Scoreless for eight innings, Drew Anderson and the Huntsville Stars capitalized on a throwing error on a pickoff throw to get pinch-runner Freddy Parejo in the 9th and parlayed it into another last-at-bat, one-run victory on a warm, but windy Friday night at the friendly confines. With a 0-1 count, Anderson greeted a belt-high fast ball and lined it into left field close to the line, scoring Parejo from third to give the Stars their 3rd straight win and put them, once again, over .500 and back in 1st place in the SL North……. The Stars, who’ve made clutch hitting a specialty this year, are 11-5 in one-run games. It was also the 10th time this year the Stars have won with a late-inning (7th or later) comeback.
Mike Jones, who went at least five innings only once in 12 stars last year, did not win for lack of support, but he supplied a fine six-inning outing and gave fans hope for more strength to what has been, in my opinion, the weakest and least successful starting rotation in many years. Jones threw 89 pitches, 53 for strikes (59.5%).
West Tennessee pitcher Kyle Parker was successful in keeping Huntsville hitters from going deep (12 groundouts to 7 fly outs). In fact, the Stars didn’t get the ball out of the infield until Vinny Rottino singled to right-center over the leaping glove of 2nd baseman Ron Prettyman with two out. That was the Stars first and only hit until the 9th inning game-winner. Only one other ball was hit in the outfield in the first five innings for the Stars — a weak pop up to Prettyman by Yohannis Perez in the 5th…… The Stars put runners on 1st and 2nd in the 2nd thanks to a bad hop grounder that went through Prettyman and a two-out walk to newcomer Taylor Green, but Kevin Melillo bounced out weakly to first to end the inning…….. After Shane Justis struck out swinging to open the bottom of the 9th, reliever Nicolas Hill walked another fresh face, Frank Catalanotto, on a 3-1 pitch. Pinch-runner Freddy Parejo then made it to third when Hill, who was 1-and-2 on Jonathan Lucroy, threw over the head of 1st baseman Marshall Hubbard, allowing Parejo to third, setting up Anderson and the game-winning hit on an 0-1 pitch.
Baseball Card night attracted only a little more than 1,200. The cards, printed by Grandstand, a major company that has done minor league cards for years, are picture-framed by a heavy red and blue border in the motif of the Stars logo. In the lower left corner is Pepsi’s new logo and on the right, the name of the player. The team name “Huntsville Stars” is inside the border, in upper and lower case in blue with a white border on the left side of the card extending almost up to the corner, then in the upper left, leaving some space in the corner where the team name ends, is the year, “2009”. In the upper right corner is the Stars logo…. The photos and the design were selected by media relations man Brian Massey with a little help from his friends. I got more than a dozen autographed tonight. Nicest autograph: Adam Stern. Derrick Ellison’s autograph included a bible reference to Hebrews 11:6. Jeremy Jeffress and Chris Errecart, who are not with the team, are included in the set.
Saturday, Bobby Bramhall will try to get his first win and extend the Stars’ winning streak to four against Luis Munoz (1-1). Munoz started the season with Class AAA-Tacoma (PCL) and was sent down with an 0-3 record to the Diamond Jaxx on May 19.
Kevin Melillo is struggling through a 3-for-27 slump……. Freddy Parejo is 5-for-36 (.139) with one RBI…… Adam Stern is in a bit of a slump. He’s 5-for-30 going back to the start of the Mobile series……. Who’s hot? Vinny Rottino. 9-for-25 in 7 games with 3 doubles and 7 RBIs and Shane Justis, who despite his 0-for-4 night, is 14-for-28.