Results tagged ‘ Great Falls Voyagers ’

Notes from around the system

Former Dash shortstop Marcus Semien was named a Double-A Year-End All-Star (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Former Dash shortstop Marcus Semien was named a Double-A Year-End All-Star (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

The minor league regular season wraps up Monday, so playoff races are winding down while All-Star teams are announced. It is no surprise, then, that there has been plenty of activity within the White Sox system. Here are some notes:

  • Triple-A Charlotte concludes its 24-year run at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., this weekend. The Knights will move to the second BB&T Ballpark in Minor League Baseball for next season. The new facility will be in downtown Charlotte, and the organization is already gearing up for the big opening.
  • At the Double-A level, a pair of 2012 Winston-Salem alumni were honored earlier today. First baseman Dan Black and shortstop Marcus Semien have earned spots on the Southern League’s Year-End All-Star team. The 2012 Carolina League MVP, Black is hitting .289 with 17 homers and 81 RBIs, numbers that are very similar to his efforts here in the Triad last year (.315, 17 HR, 88 RBIs).
  • Prior to his promotion to Triple-A earlier this month, Semien was an MVP candidate in the SL. The former California star hit .290 with 15 homers and 49 RBIs in 105 games with the Barons. Since joining the Knights, Semien is a .246 hitter with four long balls and 14 RBIs.
  • Plus, Semien’s 108 total runs between Birmingham (90) and Charlotte (18) are good for a share of the top spot in all of Minor League Baseball. He is tied with highly-touted prospects Byron Buxton (Minnesota) and Chris Taylor (Seattle) in this category.
  • In short-season baseball, Great Falls continued their impressive playoff streak Friday night. In their regular season home finale, the Voyagers clinched a postseason berth for the seventh consecutive season with an 8-7 victory over Billings.
  • Thus, Great Falls will join Birmingham as White Sox affiliates in the playoffs. Like the Dash, Charlotte, Kannapolis and Bristol will not be vying for a league crown next week.

Winston-Salem will open a three-game set in Wilmington tonight at 6:05. Stay tuned for a preview of the Dash’s final series opener of the season.

- Brian

A look around the system

Chris Sale tossed his fourth complete game of the season to headline a big week for Dash alums (Dave Bilbrough/WS-Dash).

Chris Sale tossed his fourth complete game of the season to headline a big week for Dash alums (Dave Bilbrough/WS-Dash).

There have been many Dash alums in the news as of late, so today we decided to highlight some of the biggest news from a few of our alums over the last several days.

Sale dominates Tigers

The week started on a high note at the big league level as 2010 Dash alum Chris Sale tossed his fourth complete game of the season in a 6-2 win over Detroit on Monday. The southpaw lowered his ERA to 2.73 and pushed his strikeout total to 167 for the season, both which rank him in the top five among American League starters. After an extra-inning victory last night, the South Siders can sweep the first-place Tigers with a victory today.

Heisler’s stint in Triple-A

With plenty of roster shuffling happening over the last week or so in the organization, Triple-A Charlotte found themselves in need of an extra outfielder. As a result, Adam Heisler, who had recently been transferred to Kannapolis after hitting .272 in 58 games with Winston-Salem, was the man selected for the trip down to Fort Mill, S.C.

Simply put, Heisler delivered. He played in three games for the Knights, going 4-for-10 with two runs scored and two RBIs. He returned to the Intimidators last night, and all he did was hit a grand slam, the first one by an Intimidator in 2013.

Beck makes Double-A debut

Late last week, righty Chris Beck, who was an All-Star in the Carolina League this year, made his debut for the Birmingham Barons against the Mobile BayBears. Beck drew a tough assignment, with right-hander Archie Bradley, one of the most highly touted pitching prospects in the minors, on the other side. The former Winston hurler held his own, giving up three runs in six innings to notch a quality start, but he was outdueled by Bradley and saddled with the loss. Beck will try to collect his first Double-A win again tonight against the Jacksonville Suns.

