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August 22, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Chavis goes deep; Ward, Haworth dominate for Spinners

8/22 Cup of Coffee: It was a busy night on the farm, with nine games on the slate, several with playoff implications. Michael Chavis (pictured, left) continued his hitting streak in style with a home run, while Josh Ockimey and Brandon Phillips went deep as the PawSox split a doubleheader. Lowell gained ground in its playoff push with a sterling effort by hurlers Thad Ward and Hunter Haworth, while Yasel Santana pushed the GCL Sox to the edge of a playoff berth with a strong outing in Florida.


In the completion of a game suspended from July 5 that didn't have a whole lot go right for the PawSox, at least it created some fun for the record keepers. Josh Ockimey, still a member of Portland when the game began, was inserted to the lineup when the contest resumed in the place of the now-departed Adam Lind. Ockimey blasted a 445-foot home run as part of a three-hit effort, making him the offensive standout of the contest. While Ockimey already had two home runs since joining Pawtucket, the game logs now show his first home run coming 29 days before his promotion. The same applies to Travis Lakins, promoted three days prior to Ockimey. Lakins allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings.

The regularly-scheduled contest featured a bending of the space-time continuum of a different sort, as Brandon Phillips blasted a three-run homer off a pitcher who was three years old when Phillips was drafted. The 1999 second-round pick of the Montreal Expos went deep off of Australian lefty Lewis Thorpe. Josh D. Smith picked up the win, allowing three runs in five innings, striking out six and walking two. Marcus Walden earned the save with two hitless innings, throwing 14 of 20 pitches for strikes.


Michael Chavis continues to tear into Eastern League pitching, leading the Sea Dogs on Tuesday. Chavis ripped his sixth home run in 30 games since rejoining Portland, extending his hitting streak to nine games. SoxProspects.com Director of Scouting Ian Cundall was in attendance at Hadlock Field, and he relayed that Chavis blasted the first-pitch slider over 400 feet, depositing it over the center field fence. Left-hander Daniel McGrath turned in a solid outing, allowing two runs on six hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked only one with his four-pitch mix.

With the game knotted at two in the bottom of the ninth, the Sea Dogs had the victory gift-wrapped to them. Chris Madera reached on an error by New Hampshire second baseman and top prospect Bo Bichette. Danny Mars tried to bunt him over, but the throw to first was airmailed by fellow Fisher Cats legacy Cavan Biggio. Madera raced home with the winning run, with the game ending on the exceedingly rare walk-off sacrifice bunt.


Salem Red Sox vs. Frederick Keys (BAL), suspended
Heavy rains in the top of the second made for unplayable field conditions. The two teams will attempt to complete the contest on Wednesday as part of a doubleheader.


A disastrous 11-run fifth-inning doomed the Drive, who dropped their third straight. Enmanuel De Jesus entered the contest having completed at least six innings in seven straight outings, but that streak came screeching to a halt. De Jesus surrendered three runs in his first four innings, then five more without retiring a batter in the fifth. Positives for the Drive included the continued second-half resurgence of Pedro Castellanos. The first baseman doubled twice, scoring and driving in one apiece. Marino Campana was 2 for 3 with a walk and pair of runs scored.

With the loss, Greenville falls three games behind Lexington for first place in the second-half standings. The Drive have 12 games remaining, including a four game set head-to-head against the Legends to close the season.


It was a dominant performance by the duo of Thad Ward and Hunter Haworth (pictured, right) facing only one batter over the minimum in a combined two-hit shutout. Ward allowed two hits over four scoreless frames, striking out three, without issuing a free pass, and hitting one batter. Of those three base runners, two were eliminated trying to steal second. Not to be outdone, Haworth did not allow a hit in five innings, striking out nine. He walked one batter, who was promptly erased on a 6-4-3 double play.

At the plate, Grant Williams set the table from the leadoff spot with a three-hit evening. He doubled and scored a pair of runs. Lane Milligan doubled and tripled, driving in three and scoring twice. Trey Ganns added a double and drove in three runs.

In the playoff race, Stedler Division-leading Tri-City knocked off Brooklyn, who entered the day leading the wild card standings. Lowell remains 1 1/2 games behind Tri-City, and moves within a half-game of Brooklyn and Mahoning Valley.


With their sixth consecutive win paired with a Rays loss, the Sox clinched at least a tie in the GCL South Division, increasing their lead to three games with three to play. Starter Yasel Santana was excellent, scattering three hits across five shutout innings. The right-hander struck out three without issuing a walk, and cut his ERA to 1.97 in what was likely to be his final regular season start. Juan Carlos Abreu continued to be a catalyst out of the leadoff spot, going 2 for 4 with a triple and a walk, scoring three of the six Red Sox runs. Nick Northcut had been scuffling in August, entering Tuesday's contest in a 7-for-55 skid, but the 11th-round pick notched a pair of hits, including a double.

With a win on Wednesday, the Sox would clinch the division outright as well as guarantee themselves at least the third seed in the Gulf Coast League playoffs.


The Sox offense scored four runs in the top of the first, giving their hurlers more than enough support. Kelvin Sanchez was dominant on the mound, striking out eight in six innings, surrendering just three hits and issuing no walks. Royman Blanco and Luis Colmenares combined for the final three frames to complete the shutout. Leonel Jimenez led the way at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and two runs scored. Lewis Baez and Gilberto Jimenez both had two hits, including a double apiece, as part of the Sox 10-hit effort.


Three times the Red Sox came back to tie this game, but they did not take their first lead until Andres Gari scored the game-winning run on a 10th-inning walk-off sacrifice fly off the bat of Gabriel Perez. Neifi Abreu led the offense, delivering his first professional home run in fashion with a game-tying grand slam in the fifth inning. Abreu finished the contest 3 for 5, and he leads both DSL affiliates with 20 extra-base hits. Isaias Ozoria earned the win with three hitless innings of relief work. He struck out three, walked one, and pitched around the automatic runner in the 10th inning.


Player of the Day: While the continued excellence of Michael Chavis or the time-traveling exploits of Josh Ockimey were notable, Tuesday's standout was Lowell's Hunter Haworth. The righty had a rough start to the year in his initial Greenville assignment, but has righted the ship with the Spinners. Haworth faced the minimum 15 batters in his five innings of no-hit relief, striking out nine of them. In his last seven outings, the Cal State Chico product has given up just four earned runs in 26 2/3 innings, limiting batters to a .140 average.

Photo Credit: Michael Chavis, Hunter Haworth by Kelly O'Connor