Results tagged ‘ Balentien ’

Big home runs and other news over the weekend

Former Timber Rattlers outfielder Wladimir Balentien broke the old single-season home run record in Japan with his 56th homer. Then, he hit another home run later in the game to give him 57.

Balentien57

From the Japan Times:

As soon as Wladimir Balentien’s bat made contact with Daiki Enokida’s fastball there was no doubt: Japan had just crowned a new home run king.

And the new king’s first decree was that his record total wasn’t high enough yet.

Balentien set the NPB single-season record with his 56th home run of year in the first inning, then hit No. 57 in his next at-bat of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ 9-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers on Sunday night at Jingu Stadium.

“I feel so relieved right now,” Balentien said. “Lot of emotions. Just to get this is something unbelievable. This is (something) that nobody was able to do for 49 years. For me to do it, I can’t even explain what I’m feeling right now.”

The 29-year-old Curacao native broke a four-way tie with Japanese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh, Tuffy Rhodes, and Alex Cabrera, who all have 55, to stand alone as the new record holder.

“It’s amazing that he’s homered at a pace of about once every two games,” Oh said in a statement. “This is far beyond a new NPB record and an overwhelming number. I want to enjoy how far he can take it over the next 18 games with the fans.”

Meanwhile in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, former Timber Rattlers first baseman Sean Halton hits a game winning home run to beat the Cincinnati Reds!

With nothing left to play for themselves, the Milwaukee Brewers have fully embraced the role of spoiler over the last month.

That never-say-die attitude was on full display Sunday afternoon at Miller Park when they overcame a poor start by Yovani Gallardo to score five times in the final three innings.

The ninth was especially exciting, with Carlos Gomez robbing Jay Bruce of a go-ahead home run at the center-field wall in the top half and rookie Sean Halton belting a one-out, walk-off homer off Zach Duke in the bottom half to cap a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

“I’ve had a couple (walk-offs, in the minor leagues), but nothing comes close to this one,” said Halton. “Especially against a team that’s playing well and in the hunt. We’ve been playing that spoiler role lately, and hopefully we continue that the next couple weeks.”

Since, Todd Rosiak’s story mentioned the catch by Gomez….

The other news was from Adam McCalvy’s blog post that notes all of the players that will be taking part during instructional league in Arizona. Rattlers manager Matt Erickson will be in charge of a team down there.

Add the fall instructional league to Brewers prospect Jason Rogers’ busy schedule.

Rogers and top 2013 Draft picks Devin Williams and Tucker Neuhaus highlight the list of players reporting Sunday to Maryvale Baseball Park for an instructional program that gets underway Monday morning. Rogers, who manned first base at Double-A Huntsville this season, will work a bit at third base before primarily playing left field in the Arizona Fall League as the Brewers increase his versatility for 2014.

Fifty-three players in all are listed on the Brewers’ instructional league roster — 42 on the regular roster and 11 more on an advanced roster. They include 20 of the team’s 2013 First Year Player Draft picks, and eight players from MLB.com’s list of the top 20 Brewers prospects: outfielder Tyrone Taylor (No. 4), shortstop Orlando Arcia (No. 6), outfielder Victor Roache (No. 8), right-hander Williams (No. 9), catcher Clint Coulter (No. 11), infielder Neuhaus (No. 13), and right-handers Drew Gagnon (No. 15) and Damien Magnifico (No. 19).

Also participating are shortstop Franly Mallen and outfielder Nicolas Pierre, who received record-setting bonuses in the Dominican Republic in July.

The full list is available at that post. There are a lot of former (and future) Timber Rattlers on that list.

Some of those players are still playing with the Helena Brewers. Helena lost Game One of the best-of-three Pioneer League Championship Series at Idaho Falls on Saturday.

The first game of the Pioneer League Championship Series featured a championship caliber pitching performance from each side. Jonathan Dziedzic and a trio of Idaho Falls relievers out dueled Anthony Banda and Tristan Archer as the Chukars beat the Brewers 2-1 on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.

Dzidezic picked up the win after limiting the Brewers to just two runs in six innings. He struck out eight and walked one.

Josiel Martinez allowed an unearned run in the seventh and Glenn Sparkman relived him in the eighth and struck out three in 1.2 innings.

Kyle Bartsch faced just one batter, pinch hitter Jalen Harris, and struck him out to close out the game and earn the save.

Banda kept the Brewers in the game as he allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. Archer allowed no runs in two frames.

Game Two is tonight in Helena. Go, Brewers!

Lastly, the Midwest League season came to an end on Saturday night in Davenport, Iowa. The Quad Cities River Bandits swept the South Bend Silver Hawks in the best-of-five Championship Series to win the MWL Pennant for the first time since….2011.

Josh Hader isn’t even old enough to legally drink the champagne that was being splashed around the Quad-Cities River Bandits dressing room Saturday night.

He was more than happy just to wear some of it.

A little more than six weeks after being traded from his hometown Baltimore Orioles to the Houston Astros organization, Hader helped put the finishing touches on the River Bandits’ second championship season in three years.

The slender 19-year-old left-hander shut out the South Bend Silver Hawks on three little singles through seven innings as the Bandits completed a sweep of the Midwest League championship series with a 4-2 victory in front of a lively crowd of 3,607 at Modern Woodmen Park.

Hader, who went 2-0 in just five appearances with the Bandits in the regular season, also went 2-0 in the postseason and he was never in any sort of serious trouble Saturday. He allowed only four baserunners, only one of whom got as far as second base. He also struck out eight Silver Hawks.

The Midwest League home runs of Wladimir Balentien

Wladimir Balentien played for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2004.  He hit 15 home runs in 76 games between April 8 and July 31 for the Rattlers that season.

