Game 7: Post-Game Notes

— Jason Belcher was the hero tonight.  He came into his sixth inning at-bat looking for a changeup from Bluefish starter Paul Oseguera, who gave Belcher a look at the pitch in his first at-bat.  Belcher swung and missed at that one, but on a 1-1 count, Belcher got what he was looking for and wasn’t going to let another one past him.

“When I came up again and he got ahead in the count, I knew that he was probably going to go to it, so that’s what I was looking for,” Belcher said.

“I didn’t miss it.  It had a little topspin on it, but I thought I got enough of it to get it out.”

— Real strong outing from the pitching staff tonight…seven innings of one run ball out of Mike Thompson, and two perfect innings out of relievers Matt Reilly and Ryan Houston. 

Given the fact that Somerset came into the came with the worst ERA in the Atlantic League, and this was a huge performance.

“This was big,” said pitching coach Brett Jodie.

“We knew we had the potential to do it, we’d just been getting hit hard.  We’re trying to stretch out pitchers and find somebody to close the gap in the middle innings.  We’ve been throwing guys out there, but they haven’t been getting it done.  It’s been tough trying to find a combination.  But it’s huge to have a strong starting performance tonight.  We put some guys we feel really confident in out there and we’re trying to do things the way we’re used to doing them.  Get somebody out there for an inning and (another guy for) an inning instead of trying to get two innings out of guys in the middle.  That’s just tough, especially this early.  But it was great to see the whole thing come together tonight.”

Thompson gave Somerset arguably their strongest starting pitching out of the season, allowing just one run over seven innings of work.  The former big leaguer did not issue a walk.

“He was great, it was phenomenal to see,” Belcher said.

“He had everything working.  He had a good feel, and we were on the same page a lot.  I really liked what I saw.”

— As for Reilly, he was believed to be a longshot to make the team out of spring training — he gave up a home run on the first pitch he threw against Camden — and not much was expected of him when he did break camp with the club.  All he’s done is very quietly settled in to one of the most important roles on the team…the setup man.

“I told Reilly himself that he looked terrible the first time he threw in spring training,” Jodie said.

“But from then on, he’s gotten better and better.  He’s looked good in the games, and that’s all it takes.  I don’t care how old, young, whatever you are or what experience you have, I’m going to put the best guy in there that we think can get the job done.  Right now, that’s him.”

— Somerset got off to their worst start in franchise history at 1-5.  According to Belcher, tonight’s win is the kind of victory that can help turn things around for the Patriots.

“We were looking forward to coming home, we kind of used the road trip as an extended spring training for us,” he said.

“We wanted to get guys comfortable, get innings.  We circled this as our start to the season, and it was really good to come home in front of 8,000 and get a win.”

— Stay tuned for a photo gallery from tonight’s festivities…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT


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