Rain a minor inconvenience to players
With a giant green wall in front of him and the Citgo sign towering in the distance, Lowell Spinners first baseman Sean Killeen found himself unable to put into words the star-struck feeling he was experiencing as he stepped out from the home team’s dugout in “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.’’
For the Greenfield native, playing in the annual Futures at Fenway game with his family and girlfriend looking on just seemed surreal.
“It’s an experience in itself. I’m pretty excited to play in Fenway,’’ said Killeen, who signed with the
For the fifth consecutive year, Fenway Park hosted the minor league doubleheader, with the short-season Single A Spinners opposing the Jamestown Jammers and the high Single A Salem Red Sox squaring off against the Potomac Nationals.
Appearing in the Futures game for the first time since 2008, the Spinners sent righthander Madison Younginer to the mound to make his fifth start of the season.
But a day that began with bright, blue skies and high anticipation quickly turned dark and gloomy as the Jammers routed Younginer and the Spinners, 7-2, with the game called with two outs in the top of the sixth because of heavy rains.
Younginer (2-3) lasted only three innings, giving up five runs (four earned), six hits, and four walks, striking out one. For the Jammers, Saul Gonzalez (1-1), a 21-year-old righthander from Panama, notched his first win, hurling 4 2/3 innings of two-run ball while whiffing three.
After escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first, Younginer, a 2009 seventh-round pick, failed to get out of the second unscathed as the Jammers jumped on the 19-year-old to string together a four-run inning.
After two quick ground outs, Brent Keys and Harold Brantley drew back-to-back walks before shortstop Noah Perio doubled to center on a 91-mile-per-hour fastball to give Jamestown a 2-0 advantage.
One batter later, Marcell Ozuna, a 19-year-old power hitter from the Dominican Republic, drove home Perio on a single to left and advanced to second after Lowell’s Brandon Jacobs could not field the ball cleanly. The error proved costly as Ozuna scored the final run of the inning on Ryan Fisher’s single to right. Fisher, however, was thrown out by Bryce Brentz, the 36th overall pick in the 2010 draft, trying to stretch his hit into a double.
Ozuna put together an impressive 4-for-4, three-RBI day, including a solo home run in the fourth off Spinners reliever Charle Rosario that flew over the Monster.
Trailing, 6-0, in the fifth, the Spinners finally got on board when second baseman James Kang launched a two-out double off Gonzalez to score David Renfroe. The Spinners added another run when Felix Sanchez slid home on a wild pitch by Gonzalez.
The Jammers tacked on another run before the game was called.
The rain didn’t wipe out the players’ excitement in getting a chance to play on the same field that once was home to baseball immortals such as Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Carlton Fisk.
“It’s awesome,’’ said Kang, who was drafted in the 45th round last month. “The fans are amazing. It’s impressive to see these fans come out for us; I really appreciate all the fans.’’
Though the second game of the doubleheader was postponed, members of the Salem Red Sox still were awed by the second-oldest ballpark in the majors.
“It’s unbelievable,’’ said Salem third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who is ranked 13th in the system on soxprospects.com. “You only see it on TV and wonder what it’s like in person and when you really get here, it’s nothing like you think it would be. It’s awesome.’’