WILD AS CAN BE: Three ejections? A clutch hit from a star? A come-from-behind win? A battle between two former Hokies? The first professional pitching victory for a guy drafted three years ago?
Saturday’s game will go in the books as a 3-2 victory for Salem over Frederick, but this one had subplots galore.
TURNING POINT: The drama climaxed in the eighth, with the Sox trailing 2-1. With one out and runners on second and third, Sean Coyle hit a fly ball to shallow center.
Frederick centerfielder Steve Bumbry – well known for his strong arm during his Tech days – uncorked a one-hop throw to the plate. Henry Ramos crossed the dish without a slide, and the ball got away from catcher Zane Chavez.
Ramos insists that he touched the plate the first time, but he didn’t see a signal from home plate umpire Brian Miller. So he returned to retag, but the throw beat him there.
Miller gave the safe sign. Tie game.
FIREWORKS: Frederick manager Ryan Minor – a 6-foot-8 ex-basketball and baseball star at Oklahoma – came out and got in Miller’s face.
“He was just complaining how the umpire didn’t call it right away,” said Sox shortstop Deven Marrero, who got a bird’s-eye view of the argument from the on-deck circle. “He wanted to make sure that he called it right away so everybody would know and they wouldn’t have to throw the ball around. He had a good argument. It was kind of funny to watch.”
Minor was tossed. In the ninth, Keys third baseman Jason Espisito and hitting coach Torre Tyson were ejected, too.
FOR THE WIN: Marrero, who recently returned from a three-week stint on the DL, followed the sac fly by lining a 2-0 pitch into the right field corner to drive home the go-ahead run.
HOKIE MILESTONE: Ex-Tech ace Matt Price, a 2010 draftee, earned his first pro victory with three shutout innings of relief. He struck out five hitters, including Bumbry – his teammate during Tech’s 2009 NCAA tournament season.
“Actually, that was kind of cool,” Price said. “I didn’t know he was on the team and then I heard ‘Steve Bumbry’ and I look up and it’s like, ‘Oh, this guy.’ It was really cool, you know? I remember a few of his tendencies as a hitter, so that was kind of nice.”
ON DECK: Salem RHP Mike Augliera (4-0, 3.12) takes the mound against Frederick LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.35). – Aaron McFarling
QUOTES FROM THE CLUBHOUSE
MATT PRICE, RHP
On getting his first win as a pro:
“I didn’t even know I got the win until two seconds ago. It’s pretty cool. I just go out there and pitch, try to do what I can to help the team out. It feels good.”
On fanning former Virginia Tech teammate Steve Bumbry:
“Actually, that was kind of cool. I didn’t know he was on the team and then I heard ‘Steve Bumbry’ and I look up and it’s like, ‘Oh, this guy.’ It was really cool, you know? I remember a few of his tendencies as a hitter, so that was kind of nice.”
Not close with him?
“No, we were good friends. But, you know, pitchers hang out with pitchers, position players with position players. It was that kind of thing, but we were definitely good friends.”
On giving him the heater on 1-2 for the K:
“Yeah. I know he likes to chase the fastball. I still remember some of my outings in the spring, so I threw that change-up in there to see if he was still a heavy chaser on the change-up, but he laid off, so I went back to the original plan of attack.”
On how he’s been pitching much better lately:
“I was talking to my coach, and something really clicked when we were at Myrtle Beach. It’s tough for me being a competitor, I want to go out there and get everything right away, and it was just like, wow, you really haven’t pitched in two years. Those things are going to slowly come back to you. It was just a small little thing that kind of clicked in my mind and it’s helped me and my mentality going in. It’s been great.”
Command issues before or something else?
“In my head it was like…lightbulb. It was like, ‘I’m going to make you beat ME. I’m not going to give you any freebies and I’m not going to give you any good stuff. It’s going to be my best stuff and see if you can beat me.”
On the ejections:
“I swear, I heard there were two ejections!”
“Three? Aww, man, and I missed that? I was like, ‘Really? I missed everything.’ I was in here icing and I really wanted to go out, and they have that rule that when you’re icing you can’t go out on the field. So I missed us scoring runs and I missed three ejections. I’m kinda curious to get the story as to what happened.”
DEVEN MARRERO, SHORTSTOP
On how he’s felt since returning from DL (hamstring):
“I feel good. Just my timing’s off a little bit. Just taking it pitch by pitch and working on just trying to get my timing back, trying to see the ball and let the ball travel a little bit.”
On how he spent his time during three weeks on DL:
“I spent my days just getting after it, man. Just doing my treatments and trusting my trainers and letting them decide what I should do for that day and stuff like that because they know what they’re doing and I just wanted to get back healthy 100 percent when I came back. I feel good now, and it’s thanks to them.”
On whether he thought about having opportunities like tonight again:
“Absolutely. Every day I sat out I’d go coach first base and just take mental at-bats and just wish I was out there playing these guys. They’re out there playing every day and playing the game they love, and this is the game I love. I don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines. I love to play and I hate sitting out, but injuries happen in baseball. You’ve just got to take your time and get ready so they don’t come up again.”
On the play at the plate with Ramos:
“He touched the plate. I think he definitely did.”
On if he heard Minor say anything funny during the screaming match with ump:
“He was just complaining how the umpire didn’t call it right away. He wanted to make sure that he called it right away so everybody would know and they wouldn’t have to throw the ball around. He had a good argument. It was kind of funny to watch.”
On getting a win on such a wild night:
“Oh, it’s awesome. We’ve been grinding it. We’ve been playing good lately and these games are the ones where you’ve got to step it up a little bit. You can’t be mad or frustrated or consumed with the rain or anything like that. You’ve just got to go out there and play it out.”
On his pivotal at-bat:
“I was trying to be aggressive. I know they’re going to come after me and not after the guy behind me [Garin Cecchini]. He’s probably one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen. They were going to come after me and I was looking for a pitch that I could drive. He left the pitch up and I let the ball travel a little bit and hit it where it was pitched.” [2-0 fastball]
HENRY RAMOS, CENTERFIELDER (Thanks to pitcher William Cuevas for some help with translation):
On if he touched the plate the first time:
“I touched home plate.”
On why he went back if he’d already touched it:
“I went back because I never saw the umpire call out or safe.” Just being extra careful.
On his homer in the fourth inning:
“I was looking for the change-up from the beginning of the game, and I found it on that turn.”