Results tagged ‘ Neftali Soto ’

Senators’ Notebook: Raudy Read and Ozzie Abreu produce different results in first taste of Double-A

Raudy Read has made the transition to Double-A seamlessly (Samuel Getty / Harrisburg Senators)


Charles Dickens began his classic novel A Tale of Two Cities with the famous opening line, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” After a week and a half of games, the same could very easily be said of Senators’ players Raudy Read and Ozzie Abreu. Both are getting their first taste of Double-A Harrisburg to start the 2017 season and while one prospect flourishes, the other flails.

Read, a 23-year-old catcher, has adapted to the better pitching and looks like he has already made the necessary adjustments to succeed at this level. In eight games so far, Read has four doubles and two home runs while driving in seven runs to match Neftali Soto for the team lead.

“I think going to big league camp and comparing himself to all these other players, he realizes he’s close. He sees if he goes out and competes and plays the game right, he’s there,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “I think that shows in the way he’s been going out and doing his work.”

Throughout his career, Read has been known as an offense first option behind the plate, but the backstop has impressed his skipper with other tools. “I think he’s done a really nice job with our pitching staff. That’s what I’ve been pleased with,” LeCroy said.

On the other hand, Abreu has struggled in his opening salvo with the Senators. The 22-year-old shortstop is hitting a meager .147 thanks to only five singles in 35 plate appearances. At the plate Abreu appears overwhelmed at times as evident by his 15 strikeouts. “The game is a little faster at this level, but I think he’ll catch up,” LeCroy said pointing to Abreu’s respectable numbers in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League last fall where he slashed .267/.303/.317.

After batting second during the opening week, LeCroy moved the scuffling Abreu down to eighth for Saturday’s game. Hopefully, the lower spot in the batting order will take pressure off the shortstop until he can get his feet under him.


Although the Senators came away with only one win in their three game set against Bowie, Harrisburg has to be happy with the way they pitched against the potent Baysox lineup. In the first seven games of the season against Akron and Erie, Bowie averaged over seven runs a game and had clubbed 33 extra-base hits including 11 home runs. The Senators limited the veteran lineup to just 12 total runs and only four doubles and one home run in the entire series.

Overall, the Senators pitching has been their strongest asset so far as the staff has posted a 3.20 ERA (second only to Altoona in the Eastern League) and given away the fewest base on balls in the league. Led by Nationals’ top pitching prospect Erick Fedde,the starting pitchers have been excellent so far this season and have carried the load admirably. In two starts, Fedde has tossed 11 scoreless innings while holding opponents to a .171 batting average.  As a unit, the starters are pitching to a 2.50 ERA while allowing a minuscule 1.09 WHIP.


Much like he did last season for 93 games, Neftali Soto has provided the big veteran bat the Senators need in the middle of their lineup. He has provided protection for Drew Ward batting in front of him and has taken some pressure off Double-A rookies Read and Alec Keller behind him. Soto is in the top ten in the league in batting with a .382 average and has only whiffed twice in 39 plate appearances for an Eastern League best rate of 19.5 TPA/SO.


The injuries to Trea Turner and Stephen Drew at the major league level caused a ripple effect down to the Senators as they embarked on their first road trip of the season. Adrian Sanchez, who had played second base this season but can handle multiple positions defensively, was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse. To fill Sanchez’s roster spot, the Senators activated Zach Collier off the disabled list and the outfielder went 2-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored in his first game action on Saturday afternoon.


Prior to the team arriving in Harrisburg, many of the players drove their vehicles up from spring training so they would have a means of getting around town. The coaching staff is normally not any different, but ths season LeCroy chose to fly here. In the past he has done this at least once before, but then he had gotten a player (Jose Lozada) to drive his pickup truck to the midstate. This time, though, LeCroy pulled what he called “a veteran move” when he left his vehicle here after this year’s Hot Stove banquet in late January.

Soto with Three Hits; Sens Lose 9-3

Altoona takes game one of five-game series

Alex McRae had his best outing since joining the Altoona Curve as he shut down the Senators Thursday night in a 9-3 Curve win. The Sens managed eight hits but could only cross the plate once in the loss. Neftali Soto had three hits in the game and drove in the Senators only run.  Altoona is now a season-high 13 games over .500 at 51-38 while the Senators drop four games behind the Curve and are 47-42.

Altoona plated three unearned runs in the first inning and were never threatened in the game. They tacked on a run in the third, three more in the fifth and their final two in the eighth. Boone Whiting started and took the loss. He left the game after taking a line drive off his lower right leg in the fifth inning.

