BlueClaws Drop Doubleheader
It was not a day the Lakewood BlueClaws are going to want to remember. After winning in walkoff fashion the previous night, the BlueClaws did not have much to celebrate on Sunday in their doubleheader with the Kannapolis Intimidators. The BlueClaws lost both games of the doubleheader losing game one 3-7 and game two 3-6.
In game one, the BlueClaws fell behind early to Kannapolis when the Intimidators scored on a RBI single off of pitcher Matt Imhof to make the score 1-0 in the first inning. That would be the only run Imhoff would give up. The tall left hander from Cal Poly would settle down and pitch five great innings giving up only one run on four hits and striking out four. Imhof left the game retiring the last 12 batters in a row. Imhof on his performance said “It felt really good pitching at home. The first inning was a little rocky but I was able to settle down and get them off balance a lot with my off speed pitches and have a great outing overall.” Imhof is the Philadelphia Phillies second round pick in this year’s draft and Sunday marked his second start for the BlueClaws. On making the transition from college to the pros, Imhof said “It’s been a lot to handle but it’s still baseball. I’m still pitching from the mound trying to get guys out. Overall it’s been a good transition. Not having to deal with school makes life a little bit easier, but every time you go out on the mound you have to know that every team is going to have good hitters up and down the line. In college, some teams don’t always have that. You have to have your best stuff every time you’re out there.”
Imhof because of his great start kept the BlueClaws in the game and Lakewood was only down 1-0 entering the sixth inning. The BlueClaws bullpen couldn’t keep the game close. The Intimidators would score six runs in the sixth inning and tacked on another one in the seventh. The BlueClaws offense would only muster three runs in the game in the last two innings off an error by Kannapolis and a two run home run by DH Larry Greene Jr. They lost with a final score of 8-3.
In game two of the doubleheader, Lakewood tried to make sure they did not fall behind. The BlueClaws took an early 1-0 lead on a sac fly by DH Andrew Knapp. The BlueClaws, though, could not keep that lead in tact.In the fourth inning, Kannapolis would score on a two run home run and a RBI single off of BlueClaws starter Julio Reyes to take a 3-1 lead. The BlueClaws would add a run in the bottom half of the fourth on a RBI double by third baseman Mitch Walding to make it a 3-2 game.
Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, which is the last inning in a double header game in the minor leagues, the BlueClaws would show some fight. Walding would hit a solo home run to tie the game and push the game into extra innings. Walding on the home run said “It felt awesome. It was a key hit in a big situation and I was pumped to be able to tie the game and give our team a chance to win the ballgame.” With going 3-4 overall in the game with his home run and two RBIs, Walding is 24 for his last 67 and is on a huge hot streak at the moment. On his hot streak Walding said “Feels great you know. It’s good to finally be on this side of it. I just hope to continue this streak and make the most of every opportunity I can when I am up at the plate.”
Even with Walding’s late dramatic play, the BlueClaws could not capitalize in extra innings. Kannapolis would score three runs in the ninth inning and the BlueClaws would go on to lose 6-3.
With losing both games in the doubleheader the BlueClaws drop to 14-23 in the second half of the season.
BlueClaws Update: BlueClaws would go on to lose to Kannapolis 6-3 in Monday night’s game and win 7-2 over the Intimidators on Tuesday afternoon. With those results the BlueClaws drop the five game series with Kannapolis 3-2. and are now 15-24 in the second half of the season. The BlueClaws will now start a four game series on the road with the Delmarva Shorebirds starting on Wednesday night.
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