Quad-City Times from Davenport, Iowa on April 27, 2003 · 55
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Quad-City Times from Davenport, Iowa · 55

Davenport, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 27, 2003
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Midwest League D5 Sunday, April 27, 2003 Quad-City Times WWWQCTIMES.COMSPORTS 'v-.v " "arf 1 John SchulUQUAD-CITY TIMES Closer Pat Neshek, 2-0 with three saves, is the only River Bandits pitcher who has not given up a run this season. Closer brushes up on opposing hitters Bandits' Neshek studies statistics before every game KEEP an eye on Pat Neshek. It's only fair, after all, because the closer in the Quad-City River Bandits' bullpen is keeping an eye on every hitter he might face this season as he makes his way around the Midwest League. "I've been keeping notes on batters since I was a sophomore in college. I want to be as prepared as I can be when I take the mound," Neshek said. "I print out the stats every day and take a look at what guys are doing, if they've had success putting down bunts, that kind of thing. I make a few notes just in case." He'll study them before games, hoping to tuck away a tidbit or two that might prove beneficial when the game is on the line and the ball is placed in his hand. The 6-foot-2 right-hander has put that knowledge to good use so far this season for the River Bandits. Neshek, a sixth-round pick of the Twins in baseball's 2002 draft, is the only Quad-City pitcher who hasn't allowed a run this season. In seven appearances he's collected two wins and three saves, striking out 12 batters and walking four in eight innings. It's a role he filled last season at Elizabethton, where he had 15 saves and a 0.99 ERA in 23 appearances. The effort followed a record-setting career at Butler University, where the Brooklyn Park, Minn., native was a starter and left as the school's all-time strikeout leader. Things have been adding up for this finance major for some time. "He has what we call the Neshek knack for repeating pitches, something some guys hesitate to do, but not Pat," Quad-City pitching coach Gary Lucas said. "If he has confidence in a pitch, he will come back to it, and he's very much in control of himself and knows what he wants to do. Because of that, he's been very good under pressure." And he does it his own way "When I first saw myself on tape in college a couple of years ago, I wondered who I was watching the shoulder blades were almost touching and the elbows seemed like they were coming together behind the back. It looked bizarre, but it's just something that comes naturally" Neshek said. "It's the way I've always pitched, and since it doesn't seem to be broke, I don't think I'm going to try to fix it." Remembering an er when TEVE BATTERSON Around the Horn pitchers with unorthodox deliveries were the norm at the major-league level, Lucas is glad that is the case. "Today's game is filled with cookie-cutter deliveries, and Pat's is unique," Lucas said. "His delivery point comes at the plate from such a low angle, it's different, and it can make it tough on right-handed hitters. "I kind of like it. It's something that could help him go a long way in this game. He's a pitcher who is always attacking the zone, he has a good mix of pitches, and with that delivery, which he is very consistent with, he has an element of deception that is only going to help him as long as he continues to work." That shouldn't be a problem. Neshek has more than warmed up to his role in the bullpen. "It's a totally different deal than starting just coming out and throwing as hard as I want and going right after guys," Neshek said. "When I'm on the mound, I'm having a good time. "There's pressure that goes with it, but I like the idea of going in and trying to shut a team down. That's my job." It's a job that Lucas said Neshek handles well. "He's shown a willingness to study and learn and make adjustments when the need is there, and that helps him a lot," Lucas said. "It's a trait that will be beneficial to him later on, because as pitchers get to AAA and get closer to the big leagues, they'll see hitters who