30 Seasons on City Island: The 1998 Senators
This content was originally found in Issue No. 22 of this year’s Senators Program
April 19: Second baseman Trace Coquillette went 5-for-6 with a double in a 17-0 win at Trenton. The Senators scored ten runs in the sixth inning. First baseman Fernando Seguignol singled and hit a three-run homer and Chris Stowers singled twice in the frame.
April 20: Seguignol and Stowers were at it again the next night as the former hit a home run in his third consecutive game while the latter’s RBI single capped a three-run, ninth-inning rally to beat Reading 11-10.
April 25: Coquillette cracked a seventh-inning grand slam and Jose Fernandez went 3-for-5 with two dingers of his own as the Senators beat Trenton 7-5.
April 27: Catcher Michael Barrett went 3-for-4, including a third-inning grand slam, and outfielder Scott Samuels went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBI in a 10-3 win against New Haven April 27. The game capped a stretch in which Barrett went 12-for-21.
May 4: J.D. Smart threw six scoreless innings in a 5-0 win against Akron and he had not allowed a run in his first five games (1-0, 1 SV, 20 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 15 SO)
May 8: Trace Coquillette hit a pair of home runs and Hiram Bocachica and Fernando Seguignol also went deep in a 6-3 win at Portland. Seguignol had homered twice the night before.
May 18: Three days after his extra inning, game-winning single, Coquillette was the goat committing a pair of errors in the seventh inning, his first two of the season, that led to four unearned runs and an 8-3 loss against New Britain. The Senators as a team were responsible for six miscues in the game.
May 19: Jeremy Powell threw a three-hit, 7-1 complete game win against New Britain. It was the first nine-inning complete game of his career and fourth overall.
May 18-20: Seguignol homered in three straight games against New Britain. He had gone deep in four of five games in the midst of getting a hit in 14 of his last 15 games. By the end of the month Seguignol, who was acquired from the Yankees a few years back in the John Wetteland deal, was leading the league in home runs (15), RBI (44), slugging (.649) and extra-base hits (26).
June 15: Keith Evans allowed a run on three hits over six innings while Fernando Seguignol doubled twice, homered and drove in four runs in a 12-1 win against Trenton.
June 26: Jeremy Powell allowed fourth and sixth-inning singles over six innings to snap his three-game losing streak and help end a terrible slide for the Senators that saw them lose ten straight games and 21 of 26 at one point, batting just .180 with runners in scoring position over that span. In the nightcap of the doubleheader, Scott Mitchell tossed a three-hit, 5-0 shutout over Akron. First baseman Andy Tracy was promoted from Jupiter and homered in his first at-bat. In six games, Tracy went 4-for-15 with two dingers.
July 3: Shortstop Jamey Carroll’s two-run single capped a three-run bottom of the ninth inning that gave the Senators a 9-8 win over Reading. Jose Fernandez and Michael Barrett clubbed back-to-back homers in the fifth inning.
July 12: Fernandez’s tenth-inning RBI double beat Akron 5-4 on July 12. The hit capped an eight-game stretch in which Fernandez hit .385 (10-26) with three doubles and three homers.
July 14: Chris Stowers’ RBI double in the sixth inning provided the only run of the game in a 1-0 blanking over Trenton. Keith Evans hurled seven scoreless innings (5 H, 2 BB, 3 SO) for the win.
July 24: Fernando Seguignol homered twice (2-4, 3 RBI) on in a 7-6 win against Akron. He belted another dinger the next night against the Aeros, then went deep again July 28 & 29 against Norwich to boost his league-leading totals to 24 homers and a .604 slugging percentage.
August 3: Peter Bergeron and Jon Tucker came over from San Antonio after the Dodgers packaged the duo as part of the trade package for Carlos Perez and Mark Grudzielanek. Bergeron went 4-for-12 and Tucker 2-for-10 in their first three games.
August 6-8: Infielder Geoff Blum hit home runs in three consecutive games against New Haven and Reading (6-9, 5 RBI).
August 13: The Senators had just two hits in the first five innings before putting together 11 runs and seven hits in the sixth inning to defeat Trenton 11-6 on August 13. Chris Stowers had two singles in the inning while Jhonny Caravajal and Tucker had three-run doubles.