Fresh off his appearance at the All-Star Game, Neftali Soto had three hits in the losing effort. (Will Bentzel/

Fresh off his appearance at the All-Star Game, Neftali Soto had three hits in the losing effort. (Will Bentzel/

Harrisburg scored their first run in the sixth inning on a double by Andrew Stevenson and a single by Neftali Soto. It looked like the Sens would have other chances but a couple of pick-offs and a double-play killed three potential rallies. Trailing 9-1 in the ninth, Stephen Perez doubled in two runs for the final tallies in the game.

Rafael Bautista had two hits in the game.

Derek Self and Nick Lee followed Whiting, combining to pitch the final four innings.

The Senators and Altoona Curve play two games Friday evening beginning at 5:00 p.m. The games can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 4:45 p.m.

Soto Drives in Seven; Sens Beat Erie 14-3

Tyler Mapes sharp again for the Senators

Video Highlights

The Harrisburg Senators rode a resurgent offense to pummel the Erie SeaWolves 14-3 on Thursday night in front of 3,110 fans at FNB Field. The win clinched a series victory for Harrisburg (45-40) in their penultimate set before the All-Star break.

“They responded,” manager Matt LeCroy said about the Senators’ reaction to his closed door meeting. “I was really proud of the at-bats, the effort and energy tonight to come up and win the series.”

With Harrisburg leading 3-0 into the fifth, Neftali Soto and the Senators broke the game open with two big innings. Soto became the third Senator this season to drive in seven runs as the first baseman smoked a three-run home run and grand slam on successive at-bats. The long balls were Soto’s ninth and tenth of the season.

Neftali Soto drove in seven runs with two home runs on Thursday night (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Neftali Soto drove in seven runs with two home runs on Thursday night (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

The Senators plated a season-high 14 runs on 16 hits including Rafael Bautista who went 4-for-5 and Andrew Stevenson who tallied three base knocks. Wilmer Difo drove in four runs with a home run of his own and Isaac Ballou tripled home a pair when the game was still in question.

“That’s what I’ve been proud of the most,” LeCroy said about his shortstop. “Even though Difo has had offensive struggles, he’s never taken it out to his defense. That’s a sign of maturity and the way he comes prepared every day.”

The runs were more than enough for Harrisburg starter Tyler Mapes who held Erie to one hit through six innings. The SeaWolves eventually got to the right-hander for a pair of runs, but Mapes (8-6) was in control for most of the night in picking up the victory. He scattered five hits while walking one and striking out five.

John Simms worked the final two innings to secure the victory for Harrisburg.

Harrisburg opens a three-game series with the Akron RubberDucks on Friday evening at FNB Field. Michael Brady goes for the Senators opposed by Michael Peoples for the 7:00 p.m. game. The Senators will be wearing Home Improvement themed jerseys to coincide with the appearance of Richard Karn, better known as Al Borland from the sitcom. The specialty jerseys will be auctioned off during and after the game to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 6:45 p.m.

How Sweep It Is, Sens Take Two on Tuesday

Ross tosses shutout in Game 1; Bats explode in Game 2

Game 1 Highlights

Game 2 Highlights

The Harrisburg Senators swept a doubleheader, 1-0 and 10-3, over the Erie SeaWolves in front of 2,345 fans on Tuesday evening. Harrisburg (44-39) ended their longest losing streak of the season at five games with the pair of victories.

In the first game of the twinbill, the Senators were held to just one hit but prevailed 1-0 as Greg Ross twirled a gem to outpitch Erie’s Jason Collier. Ross (4-1) induced 13 ground ball outs on his way to a seven-inning complete game shutout where the right-hander allowed five singles and struck out three. Ross lowered his ERA with Harrisburg to a minuscule 0.44 on the season.

“Ross did a nice job. He gave us a really good effort,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “Anytime you win with one hit, it’s good.”

The Senators plated the game’s only run in the second inning when Neftali Soto tripled past a diving Connor Harrell in center field. The next batter, Drew Ward, scored Soto with an RBI groundout for what turned out to be the game-winner. Soto was the only Senator batter to reach base the whole game as the first baseman also walked in his other plate appearance.

In the nightcap, the Senators drew first blood as they scored two-run first inning runs as Erie pitcher Cal Drummond committed both a fielding and throwing error on the same play.

Andrew Robinson walked the tightrope over three innings of work as he made a spot start, his first since 2011, after making his last 193 appearances in relief. The right-hander allowed three hits and walked four, but kept the SeaWolves off the scoreboard as he worked out of bases loaded jams in two frames.

“Robby had some traffic every inning but did a nice job putting up zeroes,” LeCroy said. “We took advantage of some errors and we had some much better at-bats.”

