BALTIMORE – The Bowie Baysox have cooled off from their strong second-half start, but remains in the chase for an Eastern League playoff spot.
The Baysox split six games and, at the end of the weekend, stood 1 1/2 games behind the Erie SeaWolves for first place in the Western Division in the second half of the season.
“I think this is a playoff team from the get-go,” shortstop Mason McCoy said on July 15. “I think everyone is starting to hit their stride; We are in our midseason form but I think this is a playoff team and we are starting to show it.”
Bowie started their most recent road trip with a 4-3 win in Trenton against the Thunder. Left-handed pitcher Zac Lowther won his 12th game of the season, pitching six innings and surrendering three runs off four hits in the performance. Infielder Chris Gittens gave the Thunder an early lead in the top of the first with a two-run home run.
The Baysox remained scoreless until the fourth inning when Rylan Bannon hit a sacrifice groundout to drive in Bowie’s first run. In the fifth inning, Anderson Feliz, who was designated hitting during this affair, grounded out as well but drove in another run to tie the game. The very next batter, catcher Carlos Perez, punched a double to center field to bring Feliz home.
With the game tied 3-3 in the top of the sixth inning and a runner on base, Perez connected with another double, this time to left field to drive in the game-winning run for Bowie.
The second game of the series on Aug. 7 was suspended in the fifth inning due to bad weather. The two teams picked it up the following day, and a Gittens home run gave Trenton a 3-2 victory.
Then, in the regularly scheduled game for Aug. 8 (which was just seven innings), Trenton posted a 4-0 victory as Bowie did not score a run in the 11 innings played.
The Baysox traveled to Richmond on Aug. 9 and bounced back with a 4-1 win. Pitcher Tyler Herb led the way by giving up just one run on two hits in seven innings. This was his third start since coming back to the team from Triple-A Norfolk. He’s now 2-0 in three starts with a 1.42 ERA. Plus, Herb has given up only five hits in his 19 innings.
Infielder Jesmuel Valentin gave Bowie a 1-0 lead with an RBI double in the second. Then, in the third, outfielder Cedric Mullins reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and then scored when Feliz connected with an RBI double.
In the fifth, Feliz added an RBI single, which was followed by Perez’s RBI groundout for the 4-1 lead. Cristian Alvarado closed it in the ninth for his sixth save of the season.
Bowie completed a doubleheader sweep on Aug. 10, beating the Flying Squirrels 1-0 and 5-3. In the first game, pitcher Dean Kremer continued his recent success by striking out 10 in five shutout innings and improved to 8-0 in his past 10 starts.
“He got ahead of a lot of guys…” Baysox Manager Buck Britton said about his pitcher on July 29. “Dean’s done a nice job for us, and he has to continue to work on stuff and get crisp.”
Valentin drove in the game’s only run in the top of the sixth. Alvarado also earned his seventh save this season.
In game two of the doubleheader, Bowie trailed 2-0 before turning things around in the fifth inning. Infielder Willy Yahn came up with the bases loaded and his infield single scored one before McCoy followed with a three-run double. A Perez sacrifice fly gave Bowie a 5-2 lead.
The Baysox tried for a four-game sweep on Aug. 11 but Richmond had other ideas, coming away with a 3-1 victory. Lowther returned to the mound and threw seven solid innings, only giving up three runs while striking out eight in the losing effort. Bowie’s lone run came when Feliz scored on an error but it was not enough on this day. The Baysox return home for a four-game stand against Richmond from Aug. 13-15 before returning on the road to face Altoona over the weekend.
“When you are going through a long season, winning helps get through the grind,” Britton said. “Winning helps you come to the ballpark, ready for work for that next day whereas you fall into a rut, it can sometimes be hard. Credit to these guys for not giving in because it could have easier to throw in the towel.”
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles named starter Michael Baumann as their Minor League Pitcher of the Month. He made five starts last month for Bowie and gave up only five earned runs in 32 2/3 innings.
Baumann also was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for July 15-21. That week, he was 1-0 with 14 strikeouts along with a 1.84 ERA over two starts.