have been seeing them for years, and you can't be stubborn and not make adjustments. You have to try to stay a step ahead of the hitters." That's a part of the game Neshek enjoys. "The better prepared I am, the better off I'll be," he said. "I've always tried to approach it that way." And now he's approaching the game on a full-time basis, figuring that finishing his final three classes at Butler can come later. "I want to see where this game takes me. I'm curious," he said. Curious ... and always prepared. Steve Batterson can be contacted at (563) 383-2290 sbatterson qctlmes.com. Win helps Carter find positives But Q-C manager isn't happy about blowing 4-run lead By Jon Gremmels FOR THE TIMES Blowing a four-run lead isn't the way to impress the boss, but at least the Quad-City River Bandits rallied for a victory to provide some positive feelings for manager Jeff Carter. After surrendering four runs in the eighth inning, the River Bandits scored a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win Saturday at John O'Donnell Stadium. It was the third time this season out of nine wins that RIVER BANDITS-DRAGONS SCOREBOARD Score River Bandits 6, Dragons 5 at John O'Donnell Stadium On deck The four-game series with Dayton concludes with a 2 p.m. game today at John O'Donnell. Once again it's a Rookie's Reading Program Day, with students from 10 area schools being honored for successful completion of reading programs. Josh Miller (2-0, 2.70 ERA) will start for the River Bandits against Dayton's Edward Valdez (1-0, 3.18). Signs of offensive life Quad-Cities recorded 1 1 hits Saturday, perhaps a sign that the offense is about ready to blossom. This should ignite us," said Danny Matienzo, who got his first hit for the River Bandits, a two-run home run in the fifth inning. The River Bandits tacked on six points to their team batting average, which was the third-lowest in the Midwest League entering the game (.221). A positive sign was the 2-for-4 day at the plate for designated hitter Edgardo Lebron. It was his second two-hit game in a row since ending an 0-for-18slump. "I'm the right way right now," Lebron said. "I'm trying to wait for the ball, then hit it hard somewhere." Lebron said one solution was going to the plate with a clear mind. "I was thinking too much, getting behind in the count," he said. Lebron drove in the first run of a three-run first inning Saturday. His single to right field was the third in a row to open the game. "I just tried to relax and hit it somewhere," he said. If the team's hitting keeps improving, it won't surprise the players. "Once everyone starts hitting, we're going to win some games," said Scott Whitrock, who went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to six games. Streaks end Despite the positive signs on offense, a pair of River Bandits saw modest hitting streaks end Saturday. Dusty Gomon, who had hits in five consecutive games, went 0-for-4. Omar Burgos was 0-for-3, ending a four-game hitting streak. Hill on the hill Quad-City starter Josh Hill had his longest outing as a professional. Hill, a reliever in all but two of his 44 games in three minor-league seasons, allowed four hits and one run in 4 innings. "He was going on three days' rest," manager Jeff Carter said, citing Hill's pitch count (71, unofficially) as the reason for his exit one-third of an inning shy of the five innings needed to qualify as a winning pitcher. "It was unfortunate. We tried to get him through the last inning." Big crowd A crowd of 2,017 fans took in Saturday's gorgeous weather at the ballpark. It was the largest crowd of the year at John O'Donnell Stadium. How they scored RIVER BANDITS FIRST: Seth Davidson singled to left field. Kaulana Kuhaulua singled to right field, moving RIVER BANDITS THIS WEEK Today What: Dayton Dragons at Quad-City River Bandits When: 2 p.m. Where: John O'Donnell Stadium, Davenport FYI: Quad-Cities concludes its eight-game homestand today. ... Dragons pitchers lead the league with 82 walks. ... Quad-Cities is looking for its first Sunday win of the season. The River Bandits are 0-3 to start the year. ... Quad-Cities entered the weekend series with a 2-2 