David S. Driver
"Providing my byline by your deadline"
By David Driver
Used with permission
This was a magical Major League Baseball season for the Oakland A’s and Washington Nationals, both of which have treated their home fans to pulsating victories in the last at-bat of many games.
And those walk-off wins — so named since the winning team then heads to its dugout — normally means that a member of the bullpen for the A’s and Nats gets credited with a victory. That has been good news to Oakland’s Jerry Blevins ’05 and Washington’s Craig Stammen ’06, a pair of former Flyer hurlers who are quality big-league relievers.
“We have very similar teams in the sense we are led by good pitching, both in the bullpen and the starting rotation. We have a youthful team and it seems to be the same on both coasts, with us on the West Coast and the Nationals on the East Coast,” said Blevins, a teammate with Stammen at UD.
Blevins, a former Dayton walk-on, was drafted by the Cubs in 2004 and made his Major League debut with Oakland following a trade in 2007. Blevins has been a reliable lefty out of the pen with a solid ERA of 2.61 and a record of 4-1 in his first 43 outings.
“It has been awesome, to be honest. The more we win, the more (the fans) come out,” Blevins said. “It has been the most fun environment in the Coliseum that I have been a part of.” The A’s had 13 walk-off wins by mid-August to lead the majors, while Washington had 24 comeback wins and eight walk-offs heading into August.
Right-hander Stammen was drafted by the Nationals in 2005 and broke into The Show as a starting pitcher for Washington four years later. After mixed success as a starter, Stammen has used a devastating slider out of the pen for a Nats team that had the best record in the big leagues for much of the year. He was 5-1 with an ERA of 2.48 in his first 43 appearances.
“It is going to be exciting. Every player wants to be playing meaningful games in September. We will see how we handle the pressure,” Stammen said.
For Blevins, a reunion sounds good: “Hopefully we can meet in the World Series,” Blevins noted. “That would be cool,” Stammen added.
Besides the two, six former Flyers were with minor league affiliates or independent league teams. Pitcher Mike Hauschild was 1-2, 2.19 in his first 14 games with two saves with the Greenville (Tenn.) Astros in the short-season Appalachian League after he was drafted in the 33rd round by Houston in June.
“It is definitely a dream come true to play pro baseball,” Hauschild said. “I am just happy the Astros
Also with Greenville was infielder Brian Blasik, who signed with Houston as a non-drafted free agent. The former UD star hit .322 in his first 183 at-bats with the Astros after appearing in the NCAA Regionals last spring with Hauschild, now his roommate in the minors.
Pitcher Cameron Hobson was 7-3, 5.02 in his first 16 starts with High Desert in the high Class A California League in the Seattle farm system. Pitcher Burny Mitchem ’11 was signed by the Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent and was 1-0 with an ERA of 2.45 in his first 11 outings in the Gulf Coast League.
Outfielder Bob Glover ’12 and infielder C.J. Gillman ’12 joined the independent Windy City Thunderbolts. Glover was hitting .255 in his first 191 at-bats and Gillman hit .267 in his first 135 at-bats.
February 1, 2013
By David Driver
For the Daily News
Used with permission
Fairfax, Va. - The fiery Bruiser Flint was at his best Thursday night, when at times it appeared he would blow a gasket.He got a warning from one referee about a possible technical, screamed at all-league guard Frantz Massenat during a timeout and sat on a table in front of the Drexel radio announcers so they could barely see the action.
And that was all in the first half, when Flint could hardly believe what he was seeing as his team fell behind by 20 points. But it was Mason that was left stunned as Drexel, which trailed by 13 at halftime but came back in the second half and beat the Patriots, 58-54, in front of a stunned crowd of 4,365 in a Colonial Athletic Association contest.
Damion Lee hit a three-pointer with 22.2 seconds left to break a 54-54 tie and, after Mason threw the ball away, Lee hit a free throw with 2 seconds left to account for the final margin in a game in which the Dragons made 16 turnovers and hit just four of 16 three-point shots. The Dragons missed nine of their first 10 shots and did not get a field goal until midway through the first half.
"I don't want to say where [the comeback] ranks. But we have not done anything like that" this season, said Flint, whose team had lost its last four games at Mason. "We have lost some huge games here. It has been a house of horrors."
"This is not an easy environment to play in," said Lee, who had 20 of his game-high 29 points in the second half. "Coach said at halftime they were beating us because they were more physical. We came together as a team in the second half."
Drexel (9-12, 5-4 CAA) trailed 33-13 with 3:45 left in the first half before battling back, and Lee hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to make it 38-25 at the break.
"He is a terrific player," Mason coach Paul Hewitt said of Lee, who played all 40 minutes.
"We can't give him any open looks," said Mason guard Sherrod Wright, who had 15 points. "He got going with that shot at the end of the first half."
The Dragons outrebounded Mason (12-9, 5-4) by 26-12 in the second half and had 14 offensive rebounds in the game, which led to second-chance shots. Derrick Thomas had 12 points for the Dragons, Dartaye Ruffin had 10 rebounds and Daryl McCoy had seven boards.
Mason sophomore starter Erik Copes, from Imhotep, had three points and six boards.
In a season of injuries, Drexel standout junior guard Massenat came up limping and favoring his right ankle late in the first half. He returned and played 32 minutes with seven points and four assists. "I will be fine," he said on the way to the team bus, about 30 minutes after the buzzer.
Early in the second half, Flint caught an errand pass by Ruffin and bounced the ball hard three times as Mason fans behind the Drexel bench hollered for a technical, which somehow never came all night to the demonstrative Flint.
"I was getting ready to throw the ball back on the court," Flint said later, with a smile.
But the best comeback was by the Dragons, who escaped a "house of horrors" with a win. They return to action Saturday at Northeastern (13-8, 8-1).