Fellow 2013 Dash alum Cody Winiarski made his Double-A debut last night, and pitched very well for Birmingham. The right-hander gave the Barons two spotless innings of relief while striking out three Suns. Winiarski was promoted to Double-A on Monday after saving 10 games for the Dash in a team-high 36 appearances.

Great Falls has gotten off to a 12-2 record in the second half, giving them a great chance to make the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

Great Falls’ 12-2 record in the second half has given them a great chance to make the Pioneer League playoffs for the seventh straight year.

Great Falls’ hot streak

The White Sox Pioneer League affiliate, the Great Falls Voyagers, has been extremely hot as of late. After finishing four games out of first in the first-half standings, the Voyagers have come out firing on all cylinders in the second half.

They had their nine game winning-streak come to an end yesterday with a 10-4 loss to Ogden but are a sizzling 12-2 in the second half. Through 14 games, the Voyagers already enjoy a six-game lead in the division race.

If Great Falls wins the second half, they will make the Pioneer League playoffs for the seventh consecutive year. The last two years they made it under current Winston-Salem skipper Ryan Newman, who guided them to the 2011 Pioneer League Championship.

The Dash open up a quick three-game homestand tonight at BB&T Ballpark as they welcome the Salem Red Sox to town. Check back later today for a preview of tonight’s series opener.

- Rob

Support the White Sox affiliates…and their food

Minor League Baseball is hosting a #foodfight here in 2013. Some of the most unique concession items throughout the minors are vying for the claim as the best food in Minor League Baseball.

Three White Sox affiliates are trying to win the #foodfight, and they need your help! Let’s take a look at these unique items.

Charlotte Knights – Fried Moon Pies

charlotte

Moon Pies have been spotted on the Dash’s bus during road trips, thanks to Wayne Davis and the Dash’s Booster Club. The Knights decided to make the popular dessert even more, um, nutritious? It is quite a delicious treat for those taking in baseball at Knights Stadium.

Charlotte’s Fried Moon Pies are in the “Gut Busters” category. My other favorites in that grouping are the Homewrecker (Lake Elsinore) and the Helmet Nachos (Lakewood).

Great Falls Voyagers – The Orbit Burger

greatfalls

Apparently, Montana boasts some delicious burgers. Named after the Voyagers’ mascot, the Orbit Burger is a slider that includes a collection of toppings that are up to you to choose. It’s like an all-you-can-eat salad bar, except with burger toppings. Sign me up!

The Orbit Burger is in the “Scrumptious Sandwiches” category. I believe that its toughest competition will come from the Aloha Burger (Montgomery) and the Surf and Turf Burger (Delmarva).

Bristol White Sox – Grand Slam Pie

Bristol

The Appalachian League is known for its lack of “outside noise.” It is Minor League Baseball in its purest form. If you attend an Appy League game in Bristol, you could enjoy quite a unique concession item in the Grand Slam Pie, which is corn chips and includes chili, salsa, cheese, sour cream and jalapenos all together on one plate.

Bristol’s Grand Slam Pie will try to win the “Local Legends” category. Watch out for the Waffle Sundae (Inland Empire), the Curverogie (Altoona), Chicken Bog Balls (Myrtle Beach) and the Scrapple Sandwich (Wilmington). This may be the most loaded grouping in the competition.

Good luck to our White Sox brethren. We hope they can make it into the #foodfight Final Four! Be sure to vote for your favorites here.

The Dash and Mudcats conclude their weekend series this afternoon at 2. Pregame coverage begins at 1:45 here. Talk to you then.

- Brian

Game 3 Preview – Winston-Salem at Lynchburg

Mills Cup Championship Series
Winston-Salem Dash at Lynchburg Hillcats
Tuesday, September 11 — 6:05 p.m.
Game 3 — Series tied 1-1

GAME 3 BACKGROUND:

For the first time this postseason, the Dash will play away from BB&T Ballpark. During the regular season, Winston-Salem went 4-6 against the Hillcats inside Lynchburg City Stadium, which is one of two places (Salem’s LewisGale Field the other) where the Dash had a record below .500 this season. Because of the split at BB&T Ballpark, Winston and Lynchburg are down to a best-of-three for the Mills Cup Championship. The Dash led the circuit with 16 three-game series victories.

