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May 12, 2021 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Duran opens Polar Park in style

5/12 Cup of Coffee:
It was a memorable day for the organization as Jarren Duran (pictured) and Marcus Wilson helped introduce the world to Polar Park with a Worcester victory. Both the results and the theatrics were more muted throughout the rest of the system. Jay Groome left his second start of the season with a foot injury after being hit with a liner as Greenville took the loss. Salem failed to join Worcester in celebrating a home opener with a win, while rough defensive play sunk Portland.


Tuesday afternoon brought the long-awaiting opening of Worcester's Polar Park. VIPs for the event included Hall of Famers Pedro Martinez, Jim Rice, and Bob Cousy, and James Taylor was joined by his son Henry to sing the national anthem. Also on hand were SoxProspects.com's Executive Editor, Chris Hatfield (@SPChrisHatfield), and Director of Scouting, Ian Cundall (@IanCundall), who reported both on the park and the prospect-studded WooSox lineup. 

The on-field action proved worthy of the event from the first batter when Syracuse's Johneshwy Fargas ripped a double off Worcester starter Raynel Espinal but was thrown out by left fielder Marcus Wilson as he tried to stretch it into a triple. Syracuse did notch two runs in the first, but the game was all Worcester from then on. Wilson blasted Polar Park's first-ever home run, a solo shot in the second inning, and Jarren Duran gave the WooSox the lead with a two-run shot in the fifth. The scorching-hot Duran struck again as he and Josh Ockimey delivered back-to-back homers in the seventh inning.

As the lineup was breaking out, the Worcester pitching staff took care of business. Following a shaky first inning, Espinal hit his groove, retiring nine consecutive batters. Overall, he surrendered four runs across six innings, striking out five without issuing a walk. Marcus Walden got credit for the win, firing a scoreless seventh. Brandon Workman made his return to the Red Sox organization in the eighth inning, allowing a run on one hit, walking and striking out two apiece, and Kaleb Ort finished things off for the save.


Portland's five-game winning streak was halted as Hartford took the series opener at Dunkin Donuts Park. The Sea Dogs were doomed by some poor defense, committing five errors leading to four unearned runs. Only two of the six runs surrendered by starter Frank German were earned, as the 23-year-old righty was saddled with the loss. Durbin Feltman continued to impress, striking out a pair in a perfect ninth inning. Pedro Castellanos launched his first home run of the year, while Jeisson Rosario had a pair of singles in his third multi-hit game of the season.


Greenville dropped the first game of its series between a fellow new entrant to the High-A ranks. It was a rough start for Jay Groome both physically and results-wise. The left-hander allowed four runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings and had to be helped off the field after taking a hard line drive off his right foot. There has not been an update on his status. Cameron Cannon was a bright spot for the Drive, going 2 for 4 and delivering his third double of the young season. 


Very little went right in Salem's home opener as Lynchburg continued its undefeated season. Jeremy Wu-Yelland was a highlight for the Sox, allowing one run in three innings, striking out five against one walk. Joe Davis ended the shutout bid in the bottom of the ninth inning with a solo home run, his first of the year. Gilberto Jimenez had a double and a walk out of the leadoff spot. 


Player of the Day: The House that Jarren Duran Built? A two-homer afternoon will garner Player of the Day accolades in most situations, but adding in the context of it coming as part of such a memorable event makes it an easy choice. After slumping to an 0-for-11 start to his Triple-A career, Duran has gone 8 for 17 with three homers over his last four games. He is currently ranked third in the system.

Photo Credit: Jarren Duran by Kelly O'Connor