Prospect League

Local arms sling Gems into second place in West in playoff chase

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 5, 2019 1:20 am Updated: Aug. 5, 2019 1:25 am

QUINCY -- Tommy Ray showed up at QU Stadium a little more than two hours before his first scheduled Prospect League start.

Never once before taking the mound did he feel nervous.

"I went through my routine," said Ray, who graduated from Quincy Notre Dame in May and was recently added to the Gems' roster. "Come game time, I felt great."

He pitched like it, too. So did Dylan Foley. The same for Alex Harbin.

The trio of Quincy products -- Foley is QND graduate and Harbin is a Quincy High School alum -- limited the Springfield Sliders to one run over the first eight innings of a 17-3 victory at QU Stadium in the Gems' final home game of the summer.

More importantly, the victory moved Quincy (33-25) into a tie with the DuPage Pistol Shrimp for second place in the West Division standings. The team in second when the regular season ends Tuesday joins the Cape Catfish in the Prospect League playoffs.

The Gems close with two road games -- both at last-place Springfield -- while the Pistol Shrimp play a three-game set with the Hannibal Hoots at QU Stadium. Monday's doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

"Hopefully the Hoots can help us out and we get the chance to continue riding this wave," said Foley, who made his third appearance since joining the Gems and earned his first victory. "We know our offense is always going to give us a chance."

Getting quality innings from the recent additions helps, too.

Ray spent most of the summer pitching in the St. Louis Metro Collegiate League, where he went 3-0 for the Bandits. With the season complete and the Gems in need of arms, Ray took advantage of the opportunity for additional experience against college hitters.

"It gives me a ton of confidence," he said.

It showed in the way he attacked the Sliders. He worked the first three innings, allowing one run and three hits with three strikeouts.

"I felt comfortable from the get-go," said Ray, who is headed to pitch for John A. Logan Community College. "My fastball had great life."

Ray left with a 7-1 lead and handed the ball to Foley, who struck out five and allowed one hit in two innings.

"I know as a starter when you get early run support you can just ride that and you can just relax," said Foley, who will pitch at Heartland Community College. "We were playing well and I just took it and ran with it."

Harbin pitched the final four innings, tossing three scoreless frames before allowing two runs in the ninth. For a position player who isn't pitching in college, he's been surprisingly effective in two relief outings.

The right-hander has tossed 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs while striking out five and walking one.

"We were running out of pitching and (Gems manager Pat Robles) asked if I could give us some innings," Harbin said. "I'm not a pitcher, but I told him I'd try. I've just gone out there done the best I could."

It's been good enough to keep the playoff push going.

"The next two games are vital for us," Harbin said.

If the Gems hit like they did Sunday night, two more victories are possible.

Kyle Crowl crushed a grand slam in the first inning. Joey Polak jacked a three-run homer in the sixth inning. And the Gems scored in all but one inning.

"When you have an offense that can put up runs like this group can, you're going to pitch with confidence," Foley said. "I think everyone is playing confident."

Gems 17, Sliders 3

Springfield Quincy

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Hampton cf 4 0 0 0 Parks cf 5 2 3 1

Parnell 2b 4 0 1 0 Caplinger c 4 1 0 0

File 3b 4 0 2 0 Harvey lf 1 1 1 0

Arndt 1b 3 1 2 0 Polak 1b 5 3 3 3

Hnneman c 3 0 0 0 Schares rf 4 1 3 2

Brown ph 1 1 1 0 McRandal ph 1 0 0 0

Hstettlr rf 4 0 0 0 Crowl ss 6 1 3 5

Cody dh 4 0 1 1 Young 2b 6 1 1 0

Merchant ss 4 0 1 1 Borden 3b 4 4 2 3

Paparelli lf 4 1 2 0 Harbin lf 4 2 1 1

Vannoy dh 4 1 1 0

Totals 35 3 10 2 Totals 44 17 18 15

Springfield 001 000 002 -- 3

Quincy 601 114 22x -- 17

E--Caplinger. DP--Quincy 2. LOB--Springfield 6, Quincy 10. 2B--Harvey, Polak, Harbin. HR--Polak, Crowl, Borden 2. SB--Parks.

IP H R ER BB SO

Springfield

Abraham L 2-3 2 6 4 4 0

Merchant 4 1-3 8 3 2 0 2

Parnell 1 3 4 4 0 2

Paparelli 1 2 2 2 0 1

File 1 3 2 2 0 1

Quincy

Ray 3 3 1 1 0 3

Foley W, 1-0 2 1 0 0 0 5

Harbin 4 6 2 2 0 3

WP--Abraham 2, Parnell.

Umpires--Home, Brad Zerkle; Field, Joseph Elke.

T--2:20. A--1,478.