As of Wednesday, he has 55 home runs this season for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.  That total ties him for the single season record for home runs in Japan.

Balentien sent a fastball deep to right in the sixth for his 55th home run of the season which tied the NPB single-season record held by [Sadaharu] Oh, Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera during the Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ 6-2 loss to the Carp on Wednesday at Jingu Stadium.

“It’s a great feeling,” Balentien said. “It’s something that was a long time coming. To get it done at this point, with a chance to get some more with so many games left and to hit at Jingu, to hit it to right field where the fans are, I couldn’t ask for anything better than that.”

Balentien moved into rarefied air, joining Japanese baseball great Oh, who first set the current record in 1964, Rhodes (2001) and Cabrera (2002) as the only players to hit 55 home runs in a single season.

“It’s a special feeling,” Balentien said. “I never imagined myself in that situation with all those great players, legendary players. To get my name on that list, only 29 years old, that’s something very special.”

(AP Photo/Kyodo News)

(AP Photo/Kyodo News)

I thought today would be a good day to look back at each of his 15 home runs with the Timber Rattlers in 2004.

#1 April 13 @ Burlington – Top of the 4th inning off Ambiorix Burgos.  A solo home run with two outs that put the Rattlers up 2-0.  Wisconsin would win the game 5-3.  Wisconsin had been no-hit one night earlier by the Bees duo of Dustin Hughes and Jake Mullis.

#2 May 15 vs. Cedar Rapids – Bottom of the 7th inning off Aaron Pullin.  A two-run homer with one out.  The Rattlers were down 8-0 when Balentien hit this home run.  He didn’t homer between April 13 and April 30.  Then, he went on the disabled list.  He appeared as a defensive replacement in the game on May 14.  The homer on May 15 was in his third at bat during his first full game off the DL.

#3 May 17 vs. Cedar Rapids – Bottom of the 2nd inning off Chris Hunter.  A solo homer with one out.  This one put the Timber Rattlers up 4-0.

#4 May 17 vs. Cedar Rapids – Bottom of the 8th inning off Allen Buckley.   A three-run homer with two outs.  His second home run of the game gave the Rattlers an 8-3 lead.  Cedar Rapids had pulled to within 5-3 on a three-run home run by Matt Brown in the top of the eighth. 

#5 May 22 vs. West Michigan – Bottom of the 2nd inning off Jordan Tata.  A three-run homer with two outs.  This home run tied the game 3-3.

#6 June 2 @ Lansing – Top of the 4th inning off Randy Wells.  A solo home run with two outs.  Balentien’s blast put the Rattlers up 4-0.

#7 June 4 @ Lansing – Top of the 9th inning off Adalberto Mendez.  A two-run homer with two outs.  This homer allowed the Rattlers to avoid a shutout, but the Rattlers still lost 7-2.

#8 June 17 @ Dayton – Top of the 6th inning off Josh Thigpen.  A grand slam with no outs.  This bases loaded tater gave the Rattlers a 9-1 lead.  The Rattlers would win this game 15-14….in nine innings…and needed to score three runs in the top of the ninth to come back from a 14-12 deficit.  That happened.

That’s the end his home runs in the first half of the season.  Balentien batted 5th in the order for the first homer.  He hit 8th…yes, EIGHTH… in the order for the rest of the half.

#9 June 26 vs. Peoria – Bottom of the 3rd inning off Jordan Pals.  This leadoff home run put the Rattlers up 1-0.  They would lose 2-1 when the Chiefs scored a run in the seventh and another in the eighth.

#10 June 29 vs. Dayton – Bottom of the 6th inning off David Shafer.  A two-out solo home run gave Wisconsin a 4-0 lead.

#11 June 30 vs. Dayton – Bottom of the 6th inning off Trey Rice.  A two-out, two-run homer put the Rattlers up 5-2.  Wisconsin had a 5-4 lead going to the top of the ninth, but this guy by the name of Joey Votto hit a 2-run homer, his second two-run homer of the game.  The final score wound up 8-6 in favor of the Dragons in ten innings.

#12 July 4 @ Kane County – Top of the 7th off JR Pickens.  A leadoff homer pulled the Rattlers to within 3-2, but the Cougars won 5-2.

#13 July 15 vs. Cedar Rapids – Bottom of the 6th off David Austin.  A two-run homer with one out made it 5-1.  This game started on July 3, but was suspended by a bad storm with one out and a runner at third in the top of the fourth.  The game restarted on July 15.

#14 July 17 @ South Bend – Top of the 3rd off Mark Rosen.  A leadoff home run in the 3rd inning gave the Rattlers a 1-0 lead.

#15 July 26 vs. South Bend – Bottom of the 5th off Mitch Stetter.  A two-run home run with one out put the Rattlers up 2-0.

Balentien hit eighth in the order for the entire second half of the season.

He played his final game with the Timber Rattlers at Battle Creek on July 31.  He went 1-for-4 with a double in that game.  My memory is a little foggy here.  Balentien did not play another game in the Mariners system until August 28 for Inland Empire.  I think that he went on the disabled list and was sent to Arizona to rehab and when he was ready, he was promoted to the California League.  I think.

Balentien would hit a pair of home runs in ten games for the 66ers after the promotion.

I have always wondered if Balentien would have made a run at the Timber Rattlers home run record.  He was at 15 over 76 games with the team during that 2004 season.  There were still about 35 games left to play,   Oh, he struck out…a lot – 77 Ks in 260 over those 76 games with the Rattlers.  His slashline with Wisconsin was .277/.315/.519.  He walked only 12 times – twice he was intentionally passed – during that season with Wisconsin.  But, he could crush the baseball.

Now, he’s about to write his name in the record books in Japan.  Congratulations.

Wladimir Balentien in 2004.

Wladimir Balentien in 2004.

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