Joplin Blasters Orbit at Top of South Division
Week in Review, June 15-21
The rain delays could not put a damper on the Joplin Blasters, as they won all four games they were able to play, to jump into first place in the South Division. Manager Carlos Lezcano has this club playing good baseball. No first season troubles for this club.
In the only game the Blasters were able to play in Kansas City, Joplin took a 2-1 lead, then fell behind 3-2 and then 5-3, before scoring one in the bottom of the eighth, and two in the ninth for the walk-off win. Omar Luna’s two-run single drove home the tying and winning runs giving Matt Swilley his first win of the season. Five players had two hits in the game.
The Blasters moved onto Lincoln where they swept the Saltdogs in three relatively close games. In Game 1 Joplin broke a scoreless tie in the fifth, going up 1-0. A three-run eighth gave them a 4-0 lead before winning 4-1. Jorge Martinez threw seven shutout innings for his third win of the season, and five Blasters hitters had two hits, including Gabe Suarez, who came off the disabled list earlier in the week.
In Game 2, a 4-4 tie at the end of regulation meant extra innings. In the 11th inning Joplin scored two runs, then held on for the 6-5 win. Victor Capellan won his third game in relief, and Winston Abreu recorded his second save in as many nights and fifth of the season in the win. Jesus Solorzano hit his second home run of the season, a three-run shot. Maikol Gonzalez stole three bases to take the American Association lead.
The final game of the series saw Lincoln score two runs in the bottom of the first and lead 2-o through the five innings, but Joplin scored six runs over the final four innings, including three in the ninth to win 6-2. Gonzalez and Solorzano each had four hits in the game, and Solorzano scored three runs and hit his second home run in as many days.
June 15 – Joplin 6, Kansas City 5
June 16 – Postponed, Make Up Date June1 17
June 17 – Postponed, Make Up Date August 6
June 18 – Postponed, Make Up Date August 21
June 19 – Joplin 4, Lincoln 1
June 20 – Joplin 6, Lincoln 5
June 21 – Joplin 6, Lincoln 2
Record: 17-8, 1st Place in South Division, 2.5 Games in Front
Maikol Gonzalez had a huge week at the top of the lineup for the Joplin Blasters. He was 8-18 (.444) with 2 runs and 2 RBI. He also walked three times, and stole at least one base in every game the club played this week. He stole seven bases in all.
Omar Luna was 7-17 in the four games. He scored 2 runs and drove in 2, including the game winning hit on Monday.
On June 15, the Joplin Blasters signed infielder TJ Bennett. He was released on June 17.
On June 16, LHP Rigaberto Arrebato was released by the club. The left-hander made two starts, pitching a total of 8.1 innings, and had a 5.40 ERA.
On the same day that Bennett was released, catcher Yenier Bello was signed by the club. Bello has appeared in three games for the Blasters, and is 5-14 (.357) with two runs scored.
On June 20, outfielder Gabe Suarez was activated from the disabled list and catcher Juan Medina was placed on the disabled list. Suarez is hitting .286 since his return with 2 runs scored in 4 games. Medina was struggling at the plate early on, but was a big plus on defense.
By Robert Pannier