STARTING PITCHERS:

Winston-Salem — RHP Erik Johnson (4-3, 2.74 ERA): The Dash send Johnson to the mound after he lost Game 1 of the SDCS. Johnson was one strike away from six no-hit innings before surrendering four runs and exiting the contest before the sixth came to an end. During the regular season, the former California Golden Bear recorded a quality start in all but one of his High-A appearances. That start came against Lynchburg August 23 (5IP, 6R).

Lynchburg — RHP Gus Schlosser (13-7, 3.38 ERA): Schlosser claimed the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year award after finishing first in the league in wins (13) and innings (165.1), tied for first in starts (27), second in strikeouts (139), and third in earned run average (3.38) and WHIP (1.14). Winston held its own against the righty, mustering five runs on 11 hits in 13 innings of work. He did whiff 18 Dash swingers in those two efforts.

DASH DOTS:

  • Since 2005, the MCCS has been tied at one game apiece four times, and the road team for the final three games has won the series twice. In all four instances, the winner of Game 3 went on to take the series in four games.
  • Frederick won back-to-back games in Kinston last year, while the Keys also won consecutive games at Salem in 2007 for the crown. The Dash lost two straight at Potomac two years ago, while the P-Nats claimed the title with two wins at home over Myrtle in 2008.
  • The Dash’s bullpen has allowed only one earned run in 16.1 innings this postseason. Lynchburg’s only earned tally against a Dash reliever came in the ninth inning Sunday during Taylor Thompson’s six-out save. Thompson had not surrendered an earned run since July 8, a span of 18 appearances.
  • Winston-Salem third baseman Chris Curley has hit safely in eight games with the Dash since a promotion from Low-A Kannapolis August 31. The former Florence Freedom star is a combined 13-for-28 (.464) with eight runs between the regular season and playoffs.
  • In its first five playoffs games, Winston-Salem has only scored in 10 of a possible 42 innings. However, four of those 10 frames have brought about three or more runs.
  • Winston has hit six homers in the playoffs, while the rest of the league has combined for the same number of long balls. Three Dash swingers–Courtney Hawkins, Marcus Semien and Kevan Smith–each have two apiece.
  • The Dash’s 4-6 regular season mark in Lynchburg included a pair of two-out-of-three series losses and a four-game split. Despite owning a two-game gap in the 10 meetings, the Hillcats only outscored Winston-Salem 49-44 at home.

AN EYE ON THE WHITE SOX FARM:

Since the Dash last played Sunday afternoon, one White Sox affiliate advanced to a championship series, while another fell two runs short. Triple-A Charlotte took down Indianapolis three games to one to clinch a spot in the Governors’ Cup Finals against the Pawtucket Red Sox. Game 1 of this best-of-five series is tonight at 7:05 in Rhode Island. On the flip side, rookie-level Great Falls fell short in its bid to repeat as Pioneer League champions. The Voyagers lost a deciding Game 3 of a PL semifinal to Missoula 4-2 Sunday.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Dash fans can catch the club’s quest for a 12th Mills Cup by tuning in here. Fans are encouraged to tweet @WSDashBaseball and use the Dash’s official playoff hashtag: #Dash12. The Pre-Game Dash begins at 5:45 p.m. and features a chat with manager Tommy Thompson and an audio look into the Dash’s offensive bounce back Sunday afternoon.

- Brian

Game 2 Preview – Lynchburg v. Winston-Salem

Mills Cup Championship Series
Lynchburg Hillcats at Winston-Salem Dash
Sunday, September 9 — 2:00 p.m.
Game 2 — Hillcats lead series 1-0

GAME 2 BACKGROUND:

The Dash could not parlay their momentum from consecutive wins to claim the Southern Division Championship Series. Winston-Salem dropped Game 1 of the best-of-five Mills Cup Championship Series to Lynchburg 3-1 Saturday night at BB&T Ballpark. Winston only managed three base runners against Hillcats hurler Michael Lee, who spun six and a third scoreless innings for the victory.

