The Eastern League took notice of a no-hit bid by Akron’s Sean Brady last week as the RubberDucks’ left-hander was named the Pitcher of the Week for games played between July 9 and July 15.
Brady made his lone start of the week on Saturday, July 14, and stymied the visiting Binghamton Rumble Ponies for much of the night, giving up just three hits in seven and two-thirds scoreless innings in a tough no-decision.
The 24-year-old, who had allowed eleven earned runs in his previous nine and two-thirds innings in a pair of losses to Altoona and Richmond to open the month, was unhittable for much of the night against Binghamton in his 18th start of the season with Akron and 19th overall (after making his Triple-A debut on May 21 with the Columbus Clippers).
Brady worked an easy first inning, bookending a pair of groundball outs to second base around a swinging strikeout of Binghamton’s Levi Michael. He took a similar path through the second frame, striking out Joey Terdoslavich swinging to start the inning before getting a grounder back to the mound and another to short.
Akron had its first offensive threat in the game in the home half of the inning, when Bobby Bradley singled to lead off the inning and Willi Castro singled one out later, but a strikeout and a flyout stranded a pair.
Brady made it nine straight retired with a perfect third. He got a grounder to Castro at short before striking out Tim Tebow swinging for the second out. Brady fielded a bunt himself for the final out of the frame.
The Cape Coral, Florida, native made it four straight easy innings with a grounder to Castro, a called third strike of Michael, and a grounder to third baseman Joe Sever, giving him four straight innings with a strikeout.
The Rumble Ponies found the base paths for the first time in the fifth. Terdoslavich flied to Ka’ai Tom in right for the first out, but the perfect game ended when Brady plunked Tomas Nido with a pitch. He would leave the inning facing the minimum, however, when he got Patrick Mazeika to ground into a double play on the shifted infield, as Bradley fielded the grounder, stepped on the bag, and fired to Sever covering at second base for the tag out of Nido to end the inning.
Akron wasted a one-out single from Sam Haggerty in the bottom of the fifth to keep the game scoreless. Brady came back to the mound for the sixth, getting a flyout to center from Josh Allen to start the inning. Tebow grounded back to Brady for the second out before Champ Stuart was cut down swinging, giving Brady his fifth strikeout of the day.
The RubberDucks got a pair of singles in the sixth, but again could not score. Tyler Krieger singled to left before Sever grounded into a double play. Bradley singled to right for his second hit of the game, but he was stranded as Connor Marabell flied to Tebow in left.
With a no-hitter through six, Brady returned to the mound and made it 19 hitless outs by getting Andrew Ely to ground to Mark Mathias at second. Michael broke up the no-no, singling to center after striking out in each of his first two plate appearances. But, as was the case when the Rumble Ponies got their first base runner in the fifth, Brady got a double play ball to escape unharmed to leave the scoreboard blank in the runs column.
Akron went down in order after the stretch and Brady came back out for the eighth. He allowed back-to-back singles to Terdoslavich and Nido, but got his third double play ball of the game as Mazeika grounded into the twin killer. With the go-ahead run standing at third, Henry Martinez came on in relief and got a called third strike on Allen to end the first real threat of the game.
Binghamton had a chance to break the scoreless tie in the ninth. Tebow doubled to start the inning off of Martinez and was lifted for pinch-runner John Mora. Martinez got a pair of outs in the air before walking Michael with two outs. Kevin Taylor lined a single to right, but Tom’s throw to catcher Logan Ice nabbed Mora at the plate.
A double play by Bradley in the bottom of the ninth cut short any rally attempt and sent the game to extras. Binghamton would strand the bases loaded in the tenth off of reliever Nick Pasquale and Akron would leave a pair in the bottom of the inning on strikeouts by Ice and Tom. The Rumble Ponies had two in scoring position in the eleventh against R.C. Orlan, but could not deliver, while the ‘Ducks went down in order in their trips to the plate.
Akron won the game in the bottom of the 12th after a much quieter inning from Orlan in the top half. With Bradley at second base to start the inning, Marabell sacrificed him to third. Castro was intentionally walked to set up a double play possibility, but Binghamton’s Matt Blackham struck out Mathias swinging. Haggerty would also strike out swinging for what should have been the final out of the inning, but the pitch from Blackham was wild, allowing Bradley to score the winning run from third base as Haggerty reached first safely with the bizarre game-winner.
Brady, the Indians’ fifth round pick in the 2013 draft out of Ida Baker High School in Cape Coral, is in his first season of activity at the Double-A level and his sixth season in the Cleveland farm system. It marked the third time in his career that he had been named a Pitcher of the Week, following nods in 2015 while in the Midwest League with the Lake County Captains and in 2016 while in the Carolina League with the Lynchburg Hillcats.
Photo: David Monseur/Akron RubberDucks