August 17: Blum clubbed a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning off one of the minors’ top firemen, Brent Stentz, to beat New Britain 6-4 in the second game of a twinbill. Barrett scored ahead of Blum’s blast to cross the plate in his 12th consecutive game.
August 26: Michael Barrett hit a pair of home runs, a double and a single, scored three runs and drove in a pair in a 6-3 win at Bowie. The Senators scored three unearned runs in the top of the ninth inning to pull out the victory. Barrett, who took over the league lead in batting (.326), has batted .413 (38-92) in August while playing mostly at the hot corner. As a third baseman this season, the 21-year-old is batting .384 in 99 at-bats. He had a 17-game hitting streak snapped August 25 against Bowie.
September 6: Chris Stowers started two rallies in the afternoon with a double and a homer that helped Harrisburg beat the Portland Sea Dogs 7-1. Hours later as Trenton lost 14-4, the Senators clinched the final playoff spot in the Eastern League’s Southern Division.
September 9: Using early home runs by Stowers and Andy Tracy, as well as five workmanlike innings from starter Scott Forster, the Senators built a quick lead 9-0 lead and held off a couple of late Akron rallies to take Game 1 of the semifinals, 9-5.
September 11: Four more hits by Stowers helped the Senators rally past the Aeros 7-4 to take a 2-1 series lead. “I can’t explain it,” Stowers said of batting .339 against Akron during the regular season and .259 against the rest of the league. “Of course, I did go 3-for-50 against Bowie.”
September 12: A timely three-run homer in the second inning by Carlos Adolfo and solid pitching from Jeremy Powell and Tommy Phelps propelled the Senators to a 6-3 win eliminating the vaunted Aeros (including Major League All-Star Jim Thome on a rehab assigment) in four games of the Eastern League’s best-of-five Southern Division finals.
September 15: Chris Schwab had only been a Senator since the final weekend of the Eastern League’s regular season. But the newcomer came through in the clutch as his RBI double fueled a three-run sixth inning that sparked a 5-2 victory over New Britain in Game 2 of the EL finals at RiverSide Stadium.
September 16: The Senators jumped out to a two-run first inning and starter Scott Mitchell and reliever Phelps moved Harrisburg to within one game of the championship with a 3-2 win.
September 17: Nine innings wasn’t enough, but Carlos Adolfo and Guillermo Mota made sure ten frames was. Adolfo’s two-run double lifted the Senators over New Britain 6-4 in Game 4 of the Eastern League finals and Mota nailed down the win recording the final three outs.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
- The Senators became only the second team in the Eastern League’s 76 seasons to win three straight playoff titles.
- Jose Fernandez and Michael Barrett were among the 12 players selected to the season-ending Eastern League all-star team.
- Outfielder Chris Stowers reached 100 consecutive games without an error before his streak ended on August 29.
- Guillermo Mota named the playoff MVP after allowing only three hits in seven scoreless innings.
“It’s the end of the road. Everything we’ve worked for is finished. This puts a dot on the i…When you work hard like this, this is what’s supposed to happen.” – – manager Rick Sweet on winning championship
“We hit a road series in Binghamton and it seemed that things went down hill after that. We were playing so well and then I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We lost our focus. We were a young team and teams made a lot of adjustments. The all-star break is a time for moves and some guys may have been thinking about that.” – – Michael Barrett on 5-23 June record
“You always think that burn of champagne in the eye hurts, but it’s nothing. Good guys always finish on top, right?” – – shortstop Geoff Blum
“I think the biggest boost we had was when we got (Jon) Tucker and (Peter) Bergeron. We knew that they were good players and we also knew that they were going to come in and help us win. It seemed like we had a different attitude. We were a team. Then (Geoff) Blum and Andy Tracy gave us an air of confidence. We knew that this was going to be the team and we were all going to stay there. It was great for chemistry.” – – Barrett on the late season roster
“When you taste this once, you want to taste it again and again. People who have never won never know this feeling.” – – manager Rick Sweet on winning championship
“They turned the trophy over to me [during the clubhouse celebration]. I took it to the bus, wiped it off and put it on the dashboard for the whole way back.” – – bus driver Art Mattingly