Valley pitchers factors in wins for minor-league clubs in Florida, plus other news from the diamond on this Tuesday…..

Good Tuesday morning. Here’s our diamond cuts for today from baseball.

We start down in Florida, where two Valley pitchers both were factors for their Florida State League minor league teams in victories last night.

First, in Tampa, the Tampa Yankees overcame a nine-run third inning from the visiting Clearwater Threshers, and rallied from the resulting 10-3 deficit to the Philadelphia Phillies-affiliated squad for a wild 13-11 win last night at home in Tampa, FL. The New York Yankees-affiliated team used a big inning of their own – a five-run sixth – to fuel the comeback, and getting the win on the hill in relief was North Bend’s Trevor Lane. The 2012 Mount Si High School grad worked 1 2/3 perfect innings and struck out one to pick up the victory to go to 2-1 with Tampa, 6-3 overall on the season split between the class “advanced A” Yankees and the class “A” Charleston River Dogs in South Carolina, who Lane pitched for earlier this season before being promoted to Tampa.

Down I-75 in Port Charlotte, the Charlotte Stone Crabs, affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays, blanked the visiting Jupiter Hammerheads, a Miami Marlins affiliate, 5-0. Lane’s fellow 2012 MSHS alum, North Bend’s Reece Karalus, teamed up with starting pitcher Eduar Lopez on a three-hitter, with Karalus working the ninth inning and pitching perfect with one strikeout and receiving no decision.

The wins moved Charlotte to 54-57 overall on the season and Tampa to 67-46. In the second-half standings, the Yankees are first in the league’s North Division, currently 28-15 in second-half games, and Charlotte is fourth in the FSL’s South Division, at 23-20.

With both locals playing last night, it’s likely they will not pitch again until later this week. Tampa, starting Thursday, hosts the New York Mets’ affiliated St. Lucie team, perhaps giving Lane another crack at pitching to the minor leagues’ most talked-about player this season, outfielder Tim Tebow, while Charlotte, also starting Thursday, is at the Pittsburgh Pirates-affiliated Bradenton. Those games will be on MILB.tv.

The two ex-Wildcats were both drafted by their respective Major League Baseball parent organizations in recent drafts out of college – Karalus in 2015 by Tampa Bay and Lane last year by New York.

Difficult end to season for Johnson, Wenatchee: The past 24 hours have been very tough for the Wenatchee Apple Sox. First, the West Coast League college summer team on Sunday saw their playoff hopes dashed on a heart-breaking walk-off loss to the Bellingham Bells in what was supposed to be the final game of the regular season for the team, then word started to get out the Sox were dealing with something else: the tragic passing of one of their players.

Wenatchee played their final game of the season last night, a makeup game from smoked-out games last week against the Corvallis Knights, and the Sox fell at home in Wenatchee to the visiting Knights 12-1. Evan Johnson, the Snoqualmie product and senior-to-be at Northern Colorado, went 1-4 and finished his season hitting .321. The 2014 Mount Si HS grad finished in a tie for the league RBI crown with Kelowna’s Taylor Wright, both with 54 and setting a new league record in the process. Johnson previously broke the Wenatchee team season RBI record last week.

As noted, the Sox were playing the game still reeling from the news that one of their pitchers from this season, Tom Watanabe, passed away suddenly over the weekend. No cause of death has been reported for the hurler, who was from Sacramento and was set to pitch next spring at the University of Nevada-Reno. A moment of silence was held prior to the game last night in remembrance of Watanabe, who played with Wenatchee until about two weeks ago and finished with no decisions in four appearances. He was listed posthumously as the starting pitcher in last night’s game, and his Wenatchee jersey was displayed on the pitchers’ mound at Wenatchee Valley College’s field, where the game was held, as part of the pregame tribute.

We here at the SVSJ offer our condolences to the Apple Sox and Watanabe’s family on their awful loss.

Wenatchee finishes its season at 29-25.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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