Wilmer Difo broke the nightcap open with a bases-loaded single in the 4th inning (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Wilmer Difo broke the nightcap open with a bases-loaded single in the 4th inning (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Erie scratched across a run off reliever Ryan Brinley in the fourth inning, but Harrisburg responded with a five-spot in the bottom half. Three straight singles by Ward, Kevin Keyes, and Shawn Pleffner pushed the Senators’ advantage back to two runs. After Pleffner scored on a Stephen Perez swinging bunt, Wilmer Difo broke the game open with a bases loaded single that plated two. Isaac Ballou followed with another RBI single that made the tally 7-1 in Harrisburg’s favor.

Corey Jones belted a two-run home run off Brinley, but 7-3 was the closest the SeaWolves would get as Senators’ catcher Nick Rickles answered with a two-run home run of his own and Keyes lifted a sacrifice fly to finalize the scoring. The Senators’ 12-hit attack was led by Ballou who had three base knocks while Rafael Bautista and Difo each had a pair.

Wander Suero pocketed his first win of the season with one inning of scoreless relief.

Harrisburg continues their series with the SeaWolves on Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. at FNB Field. The Senators will send Boone Whiting to the mound to square off against Josh Turley from Erie. Bring your used baseball glove to donate to Baseball Miracles and receive $5 off one box or field box ticket; also, all four-legged friends are welcome at the park as the Senators host Wet Nose Wednesday. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 6:45 p.m.

Senators Unable to Hold Lead in Whiting’s Debut, Fall to Reading, 13-5

Soto and Perez both homer for Senators in loss

The Harrisburg Senators led 4-1 after six and a half innings Thursday, but could not protect the lead in a 13-5 loss to the Reading Fightin’ Phils Thursday in front of a big crowd at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Senators (42-36) have lost three of their last four games while allowing 41 runs in that span.

Senators’ starter Boone Whiting threw well early on, allowing just one unearned run in his first six innings of work while his teammates began to build him a lead.

Neftali Soto led off the second inning with a monster home run over the seats beyond the left field wall for his team-leading eighth long ball of the season. In the third inning, Rafael Bautista singled, stole second (his league-leading 35th steal) and scored when Wilmer Difo dumped a single into center field.

Harrisburg added a run in the fifth when Stephen Perez doubled and scored on a Bautista RBI single. Soto doubled with one out in the sixth and scored on an RBI single to right field by Drew Ward.

However, with Harrisburg leading 4-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Whiting walked two batters and allowed an RBI single while getting just one out before being relieved by Ryan Brinley. Following an RBI bloop single by Reading’s Jorge Alfaro that cut the Senators’ advantage to 4-3, the Fightin’ Phils took the lead on a three-run home run by Dylan Cozens.

Whiting finished with 6.1 innings pitched in his Senators’ debut, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits while walking three and striking out six.

Stephen Perez hit his first home run of the season in the Senators' loss. (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Stephen Perez hit his first home run of the season in the Senators’ loss. (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

After Reading added to its lead with back-to-back homers to start the bottom of the eighth inning, Brinley hit Reading’s Jake Fox with a pitch, and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Rich Grassa. Senators manager Matt LeCroy was then also ejected after an extended argument regarding Brinley’s tossing. Reading went on to score seven runs in the eighth inning as Rhys Hoskins hit a grand slam.

In the ninth inning, Perez drilled his first home run since August 8, 2015 – a solo shot to left. Perez finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Bautista and Soto each finished 2-for-4 while Isaac Ballou had a three-hit game for the Senators, which finished with 11 hits as a team.

Harrisburg and Reading will play the second of four games on Friday night, beginning at 7:05. Tyler Mapes will take the hill for Harrisburg against Reading’s Tyler Viza. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 6:50 p.m.

Lopez K’s 13 in 4-1 Win over Reading

Video Highlights

Reynaldo Lopez matched a career best with 13 strikeouts as the Harrisburg Senators tamed the Reading Fightin’ Phils, 4-1, to take the rubber match in their three-gamer series.

Reading got on the scoreboard early as Jesmuel Valentin led off the game with a triple and scored two batters later. But that was the only run the Fightin’ Phils would get on the day as Lopez (2-5) cruised the rest of the way. The 22-year-old right-hander dominated over seven innings allowing five hits without walking a batter.

“After the first batter, he realized he needed to mix it up. This team can hit,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “The biggest thing with him, like anybody else, is the fastball command and that sets up everything else.”

