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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | March 28, 2017

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About David Freier

David Freier

David Freier

David Freier was born in Brooklyn New York in 1966 less than a decade after the Dodgers had departed the very same borough. His first professional baseball game was at Yankee stadium and to this day he and his father still argue over who started for the Orioles that day (his father says Mike Cuellar, while he insists it was Jim Palmer). Being a lover of underdogs he naturally became a Mets fan. He grew up in Montclair New Jersey which had the advantage of being home to two baseball legends, Yogi Berra and Larry Doby, as well as having a local college which regularly held baseball card conventions that fed his baseball card hobby. While attending college at the University of Richmond he and some of his friends attended a Richmond Braves game in the then (1985) brand new Diamond stadium, and now home to the Richmond Flying Squirrels. This began what has become a passion for the minor leagues of baseball. During his 10 years as a Richmond resident he and his future wife developed an affinity for the Braves, especially when Richmond fan favorite Francisco Cabrera scored the winning run to knock the Pirates from contention and vault the Braves into the World Series of 1991. During extensive travels he has rooted for the Minnesota Twins, Minneapolis Loons, St. Paul Saints, Iowa Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Erie Sea Wolves, Berkshire Bears and of course the Lynchburg Hillcats. To date he has visited over 110 different baseball parks in which he has seen a game. He joined the Society for American Baseball Research in 2000 and has been a member ever since, where he participates on the Biographical and Minor Leagues committees when time permits. In his day job he is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Science at Lynchburg College in Virginia.

Posts By David Freier

Hillcats Wrap-Up Another Successful Season

September 28, 2016 |

For the second consecutive season as a Cleveland Indians’ affiliate, the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats reached the Carolina League playoffs. This year they took it one step further, winning the Northern Division playoff against the Potomac Nationals and advancing to the Mills Cup Championship before bowing to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who would win their second consecutive Carolina League title.

The Hillcats’ success as a team was achieved through a combination of a strong offense and consistent pitching. Read More

Getting to Know Brock Hartson

September 22, 2016 |

Growing up in Pearland, Texas, a suburb south of Houston, Brock Hartson was naturally a fan of the Astros and their famous Killer B’s lineup. In fact, he played baseball against the sons of Craig Biggio.

“I really liked Biggio. He went about the game the right way,” said Hartson. “Playing against his sons, I had a pretty good understanding of who he was as a person and who he was as a player.”

The 6’3”, 195 lb. pitcher was drafted in the 21st round of 2015 out of the University of Texas-San Antonio. He won 22 games in three seasons as a starter in college, never getting a chance to pitch out of the bullpen. Read More

The Postseason Pendulum of the Hillcats

September 14, 2016 |

The High-A Lynchburg Hillcats had clinched a guaranteed playoff berth by winning the first-half Northern Division title in the Carolina League.

The team fought valiantly to win the Northern Division second half title. That victory would insure all three divisional series games be played at Calvin Falwell Field in Lynchburg.

Alas, the Hillcats finished the second half with the identical 39-31 record of Potomac. With Potomac holding the tiebreaker – head-to-head wins – this meant the first game of the Northern Division Championship would take place at Pfitzner Stadium in Potomac. Read More

Repetition Leads to Success for Luis Lugo

September 7, 2016 |

For most players, a repeat assignment to a minor league level is not a sign of team commitment or individual progress. For High-A Hillcats pitcher Luis Lugo, this is not the case.

The 6’5”, 200 lb. left-hander out of Barquismento, Venezuela, turned 22 just before the season began. This leaves him on the younger side of the ledger for players in the High-A Carolina League and with his experience, he has surpassed his performance of last season.

“My work ethic has been a lot better this year,” said Lugo about where he has made the most strides in improving his overall game. “I’ve been focusing on mechanics and keeping my body in shape to be able to compete and be successful. My delivery has gotten better, and working with Rigo Beltran [the Hillcats pitching coach], has been a foundation for me to figure out what I need to work on and then apply in the game.” Read More

Hitting Prowess Drives the Thrillcats

August 31, 2016 |

Over the past several weeks, the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats have been a prominent feature in both Carolina League and national baseball news. Lynchburg’s on-field host, Kestrel Kerl, has awarded the team the moniker of “Thrillcats” and the team and the player continue to live up to this name.

