Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2013 Week 8

Rowan Wick emerged as the Cardinals home run leader during a 4-2 week in the Appalachian League.

Steady pitching and key hits across the week now have the Johnson City Cardinals (23-24) within range of the top of the Appalachian League West Division. Johnson City went 4-2 last week, scoring three wins against the Twins and one against Bluefield. The Twins did take two from their Washington County rivals during the middle of the week.

Sunday, August 4, at Howard Johnson Field - Cardinals 7, Twins 2

Alex Reyes provided the ammo on the mound and the Cardinals offense would not fail to disappoint to continue the club's win streak to three games.

Alex Reyes (3-3) started and pitched six innings. The Cardinals' hurler allowed one run on five hits and rang up two batters on strikeouts. Norge Paredes scored his first save of the season.

Johnson City cranked out 10 hits. Centerfielder Vaughn Bryan, first baseman Justin Ringo, catcher Steve Bean and third baseman J.J. Altobelli each had two hits. Bryan, who had a triple, and left fielder Jhohan Acevedo tacked on two RBI each to lead the offense.

Tuesday, August 6, at Joe O'Brien Field - Cardinals 4, Twins 2 - Game 1; Cardinals 4, Twins 1 - Game 2

The Cardinals brought the lumber on their visit to Elizabethton.

Johnson City roped five hits and took advantage of a four-run second inning to register the win in game one of the doubleheader against the Twins.

J.J. Altobelli, who played shortstop, went 1-for-3 with two RBI. Centerfielder Vaughn Bryan and first baseman Justin Ringo had an RBI apiece. Altobelli, Bryan, Ringo, outfielder Jhohan Acevedo and catcher Steve Bean all had one hit each.

Luis Perdomo pitched for a no decision after lasting 4 2/3 innings. Perdomo was relieved by Zach Loraine (3-0) who pitched the remainder of the game to secure the win.

Game two showed that the Cardinals' lucky number proved to be four as they scored the same total in both Tuesday wins.

Johnson City scored its second victory of the evening with solo home runs from catcher Rowan Wick and first baseman Justin Ringo. Wick led the offense with two hits.

Michael Holback started his first game of the year after 12 relief appearances and gave a solid three-inning effort. Holback allowed one hit, no runs and rung up six batters.

Steve Sabatino (3-2) picked up the win in relief, working 3 2/3 innings, while Fernando Baez collected his second save of the season.

Wednesday, August 7, at Joe O'Brien Field - Twins 3, Cardinals 0

Twins pitcher Hein Robb pulled caused a magic trick in Elizabethton by making the Cardinals offense disappear. Robb pitched the complete game shutout to snap the Cardinals five-game winning streak.

Ronnierd Garcia, who played at first base, accounted for all Johnson City's hits with a 2-for-3 performance.

Dailyn Martinez chalked up his second straight loss after tossing 5 2/3 innings. Martinez allowed the Twins' three runs on seven hits. Anderson Gerdel and Brandon Lee combined for 2 1/3 innings of relief work – with the combined effort allowing just one Twins' hit.

Thursday, August 8, at Joe O'Brien Field - Twins 6, Cardinals 3

Elizabethton would not go down without a fight and caused a stalemate in the four-game series against the Cardinals.

The Twins took a 6-0 advantage going into the top of the eighth inning. Johnson City plated three runs in the frame, off the bats of centerfielder Vaughn Bryan and first baseman Justin Ringo, but it would be too little, too late for the Cards.

Bryan led the offense with a 2-for-4 effort.

Starter Will Anderson (0-3) chalked up the loss after getting rocked in the early going. Anderson lasted five innings while scattering four runs on six hits. Stalyn Lopez chipped in an inning of relief but allowed two runs. Nick Lomascolo provided a nice ending for the club, allowing no runs on just one hit in the final two innings.

Friday, August 9, at Howard Johnson Field - Cardinals 2, Blue Jays 1 - 12 Innings

A near-flawless pitching battle between the Cardinals and Appalachian East League-leading Bluefield took a lucky roll in extra innings in favor of Johnson City.

Rowan Wick crunched his fifth home run of the year in the ninth inning to knot up the contest, 1-1, before smart baserunning from shortstop Leandro Mateo in extra frames allowed the Cards to escape with the victory.

The Cardinals finished the game with six hits as Wick led the charge with a 2-for-3 performance.

Johnson City's bullpen did its job by limiting the Blue Jays to six hits and their lone run in the top of the seventh.

Blake McKnight received the starting nod and lasted 6 2/3 innings - tossing seven strikeouts while allowing one run on four hits.

The relief effort of Zach Loraine, Fernando Baez and Norge Paredes combined for 5 1/3 innings of work. Paredes recorded the win, pitching the final frame.

Saturday, August 10, at Howard Johnson Field - Cardinals and Blue Jays - postponed

Inclement weather in Washington County has the rescheduled game set to begin on Sunday, August 11, in a double header in Johnson City, starting at 5 p.m.

Who's Hot?

Zach Loraine - The relief pitcher has been more than just a relief for the Cardinals bullpen. He currently leads the squad with a 1.35 ERA in 15 games. In his two appearances last week, Loraine combined for 4 2/3 innings, allowed no hits and struck out seven batters.

Rowan Wick - Wick has a .265 batting average and has been a key player across the board for Johnson City, both in the outfield and behind the plate. Last week, Wick asserted himself as the Cardinals leader in home runs with five. He is second on the team with 23 RBI.

Alex Reyes - Reyes put his July 23 loss behind him and made a good showing on the mound last Sunday. Reyes has his record back at .500 and has a 3.08 ERA with 44 strikeouts on the year.

Who's Cold?

Dailyn Martinez - After a hot start, Martinez has had back-to-back losses in his past two starts. In the most recent appearance, he allowed three runs on seven hits. Martinez currently has a 3.27 ERA and a 2-3 record.

Justin Ringo - Ringo cooled way down last week, cranking out just three hits. Ringo has been a key asset for the Cardinals' offense in the past. Look for him to catch some fire again in the next week.

Leandro Mateo - Mateo had to pick up the slack in the infield due to recent roster moves but had just one hit in four games last week.

Roster Moves

It was pitching-galore in terms of roster moves during the weekend. Kyle Grana and Ismael Brito joined the Cardinals on Saturday on assignment from the Gulf Coast League. Relief pitcher Steve Sabatino made the move to the Peoria Chiefs.

Appalachian League West standings

1) Greeneville Astros 32-16
2) Kingsport Mets 28-20
3) Johnson City Cardinals 23-24
4) Elizabethton Twins 22-26
5) Bristol White Sox 13-36

Appalachian League East standings

1) Bluefield Blue Jays 33-15
2) Pulaski Mariners 31-18
3) Danville Braves 24-23
4) Burlington Royals 22-27
5) Princeton Rays 13-36

The Week Ahead

The Cardinals will host a doubleheader with the Bluefield Blue Jays on Sunday then open a homestand against the Greeneville Astros starting Monday through Wednesday. Monday's game will feature another doubleheader, with the Cardinals making up a previously-rescheduled game against the Astros. Johnson City will wrap up the week with a road series Thursday-Saturday at the Elizabethton Twins.

Follow Curtis Carden on Twitter: @ERecordSports

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