Before the game, for the 5th straight year, Salem watched New Milford hoist up the McGowan Division banner. Exchanging line up cards at home plate before the game, Salem skipper Mike Glander reminded New Milford manager Anthony Peburn that the Blazers had nothing to show for those banners. Peburn then told Glander that at least he had the banners, as neither team has been able to reel in the big one. The two shared a fake laugh, and after Connecticut native and The Voice winner Sawyer Fredericks sung the National Anthem, the home team took the field.
Game 1: Strasburg @ Kershaw
Only the guys at Elias know how many times these two aces have squared off against each other. The Blazers seem to have Strasburg’s number, as his career ERA against New Milford must be well over 5.00
After a scoreless top of the first, Carpenter walks and Choo welcomes Stras to Nestle Field in 2016 with a 2 run bomb.
Bottom 3, Robinson laces a 2 out RBI double but is gunned down at third trying to stretch it.
Bottom 4, a Betts IF single to the catcher scores Kershaw and then Choo hit his second HR of the game, this time a 3 run jack, to make it 7-0 Blazers.
Top 5, Salem tries to get something going. Ramirez lines a single up the middle to start it out and advances to second on a WP. Castro then hit a single up the middle and with no outs, Ramirez is sent home. Betts, with a dart to home, gunned Ramirez for the first out. Soler then hit a single to right and Castro tested Choo’s arm advancing to third. Bad move, as the second out was made on another spectacular throw. Zimmerman then grounded to SS to end the threat. “You get pumped out there when your ace is on the mound,” said Choo after the game. “You want to do all you can to help your guy. Playing behind Kershaw for the last few years has been really something. Those two assists kinda made us feel like we could win the game.”
Bottom 5, Clint Robinson hit his first HR of the year, giving the Blazers an 8-0 lead, and that was all for Kershaw.
Adam Warren pitched the 7th and 8th innings and Blake Treinen pitched the 8th and 9th closing out an 8-0 Blazers shutout win.
WP Kershaw (3-1) (5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K)
LP Strasburg (0-1)
Game 2: Fiers @ Quintana
Quintana goes 7.2 giving up 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K and no runs.
Fiers is even better having a perfect game up until a Mookie Betts one out single in the 7th.
Top 7, two 2 out single set the stage for Fiers to play hero with the bat, lining a single to CF, but Betts cut down d’Arnaud at home to preserve the scoreless tie.
Top 8, (Robin)? Givens on to pitch for Salem and Robinson is HBP. Castro then laces a double to left center and Robinson scores, giving the Blazers a 1-0 lead.
Bottom 9, KRod does the job preserving the Blazer 1-0 win.