As a result, the Dash will aim to even the series in the final game at BB&T Ballpark this season. Winston boasted the best home regular season record in full-season minor league baseball (48-23), but the Dash are just 2-2 in the Triad in the playoffs.

STARTING PITCHERS:

Winston-Salem — RHP Justin Collop (9-4, 4.17 ERA): In his playoff debut, Collop will face the Hillcats for the fifth time in 2012 today. The righty owns a 5.56 earned run average over 22 and a third innings against Lynchburg. His best outing against the Northern Division champs came July 3 when the former Toledo Rocket turned in six and two-thirds scoreless frames, but the Hillcats roughed up Collop five days later to the tune of eight runs on 12 hits.

Lynchburg — RHP Ryan Weber (2-4, 3.38 ERA): Weber spent much of the regular season in the bullpen, amassing 14 relief appearances and five starts. The former 17th round pick pitched out of the bullpen in Game 2 of the Northern Division Championship Series three days ago. Weber surrendered three runs on six hits over three innings during the Hillcats’ lone loss thus far in the postseason.

DASH DOTS:

  • Over the last seven seasons, the team to win Game 1 of the Mills Cup Championship Series has gone on to win the Carolina League crown five times. However, in each of the last two seasons, the winner of the series opener has lost the next three and, thus, the series. Frederick overtook Kinston last year after the K-Tribe won Game 1, while Winston bested Potomac in the opener of the 2010 title set before the P-Nats won three straight.
  • Winston-Salem’s bullpen has yet to allow an earned run in the 2012 playoffs. The Dash have tossed 11 and two-thirds of scoreless relief, and every reliever has thrown at least one inning except for Kevin Vance, who boasts the bullpen’s lone win of the playoffs after working two-thirds of an inning Thursday night in Game 2 of the SDCS.
  • Dash outfielder Courtney Hawkins has driven in a run in each of the first four playoff games. Hawkins hit a solo shot in the fifth inning Wednesday and the seventh frame Thursday before an RBI fielder’s choice in the SDCS-clinching win Friday. Last night, the White Sox top pick in this year’s draft plated a run with a single. In his nine games with Winston-Salem, the Corpus Christi, Texas, native is 9-for-32 (.281) with three homers, six RBI and six runs scored.
  • Since moving into BB&T Ballpark facility prior to the 2010 campaign, Winston is a CL-best 134-77 (.635) inside the gem of the Carolina League. With a win today, the Dash would claim their 51st home win overall, which would surpass the 2010 squad. That team went 50-23 at home in the regular season and playoffs combined.
  • For what it’s worth, Winston-Salem is 13-6 on Sundays and 15-12 in day games this season. This will be the final Sunday contest and afternoon affair this season.
  • Keep in mind that the Dash and Hillcats have played six extra-inning games this season, which is more than Winston-Salem played against the rest of the circuit combined. Seven of the other 21 games between the division champions have been decided by one or two runs, so these two teams play some great games. This one is more important than all of them.

AN EYE ON THE WHITE SOX FARM:

Outside Winston-Salem, it was a great day for Chicago’s minor league system. Triple-A Charlotte punched its ticket to the International League Finals with a 6-4 win over Indianapolis Saturday night. The Knights will play the Pawtucket Red Sox in Game 1 Tuesday night in Rhode Island. Also, rookie-level Great Falls sneaked past Missoula 5-4 thanks to Adam Heisler’s two-run, walk-off home run to force a deciding Game 3 in the Pioneer League semifinals.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Dash fans can catch the club’s quest for a 12th Mills Cup by tuning in here. Fans are encouraged to tweet @WSDashBaseball and use the Dash’s official playoff hashtag: #Dash12. The Pre-Game Dash begins at 1:40 p.m. and features a chat with manager Tommy Thompson and a look back at the Dash’s thrilling home season.

- Brian

Game 1 Preview – Lynchburg at Winston-Salem

Mills Cup Championship Series
Lynchburg Hillcats at Winston-Salem Dash
Saturday, September 8  — 7:00 p.m.
Game 1 — Series tied 0-0

GAME 1 BACKGROUND:

Both the Dash and the Hillcats won winner-take-all games Friday night in the Division Championship Series. Winston-Salem plated four in the second and five more in the third en route to a 9-0 win over Myrtle Beach at BB&T Ballpark. Lynchburg nipped Wilmington 2-1 in the NDCS finale thanks to Braeden Schlehuber’s solo shot in the bottom of the eighth inning.

