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June 12, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Valdez homers again, Walter bounces back for Worcester

6/12 Cup of Coffee:
Boston's minor-league affiliates went a split 2-2 to close out the weekend, as Worcester and Portland both won at home and Greenville and Salem both lost on the road on Sunday. Enmanuel Valdez (pictured) and Brandon Walter powered the WooSox to a win with strong performances at the plate and on the mound. Tyler Dearden and Nathan Hickey's homers proved to be the difference in the Sea Dogs' victory over Akron. Though the Drive fell in Brooklyn, Miguel Ugueto certainly made his impact felt with three hits.


Masquerading as the "Worcester Ruby Legs" at Polar Park on Sunday, the WooSox won their fourth straight to take the series from the Red Wings. Enmanuel Valdez led the charge offensively by homering for the second straight day and driving in two runs as part of a 3 for 4 afternoon at the plate. Ronaldo Hernandez also tallied three hits (including a double) and plated one run while scoring another. Nick Sogard went 2 for 4 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot while Ryan Fitzgerald and Narcisco Crook recorded an RBI apiece. 

Brandon Walter was solid in his 11th start for Worcester and notched his first winning decision of the season as a result. The 26-year-old left-hander allowed two earned runs on six hits and two walks to go along with seven strikeouts over six innings of work. He finished with 90 pitches (63 strikes) and induced 16 swings-and-misses. Out of the WooSox bullpen, fellow southpaws Chris Murphy, Oddanier Mosqueda, and Ryan Sherriff combined for three scoreless frames of relief. For Murphy, it was his first appearance since making his big-league debut in Cleveland last Wednesday. 


The Sea Dogs snapped a two-game skid and salvaged a series split against the RubberDucks at Hadlock Field on Sunday. All of Portland's scoring came by way of the long ball, as Tyler Dearden crushed a solo shot in the third inning and Nathan Hickey followed with a two-run blast in the fourth for his eighth homer of the season. Corey Rosier accounted for his side's only other extra-base hit by doubling in the bottom of the fifth. 

Brian Van Belle went six innings in his 11th start of the year for Portland. The Miami (FL) product allowed two unearned runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out seven of the 27 batters he faced. He induced 15 whiffs on the 85 pitches (60 strikes) he threw. In relief of Van Belle, Ryan Fernandez fanned four over two scoreless frames before Luis Guerrero recorded his 10th save of the season by punching out two in the ninth. Neither Fernandez nor Guerrero have yet to surrender an earned run this month.


The Drive saw their three-game winning streak come to an end on Coney Island on Sunday. Angel Bastardo, making his 11th start of the season for Greenville, yielded just one earned run on four hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts across six strong frames. The 20-year-old righty out of Venezuela finished with 88 pitches (60 strikes) and registered 19 swings-and-misses. Nathan Landry and Alex Hoppe each got tagged for two runs by serving up two-run home runs in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. 

Miguel Ugueto paced the Greenville lineup by going 3 for 4 with two doubles, one RBI, two runs scored, and a stolen base out of the seven-hole. Max Ferguson and Eduardo Lopez each drove in runs as well. Karson Simas, batting out of the nine-hole, recorded his first hit at the High-A level with a fourth-inning RBI single. He also scored a run in the sixth inning after drawing a five-pitch walk.


The only Salem RBI of the day belonged to Cutter Coffey, who drove in Allan Castro with a run-scoring double in the eighth inning. That was also Salem's lone extra-base hit of the afternoon. Yorberto Mejicano went 1 for 3 with a single and fourth stolen base of the season. 

Jedixson Paez fell to 0-4 after allowing three earned runs over five innings on Sunday. The 19-year-old right-hander yielded six hits, one walk, and struck out three on 62 pitches (45 strikes). In relief of Paez, Gabriel Jackson hurled two scoreless frames before Jhonny Felix gave up one run on two hits in the bottom of the eighth. 


Player of the Day: After hitting just four home runs in his first 33 games at the major-league level, Enmanuel Valdez has once again found his power stroke with Worcester. Since being sent back down this past Friday, the left-handed hitting infielder has gone 6 for 10 (.600) at the plate with one double, two home runs, three RBIs, three runs scored, one walk, and zero strikeouts in his last three games. He is currently ranked as the No. 10 prospect in the organization. 

Photo Credit: Enmanuel Valdez by Kelly O'Connor