Reynaldo Lopez picked up his second win of the season and has now struck out 46 batters in his last 25.2 innings (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Reynaldo Lopez picked up his second win of the season and has now struck out 46 batters in his last 25.2 innings (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Harrisburg (37-31) took a lead in the second inning after Brian Jeroloman delivered an RBI single that scored Chris Bostick. The next batter, Stephen Perez, hit a pop foul down the first base line that carried far enough for Zach Collier to tag up and score from third base.

Reading starter Ricardo Pinto and Lopez traded zeroes until Harrisburg pushed across an insurance run in the seventh inning. Perez reached on a throwing error, stole second base, advanced on an errant throw, and waltzed home on Kevin Keyes’ pinch-hit single.

The Fightin’ Phils threatened in the eighth as a hit by pitch and single put runners at the corner off reliever Andrew Robinson. Nick Lee was summoned to face Dylan Cozens, the leading home run hitter in the Eastern League, but the southpaw walked him on five pitches. Wander Suero worked out of the bases loaded jam by inducing a shallow fly to right.

Neftali Soto pushed the Senators’ advantage to 4-1 in the eighth with a solo home run. The dinger was Soto’s second hit of the day as he joined Collier as the only Senators with more than one base knock.

Despite allowing a couple of singles, Suero earned his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

Reading’s two big hitters, Cozens and Rhys Hoskins, came into the series leading the Eastern League with 19 and 17 home runs respectively. Harrisburg pitchers held the pair to a combined 1-for-22 with ten strikeouts and two walks. “Cozens and Hoskins weren’t really factors in this series and I think it’s because they established inside at then mixed it up,” LeCroy said. “They executed the plan we had. We weren’t going to let them beat us but at the same time, they went after them pounding it in and that’s the difference.”

Harrisburg has a day off on Monday as they travel to Portland to face the Sea Dogs for a three-game series. Tyler Mapes will square off against Kevin McAvoy on Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. from historic Hadlock Field. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 6:45 p.m.

Tyler Mapes Goes the Distance in 1-0 Win over Trenton

On Wednesday night in Trenton, Tyler Mapes outdueled Trenton LH Jordan Montgomery as the Senators defeated the Thunder 1-0. Mapes went the distance for the first time in his professional career and it was the first nine-inning complete game this season for the Senators.

Mapes didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning and no Trenton base runner reached second base. Trenton managed just three singles, a walk and a hit batter. Mapes struck out just four and he induced twelve ground ball outs. He threw 98 pitches, 69 for strikes in the gem.

The Senators scored the lone run in the game in the first inning when Neftali Soto doubled in Wilmer Difo with one out. The Senators threatened in the fifth, loading the bases with one out, but Difo hit into a double play ending the threat.

Tyler Mapes threw the Senators' first complete game shutout since Robbie Ray in 2013 (Will Bentzel /

Tyler Mapes threw the Senators’ first 9-inning complete game shutout since Robbie Ray in 2013 (Will Bentzel /

Montgomery, the Thunder starter, struck out a career-high 11 batters as he, too, tossed a gem of his own.

The Senators didn’t have anyone up in the bullpen until the ninth inning when Koda Glover began loosening up. With two outs in the ninth, Miguel Andujar singled for Trenton which brought Matt LeCroy out of the dugout to talk to Mapes. LeCroy allowed Mapes to face Sebastian Valle and Mapes responded by striking out Valle to end the game.

The Senators are now 35-29 on the season while Trenton falls to 38-27.

The final game of the three-game series is Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. as the Senators send RH Lucas Giolito to the hill.

Ross Dominates Again, Senators Win 4-0

Video Highlights

Behind another impressive outing from Greg Ross and enough offense from the heart of the order, the Harrisburg Senators completed the series sweep of the Akron RubberDucks with a 4-0 victory on Monday evening. The win notched the Senators’ first four-game sweep since August 2011 and sent the RubberDucks to their ninth consecutive defeat.

In his second start with Harrisburg, Ross (2-0) continued posting zeroes on the scoreboard. The 26-year-old twirled seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and three walks while matching his career-high with eight strikeouts. Between Potomac and Harrisburg, Ross has allowed only two runs over 36.1 innings while starting this season.

“Akron has one of the best offensive teams when everything is clicking and I thought he attacked them, slowed it up, and got early contact,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “It just shows that if you throw it over and get strike one, you can basically do what you want.”

Chris Bostick fell a home run short of the Senators' first cycle since 2007 (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Chris Bostick fell a home run short of the Senators’ first cycle since 2007 (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

For the third straight game, the Senators (34-28) reached double digits in hits as the team rapped out ten base knocks. Chris Bostick fell a home run short of the cycle as the second baseman went 3-for-4 with three runs driven in. “I think he’s staying in the zone. He’s using the whole field. He’s swinging at strikes. Even the ones he’s swinging and missing are balls over the plate,” LeCroy said. “He just has a pretty consistent approach all of the time. It’s really helping him be successful.”