All the excitement began with the continuation of what turned out to be a 50-game hitting streak for catcher Francisco Mejia. The streak began May 25 while Mejia was a member of the Low-A Lake County Captains and continued at Lynchburg under the watch of hitting coach Larry Day.

“You try to keep him focused on the things that matter and that is his daily preparation as both a hitter and a catcher,” said Day. “Rigo Beltran, our pitching coach, does a phenomenal job of educating him on the night’s starting pitcher so that he knows what he’ll be seeing, and what he’ll be calling as the catcher.” Read More

Connor Marabell: Baseball Bloodlines

August 24, 2016 |

For some players, baseball is in their blood. High-A Lynchburg Hillcats outfielder Connor Marabell has that distinction.

“My dad was a professional baseball player, my uncle Luke played college baseball, and my grandpa played baseball,” said Marabell. “The minute I was born I was holding a baseball.” Read More

Thomas Pannone – Always a Competitor

August 17, 2016 |

One of the starting pitchers more recently added to the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats staff is the 6’0”, 195 lb. left-hander Thomas Pannone. He was promoted from the Low-A Midwest League on July 13 and made his first appearance for the Hillcats the next day. Pannone pitched five and one-third innings in relief in a game suspended by rain to earn his first win in the Carolina League.

He was originally drafted out of Bishop Hendricken High School in Rhode Island as an outfielder, but chose not to sign.

“I had signed with the University of Miami, but didn’t want to go three years of college and then try to get redrafted,” said Pannone. “My advisor at the time knew people at the College of Southern Nevada and helped get me on the team.” Read More

Tyler Krieger: From Adversity to Excellence

August 10, 2016 |

Tyler Krieger, a 22-year-old second baseman who grew up in Duluth, was born in Orange County, California, but moved to Georgia at the age of five. He still maintains ties with family back in California, and spent some summers out there playing baseball before he went on to college.

Originally drafted by Seattle in the 35th round of the 2012 draft, he chose to attend Clemson and was their starting shortstop for his freshman and most of his sophomore year before suffering a right shoulder injury.

“They treated me well in my time there [Clemson],” says Krieger. “I learned a lot, grew as a person, and I’ll always be following them just because of what they have done for me.” Read More

Getting the Dish on Francisco Mejia

August 3, 2016 |

Francisco Mejia was a shortstop growing up in Bani of the Dominican Republic. That’s not an uncommon position for someone with a 5’10”, 175 lb. build.

Instead, in the last few months before the International Signing Period at his coaches suggestion, Mejia shifted to catcher. He has been learning to handle the position ever since.

“I love catching, but it’s a hard position to play,” said Mejia. “My first year, I was a bit scared of catching. I played mostly designated hitter.” Read More

Taylor Murphy – Catching the Wave

July 27, 2016 |

He is the quintessential southern California guy. Taylor Murphy grew up alternately surfing and playing baseball in the San Diego area. The 6’2”, 200 lb. righty hails from Torrey Pines, just north of the city proper, and had to decide early whether to follow the athlete’s path to surfing or baseball.

“I’ve surfed just about as long as I’ve played baseball,” said Murphy. “I was eleven years old when I had to make a decision on surfing competitively or picking up travel ball. I think I made the right decision.”

Coming out of Torrey Pines High School, he was drafted by the hometown Padres in the 40th round of the 2011 first year player draft. Read More

Cameron Hill: Learning the Craft of Pitching

July 20, 2016 |

You generally only see Cameron Hill at two times between when the gates open and the end of the game – pre-game, when he is wearing his headphones and getting his mind focused on the upcoming game, or late in the game, when he is summoned from the bullpen to shut down opposing hitters.

For the current season, Hill has made 29 appearances out of the bullpen – 28 for High-A Lynchburg, and one for the AAA Columbus Clippers. The 6’1”, 185 lb. right-hander out of El Reno, Oklahoma, has put up strong numbers, earning a brief promotion to AAA when the organization was short on pitching following the 19-inning marathon game between Cleveland and Toronto to open the month of July.

Hill grew up with a love of baseball, in part because his father had been a ballplayer. Read More

Sean Brady: A Developing Southpaw

July 13, 2016 |

Sean Brady was selected out of Ida Baker High School in Cape Coral Florida in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. Though he has only been pitching professionally for four seasons, baseball has been part of this life for as long as he can remember.

“Like everybody, I’ve been playing since I was 3 years old,” said Brady. Read More