As a result, these two franchises will meet for the Carolina League title for the first time since 2003, when Winston swept Lynchburg in three games for what is the club’s most recent championship. The Dash were last in the Mills Cup Championship Series in 2010 when Potomac won three games to one. The Hillcats’ last trip resulted in a sweep of Salem in 2009.

STARTING PITCHERS:

Winston-Salem — RHP Steve McCray (9-3, 3.30 ERA): McCray faced the Hillcats six times during the regular season. In a team-high 27.2 innings against Lynchburg, McCray boasts a 3-1 mark and a 3.58 ERA. In his final start of the regular season August 31, the former Tennessee star blanked the ‘Cats over seven innings for the victory. McCray, who makes his first playoff start tonight, is currently riding a four-game win streak dating back to August 9, a run that matches a career high.

Lynchburg — RHP Michael Lee (3-3, 3.93 ERA): A former Red Sox farmhand, Lee has made 11 appearances and nine starts for the Hillcats this season. Lee has allowed a run in every game since his scoreless Lynchburg debut, but he did turn in a very solid start against Winston-Salem August 21 in Virginia. He matched a season high with seven innings of work and surrendered three runs, only one of which was earned, on five hits.

DASH DOTS:

  • Winston-Salem has won a record 11 Mills Cup titles since joining the Carolina League as a charter member in 1945. The franchise’s last crown came in 2003 when the Warthogs swept Lynchburg in the championship set. This is Winston’s second trip to the Mills Cup Championship Series since becoming the Dash prior to the 2009 campaign. Potomac downed the Dash three games to one in 2010.
  • The Dash outscored Myrtle Beach 12-1 in the final 12 innings of the Southern Division Championship Series, and Winston only needed three scoring frames to post that crooked number.
  • Winston-Salem’s pitching staff did not need all that support. The Dash posted a 1.67 earned run average in the SDCS. Starter Chris Bassitt was the story Friday because of a career-high seven scoreless innings. Bassitt, who only allowed four Pelicans to reach base, twirled the second-longest start for any hurler thus far in the CL postseason.
  • With his grand slam Friday night, Kevan Smith has plated 27 runs in his 24 High-A games. Between Winston-Salem and Low-A Kannapolis, Smith has 83 RBI in 108 efforts. Smith also hit the Dash’s seventh grand slam, which leads the CL. Smith, who hit a grand slam in his High-A debut July 26, is the only CL hitter with two grand slams in 2012.
  • A couple of key Dash swingers bounced back from a rough start to the playoffs with big games Friday. Both Keenyn Walker and Dan Black went 0-for-8 in Game 1 and Game 2, but the duo combined for four hits Friday. Walker drove in three runs, while Black scored once and reached three times.
  • The Dash and Hillcats split their 20-game season series, with Winston owning the 6-4 edge inside BB&T Ballpark. Winston had the slight advantage in average (.254 to .246), but Lynchburg outscored the Dash 102-96. The Dash won their season set against every other team in the Carolina League.
  • Chris Curley, who joined the Dash eight days ago, went 6-for-10 with three runs scored. Since his promotion from Kannapolis, Curley is 11-for-22 in the CL.

AN EYE ON THE WHITE SOX FARM:

Two other teams are in the playoffs within Chicago’s minor league system. Triple-A Charlotte missed out on a chance to sweep Indianapolis last night. The Indians won Game 3 8-0, but the Knights still lead the best-of-five two games to one. Also, rookie-level Great Falls dropped Game 1 of a best-of-three Pioneer League semifinal to Missoula 8-3.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Dash fans can catch the club’s quest for a 12th Mills Cup by tuning in here. Fans are encouraged to tweet @WSDashBaseball and use the Dash’s official playoff hashtag: #Dash12. The Pre-Game Dash begins at 6:40 p.m. and features a chat with manager Tommy Thompson and a look back at the Dash’s SDCS comeback.