Hitting ahead of Bostick in the lineup, Neftali Soto also went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Cutter Dysktra was the only other Senator to reach base three times with two singles and a walk.

Wander Suero struggled finding the strike zone in relief of Ross. A hit batsman and two walks sandwiched between a couple of outs loaded the bases for Akron before Koda Glover was summoned from the bullpen. Glover induced an inning-ending fly ball to center field and then worked a scoreless ninth inning for his third save as a Senator.

Harrisburg embarks on a short three-game set against the Thunder at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton. Reynaldo Lopez squ ares off against Vicente Campos with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 6:45 p.m.

Senators Sink the RubberDucks 11-2

Video Highlights

The Harrisburg Senators scored in six of their eight half-innings on their way to an 11-2 rout of the Akron RuberDucks. Akron left 12 men on base including two bases loaded situations on their way to their seventh straight loss.

“Any time you’re hitting the ball from line to line with that type of contact is good,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “We had some situational success early and it gave us a little bit of a cushion.”

Harrisburg (32-28) scored early and often to take a commanding lead on the Ducks and starting pitcher Shawn Morimando. Isaac Ballou plated Wilmer Difo from third base with a sacrifice fly in the first inning to give the Senators a 1-0 advantage. Situationally hitting, Ballou once again delivered with an RBI groundout in the third. Neftali Soto followed with a single up the middle to score Rafael Bautitsta.

Ballou credits the pre-game drills for his success in those situations. “It really goes into the work we do with (hitting coach Brian) Rupp and skip before BP. We honestly do that every day. Infield in, infield back,” the outfielder said. “You get up there with a runner on third and less than two outs, it’s pretty easy – just make sure you put the ball in play and do your job.”

Isaac Ballou drove in three runs, going 2-for-3 (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Isaac Ballou drove in three runs, going 2-for-3 (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

John Simms made the spot start for Harrisburg before running into trouble into the fourth inning after 65 pitches. Michael Brady relieved and worked out of the jams the next two frames while allowing only one run to score. Brady (1-0) picked up the win scattering three hits over 2.1 innings of work while striking out two.

“Any time you have the bullpen day, sometimes you push it too much. In our case I might have left Simmsy out there a little bit too long, maybe I asked a little too much,” LeCroy said.

The Senators posted four multi-run innings as part of their 14-hit attack. Soto and Chris Bostick both hit home runs on their way to each driving in three runs. Cutter Dykstra delivered a big two-run double in the fourth when the outcome was still in question and Ballou also plated three on a 2-for-3 night at the plate.

“With Belisle here, it put some guys behind the 8-ball as far as getting innings and getting ups,” LeCroy said. “I think you saw with Suero he was strong, his command wasn’t as good. Overall, once we got that extra insurance was something we really needed.”

The Senators and RubberDucks continue their four-game series on Sunday afternoon at a special time of 3:30 p.m. Right-hander Phillips Valdez will make his Class AA debut for Harrisburg against Akron’s Michael Peoples. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 3:15 p.m.

Senators Win Suspended Game, 8-1 over Richmond

The Harrisburg Senators started and finished strong in an 8-1 over Richmond in a game that took about 20 hours to complete. The Senators led 4-1 in the third inning when the game was suspended Friday night. There was no scoring in the resumption of the game until the eighth inning when the Senators tallied four times to break the game open.

Neftali Soto singled in two runs in the first, then another run in the third giving the Sens a 3-1 lead. Chris Bostick drove in a run with a single giving the Sens a 4-1 lead, then the rains came, and the game was suspended. The Senators plated four in the eighth, with Bostick singling in a run giving the Sens a 5-1 lead. Brian Jeroloman then doubled with the bases loaded, driving in all three runners, to break the game open and give the Senators an 8-1 lead.

Matt Belisle pitched an inning in the resumed game before turning the game over to John Simms. Simms threw three innings walking one and striking out five. Simms was awared the win, moving to 3-2 on the season. Andrew Robinson pitched the final three innings to earn the save. Reynaldo Lopez started the game on Friday night and pitched two innings before the game was suspended.

The Senators improved to 28-25 while Richmond fell to 19-36.

Soto and Bostick combined for four hits and five RBIs. Every Senator position player that started had a hit in the game.

Game two of the series and doubleheader is slated to start at approximately 6:30 p.m. tonight with RH Lucas Giolito on the mound for the Senators.