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August 29, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Casas homers for Worcester; DSL Blue loses Game One


8/29 Cup of Coffee: Triston Casas's great stretch continued, and both pieces in the Christian Vazquez trade also homered. Josh Winckowski's return to the minors was a shaky one, while Brian Van Belle led a stellar pitching performance in Portland. David Hamilton (pictured) helped power the Portland offense, and Nathan Hickey homered for Greenville. 

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In his first minor league start since June 8, Josh Winckowski allowed four runs over 4 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out four. Geoff Hartlieb earned the win with 1 2/3 scoreless innings, and AJ Politi followed with two shutout frames. Triston Casas kickstarted the offense with a solo home run in the first, and Enmanuel Valdez followed with a solo shot in the third. Both batters had two hits, with Casas adding a walk. Connor Wong's blazing hot streak hit a bump with an 0-for-4 day, and Pedro Castellanos and Nick Sogard each went 2 for 4 with two RBI. 

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The Portland pitching staff combined to allow just an unearned run in the series finale. Brian Van Belle went the first five innings and allowed just three hits while striking out five. Cody Scroggins and Brendan Nail had identical lines, allowing one hit over two innings with no walks and three strikeouts. Not known for his power, David Hamilton blasted a 428-foot home run, his 10th of the year. It was part of a 2-for-3 performance for Hamilton that predictably included his 58th steal. Wilyer Abreu hit his first home run as a Sea Dog, and Izzy Wilson reached base three times, going 2 for 3 with a walk. 

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A strong start from Wyatt Olds was not enough as Greensboro topped Greenville. Olds had one of his best starts, firing five innings of one-run ball. The damage came against Maceo Campbell and Jordan DiValerio, while Brendan Cellucci finished the game with a scoreless inning and two strikeouts. A two-run home run from Nathan Hickey brought things closer in the bottom of the ninth. Hickey also walked and was hit by a pitch. Matthew Lugo and Tyler McDonough went 2 for 4 with a double as Lugo's OPS in August now sits at 1.009.

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Salem's bats went quiet on Sunday in a shutout by the Fireflies. Eduardo LopezYorberto Mejicano, and Karson Simas recorded the team's only three hits. After Juan Daniel Encarnacion allowed two runs over the first 3 1/3, the bullpen was able to lock things down. Bryan Lucas worked around three walks in his 2 2/3, and Christopher Troye went the final two innings. 

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In the first game of the semifinals, the Rockies made easy work of the Blue squad. A double from Kelvin Diaz was the only extra-base hit for Boston as the team went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. The first four pitchers allowed at least two runs as the Rockies scored all 10 runs in the first six innings. Denison Sanchez and Giancarlos Santana tossed a scoreless inning apiece to end it. 

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Player of the Day: David Hamilton used a combination of speed and power to win the award on Sunday. A long home run and another stolen base helped get Portland back to a .500 record. Hamilton entered the day hitting just .171 in August and saw his ranking drop from 26th to 50th in the system. He hopefully broke out of the slump and can end the season strong. 

Photo Credit: David Hamilton by Kelly O'Connor