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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No Fire tonight, but the hot shoe is burning down the avenue: RailHawks play Panama friendly at 7 p.m.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Tonight's game in Cary was supposed to be against the Chicago Fire. The Wilmington Hammerheads forced a change in those plans two weeks ago.   Now the Fire are in Wilmington for the third round of the U.S. Open Cup while the ’Hawks play a recently scheduled friendly versus the Panama national team at 7 p.m. tonight. This will be the first time, team officials say, that the RailHawks have played a national team. The Panamanians are coming off a 2-0 defeat to Honduras in a game that was played Sunday at WakeMed. Attendance for that game was modest, at 3,766,...

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Durham Bulls Beat Columbus Clippers Again: Streaking?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 2:00 AM

The Durham Bulls had such a miserable home losing streak not long ago that for a few days it seemed like they'd never win again. They would, of course, and did, but it's still something of a surprise that, with Tuesday's 4-3 win over Columbus, the Bulls have now won four games in a row. It was the 10th Bulls game in the last 11 decided by two runs or fewer. They maintained their one-game lead over second-place Norfolk. This was another strong start for Wade Davis, who tossed six solid innings. He allowed all three Columbus runs, but one...

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Defense helps Mudcats end slide

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 1:02 AM

Finally. Michael Griffin (picured) had two hits including a homer, Juan Francisco added three hits including a double with an RBI, and six Carolina Mudcats had extra-base hits Monday night in a 7-6 road win over the Chattanooga Lookouts. The result ended Carolina's five-game losing streak. Steven Otterness, who was just called up from Dayton as Dallas Buck went on the DL with a sore arm, was the winning pitcher in relief. But the big plays came on defense in the ninth, as two Lookouts were tagged out at the plate trying to score the tying run. In the Chattanoooga...

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Monday, June 29, 2009

USA finishes off a sweep despite a blast from B.C.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 10:55 PM

COLEMAN FIELD/CARY It's the finale of the big five-game series between the USA National (Collegiate) Team and the high school boys from Canada. Before the game there's a huge networking event among a couple of dozen Chamber of Commerce organizations, etc. The Carolina Hurricanes and the Durham Bulls and the Carolina Railhawks all have booths, as do numerous well-known local restaurants. At least what serves as the press meal is healthy tonight - until they bring in the leftover chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon bagels. Bill Coleman, long-time former Cary town manager, throws the ceremonial pitch on a night the...

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Carolina drafts big and re-signs a biggie

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 6:20 PM

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 --> Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 --> This just in: Jussi Jokinen is the first of Carolina’s free agents to scratch the j’s and dot the i’s – at least in spirit – from his summer abode in Europe. Jokinen signed a two-year contract that will pay him $1.5 million next season and $1.9 million in 2010-2011 after a jaw-dropping postseason in which he scored seven goals, three of which were of the game-saving variety. Jokinen will look to replicate that success in the regular season. Anton Babchuk and Tuomo Ruutu...

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Blue Devils will head to blue water

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Duke will have some early-season women's basketball in Mexico this season, playing in the Caribbean Challenge Nov. 26-27 in Cancun. Duke will play Marquette and Western Kentucky, while Arkansas State, Cleveland State and Iona are also in the challenge. The Blue Devils are in the event for the first time since 2006, when under a different format they beat Bowling Green, SMU and Pittsburgh for the title. Joanne  P. McCallie's club returns two starters - junior Jasmine Thomas (pictured) and senior Bridgette Mitchell - off last season's 27-6 team. Also back are seniors Joy Cheek and Keturah Jackson, juniors Karima...

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Mudcats' Wood, Heisey most popular in SL North All-Star voting

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Carolina Mudcats starting pitcher Travis Wood (pictured) and former center fielder Chris Heisey are the only unanimous selections to the North Division team for the Southern League All-Star game July 13 at Birmingham. Heisey won't be able to play since he had been promoted to Louisville, but he will be in the Major League Futures Game the day before in St. Louis. Five Mudcats are scheduled to suit up for the North. Outfielder Todd Frazier was named, as well as utility infielder Zack Cozart and pitchers James Avery and Jordan Smith. Players were selected by a vote of Southern League...

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Mudcats alumni, Bulls' foes in TV game Tuesday afternoon

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 12:36 PM

MLB Network will be showing the Louisville Bats' game against the Gwinnett Braves at the brand-new Gwinnett Stadium on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Chris Heisey (pictured), who was recently promoted from the Carolina Mudcats, should be in the game for Louisville. Durham Bulls fans can of course catch up how both the Bats and the G-Braves are doing. Louisville has a bit of a lead in the IL's West Division while Gwinnett - known as the Richmond Braves before last season - is one of the Bulls' two pursuers in the South. In Southern League news the Jacksonville Suns' Brian...

