Sunday, June 03, 2012

Newark Bears ~ St. Paul Saints Come Marching In

From the desk of:   THE BRICK CITY NINE

NEWARK BEARS:  The Modern St. Paul Saints Enjoying Their First Ever Visit to Broad Street.  Take First Two Games Over Bears.  Game Three Sunday Afternoon.

Professional baseball in St. Paul, Minnesota, dates back to 1884, when a third league, the Union Association, formed to compete against the established National League, and their rivals, the  American Association of Baseball.  St. Paul later played in the Western League during the 1890's, which was the precursor to the American League we know today.

From 1902 through 1960, St. Paul existed as a (AAA) minor league team in the 20th century version of the American Association, until the league ultimately folded, and it's teams were dispersed to the Pacific Coast League, and the International League.

The modern day St. Paul Saints come to us through the former Northern League of Independent Baseball, which formed in 1993 and ceased after the 2005 season.  The present American Association of Independent Baseball formed in 2006, and the St. Paul Saints have been members since.

For us tri-state area baseball fans, Darryl Strawberry once, and maybe infamously, played for the Saints in a comeback bid to play Major League Baseball again following his suspension from the game.

The St. Paul Saints are in town visiting the Newark Bears for a weekend series, of which, the Saints have already taken the first two games of three.  Call me silly for waxing nostalgic, but the ring of saying - St. Paul Saints versus Newark Bears just sounds classic, and out of another era.  There is indeed a historic connotation, and even significance, to this match-up.  But one that will go unspoken about in the grand scheme of things.

I for one however, am excited the Saints are in town for some Canadian/American - American Association Inter-League play.  That said, I will be at Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium today, Sunday, to enjoy the game, and take in what I think is a rather unique match-up of applied team histories.

In Friday's series opener, the Bears dropped this first modern day encounter by a 6-3 final score.  Alex Smith made the start for Newark, and suffered his third defeat of the season.  He pitched six full, allowing six runs, although only were three earned, on eight hits.  Alex only walked two, and struck out  six Saints.  An error by Burt Reynolds at third led to Smith's three unearned runs allowed in a four run second inning.

The Bears scored one in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Juan Martinez.  But they gave it back in St. Paul's next at-bat, who then held a 5-1 lead.  In the sixth inning, the Saints tacked on one more insurance run when Benji Johnson led off with a homer off Alex Smith.

Eric McGee hit his first home run of the season; a solo shot for Newark in the seventh.  They would score again on an RBI single by Alex Bardeguez to make it a 6-3 game.  But that's as close as Newark would get.

Caleb Cuevas and Damian Sequen finished up Newark's pitching duties with three scoreless innings in relief.

St. Paul's Wes Roemer pitched 7.2 innings, gave up six hits, and allowed the Bears three runs.  He walked none and struck out seven for the win.  Bret Severtson gained the save.

In Game Two of the series played Saturday, St. Paul jumped on Bears pitching yet again to secure a 7-2 win.  Defense failed the Bears again, as five errors on the day helped the Saints score four unearned runs.

The Bears' Pedro Rivera made his third start, and lasted five innings.  He gave up five hits and allowed two earned runs out of four he surrendered.  Rivera issued four walks and struck out six.  Matt Fitton also suffered from the team's defensive lapses in relief.  In four innings pitched, only one of his three runs allowed were earned.  He struck out five Saints in his four innings.

Newark's lone two runs against St. Paul starter, Danny Guitierrez, came on RBI singles by Juan Martinez, and Burt Reynolds.

Three Saints relievers combined to allow six innings and keep the Bears sedated.  St. Paul's Josh Cephus pitched three innings for the win.

If you're at the game today, Tweet me up.
Credit - St. Paul Saints Scorecard @


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