- Brian

Familar Face Returns to Winston-Salem

The White Sox announced a roster move Saturday that sends a familiar face with a new role back to Winston-Salem. Salvador Sanchez arrives after pitching in three games last week, two appearances for Bristol and one with Kannapolis. In a corresponding move, the Dash have released Jake Wilson.

Sanchez hit .241 with five home runs and 58 RBI in 115 games as an outfielder for the Warthogs in 2008. He returned to the High-A level in 2009 and was a member of the inaugural Dash roster. Sanchez recorded similar numbers to his previous season, hitting .246 in 114 games. His power did increase; Sanchez upped his home run total to 16 and finished with 63 RBI.

Sanchez played 114 games for the Dash in their inaugural season (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images).

Sanchez’s journey through the minors has been unique. He was signed by the White Sox in 2004 as an outfielder and reached as high as Double-A Birmingham, even making the Southern League All-Star team in 2010. He never got higher than Double-A and signed as a free agent with the Rangers organization in 2010. Texas converted Sanchez to a pitcher but cut him before the season began. The White Sox resigned Sanchez and decided to keep him as a pitcher.

Sanchez’s path as a pitcher is slowly progressing. The Dominican Republic native appeared in just two games last season for rookie Great Falls, throwing an inning of work in both appearances and allowing one hit.

This season, Sanchez began in rookie Bristol where he pitched two perfect innings, one on June 21 and another on June 23. Sanchez made one appearance for Kannapolis, recording a scoreless inning of relief.

It has been a busy month for transactions for the Dash. There were 25 transactions over the course of April and May, while June has seen 29 moves made affecting Winston-Salem. The flurry of activity began on June 8 when Kyle Bellamy was promoted to Double-A Birmingham. Six other Dash players followed him to Double-A over the course of this month.

Andre Rienzo returned from his 50-game suspension on June 14 and was sent up after being reinstated. Daniel Wagner and Spencer Arroyo were promoted two days after the All-Star break, with Jake Oester right behind a day later. This week Nick McCully and Jon Bachanov continued the exodus of talent from the Dash bullpen to Birmingham.

-Mike

Collop Can’t Lose

Justin Collop recorded his fifth win of the season Wednesday night in his second start for the Dash.  The win pushes his record to 5-0 on the year. Collop has earned a win in eight straight decisions, which means it has been more than a year since he suffered a loss. Primarily used as a reliever for the Dash in 2012, Collop is familiar working as a starter.

Justin Collop is 5-0 with a 3.06 ERA for the Dash in 2012 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

The Wayne, Michigan native was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. Collop was a two-year starter at the University of Toledo and initially brought into the White Sox system as a starting pitcher. He made seven starts with rookie-level Great Falls before suffering a groin injury. The remainder of the 2009 season was spent pitching out of the bullpen.

Collop returned to the rotation in 2010 for Kannapolis making 26 starts for the Intimidators. He finished with a 9-12 record but to just look at that number would not illustrate the highs that foreshadowed the start of a successful pitching run. Collop compiled three complete games during the 2010 season and averaged five strikeouts an outing.

The 2011 season began in Winston-Salem where Collop suffered losses in his first three decisions. Yet, since May 28, 2011, Collop has not suffered a defeat. His final two starts for the Dash in 2011 were wins, including a six-inning, one-hit gem over Frederick June 24. In fact, the only setback Collop suffered was a right arm injury that shelved him for over a month. Collop returned from injury in August and was sent to Kannapolis where he compiled a win and two saves.

The bullpen has been Collop’s home this year for the Dash, but he has made two starts for Winston-Salem, going four innings on May 19 and five Wednesday night. He also was a de facto starter on May 25, earning a win in five innings of work when Dash starter Jake Petricka left after being hit in the elbow by the first batter of the night. Whether it is the bullpen or the rotation, Collop has been a steady arm for the Dash this season.

The Dash look to take 4-of-5 from Frederick tonight before heading into a big weekend series against division rival Carolina. Join us starting at 6:45 for the Pregame Dash, with first pitch slated for 7:00.

-Mike

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