Thursday, July 9, 2015

Christmas in July, Historic Homestand


The only thing that kept the Biscuits from a perfect Christmas in July was a Sunday one run loss and the lack of appearance by a bearded fat man in a red coat. It was an historic homestand for Montgomery, notable in so many ways.

It was our first look at the Biloxi Shuckers but we already know who they are - they are the same Huntsville Stars that Montgomery established a rivalry with by beating in each of the Biscuits championship seasons 2006-07. Would the rivalry remain intact, or would it be a new start for the two teams?


HOMESTAND RECAP
SATURDAY - RECORD K's, FIREWORKS FLOPS

The first game on Saturday was Fireworks Night, usually the 4th of July means a fireworks display but even though the city failed to impress with pyrotechnics the Biscuits team provided on-field fireworks when benches emptied on a rainy summer evening.

In the stands it was known as the night the 4th of July Fireworks flopped.
On the field its known as the Jacob Faria 14K Nearly No-Hitter.
It was almost known as the Skitz-Shuckers Brawl

How did it start?
Not really sure.

Maybe Reginatto took too much time to round the bases on his three run homer, maybe not. Maybe the Biscuits celebrated the lead a little too much, maybe not.

We were down a few runs, then we were up a few runs.

However it wasn't long before a Biloxi pitcher let a pitch fly near the head of a Montgomery hitter. Umpires quickly issued warnings to both teams, which Manager Brady Williams didn't like, since pitcher Jacob Faria was in the process of throwing a no-hitter.

Williams jawed at the umpire for the warnings. And at the Biloxi pitcher for throwing at a hitters head. Biloxi manager Carlos Subero took exception and charged from the visitors dugout to confront Williams between home plate and the third base coaches box.

Benches cleared and the two teams field managers would have thrown punches at each other if they had been close enough.

Biscuits skipper Williams was ejected during the fracas, but somehow the Biloxi team had completely avoided ejections, in spite of charging the field and being the general aggressors in the incident.
Brady Williams shares his feelings on being sent out early.


OH, BTW, NO HITTER ALERT!
SP Jacob Faria
Credit Biscuits starter Jacob Faria, he just kept striking out Biloxi hitters in spite of the threat of rain, tension among the players, manager ejections and an impending fireworks show that would never come.

He simply racked up a new Montgomery Biscuits regular season record 14 punchouts while allowing no hits in seven full innings.

Faria was at 106 pitches and came out for a reliever to start the eight inning, who promptly gave up a leadoff single to end the no-hit bid, but the bullpen held the lead for the 7-2 victory.


The scoring hero was Leonardo Reginatto, his three run home run in the fourth inning put the Biscuits up by five runs and was a no-doubter over the train tracks.



GAME TWO
SUNDAY SKIPPERS  FACE OFF

After having two Biscuits beaned by Biloxi pitchers yesterday, Brady Williams was vocal about his displeasure while passing the lineup cards at the plate before the game.
With umpires looking on, Biloxi skipper Carlos Subero took offense and started towards Williams with his own points.
As umpires step between them to keep the seperated, the two again had to be sent to their own corners, even before the game started.

The crowd wasn't quite aware of the tense discussion at the plate, the national anthem had yet to be sung and fans were just getting to their seats.

The game iteself was a high scoring affair, Biloxi edging Montgomery 10-9 in a back and forth contest. Highlighted by a seven run seventh inning, the batting hero was Hector Guevara, who launched a three run homerun to put Montgomery ahead.

Even though it was a loss in the books, the Biscuits felt good about the game, scoring seven runs in the seventh inning and coming back from a five run deficit always boosts a teams confidence.

While the bullpen did let the lead slip away, Biscuit hitters refused to quit and the game ended with the tying run at third. The lesson is, no matter what the score, don't leave the game early on these Biscuits!



GAME THREE
WELCOME NEW GUY

The lineup card faceoff was not an issue, Ozzie Timmons was sent to the plate before the game to swap lineups and discuss ground rules. No handshakes between teams but the umps didn't have to step between them either.
Nobody wants to mess with Ozzie.

SP Blake Snell
The game was a long, slow summertime Biscuits game. Blake Snell pitched in his usual cool style, striking out six in five innings.

Popular pitcher Mark Sappington came in and worked masterful relief for two frames.

