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9 moments from 2013: A close-up glimpse of the future?

During the final nine days of 2013, I’m going to revisit nine memorable baseball moments from the year.

Binghamton Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard faces the Harrisburg Senators earlier this season (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Noah Syndergaard (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

I don’t know if Noah Syndergaard will ever pitch for the New York Mets, and I wouldn’t care to predict whether he’ll have a career more like Phil Humber or Matt Harvey if he does.

Right now, though, there seems to be nearly universal agreement that Syndergaard is the top prospect in the Mets’ farm system, so I was excited to have a chance to see him pitch in person on Sunday, August 4th.

(To be completely fair, I would have been excited about the game no matter who was pitching – my friends and I had managed to get seats in the front row, right behind home plate at Harrisburg’s Metro Bank Park. It was my first (and likely, only) time visiting the beautiful ballpark, and my first experience watching a game from that particular vantage point.)

Syndergaard did not disappoint – he limited the Senators to just two hits and one walk over five innings, and he struck out three. On the other hand, I don’t remember seeing many breaking pitches, and major league hitters are going to be able to handle fastballs more often than not. (Unlike most Double-A hitters.)

Time will tell, I suppose. I do expect to see Syndergaard in New York by the end of the season – at least for a cup of coffee – unless he has a setback or hits an innings limit.

You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @PaulsRandomStuf on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.

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Trenton Thunder one win away from Eastern League title

(Video courtesy of the Trenton Thunder YouTube channel)

The Trenton Thunder are one win away from their third Eastern League title. (Previous championships came in 2007 and 2008.)

Here’s their press release:

TRENTON, NJ – In a see-saw game that featured four lead changes, Trenton scored two in the 7th inning and held on in an exciting 9th for a 5-4 victory over the Harrisburg Senators in Game 2 of the Eastern League Championship Series.

Reegie Corona’s RBI single tied the game before Ali Castillo’s RBI groundout gave Trenton the lead for good as Trenton rallied from a 4-3 deficit in the 7th. Tommy Kahnle struck out Harrisburg Slugger Steven Souza Jr. with two men on base in the 9th to preserve the win in front of 2,683 at ARM & HAMMER Park.

With one out in the 7th, Tyler Austin and Kyle Roller drew back-to-back walks against reliever Richie Mirowski (1-1) to begin the go-ahead rally. Ben Gamel then singled sharply to right field to load the bases for Corona, who was playing in his 20th career postseason game. After a lengthy at-bat in which he worked a 3-2 count the Thunder third baseman lined his game-tying single in front of Billy Burns in left. Castillo followed with a slow ground ball to second base which brought in Casey Stevenson- who entered for Roller- with the eventual winning run.

After Danny Burawa allowed a leadoff single in the 9th, Kahnle entered with one out and immediately allowed an infield dribbler single to Burns leaving runners at first and second. Brian Goodwin then flew out harmlessly to center field and Kahnle ended the game on a 95 MPH fastball to record his second save of the postseason.

Trenton now leads the best-of-five championship series 2-0 and will attempt to secure its third Eastern League Championship in Game 3 Thursday night. The Thunder have now won a season-high eight consecutive games dating back to August 31st.

Trenton and Harrisburg hit the road to Harrisburg, Pa. to continue the ELCS at Metro Bank Park with Game 3 Thursday night. RHP Shane Greene (8-4, 3.18) has not allowed a run in his last two starts (12.2 IP) is scheduled to start for the Thunder against RHP Nathan Karns (10-6, 3.26) for the Senators. Radio coverage of Thursday’s game on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and streaming online begins at 6:45 p.m.

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Trenton takes Game 1 of Eastern League Championship Series

(Video courtesy of the Trenton Thunder YouTube Channel)

The Trenton Thunder took the first game of the Eastern League Championship Series on Tuesday night, crushing the Harrisburg Senators by a score of 8-2 in front of a crowd of 2,642 at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton.

Here’s the Thunder press release:

TRENTON, NJ – Trenton used a five-run third inning to erase an early 2-0 deficit against the Harrisburg Senators en route to an 8-2 win in Game 1 of the Eastern League Championship Series Tuesday night at ARM & HAMMER Park.

