Who would have thought it?
After staggering to a barely .500 plus mark in the first half of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball season, most fans weren’t expecting out local heroes to compete for the second half divisional title and a crack at the second half crown.
But don’t look twice Fish fans, but (as of this writing), the local nine has won six in a row and now look poised to be a contender throughout the rest of the summer.
On Sunday at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard, Raymar Diaz (3-0) sparked the Fish (7-3, 39-34) as the home team took down the Somerset Patriots (3-8, 29-45) by a score of 5-2. Bridgeport matched a season high by winning sixth straight games.
Diaz tossed seven-and-two-thirds innings and allowed two runs, in his start, to pick up the victory for the Bluefish. Antonio Alfonseca completed the eighth while Juan Rincon notched his 12th save of the season. The closer threw a scoreless ninth.
Jason Cromer (2-3) suffered the loss for the Patriots. Bridgeport produced three runs in four innings against the southpaw. Kevin Reese and Jeff Kennard fired the final four frames for the losing side.
Bridgeport started the scoring in the first. Andres Perez reached on a single to center. After the second baseman advanced to second on a wild pitch, Perez scored on a double to left to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
The Bluefish pushed two more runs across in the second. Brock Peterson hit a double to left and Danny Putnam smacked a two-run shot to right. The outfielders’ ninth homer of the year gave the home squad a three-run advantage.
Somerset scored two runs in the eighth to close the gap to one before Bridgeport scored twice in the bottom of the frame. Moss walked and advanced to second on a stolen base. After an out had been recorded, Moss tagged on a fly ball to right center. Brock Peterson followed with a walk to set up runners at the corners. A wild pitch allowed Moss to score and move Peterson to second.
Bluefish officials announced that infielder Angel Berroa has had his contract purchased by the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. The former Major Leaguer will report to Triple-A Reno of the Pacific Coast League.
“We are glad to see Angel make this important stride in his effort to get back to the big leagues,” said Bluefish manager Willie Upshaw. “He was a key piece to this club and we hope he succeeds at the next level.”
Berroa appeared in 64 games for the Bluefish in 2011, posting a .263 batting average with six home runs and 33 RBI in 228 at-bats. Last year, he spent time with Triple-A Fresno of the San Francisco Giants organization. He played 26 games, recording a .205 batting average.
The 33-year-old has enjoyed nine seasons in the big leagues, with his first appearance coming in 2001 as a member of the Kansas City Royals. He made a big splash during his first full season in the Majors in 2003, batting .287 with 17 home runs, 28 doubles, 73 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases to take home the AL Rookie of the Year award. He would spend the following four seasons in a Royals uniform before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Juan Rivera in 2008. The next year would be his final stop in the Major Leagues, making appearances with both the New York Mets and New York Yankees. In 746 career Major League games, the infielder has recorded a .258 batting average with 46 home runs, 254 RBI, 329 runs scored and 50 stolen bases over the course of 2,575 at-bats.
The Bluefish have also enjoyed some notoriety on the national stage recently. When the Seattle Mariners Michael Pineda took the mound during the recent Major League All-Star game, the announcer on ESPN Radio commented, “He’s an imposing guy. He’s got a build like Antonio Alfonseca and could he stare you down.” Of course, Alfonseca now toiled for the Bluefish.
And if that wasn’t enough, when longtime baseball executive Pat Gillick was inducted to the Hall of Fame last week, he talked about how he recruited a prospect by the name of Willie Upshaw when he was a scout for the New York Yankees.
After relaying how he convinced Upshaw’s family to talk Willie into signing with him Gillick noted how, “Willie had an excellent Major League career with 123 home runs and he is now the manager of the Bridgeport Bluefish.”
Hey, who says the Bluefish are small time? We’ve made the Hall of Fame.