The scoring was courtesy of a Justin O'Conner RBI knock in the first inning, followed by a balk that added a second run in the same frame. A handful of Biscuits singles after the YMCA put three more runs on the board and that was more than was needed on this night.

NEW GUY KYLE
Kyle McPherson
Next from the bullpen we saw new Biscuit Kyle McPherson making his debut in two good innings to nail down the W for the home team.

Before the game we had learned Kyle McPherson had been promoted, the following day it would be two more fresh arms in Brad Schreiber and Chris Kirch.



It was Christmas for the pitching staff to get three quality arms in two days! Plus the Biscuits won at home, 5-1 the final score.



GAME FOUR
THE JOEY RICKARD GAME

Ozzie with the lineup card worked well yesterday, so he has the duty again and it goes without incident.
SP Stanek

In the first inning, the Biscuits are handed a one run lead without even getting a hit. Leadoff hitter Rickard walked and moved up on another base on balls, a hit batsman and a third walk from Brewers pitching prospect Johnny Hellweg.

In true Biscuits style, they fail to score any more runs that inning, leaving the bases loaded yet leading one to nothing but being no hit.


After sending seven men to the plate in the first inning, Joey Rickard came to bat in the second inning and took a walk on five pitches. In the third inning the Biscuits chase the Biloxi starter and score four more times, including a Dayron Varona home run and of course, Joey Rickard walked.
Hellweg departs in the 3rd inning

Fifth inning, Rickard walked. Seventh inning, Rickard walked a fifth time.

I usually score the game and have a couple friends nearby that also score, so we knew this was something special to see one guy get five bases on balls in one game. Rickard had also stolen three bases, so it was a huge day for the speedy outfielder.

Still, it seemed unlikely that he would get another at bat when the 8th inning started with two quick Biscuit outs.

But likelihood be damned, the Biloxi reliever gave up a walk-single-walk sandwich and there stood Joey "Blanco Suave" Rickard at the plate for the sixth time in the game. Now with the bases loaded and two outs in the inning, the chance at history fell into place.

Joey strode to the plate and watched three balls pass out of the strike zone, then watched a pair of called strikes to load the count as full as the bases. The Biloxi reliever dealt Rickard a fastball that could have been called either way, Joey watched it pass without a swing and the umpire ruled it a ball.

Joey Rickard walked for the sixth time in the game, a run was forced in and as he trotted to first base, fans with scorebooks cheered a little louder than most, knowing what an achievement had been witnessed.

The Biscuits sealed the series win, the first time the Biloxi team had lost a series this year. The 10-7 score gave the win to Montgomery SP Stanek, who went five messy innings and allowed five runs.



GAME FIVE
PRUITT THROWS A "MADDUX"

Austin Pruitt didn't walk anyone and only struck out five, but he worked quickly and efficiently on getaway day. Allowing just three hits and not letting a runner past second base, the mustachioed starter invoked jargon just recently added to the baseball lexicon - he tossed a "Maddux"

Austin did him one better, using only 90 pitches, a whopping 67 of them strikes. With a game time of just two hours and four minutes, it was a classic pitchers duel. With two out in the seventh inning, Jake "BamBam" DePew sent the first pitch he was offered into the sticky night sky beyond the train tracks.

Another Biscuit win, 1-0 was the final and the Biloxi team could not wait to get out of Montgomery.



COMING UP - GET ON THE BISCUIT BUS

The Biscuits head to Pensacola to take on the Blue Wahoos for five games, then get a well-deserved day off.

The Wahoos are 6-7, tied for second in the South Division with, well, just about everyone else in the South Division.

Its a tight race in that South division, the Wahoos finished last in the first half and while they may not be serious playoff contenders they can still be a tough team on the field.


Following the P-Cola roadtrip, the Cubs affiliate Smokies will be the next two visiting teams at Riverwalk!


RIVAL BHAM LOOMS
As well as the Biscuits have played, the Barons are one game better so far in the second half. The Skitz have a month before facing Bham in person, so it will be interesting to see how the two division rivals fare before going into a potentially huge head to head series in Slagtown. Also, the Skitz end the season at home against, who else, the Barons.

Montgomery is starting to hit on all cylinders, if the bullpen changes are effective it could be a tough time to face the Grays, be it home or on the road.

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