Akau Homers at Extended Spring
Report by Kimberly Contreras
The Oakland A's extended spring team took on the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. LHP Chris Lamb threw two innings today. All went well. RHP Jesus Zambrano followed him with 5 innings. Among the Cubs batters he faced was Tommy LaStella (a rehabbing Major Leaguer), who homered off Zambrano midway through the game. LHP Derek Beasley came in at the end of the game.
Outfielders who played on Wednesday: Vicmal De La Cruz, Rodolfo Peñalo and Jhonny Rodriguez
Lana hit his first home as a professional ball player in the game on Wednesday. Unfortunately it won’t be on his stat card, but those of us who were there will know and remember this day. This includes Lana’s father, and childhood baseball coach, Kiha, who is visiting from Hawaii. As proof that things happen as they should, I chose the exact right pitch to record – video, not just a photograph of - Akau’s at-bat. From the swing of his bat, as the ball sailed over the fence in LCF, to the congratulations from teammates; SOMEHOW, I recorded it all. This never happens. I’m just glad it did today.
For the collectors out there, don’t bother looking for the home run ball. Dad was on his way out there almost immediately and returned with it in hand. What a great day for the Akau family.
Lastly, as I suspected after his 5-inning outing on Tuesday, RHP Dustin Driver is the newest member of the Low-A Beloit Snappers. He was sent out from extended early on Wednesday. The 7th round pick in 2013 out of Wenatchee (WA) High School will make his first professional start in almost two years when he joins the Snappers. Injuries and an organization that is extremely cautious with its young pitchers and position players resulted in a shut-down year in 2014 for the hard throwing righty.
Chapman Hits First High-A Homer
By Melissa Lockard
It has been a slow start for Oakland A's 2014 top pick Matt Chapman this season. The third baseman injured his knee during spring training and missed the first month of the regular season while rehabbing at extended spring. Chapman joined the High-A Stockton Ports a week ago and came into Wednesday's game with only one hit in 18 at-bats. He had only one hit on Wednesday, as well, but it was a big one. Chapman launched his first homerun as a Port, at two-run shot, in Stockton's 6-5 loss to the High Desert Mavericks.
RHP Dylan Covey had a rough first inning, allowing four runs. He settled down after that but was charged with five runs in five innings. He struck-out two and walked two. Michael Soto also homered, while B.J. Boyd, John Nogowski and Beau Taylor each added doubles and Brett Vertigan had a triple.
Reliever Brendan McCurry extended his scoreless innings pitched streak to 11 with a perfect ninth.
Cook Blows Lead in Sounds' Loss
By Melissa Lockard
Holding a 2-0 lead with two-outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Nashville Sounds and Ryan Cook allowed three runs to lose a heart-breaker, 3-2, to the Iowa Cubs. Cook allowed a lead-off single but then retired the next two batters before the wheels came off. He gave-up a single to Javier Baez and then hit Christian Villanueva with a pitch to load the bases. After a walk brought the Cubs within one, Cook allowed a walk-off, two-run single to Junior Lake.
The Sounds' pitching until the ninth was outstanding. LHP Ryan Verdugo got the start and allowed only one hit and one walk in 4.1 innings. Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte took over for Verdugo in the fifth and threw 3.2 shutout innings of his own. He struck-out five and walked one and allowed just one hit.
Nashville didn't have much offense. Ryan Roberts had two hits and an RBI. Nate Freiman (who left the game early with an injury), Anthony Aliotti and Alden Carrithers had the other hits for the Sounds.
Beloit Blows Early Lead, Loses in Rout
By Melissa Lockard
The Beloit Snappers had a 7-0 lead after one-and-a-half innings, but they watched that lead evaporate quickly and fell to the Quad Cities River Bandits, 15-8.
Starter Jordan Schwartz allowed six runs (five earned) in three innings. He was followed by Jerad Grundy, who allowed seven runs in one inning. Rob Huber gave up two runs in 1.1 innings before Mike Fagan stopped the bleeding with two scoreless innings.