Experience of watching Class A ball in Stockton

Stockton Ports picked up a win over the Modesto Nuts in Class A minor league ball on Thu Aug 4, 2022 in Stockton (@stocktonports photo)

Thursday, August 4, 2022

By Eric Naiman and Lewis Rubman

Modesto Nuts (51-48). 10. 8. 2

Stockton Ports (33-66). 7. 11. 3

STOCKTON–Watching a ball game in the San Joaquin Valley is different from doing it on the shores of San Francisco Bay. For one thing, the temperature at game time was 93 degrees.

Here, in the low class A California League, Grantland Rice’s oft quoted lines “For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name,/He writes – not that you won or lost – / But how you played the game,” takes on new meaning. It’s of no great moment that the 33-66 Stockton Ports, on their way to the worst season in franchise history, dropped an 11 inning 10-7 decision to the 51-48 Modest Nuts. What matters to the organizations to which the teams belong-the A’s and Mariners, respectively-is how well individual players performed. To the fans, it’s the pleasure of the players’ performances.

No one on the Ports’ roster figures in the list of Oakland’s top 50 prospects. Gone are the days when you could spend a balmy summer’s night watching the Matts, Chapman and Olson, strut their stuff on the banks of the delta. The Nuts, on the other hand, boast of four top prospects. They are, in descending order Harry Ford, tonight’s DH, left fielder Gabriel González, and two. switch hitters, third baseman Milkar Pérez and center fielder Jonatán Clase. Modesto’s starting lineup also included the delightfully named right fielder Walking Cabrera. The home plate umpire’s moniker also was a source of innocent merriment, Daniel Bytheway.

The top of the third was neither innocent nor merry. Modesto scored one run, no hits, one error, a passed ball, a balk, and two wild pitches. (The top of the second was pretty ugly, too, but you get the picture).

It wasn’t a well played game, but it was an exciting one. The victorious Nuts used four pitchers. They were, in order of appearance Jake Miednik, Chris Jefferson, José Geraldo, and the winner, Raúl Alcántara.

Ed Baram took the loss for The Ports sent five men to the mound, Yehizón Sánchez, who started, followed by Luke Anderson, Hunter Brreault, Ed Baram, who took the loss, and Clark, who closed out the top of the eleventh.

The outstanding player of the game for Stockton was probably Junior Perez, whose two doubles produced two RBIs. He also stole third base twice, dying there in the third and in the eighth, and temporarily prevented Modesto from taking the lead in the eleventh with a perfect strike from center field to the plate. Unfortunately, he probably could have won the game for Stockton in the bottom of the eight but failed to tag up after a fly ball to shallow left. (He had taken much more of a risk on the previous play, when he just managed to elude the tag on his second steal.)

The middle relief pitching for Stockton was also a strong point. Luke Anderson pitched two and two third innings, striking out five and allowing just one hit, albeit a home run. Hunter Breault loaded the bases in the ninth by walking two and allowing one hit, but he got out of trouble by striking out the other three batters he faced.

The Ports were one pitch away from escaping the tenth inning without having allowed a run, but at the plate and on the mound they were lacking in the clutch, leaving runners on third in both the eighth and ninth. They are 8– 25 in the second half of the season. They must play better than .500 ball for the rest of the year if they are to avoid having the worst record in the franchise’s history.

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