August 2, 2021

Major Leaguers Ponson, Spiezio Stand Out in Openers

April 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Two of the most seasoned former major leaguers were among the opening night stars in the Atlantic League Thursday.  Sidney Ponson would have had an unblemished six-inning stint in leading Long Island past Lancaster 8-5 if not for a three-run, second inning blast by Joe Gaetti, the son of former big league star Gary. And, former World Series hero Scott Spiezio, hitting seventh in Newark’s order, drove in three runs, including a two-out, two-strike, game-tying single in the bottom of the ninth to get the Bears to extra innings.  Newark got its only lead of the night when onetime Pittsburgh catcher J.R. House delivered a two-run double in the bottom of the 10th to end the five-home run contest in a 10-9 victory over Camden.

York Has Drama and Top Crowd

York, which seems confident of rebounding from a last-place 2009, got off to a winning start, 4-3 over Southern Maryland when Val Majewski delivered a full-count single in the bottom of the ninth, and the Revolution also claimed opening night attendance honors with a gathering of 5,717.  Perennial leader Long Island drew 5,552, Newark had 2,801 and Bridgeport 1,929.

Walk-Off Blast for Former Newark Star

The most dramatic blow Thursday night may well have been struck several hundred miles away when 2007 Newark third baseman Corey Smith cracked a walk-off 10th inning homer over the centerfield fence to give the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Double-A farm club at Chattanooga, TN a 6-5 victory.  Smith, who had 18 round-trippers (and 72 RBI) for the Bears, also had a run-scoring single and a walk for the night.

The Plainfield, NJ native, who turned 28 last week, has gone 4-for-8 with three runs batted in the last two games to lift his season average to .259 along with four doubles and seven RBI.

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DeRenne Gets Promoted, Hits Strasburg

Some quick hits.  The York Daily Record’s Jim Seip was Johnny-on-the-spot in recognizing that former Revolution standout Keoni DeRenne not only was promoted from his player-coach role in Class A to Double-A Reading, but was the only player to get a hit off highly-regarded Stephen Strasburg of Harrisburg this week.  “This (promotion) was all I wanted, DeRenne told Seip.  “I wanted a shot at Double or Triple-A.”  The line drive off No. 1 draftee Strasburg cannot hurt…With Alberto Castillo (Newark, Camden, Road Warriors) back in the Baltimore bullpen, the Atlantic League now has three hurlers in the majors…Nelson Figueroa (Long Island) is scheduled for his first start for Philadelphia on Saturday.

(Subscriptions to the Atlantic League Notebook are available on a monthly or full season basis via or  Bob Wirz also writes a weekly column, the Independent Baseball Insider, as well as a blog, The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as chief spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)

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