In the highly anticipated Baseballtown debut for Phillies top prospect Alec Bohm, the third baseman came through with a two-run homer which helped lead the Reading Fightin’ Phils to a 6-1 win over the Portland Sea Dogs. The home run was Bohm’s second in six games at Double-A, with his first coming in Portland last Sunday. Then on Friday, Bohm was named to play in the Futures Game in Cleveland, which is held during the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Break.
The format for this season’s game has been changed to matching the top prospects from National League teams against top prospects from American League teams rather than a United States versus World teams and it was also shortened to a seven-inning game. The game will be played July 7th at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast by the MLB Network.
Another Phillies angle to the game is that three former Phillies will be a part of the American League’s coaching staff. Jim Thome will handle the duties as manager, with his former manager, Charlie Manuel, serving as his bench coach. Another former Phillies player, Nick Punto, will be the first base coach for Thome’s team.
As for the Fightins, they came off a 3-3 roadtrip that took them to Portland and Trenton. JoJo Romero’s five innings were the perfect starter, and a late burst from the R-Phils that pushed across four runs in the eighth inning gave the crowd of 6,410 something to cheer about as Reading improved to 11-4 against Portland.
In a rematch from last Friday night at Hadlock Field, Romero and Dedgar Jimenez were much better the second time around. Romero dodged any potential trouble early, working in a double-play after Jarren Duran led off the ballgame with a single into left field. Romero later went 1-2-3 in the fourth inning, keeping the game scoreless while totaling four strikeouts and just three singles allowed.
Jimenez stepped it up with his best start against the R-Phils, with three strikeouts in the second inning highlighting one perfect trip through the lineup. In the fourth, former Fightin Adam Haseley, playing in his third rehab game with Reading, singled into right to lead things off. Two pitches later, Bohm tucked a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left for his second Double-A homer to break the scoreless tie and make it 2-0.
The Sea Dogs came back right away against Romero during his final inning in the fifth. Luke Tendler continued his strong week against Fightins pitching by leading off with a single. Romero then induced a pair of flyouts, but number-nine hitter Deiner Lopez doubled to left to score Tendler and cut the deficit in half at 2-1. Romero (2-3) ended his night with his fifth strikeout, with Jonathan Hennigan picking up the slack by working a perfect sixth inning.
Portland’s best chance to break through came against Hennigan in the seventh when Tate Matheny led off with a single to put the tying run at first base. Back-to-back bunt base hits from Tendler and Brett Netzer loaded the bases with no outs, but a visit from pitching coach Aaron Fultz saved the evening. On a 1-0 offering to catcher Charlie Madden, Henningan got a groundball to Bohm, with the throw coming home for the force and the first out of the inning. Then, on the very next pitch, Lopez bounced a grounder to Bohm that started an inning-ending double play around the horn to keep the 2-1 lead intact.
Facing Kevin Lenik in the eighth, the R-Phils loaded the bases on a hard single into right by Bohm and consecutive walks to Mickey Moniak and Darick Hall. The next two pitches plunked Grenny Cumana and Luke Williams to widen the lead to 4-1, and in his first at-bat of the game, Cornelius Randolph put it out of reach with a lined single up the middle to tack on two more.
Jakob Hernandez struck out three batters in the eighth inning, and Addison Russ finished the ninth in a non-save situation by inducing a pop-up and two more strikeouts to give Reading game one of the series.