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Fire Frogs win 8 of 10 with stellar pitching, clutch hitting

Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 10:47 am

By Ken Jackson
Sports Editor

Them frogs … they’re on Fire!

Well of course they are, it’s in the name.

All kidding aside, the Florida Fire Frogs look to have shaken off a slow start to the Florida State League second half by winning eight out of 10 games after a doubleheader sweep in Daytona.

The Fire Frogs, the Atlanta Braves’ Class A affiliate, were 9-9 entering the mid-part of a series against the Tortugas. Oddly enough, they are in last place in the Northern Division, but would be tied for the lead in the Southern Division in the second half.

The hot stretch has been thanks to hot pitching and timely hitting. Here’s some of the highlights from that stretch:

Anderson

Ian Anderson posted a pair of impressive pitching performances, tallying 18 strikeouts and surrendering no runs and just five hits in 11 innings, earning FSL Pitcher of the Week honors for last week. He now leads the FSL in strikeouts (94 in just 76 innings) and his 2.96 ERA leads the team and is sixth among pitchers with enough innings to qualify;

Center fielder and leadoff hitter Christian Pache went 4-for-5 with a home run in a 6-1 win over the Jupiter Hammerheads on July 3;

Catcher Brett Cumberland swatted a two-out, two-run home run with Florida down 5-4 in the ninth inning for a 6-5 victory over the Palm Beach Cardinals. It was the first time the Fire Frogs pulled out a win when trailing after the eighth inning in 32 chances;

Tucker Davidson hurled seven innings of three-hit ball in a 2-0 shutout win Saturday over Palm Beach;

Pitchers Joey Wentz and Kyle Muller dominated in a Monday doubleheader in Daytona. The two lefties allowed just one unearned run across 13 2/3 innings of work. The Florida Fire Frogs won both extra-inning contests, 3-1 and 2-1 to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games.

Wentz (6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 K) had to battle with Tortugas’ starter Tejay Antone, who threw seven perfect innings before being lifted for a reliever, and Kevin Josephina, Isranel Wilson and Cumberland came through with ninth-inning RBI singles.

Muller struck out 12 in seven innings in the nightcap, won on Josephina’s game-winning eighth inning RBI single.

The Fire Frogs return home Friday for a three-game set against the Clearwater Threshers (Phillies). Friday (6:31 p.m.) is Los Coquis (Latin) Night. The team will wear specialty jerseys, a live Latin band will be playing in-house and there will be $5 Modelo specials and dominoes tables on the concourse. A $25 poker tournament will also go on during the game, with the chance to win suite tickets and the chance to be a guest broadcaster and throw out a future first pitch (email Enrique@floridafirefrogs.com to pre-register).

The team will also welcome Ben Hill of Ben’s Biz blog fame. By the end of the season Hill, a writer for MiLB.com, the official website of Minor League Baseball — will have paid a visit to all 159 affiliated ballparks. This season, his travels have a philanthropic element. He has teamed up with Vs. Cancer, an organization dedicated to helping kids with cancer, and will be soliciting donations.

Saturday (6:31) is Yellow Submarine Night — the team will celebrate the Beatles with a tribute band playing before and after the game. Specialty jerseys will again be worn and car show will go on outside the gates from 4-6 p.m. Special $10 Saturday-Sunday combo tickets are available with promo code SHOW10 at floridafirefrogs.com.

STATS, ROSTER MOVES AND ATTITUDES: Florida is still last in the FSL with a .227 team batting average, but over the month of July has lowered its team pitching ERA to 3.69 and is second with eight shutouts. Fire Frogs pitchers have surrendered the fewest home runs (35) …

… Infielder Ray-Patrick Didder, who had the first-ever at-bat in Fire Frogs history on Opening Day 2017, was assigned to Class AA Mississippi on Monday. He joins Corbin Clouse, Enderson Franco, Alex Hackson, Alay Lago, Sean McLaughlin, Tyler Neslony and Alejandro Salazar from that team … outfielder Isranel Wilson came up from low-A Rome of the South Atlantic League on July 2, swapping roster spots with Shean Michel … Cumblerland logged seven RBIs in the 10-game run and Kurt Hoekstra batted .303 in that stretch …