Cubs Youngsters Show Flash of Future at Fitch Park
Playing in front of his family visiting from South Korea, 18-year old bonus baby Hak-Ju Lee ripped a three-run inside-the-park home run to key a four-run 7th, but the Cubs couldn't hold the lead, as the EXST Angels rallied to tie the EXST Cubs 5-5 in Memorial Day Extended Spring Training holiday action at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning. in hot & sunny Mesa, AZ.
The Cubs got off to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st when Jericho Jones bounced a single through the infield to score Logan Watkins from 2nd base.
Meanwhile, 18-year old Dominican LHP Jeffry Antigua and 19-year old Venezuelan RHP (and Carlos Zambrano clone) Larry Suarez were mowing down the Angels hitters, combining to throw six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and no walks over the six frames, while striking out 11.
The Cubs then plated their four-spot in the bottom of the 7th.
Jericho Jones led-off the inning with his second hit of the game, a ground single to RF. Juan Medina followed with a line drive single to CF, sending Jones to 2nd. Then with the Angels expecting a bunt (and defending the expected sac-bunt with the "wheel-play"), Jose Valdez crossed 'em up and hit-away, chopping a single over 2nd base into centerfield, scoring Jones and sending Medina to 2nd.
Lee was next, lining a fastball over the centerfielder's head to the batter's eye in dead center, and then high-tailing it around the bases to score (sliding) across home plate, just barely beating the relay throw from the Angels shortstop.
Fortunately Dusty Baker wasn't present to see it, because lead-footed catcher Juan Medina was the lead runner at 2nd base, and he really clogged the bases, as Valdez and Lee (essentially half a 440 relay team) almost ran up Medina's ass before Medina could score, with Hak-Ju rounding third before Medina could cross the plate, and Valdez having to put on the brakes and slow down to avoid passing Medina between third and home. With a more-timely relay by the Angels, all three of the Cubs very well might have been thrown out at the plate on the same play.
In Fitch Park Alumni news, the Cincinnati Reds acquired LHP Mark Pawelek from the St. George Roadrunners of the independent Golden Baseball League for ca$h con$iderations this past Friday.
As most of you probably know, Pawelek was the Cubs 1st round round draft pick ($1.5M+ bonus) in 2005 after setting all kinds of high school pitching records in Utah. but he was unable to move forward with the Cubs over four frustrating seasons, finally getting released during the last week of Minor League Camp this past March when the Cubs decided he just wasn't getting anywhere.
While Pawelek has seemingly struggled with his command more and more every year since signing with the Cubs, he is only 21, he has a clean medical history, and he throws a 93 MPH four-seam fastball and a hard-slider that breaks into the back foot of right-handed hitters. It will be interesting to see how Pawelek fares after getting a second chance with a different organization.
Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Francisco Guzman, CF: 0-5 (4-3, F-8, 5-3, 3-1, K)
2. Logan Watkins, 2B-SS: 1-4 (1B, K, L-5, E-6 - 1 R, 1 SB)
3. John Contreras, C-3B: 0-4 (5-3,. E-5, K, L-6 - 1 SB)
4. Jericho Jones, 1B: 2-3 (1B, HBP, 1B, F-9 - 1 R, 1 RBI)
5. Juan Medina, DH-C: 1-4 (1-3, F-7, 1B, F-7 - 1 R)
6. Jose Valdez, LF: 1-4 (4-3, 5-3, 1B, 3-1 - 1 R, 1 RBI)
7. Hak-Ju Lee, SS-DH: 2-4 (K, 1B, HR, F-7 - 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB)
8. Sean Hoorelbeke, DH #2: 0-4 (K, F-8, 6-3, 5-3)
9. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-3 (1B, HBP, 5-3, K - 1 CS)
10. Jose Made, 3B-2B: 1-4 (K, 2-3, K, 1B - 1 SB)
1. Jeffry Antigua - 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 2/1 GO/FO
2. Larry Suarez - 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 2/2 GO/FO
3. Josh Lansford - 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, (2 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 3/2 GO/FO
4. Cedric Redmond - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GO/FO
1. 2B Jose Made dropped ball (E-4) while attempting to tag baserunner on run-down play between 2nd and 3rd, allowing runner to get back safely to 2nd base.
2. SS Logan Watkins bobbled potential DP ground ball (E-6), allowing batter to reach base safely, eventually leading to two unearned runs scoring (including the tying run).
Juan Medina - 0-3 CS
WEATHER: Hot & sunny, temperature in the 90's.
ATTENDANCE: 33 people, three dogs, and a couple of dozen pigeons.