record against Eastern Division teams. ... The Reds affiliate is managed by Donnie Scott. On tap: Mediacom Kids Giveaway Day to the first 500 kids through the gate, Verizon Wireless Reading Program Day. Monday-Wednesday What: Quad-City River Bandits at Beloit Snapper When: 6:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday Where: Poljlmann Field, Beloit, Wis. they won a 6-5 game in their final at-bat. "The bad part is we let that team hang around too long," Carter said. "We had some momentum going and needed to keep the pressure on them. That's the disappointing part. The positive was we came back and did something about it." Quad-Cities seized the momentum early, striking for three runs in the first inning. It was the first time since Tuesday that it led. "We scored real quick, and normally that puts guys away, but we let them back in it," said Quad-City right fielder Scott Whitrock, who capped the inning by fouling off three pitches with two strikes, then doubling in a run on a 2-2 pitch from Dayton ...... ' -r I f - . . Jeff CookQUAD-CITY TIMES Quad-City shortstop Seth Davidson forces out Dayton's Joe Votto at second base and fires to first to complete a double play Saturday at John O'Donnell Stadium. Davidson to third base. Edgardo Lebron singled to right iield, scoring Davidson and sending Kuhaulua to second base. Dusty Gomon flied out. Pitcher Jan Granado hit Danny Matienzo with a pitch, loading the bases. Omar Burgos hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Kuhaulua. Scott Whitrock doubled to left field, scoring Lebron and moving Matienzo to third base. Trent Oletjen flied out. 3 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on base. River Bandits 3, Dragons 0. DRAGONS FIFTH: Justin Davis homered to right field. Joey Votto walked. Hector Mateo hit into a second-to-shortstop-to-first double play. Dominque Lewis singled to left-center field. Erik Lohse replaced Josh Hill as the Quad-City pitcher. Junior Ruiz grounded into a forceout at second base. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on base. River Bandits 3, Dragons 1. RIVER BANDITS FIFTH: Kuhaulua field out. Lebron singled to left field. Gomon struck out. Matienzo homered FYI: Quad-Cities has won two of the three games between the teams this season. ... Only two teams, Eastern Division leader Lansing and Cedar Rapids, have a better record over the past 10 games than the 7-3 mark the Snappers have recorded. ... Beloit's Prince Fielder ranks just behind the Bandits' Seth Davidson on the Midwest League hitting charts. Fielder, who shares the league lead with five home runs, is hitting .339, while Davidson is seventh at .345. Thursday-Saturday What: Quad-City River Bandits at South Bend Silver Hawks When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday Where: Coveleski Stadium, South Bend, Ind. FYI: The Silver Hawks' .200 team batting average is the lowest in the league. ... South Bend will challenge Quad-City catchers. The Silver Hawks lead the league with 28 stolen bases. ... South Bend's Jarred Ball shares the Midwest League lead with nine stolen bases. ... After finishing their series at South Bend, the Bandits play 12 of their next 16 games at home. Stewrj Batterson starter Jan Granado. Dayton narrowed the deficit to 3-1 on Justin Davis' leadoff home run in the top of the fifth inning, but Danny Matienzo answered with a two-run home run in the bottom half of the fifth to increase the Quad-City lead to 5-1. "It started with (Dayton starter Jan) Granado giving up three runs in the first," Dayton manager Donnie Scott said. "He knuckled down, but got a pitch up to the kid who hit it out." The home run, a long drive that cleared the scoreboard, was Matienzo's first hit since joining the River Bandits earlier in the week. "It was exciting," said Matienzo, who hit five home runs for Elizabethton last year to left field, scoring Lebron. Burgos struck out. