamond Hoppers off to good start on Opening Weekend

It was opening weekend for the United Shore Professional Baseball League out in Utica this past weekend. Thursday marked the second season of the independent baseball league, with the addition of a fourth club — the Westside Woolly Mammoths.

Detroit Sports Nation was on hand for Opening Day on Thursday, May 11 and provided both a gallery and summary of the day at Jimmy John’s Field. The game ended up being a 4-0 victory for the defending champion Utica Unicorns over the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers.

You can click any of the links above for details and photos of Opening Night. As for the rest of the weekend at the USPBL, here is how thinks played out:

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Friday, May 12 | Woolly Mammoths 5, Beavers 0

The Woolly Mammoths made their USPBL debut and performed with flying colors on Friday.

A trio of Westside hurlers combined to allow just three hits against Birmingham-Bloomfield while striking out 11 batters. Starter Jeremy Holcombe went six scoreless frames, allowing said three hits and struck out eight.

At the plate, five different players drove in runs for Westside. They held just a 2-0 lead entering the eighth inning but tacked on three more in what would be their final at-bat, on three consecutive RBI singles.

Beavers’ starter Kevin Matthews performed adequately, allowing just one run on one hit in four innings of work, striking out eight but also walking for batters. Offensively, the Beavers have just eight hits through two games.

Click here for the USPBL recap. Click here to re-watch the game.

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Saturday, May 13 | Diamond Hoppers 6, Woolly Mammoths 3

The Woolly Mammoths were back at it the very next day but ultimately fell to the Eastside Diamond Hoppers, making their season debut.

Eastside scored all six of their runs in the first four innings. They got to Westside starter Jared Gaynor quickly, who lasted just 3.1 IP and was tagged for all six runs (three earned) on seven hits and one base on balls.

Every starter in the lineup for the Hoppers reached base safely, with seven different players recording at least one hit. Five of the six runs were officially driven in, led by Esteban Gomez and his pair of RBI.

Westside made it interesting with two runs in the 9th inning to cut the deficit, but Eastside held on. Hoppers starter Conner Root went five innings, yielding one run on two hits, punching out eight Woolly Mammoths.

Click here for a USPBL recap. Click here to re-watch the game.

Sunday, May 14 | Diamond Hoppers 6, Unicorns 3

It was déjà vu for the Diamond Hoppers on Mother’s Day at Jimmy John’s Field, picking up their second win in as many days by the same score against the defending champion Utica Unicorns.

Eastside again jumped up to a comfortable lead early, holding a 5-2 edge after the fifth inning. Despite only notching six hits, the Hoppers made the most of them. John Menken and Casey Chenoweth were responsible for five of the team’s six hits. One of two Chenoweth’s hits was a two-run homer.

Two of the three runs for the Unicorns came on a Brandon Rawe two-run blast in the third. Rawe has now driven in four on the young season through his first seven ABs.

On the mound, both Seth Brenner (Unicorns) and Tanner Kiest (Diamond Hoppers) went four innings to start the game and allowed two earned runs each; Kiest was charged with four runs in total.

Click here for a USPBL recap of the game. Click here to re-watch the game.

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USPBL Standings (through 05/14)

Eastside Diamond Hoppers 2 0 12 6
Westside Woolly Mammoths 1 1 8 6
Utica Unicorns 1 1 7 6
Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers 0 2 0 9

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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