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 Tuesday, August 9, 2005




Frazier, Hoagey duel to a 2-2 tie

Tri-City's Brian Frazier and Silver Creek's Ryan Hoagey throw gems in Game 4.


 By Steve Smull              



    SPRINGTOWN -- The Emmaus connection of Brian Frazier and Adam Maini kept the Silver Creek bats at bay, but the Fleetwings needed a clutch two-run double off the bat of Ben Swatsky to earn a 2-2 tie, which is the way it ended after nine innings.


    The series remains 2-1 Raiders, and Game 4 will be replayed in its entirety right back at Springtown on Wednesday at 5:45.


    Frazier, a tall, lanky, hard-throwing right-hander (and sophomore-to-be at George Washington University), would have pitched a shutout with a little luck. The Raiders scored an unearned tally in the second inning and then added another run on a classic "Silver Creek" homerun (about five-to-ten feet over the CF fence) in the third. Otherwise, Frazier's first Trico start (he did have a relief appearance in the regular season) would have been a complete-game shutout win.


    On to the action, not that there was much offense as the Raiders' Ryan Hoagey (who was a senior at Saint Joseph's University this past spring) matched Frazier pitch for pitch.


    The Raiders were hitless with two outs in the second inning when Kevin Thompson drew a six-pitch walk. Joe Bubba was down 0-2, but when Frazier didn't get the ball inside enough (to where Arner set the target), Bubba cracked a single to right-center. Thompson either foolishly or aggressively tried to take the extra base (third base) on the hit, testing the strong arm of center-fielder Matt Marcks. Thompson was dead, but the throw was a live one, sailing over everybody's head and out of play. Since Thompson made it safely, we'll say the "aggressive" base-running move paid off, as he scored and Bubba advanced to third and it was 1-0 Silver Creek. Frazier got a strikeout to stop any further damage.


    MVP candidate John Stezenko led off the third for the Raiders by lofting the third pitch he saw about 10 feet over the hitter-friendly, center-field fence and it was now 2-0 Raiders. But Frazier would retire eight in a row after that, until Stezenko singled with two outs in the fifth.


    Meanwhile, Tri-City started getting some runners into scoring position the second time around against Hoagey, but they left runners on the corners in the third and fourth innings. Then in the fifth, the Fleetwings got their leadoff hitter on base for the first (and only) time.


    Scott Garger laced a liner to left-center that went off the glove of the diving Thompson for a single. Marcks laid down a beautiful bunt single that put two on with nobody out. A failed bunt attempt was followed by a wild pitch to advance both runners. But the crafty Hoagey induced a strikeout for out number one.


    Up came Big Ben.


    Hoagey threw a great change-up to get the count full, but Swatsky went down and ripped the 3-2 off-speed pitch just fair down the left-field line for a double, scoring both Garger and Marcks.


    Tri-City 2, Silver Creek 2.


    And that is the way it would stay. And stay. And stay.


    Hoagey did not allow a hit after Swatsky's double. He walked one and retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced, including 10 in a row to close out the game.


    Frazier, however, would get a major scare in the eighth.


    After Stezenko's leadoff homer in the third, Frazier retired eight in a row until Stezenko singled in the fifth. After that single, he did not allow another hit until Stezenko led off the eighth.


    Frazier got ahead of him 0-1, but Stezenko then launched a drive to deep right that may have left the park on a day where the ball was carrying better, but on Tuesday, it stayed in the park and almost landed in the glove of the diving Tom Williams. The ball skipped off the end of the diving Williams' glove at the fence and went for a leadoff double.


    And now for the heart of the Silver Creek lineup.


    Pat Higgins was called on to sacrifice, but after one failed attempt, the count was in his favor at 3-1. But Frazier came back and got a huge strikeout for out number one. Jeremy Bartha stepped up and hit a slow roller toward third that went for an infield single to put runners on the corners with one out. Pat Hollander was next up. Frazier quickly got him in an 0-2 hole and then got him to tap back to the mound on the next pitch for out number two. Bartha advanced to second on the play, but it left first base open, where the Fleetwings gladly put Eric Schmitt with an intentional walk to load the bases. Frazier fell behind 2-0 on Mike Bortz, but came back strong and induced a fly-out to center to end the threat, and the Tri-City faithful all collective caught their breaths.


    Hoagey sat the bottom of the Fleetwings' lineup down in order in the top of the ninth and reliever Maini (in for Frazier, who had thrown 116 pitches) did the same to the bottom of the Raiders' lineup in the bottom of the ninth.


    Had the skies not been overcast, another inning may have been possible, but the umpires correctly called the game after the ninth as darkness was starting to settle in.


    Marcks was 2-for-4 for the Fleetwings and Stezenko was 3-for-3 with a homer for the Raiders.