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 left on base. River Bandits 5, Dragons 1. DRAGONS EIGHTH: Lewis hit an infield single between second and third. Ruiz was hit by a pitch by Lohse, moving Lewis to second base. Kevin Howard struck out. Brad Correll struck out. Mark Schramek singled to right field, scoring Lewis and moving Ruiz to third base. Ryan Hanigan walked, loading the bases. Peter Tautor replaced Lohse on the mound. Davis walked, forcing in Ruiz and keeping the bases loaded. Votto singled to right field, scoring Schramek and Hanigan and sending Davis to third base. Mateo grounded into a forceout at second base. 4 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on base. River Bandits 5, Dragons 5. RIVER BANDITS NINTH: Whitrock singled to left field and advanced to second base when Correll bobbled the ball trying to field it. Oeltjen reached base on a bunt single that advanced LUMBERKINGS THIS WEEK Today What: Clinton LumberKings at Peoria Chiefs When: 2 p.m. Where: O'Brien Field, Peoria, III. FYI: Peoria's Jon Santor and Travis Hanson rank first and fourth in the league in hitting with averages of .390 and .377, respectively. ... Hanson also leads the league with 22 RBIs. ... Clinton is second in the league with 25 steals, helped by Juan Senreiso's league-leading total of nine. ... Peoria pitcher Blake Hawksworth leads the league with 27 strikeouts. Monday-Wednesday What: Wisconsin TimberRattlers at Clinton LumberKings When: 7 p.m. Monday-Tuesday: 2 p.m. Wednesday Where: Alliant Energy Field, Clinton, Iowa. FYI: Mariners affiliate Wisconsin has struggled lately, winning two of Its past 1 0 games. ... Wisconsin pitchers have struck out 139 batters, fourth In the league. ... after being drafted by Minnesota in the 23rd round last June. "I was looking for a fastball. They kept challenging me the whole game, and I put good wood on it." The River Bandits then appeared to have the game on cruise control until Dayton's eighth-inning uprising. "Obviously, I'm disappointed with losing, but I'm happy with the way we battled," Scott said. And the River Bandits were happy to pull out the win with their run in the bottom of the ninth inning. "It means a lot to come back and win," Matienzo said. "It shows a lot from this team." Contact the sports desk at (563) 383-2285 or sportsqctimes.com. Whitrock to third base. Felix Molina hit a sacrifice fly to left field. 1 run, 2 hits, 1 error, 1 left on base. River Bandits 6, Dragons 5. Box score DAYTON ab r h bl Q-C ab r h bl Lewis cf 5 12 0 Davidson ss 4 1 1 Ruiz dh 4 10 0 Kuhaulua II 1 Howard 2b 4 0 0 Correll II 5 0 2 Lebron dh 4 2 2 Gomon 1b 4 0 0 Schramek 3b 5 1 Matienzo c 3 12 Hanigan c Davis rf Votto 1b Mateo ss 3 1 3 1 Burgos 3b 3 0 0 Whitrock rl 4 12 Oeltiencf 4 0 2 3 0 3 0 0 0 Molina 2b 3 0 1 Totals 33 6 11 Dayton 000 010 040 5 10 Quad-Cities 300 020 001 6 11 One out when winning run scored E Correll (2). DP Ouad-Cities 1 LOB Dayton 9: Quad- Cilies 5. 2B Whitrock (7). Correll (3). HR Davis , (1), Matienzo (1). SF Burgos. Molina. CS Molina (11. Davis (11. DAYTON Efl BB SO Granado Booker Jumelles (L. 1-2) Coney OUAD-CITIES Hill Lohse 5 0 2 4'k 3 Tautor (W. 1-0) VI, Jumelles pitched to one batter in ninth WP Granado (3) HBP Matienzo (by Granado), Ruiz (by Lohse). T 2:38. Alt. 2,017. Umpires Brian Reilly (b); BoJo Morris (hp). The TimberRattlers' Rich Dorman is fifth in the league with a 0.55 ERA. On tap: Monday, All Faith's Night, with $2 general admission with a church bulletin; Tuesday, 50-cent hot dogs and Econo Card Day; Wednesday, Quad-City Business Journal Day, with $1 admission with a business card. Thursday-Saturday What: Lansing Lugnuts at Clinton LumberKings When: 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 2 p.m. , Saturday Where: Alliant Energy Field FYI: The Cubs affiliate makes its only Clinton visit of the year beginning Thurs- ' ' day. . . . Lansing leads the Eastern Divi- sion, helped by a strong start from its ; pitching staff. The Lugnuts have allowed a league-low 80 hits and have a combined ' team ERA of 1.86, almost a point below the second-best effort in the league. ... ' Lansing's Andy Sisco is off to a 2-0 start on the mound with a 0.49 ERA. On tap: Thursday Mr. Potato Head ' Night and Thirsty Thursday; Friday, Clinton Community College Night; Saturday, : Hot Wheels Giveaway Day. ., Steve Battffson

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