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Durham Bulls Edge Columbus Clippers in 13: Just another day

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 2:42 AM

Catching is hard enough on the human body as it is. You have to put on all that heavy, oppressive gear, squat on those aching knees, take foul tips off the fingers and shoulders, crab around for balls off the plate and in the dirt, leap up and down constantly to make high-pressure throws, and run down the line on every infield grounder to back up first base---not to mention, you know, have guys throw baseballs at you as hard as they can. It's also your job to suggest what sort of baseball they should throw: Fastball? Splitter? Curve? Rose-breasted...

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Mudcats' slide continues at five

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 12:48 AM

Things just aren’t going well for the Carolina Mudcats, and that didn’t change a bit on Sunday night. Andrew Lambo’s two-run double and Gabriel Gutierrez’ RBI single keyed a four-run rally in the eighth, giving the Chattanooga Lookouts a 6-5 win over the Mudcats in the opener of their six-game series at AT&T Field. It was Carolina’s fifth straight loss. Carolina ace Travis Wood started the game but didn’t take the decision, as that went to reliever Sean Watson (1-4). Javy Guerra was the winning pitcher in his first decision of the season. The Mudcats, now 1-6 in the second...

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

USA pounds the kids from up North again

Posted By on Sun, Jun 28, 2009 at 10:22 PM

DBAP/DURHAM OK baseball fans, today I'm "Safe at Home in Durham" (although I live in Brier Creek now) for Game 4 of the USA National Team's five-game set with Canada. The Red, White and Blue, which has won all three by comfortable scores, will be favored once again. Not just because the U.S. is just better than Canada in baseball at the amateur level, but also because the Canucks have sent an 18U team.  Good for the young boys from Canada to get some experience - I mean every golfer would like to play a round with Tiger Woods, right?...

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Hard times for Carolina RailHawks, but good riddance to June; Rennie: Help may be on the way

Posted By on Sun, Jun 28, 2009 at 2:35 PM

WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—When the final whistle blew after five minutes of stoppage time, and the RailHawks were once again without a victory, losing 2-1 to the Puerto Rico Islanders, the normally unflappable Martin Rennie gave vent—ever so briefly—to his feelings. A water bottle on the grass felt the brunt of Rennie's one-time professional kick, before the young coach composed himself and shook hands with Puerto Rico's formidable coach, Colin Clarke. June has been brutal for the RailHawks: With only one game remaining this month—a friendly against Panama on Tuesday (a substitute for what woulda/coulda/shoulda been a 3rd round...

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Durham Bulls Beat Columbus: Over Easy

Posted By on Sun, Jun 28, 2009 at 2:00 AM

A week and a day ago at the DBAP, the Bulls jumped on Pawtucket Red Sox' starter Michael Bowden for six runs in the first inning and appeared to put a quick end to both the game and their five-game losing streak. But that contest came during a horrendous stretch in which Durham kept finding ways to lose: the Bulls didn't score again, and Pawtucket chipped away at the lead and finally came from behind to win, 8-6. On Saturday night against the Columbus Clippers, the Bulls charged out of the gate again, this time even more quickly: Henry Mateo...

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Team USA Jacks Canadians 14-5

Posted By on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 11:18 PM

Maybe it was the managerial skills of "Trader Jack" McKeon that inspired a Red, White and Blue comeback on Saturday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Canada burst out to a 5-0 lead after half an inning, but the USA National Team pounded out 14 hits to claim a 14-5 victory and win its third straight to start the five-game series. Florida State's Tyler Holt (pictured) reached safely six times with three hits including a pair of doubles with two RBI. It was also another big day at the 18U Tournament of Stars at the National Training Complex in Cary,...

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Mudcats fall to Suns again, depart on a very long bus ride

Posted By on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 10:50 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON It's the finale of a long six-game series between the Carolina Mudcats and the Jacksonville Suns, and the homeboys are badly in need of a win. The Mudcats lost the first-half championship of the Southern League's North Division by one game to the Huntsville Stars, but with one game left in the series with the Suns Carolina is in last place in the division and on a three-game losing streak. It's Day One without center fielder and Major League Futures Game-bound Chris Heisey, and "Myron Noodleman" (pictured) is in the house to entertain. Michael Griffin is down...

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Durham Bulls on the Move: Sonnanstine Demoted; Abreu... Delayed?

Posted By on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 10:09 AM

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="298" caption="Andy Sonnanstine, seen here practicing for the DBAP's "Sumo Challenge" contest, will join the Durham Bulls"][/caption]Basically, with the readmission of Chad Bradford and Scott Kazmir to the Tampa clubhouse, the Rays looked around at their starters and their starters' stats, and sent the worst one down to Durham. Yes, it's much more complicated than that, with the usual "options" arcana coming into play; but ultimately Andy Sonnanstine, who has started 69 games for Tampa since 2007, would be staying put at the Trop if he wasn't struggling so badly. The folks at DRaysBay have more and...

