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Tri-City ValleyCats

Beer smashes two out to right field, ‘Cats win 8-2

LJ LaFiura

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TROY — The Tri-City ValleyCats had taken a brutal loss of 11-4 at the hands of the Lowell Spinners on Friday night, and needing to secure a win to take a share of first place in the division, the ‘Cats took the field with a purpose. They did that, winning 8-2 on Saturday night.

In the bottom of the first after Jeremy Pena lead the team off with a walk, Seth Beer had 1-2 count and hit the ball into the Spinners’ bullpen for a two-run home run. This was the first rounder’s second home run of his bright young career. Later in the inning Enmanuel Valdez hit a double into left to field, his fourth double in his last six at bats. The ‘Cats would score Valdez and one more on a single and an out by Ramiro Rodriguez and Gilbert Celestino to create a four run lead.

The Spinners narrowed the gap in the second when Ramfis Berroa hit a home run over the centerfielder’s head, scoring clean up man Devin Granberg. However, as Rodriguez was now settled in this was his last hit allowed. He left the game after three innings allowing only three hits, two runs, and three strikeouts. Ramiro Rodriguez drove Michael Wielansky in with a single to give Rodriguez a three run gap before the relief staff came in.

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The relief staff would indeed do their job, giving up no hits throughout the remaining six innings. Riley Cabral would come in to take care of the fourth inning walking and striking out one a piece. Then right hander Bryan Abreu came in and handled the next three innings. Even though he walked three batters, he proved to be too much for the Lowell offense, striking out five of them. Abreu would receive the win for his middle inning work making him 2-0 already this season.

The ValleyCats would finally break the game open in the bottom of the seventh as Seth Beer stepped up to the plate.  Jeremy Pena had walked to first again, and just like his first at bat it was a 1-2 count. Naturally, Beer crushed the ball even farther over the Lowell bullpen than he did before. Both runs would score making the score 7-2 and leaving Beer with three home runs and six RBI’s in eight games this season. He would finish the game three for four. In the next inning Ramiro Rodriguez would take advantage of a stolen base to score off of Carlos Machado’s fielders’ choice out to make it 8-2 ValleyCats.

Manager Jason Bell said of Beer’s night, “We’ve seen it in BP. There have been things that (hitting) coach (Jeremy) Barnes has been working on with his swing that really showed up tonight. Especially because the first ball he hit out he didn’t even get all of, so that shows you how much power he really has.”

Beer seemed thrilled with his performance, saying, “I was just trying to get comfortable out there. I feel like the collective at bats I’ve seen consecutive days have really helped me settle in a little bit. I’m just trying to barrel up everything I see.”

Eighth round draft selection Austin Hansen from Oklahoma was brought in to pitch the final two innings. He delivered another two hitless innings striking out two batters and walking none to close out the win. Seeing this Bell called his stuff “electric” saying “I know he had quite a bit of strikeouts in college and we can already see why, he’s got some pretty good swing and miss stuff.”

Overall Bell was very happy with the teams bounce back game after Friday night’s seven-run loss, saying, “I knew that they had it within them. So it was nice to see it be a success today, and a pretty good win for our team.”

The ValleyCats will be heading down to Staten Island to play the Staten Island Yankees this Sunday through Tuesday. The Yankees are in last place in the McNamara division with a 3-6 record. A win in this series could leave them alone atop the Stedler Division with the Vermont Lake Monsters close behind.

LJ LaFiura is a general assignment sports reporter at the upstate Courier. A Fort Edward native, he attends Saratoga Central Catholic High School.