BY RICH PALZEWIC
GREEN BAY – Leo Perez pitched seven strong innings, Blaise Maris continued his hot hitting and the Green Bay Bullfrogs won their fourth straight game with an 8-2 victory over the Battle Creek Bombers July 19 at Joannes Stadium.
Perez (Texas A&M Corpus Christi) improved to 4-1 on the season in allowing just three hits and no earned runs.
“It was a long game,” said Perez, who will represent the ‘Frogs in the Northwoods League All-Star game in Kalamazoo July 24. “The umpire had a pretty tight zone, so I had to work through it and pitch for contact and let my defense work. When my defense plays well, it gives me confidence. (Shortstop) Alejandro Gonzalez (Hillsborough Community College) had two nice plays in the first inning … plays like that really help my confidence.”
As for his trip to Kalamazoo next week, Perez said that was a nice surprise.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect to be an all-star,” the 6-foot-2 righty said. “I would throw every game like it’s the same, but as soon as I heard I was called an all-star, I just had to throw that aside and wait for that game.”
Maris (Florida Tech) was 2-for-4 at the plate with a walk and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
“I’ve been keeping Blaise in the lineup anyway I can,” said Bullfrogs’ manager Kirk Shrider. “He might have a few bad at-bats here and there, but he always finds a way to get on base. Even on his first hit of the game, he kind of just poked it out to right to get it through on a 3-2 count. I’m aware of what he’s doing. Right now, it’s Maris being in the lineup somehow, someway.”
Green Bay (19-32 overall, 7-8 second half) used a three-run third in which they scored on an error, an RBI single by Blake Nelson (Michigan) and a run-scoring groundout by Matthew Acosta (USC).
“It’s nice to end the night with a victory,” added Shrider. “We made a few errors (three), but it’s 12 or 16 hours of great until we have to get back on the field. You can’t get too high or too low … you have to stay even-keeled. Leo pitched like an all-star. The Battle Creek coach even commented on how good he pitched. This is the time of the year guys are trying to make exit strategies to get home because they are getting close to going back to school.”
The ‘Frogs tacked on four runs in the sixth on a two-run throwing error and a two-RBI single by Acosta, who ended with three RBIs in the game.
Luke Robinson (Western Carolina) and Andre Antone (UC Irvine) also had two hits apiece in Green Bay’s 10-hit attack.
The two teams will square off again Friday night in a 7:05 game at Joannes.
Battle Creek: 000 001 001 – 2 6 3
Green Bay: 030 004 10X – 8 10 3