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Durham Bulls Beat Toledo in 15: Let's Not Do That Again

Posted By on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 1:16 AM

Had you been listening to the Bulls radio broadcast via streaming internet audio right after the Bulls beat Toledo, 5-3, in 15 innings on Friday night, you would have heard a brief, muted conversation between Neil Solondz and his Capitol Broadcasting producer/ engineer, Beth Ellison. After Solondz and Ellison coordinated the postgame wrap plan, Solondz, who had sounded exhausted since I turned on the radio in the 13th inning, around 11:00 p.m., exhaled heavily and said, "Let's not do that again." The first game of this series, which Toledo won, 11-10, went 13 innings, the night after the Bulls took...

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Hague, Cole lead another USA romp; bring on Trader Jack

Posted By on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 12:07 AM

Rick Hague of Rice (pictured) had three hits including a pair of doubles with three RBI, leading a 19-hit attack as Team USA blasted Canada 8-1 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Friday night's win gave the USA victories in the first two games of the five-game set, which began with a 12-4 victory on Thursday night at the National Training Complex in Cary. The NTC was also the site Friday of the fourth day of the 18U Tournament of Stars, which will see crossover action today. Team USA will have a special guest manager for tonight's 7:05 p.m. National Team...

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Heisey called up to Louisville after Mudcats drop third straight

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 11:08 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON I get to the park extra early for fifth game of the Carolina Mudcats' series against the Jacksonville Suns, with the hosts needing two wins to salvage a tie. The mission is to connect with Mudcats southpaw Travis Wood, for a feature story about him as one of the minor leagues' top prospects for another website. But Wood doesn't seem to be around, and it takes a while to find out why. "Didn't you hear?" one teammate says. "He got promoted to Triple-A." Since it's not my first day doing this, I ask manager David Bell if...

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Durham Bulls on the Move: Bradford, Eldridge, Richard

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 3:52 PM

Good news for Bulls fans: Chris Richard has been activated after his second stint on the disabled list with hamstring tightness. Despite having missed 30 of the team's 74 games, most of them in the last month, the 35-year-old Richard still leads the team with 11 home runs, and his 37 RBIs are just one behind Ray Sadler's team-leading 38. Richard's .855 OPS is also tops on the team except for the very-small-sample-sized Rhyne Hughes's .978. Speaking of Hughes, I had suggested more than once that he would be sent back down to Montgomery once Richard was activated, but as...

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Durham Bulls Lose to Toledo: Close to the Edge

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 1:17 AM

The Durham Bulls' last seven games have been decided by two runs or fewer. To some degree that's just a function of chance, and if nothing else it makes for exciting baseball: every game has been meaningful all the way to the last out. Unfortunately for Bulls' fans, their team has lost five of those seven games, either because their bullpen has tanked or because their hitters failed to drive runners home in late-and-close situations---sometimes both. In last night's 4-2 loss to Toledo, it was the hitters who came up empty again. Bulls' Starter Carlos Hernandez was neither great nor...

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USA opens internationals with easy win over Canadians

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 12:01 AM

Team veteran Christian Colon of Cal State-Fullerton led the way with a homer, a double, a single and four RBI as the USA National Team rocked Canada 13-4 in their series opener on Thursday night at the National Training Complex in Cary. It was a busy day at the NTC, as the 18U Tournament of Stars continued with three games. In the National Team's game against Canada, Andy Wilkins of Arkansas added a homer and a single for two RBI for the USA, while Rice's Rick Hague chipped in a double and a single with an RBI. Drew Pomeranz of...

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mudcats have a tough ending, but Heisey gets a nice surprise

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 11:38 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON It's Game 4 of the Carolina Mudcats' first series of the second half, a six-game set against the chosen opponents from the Southern League's South Division that they'll play a whopping 25 times before it's all over. Tonight the Mudcats will try to even the current series at two games apiece. There are 10 former Mudcats - along with skipper Brandon Hyde, hitting coach Theron Todd and pitching coach Reid Cornelius - on the Jacksonville Suns' squad since Carolina was affiliated with the Florida Marlins before switching to the Cincinnati Reds for this season. One Mudcat gets...

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Colon, 3 ACC reps lead National Team

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 11:39 PM

Shortstop Christian Colon of Cal State-Fullerton is the only returnee from last season's undefeated club, while three ACC players join him on the 22-man roster of USA Baseball's National Team announced Wednesday night. Clemson infielder Brad Miller (pictured), Florida State outfielder Tyler Holt and Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal also made the cut. The team will play its first game against outside opposition tonight at 7 at the National Training Complex in Cary, where the Red, White and Blue will open a five-game series against Canada that will be played in Cary and Durham. The main events on the team's schedule...

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Ex-Mudcats bomb the current crop

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 11:21 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Back for Game 3 of the Mudcats' first series of the second half, and it's already been a very crazy day. And that's just the baseball part. I had already planned out the trip from USA Baseball's National Training Complex to Zebulon, but in about the fourth inning of the game involving uberphenom Bryce Harper I get one of many, many unrelated cell phone calls during the game. It's Durham Bulls publicist Matt DeMargel, reminding me of a commitment to talk about my career with a group of students from a journalism class he teaches. At 4:30...

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