|Goldpanners C Austin Wooldridge has major league arm
strength when throwing to second.
The Mat-Su Miners fans had a nice cold one in this match-up, and I’m not talking about beer (though there was plenty of that going around, I’m sure). The night’s battle with the visiting Goldpanners of Fairbanks was a long, chilly contest. The cloud cover has been continuous throughout the week, and as the game went on the wind began to blow out to right field and the rain started sprinkling. The 50 or so fans who stuck it out were all huddled together under blankets and sleeping bags, trying to block out the cold glacial breeze. Nonetheless, we got in a solid ballgame. And I got a few good pics and some good looks at some good players.
Tonight my stopwatch fingers were most successful with the catchers, timing their throws down to second. Both starting catchers really impressed me with their raw arm strength. Austin Wooldridge (Panners) and Kevin Whitehead (Miners) were both continuously throwing down to second in the neighbordhood of 1.9-2.0 seconds, glove-to-glove, which are solid major-league times. Kevin Roundtree came in for the Panners a later in the game; I only got one time on him but his throws in general didn’t look as strong. That being said, he was hitting the target really nice, including a sweet throw out of DeBiassi in the seventh.
Kyle Brule got the start for the Goldpanners tonight. He started off strong and looked like he was hitting the catcher’s glove exactly where it was set up. He was really making the mitt pop too, bringing a hard fastball. Things kind of unwound for him, though, about the time that Miners’ DH David Lyon tagged him for a homer over the right field wall, and that was pretty much it. I really like what I saw when he was cruising early on, I guess the Miners might have just rattled his cage a bit.
James Allen came on for the Miners during the eighth, and I was really excited to have another look at him. He seemed pretty wild during that inning, but if I’m not mistaken this was the third consecutive night they’ve run him out there, so maybe he’s just a bit gassed. On the other hand, he came in for the ninth and sat the Goldpanners down 1-2-3, so maybe he just needed to get dialed in.
How about Panners LF Evan Simonitsch? Two hits and two batted in, and a good stab at a diving catch to boot. He didn’t come up with it, but he knocked it down, so good effort. I also have to give credit to Miners 2B Matt Wessinger, he was one-for-four with a run, but that only tells part of the story. He was a tough out and had some really good at-bats, working the count and taking good cuts.
So those are my takes on some of the players of the night. Below are some of the good photos I took. Since I got a ton of Miners photos the other night I was mostly worried about taking pics of the Goldpanners, and having a using the remaining time to actually watch the game. These are just a few of the photos; you can see the complete set of 86 photos, most of them with player name/number/position in the caption, by clicking here. If you’ve got the player’s name for some of the ones I haven’t labeled yet, let me know. Of course, I don’t mind if you use some of these photos for your own blog or whatever, as long as you credit 49thStateHardball.com. Thanks! Anyhow, today I’m headed in to the Heroes of the Diamond at Bucs, so if you’ll be at Mulcahy, come find me and say hi.