After allowing single runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings, Trenton’s offense responded with an explosion off Harrisburg starting pitcher Blake Treinen that knocked him out of the game. Treinen, who pitched only 2.2 innings, ran into trouble after retiring all six batters he faced in the first two innings.

The inning started with a pair of walks to Ben Gamel and Reegie Corona which brought Ali Castillo to the plate attempting a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Instead, his bunt at the third baseman came to a stop just past the pitcher’s mound for a base hit that loaded the bases with no outs. Mason Williams’ two-run single and Jose Pirela and Tyler Austin’s RBI singles brought home additional runs to make it 5-2 Thunder.

Trenton scored two more runs in the 4th inning on an RBI triple by Ali Castillo and a sacrifice fly by Williams, before Gary Sanchez’s RBI double in the 7th inning capped the scoring for the night for both teams.

Thunder starting pitcher Nik Turley settled into his outing after allowing five baserunners in the first three innings by posting scoreless frames in the 4th, 5th and 6th innings. He fanned a career-high 10 batters including recording five of his final six outs via a strikeout. The La Canada, Calif. native earned the victory by allowing two runs over six innings on five hits and three walks.

Zach Nuding (2.0 innings) and Branden Pinder (1.0 innings) combined to retire nine of the final 10 Harrisburg batters to close out the win. With the win, the Thunder lead the best-of-five series 1-0.

Trenton and Harrisburg continue the ELCS at ARM & HAMMER Park with Game 2 Wednesday night. RHP Bryan Mitchell (0-0, 1.93) is scheduled to start for the Thunder against RHP A.J. Cole (4-2, 2.18) for the Senators. Limited tickets are available for Game 2 by going to or by calling the Thunder Ticket Office at (609)394-3300. Radio coverage of Wednesday’s game on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and online begins at 6:45 p.m.

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Senators face Thunder in Eastern League playoff series beginning tonight

Autographed Nik Turley 2012 Tampa Yankees baseball card from my collection
Autographed Nik Turley 2012 Tampa Yankees baseball card from my collection

The Trenton Thunder will take on the Harrisburg Senators for the Eastern League title tonight, starting a best-of-five playoff series at 7:05 p.m. at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton.

Nik Turley will take the hill for the Thunder against Blake Treinen for Harrisburg, the Washington National’s Double-A affiliate.

The series will continue in Trenton at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday night, when Bryan Mitchell of the Thunder takes on the Senators’ A.J. Cole.

On Thursday, the series shifts to Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg, Pa. for Game 3. Games 4 and 5 will be played on Friday and Saturday, if necessary. All will be 7 p.m. starts.

Can Am-League Playoffs

After falling behind 3 games to 1 in the best-of-seven Can-Am League Championship Series, the New Jersey Jackals won the last two days to force a deciding Game 7 in Quebec tonight. If the Jackals win, it will be their first Can-Am League title… if the Capitales win, it will be their fifth straight.

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Saturday with the Senators & Chien-Ming Wang’s rehab start

Chien-Ming Wang

The Harrisburg Senators seem to bring rain with them when they come to play in Trenton. They got rained out of a Sunday afternoon game early during the season, and that is why I was at Saturday night’s game. And what was originally scheduled as a single nine-inning game starting at 7:05 p.m. turned into a 5:05 p.m. doubleheader when Thursday night’s game was suspended.

And Saturday, the two teams had to dodge the raindrops again.

Washington Nationals’ starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is with the Senators on a rehab assignment, and he made the start in game one on Saturday. Melky Mesa hit Wang’s first pitch of the game over the “407 feet” sign in center field, but Wang kept the ball on the ground after that for the most part. Rob Segedin added another homer in the fifth, but Wang really struggled in the sixth when Zoilo Almonte, Luke Murton and J.R. Murphy all hit doubles.

Wang’s final line: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2 HR. He took the complete game loss.

Harrisburg first baseman Tim Pahuta provided a two-run homer off Trenton starter Vidal Nuno, and Senators’ third baseman Jose Lozada hit a sixth-inning sacrifice fly to account for the rest of the scoring in Trenton’s 4-3 first game victory.

I didn’t stick around for much of game two. The Thunder won that one 5-1, and rain prevented them from playing the full seven innings.

Here are some photos from Saturday: