August 10, 2019

Any one want some runs? If so, the 2019 AZL Indians Blue have your fix. On this date last year, the second place finishers in the Arizona League absolutely destroyed the Athletics Gold.

Pitching for the Blues were the same duo who would ultimately pitch in their play-off win against the Padres, Luis D. Garcia and Jared Janczek. Luckily for them, they never even had to pitch in this game with the score tied as team Blue got off to a hot start offensively. Before an out was recorded, Pedro Alfonseca hit a single, Wilfri Peralta was hit by a pitch and Angel Lopez walked before a wild pitch brought home the first run. A second scored when Jhonkensy Noel grounded out and third on a Jothson Flores hit that followed a Ulysses Cantu walk. This hit forced a pitching change by Oakland and David Leal was much more effective than the starter, Malik Jones, retiring the next two hitters.

With the lead, Garcia got to work and struck out one in a scoreless first on his way to seven innings, five K’s and four hits allowed. In the second, #9 hitter Pablo Jimenez (pictured at top on 3B with Alfonseca at the plate) lead off with a single, then scored when Alfonseca was safe on an error. Alfonseca continued to take advantage of sloppy defense as he moved up on a dropped third strike, then scored on a wild pitch.

Pedro Alfonseca3
Alfonseca takes a lead off third during a 2019 AZL Indians Blue game in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

After a scoreless third for both teams, Alfonseca doubled to lead off the fourth, his third consecutive AB reaching base. He stole third, stayed there while Peralta walked, then Peralta took second behind him. Angel Lopez singled to bring home Alfonseca, then Peralta scored on a Noel sac fly. This inning would also see the only score for the A’s Gold as they lead the inning off with a triple and single before Garcia finished off the inning with a double play and fly out.

The game stayed 7-1 into the seventh when the Blues started off with not outs again. Jose Colina, who had come in defensively the inning before, doubled to start the inning, then moved up on a Noel single. Cantu was hit by a pitch and the first run of the inning came home when Flores walked. A wild pitch brought home Noel, but Austin Wahl finished the inning with three quick outs including two K’s.

Alfonseca continued his big game with a solo shot to being the eighth, then Noel and Cantu doubled consecutively for another run. Finally, Cantu scored on a Flores single to tack on another three runs. Janczak then came in for Garcia and struck out the side with a walk mixed in.

With a 11 run lead, the Blues weren’t quite done beating down the Gold. Gaspar Palacio walked and moved up when Alfonseca reached on an error for the second time in the game. Both runners then scored on Colina’s second double in as many at bats. Noel and Cantu walked to load the bases with two outs, but the A’s managed to shut down the offense this time.

Jared Janczak3
Janczak pitches in relief for the 2019 AZL Indians Blue. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

Janczak came back out for the ninth and was even more dominant adding one more strike out with the only baserunning getting on when Flores dropped a fly ball. Combined, Blues pitching allowed four hits and one run in nine innings with two walks and nine strike outs. With so many amazing relievers on the two AZL Indians teams last year, it was easy to overlook Janczak, but the reliever was still very impressive with 25 K’s to six walks across 15.2 innings, numbers that were especially impressive when compared to his 33 K’s and 18 walks in just under 40 innings with TCU earlier in 2019.

For the offense, every hitter except Jeikol Contreras reached safely with the first six hitters in the line-up (plus Colina) reaching at least twice and the first five scoring at least once. Alfonseca lead the way here as he reached base five times in six at bats including a homer and double and scored five runs. Flores lead the way with three of the 10 RBI.

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