Show off your holiday lights and you could win an iPad! Enter your photo by December 13. Winner will be selected by popular vote.
A near-capacity crowd was at Calfee Park Sunday for the Mariners' first home win of the season.
Monday, June 24, 2013
PULASKI — Minor League baseball has been played off and on in some form at Calfee Park since 1935, so it was no surprise to see cars parking on sides streets several blocks from the field more than an hour prior to the Pulaski Mariners’ home opener Sunday evening.
The near-capacity crowd of 2,016 was treated to Pulaski’s first win of the season, a 10-5 verdict against the Bluefield Blue Jays. Pulaski fashioned a 16-hit attack and welcomed a strong season debut for starting pitcher Ramire Cleto.
“It was nice to see our offense break out today,” Pulaski manager Chris Prieto said. “Those guys are capable of doing that. We started [the season] trying to do a little too much. I think we had a good approach as a team today, hitting line drives and trying to stay in the middle of the field.”
In truth, the Mariners sprayed 15 hits all over the field and one well beyond it. In the seventh inning, catcher Toby DeMello completed a 2-for-3 night with a solo home run to left field when the flag was lazily fluttering to right. Earlier, DeMello capped a five-run first inning with a two-run single for a 5-1 lead.
Pulaski eventually pushed its advantage to 8-1 by the start of the seventh inning. That was plenty for Cleto, who to that point had surrendered a booming home run to Bluefield’s Derrick Loveless and little else.
He was lifted with no outs in the seventh after allowing another solo home run, this time to John Silviano.
“He was effectively wild today, but he did battle in those moments when he needed to make pitches,” Prieto said.
Cleto allowed seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Pulaski promptly countered Silviano’s home with two runs in the bottom of the inning, including DeMello’s shot. Loveless later finished off his four-hit night for Bluefield with a second home run.
While the Appalachian League is as far from the big leagues as possible in pro ball, Pulaski has seen its share of big league talent. The most recent alumnus is Brandon Bantz, who made his Seattle debut earlier this month.
The first big-leaguer was Everett Fagan, who pitched for the Philadelphia A’s during World War II after going 20-12 for the Pulaski Counts in 1942. The town’s glory years came during the 1980s when, as the Atlanta Braves affiliate, Jeff Blauser, David Justice, Steve Avery, Mike Stanton, Mark Wohlers and Javier Lopez passed through Calfee Park.
Coincidentally, Sunday’s home opener against the Blue Jays came 10 years after Pulaski’s debut as the Blue Jays’ affiliate. The Mariners took over in 2009.
The following season, a pitcher named Ryan Kiel made his professional debut with Pulaski. Sunday, he presided over his first home game as the team’s general manager.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I recognize a lot of the same fanbase. I’m working with a lot of the same fans that were cheering me on while I was playing and honestly, it hit me when I went on the field for the first pitch, coordinating everything. It was a surreal moment, just being out there and I’m glad things worked out the way they
Bluefield 001 000 130 — 5
Pulaski 510 101 20x — 10
W—Cleto, 1-0. L—Cardona, 0-1. HR—Loveless 2, Silviano, DeMello.
Weather JournalWarmth next 2 days hits icy wall