1/22 - With two games remaining in the regular season, the Thunder secured their 13th division title after stealing one late from the Marlins Sunday afternoon at the Santaluces Sports Complex.
Down 3-2 in the top of the 8th, the Thunder rallied for three runs with the help of two infield errors and two walked batters, then added an unearned run in the top of the 9th. The Marlins fought to the end, putting two runners on in the 9th, but the Thunder escaped damage when David Hansen induced a game-ending flyout.
Cleveland Westbrook, Jr. singled and scored twice, Matt Ziemak singled home a run, Wisley Correa knocked in a run with a double, Greg Nicholson, Mike DeLeeuw, and Victor Henriquez each singled, and Bobby Morgensen clobbered a solo homerun in the 2nd inning.
Darren Hansen, Bobby Morgensen, and David Hansen saw time on the mound, with David Hansen picking up his first win of the season. The trio allowed nine hits, six walks, struck out five, and two of three runs scored were earned.
THUNDER CO-STARS OF THE GAME - Darren Hansen and David Hansen - The two brothers combined efforts to handle all of the catching duties, and when not catching, they handled 7 2/3 innings on the mound, with David picking up the win.
1/8 - 2023 started off with a bang for the Thunder, as they run-ruled the JEG Reds, giving the T-Men a two-game cushion for the top spot in the division with three games left in the fall regular season.
The Thunder had six of their sixteen hits in the first two innings, and took advantage of a couple of hit batters and wild pitches, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. The T-Men then scored five runs in the 5th off seven hits, and two more runs in the bottom of the 7th when Bobby Morgensen ended the game with a two-run home run.
Morgensen (double, home run, 4 RBIs) and Michael "MJ" Jordan (three singles, 2 RBIs) led the team's offense efforts, while Erick Abreu, Wisley Correa, and Victor Henriquez each singled and doubled. Cleveland Westbrook, Jr., Mike DeLeeuw, Kody Gardere, Jake Palma, and Guy Bitchatcho all singled, with Bitchatcho picking up an RBI.
Kody Gardere tossed three scoreless innings, and Erick Abreu threw four innings for the win. The JED Reds managed one walk, eight hits, and two runs while striking out twice.
THUNDER CO-STARS OF THE GAME - Bobby Morgensen: Drove in four with a double and two-run home run, and Michael "MJ" Jordan: 3-4 with 2 RBIs.
12/18 - Veteran Josh Mowrey tossed six shutout innings Sunday morning, in what could be his last game with the Thunder.
Mowrey allowed four hits and struck out one to pick up his fifth win of the season, which increased his career Thunder record to 57-17, as he remains the winningest pitcher in club history. Mowrey will relocate to the west coast of Florida after the holiday but is hopeful to return and play some games throughout the year when time permits. Rookie Bobby Morgensen tossed an inning and a third after Mowrey, but with one out in the 8th, the umpires called the game due to the Stars arguing about the strike zone, which resulted in three player/manager ejections.
On offense, Cleveland Westbrook, Jr. led the Thunder attack, as he went 3-4 with two singles, a double, and 3 RBIs. Victor Henriquez knocked in two runs with two singles, Keaton Ijams doubled, and Mike DeLeeuw, Darren Hansen, Guy Bitchatcho, Kody Gardere, and David Hansen each singled.
Mowrey's move is the second hit to the Thunder pitching staff this season, as last year's King of The Hill award winner, Caleb Pitts, relocated to the St. Augustine area of Florida earlier this month. Similar to Mowrey, Pitts hopes to make games when time allows.
THUNDER CO-STARS OF THE GAME - Josh Mowrey: 6 innings of shutout pitching and Cleveland Westbrook, Jr: two singles, a double, and 3 RBI.
12/11 - The Thunder pitching staff struck out 12 batters through seven innings and kept the Angels hitless until they broke through with hits in the 8th and 9th inning.
Rookies Jack Palma (4 IP, 13 BF, 6 K, 0 R) and Bobby Morgensen (2 IP, 8 BF, 4 K, 0 R) tossed six scoreless innings, striking out nearly half of the batters they faced, and veteran Josh Mowrey picked up his 4th win of the season, as he allowed two hits and two runs over three innings.
The Thunder had ten hits and took advantage of Angel miscues (11 walks, 7 errors, and 10 wild pitches) to improve their record to 8-1. Kody Gardere and Wisley Correa had three hits each, Michael "MJ" Jordan singled twice, Guy Bitchatcho (RBI) singled, and Victor Henriquez (RBI) doubled.
THUNDER STAR OF THE GAME - Kody Gardere: 3-5, R, 2 SB
12/4 - The Nationals scored early and the Thunder scored late, giving some proof to the idea that it's not how you start, but how you finish.
Historically, the Thunder have been atrocious in games played after Thanksgiving break, and all seemed par for the course when the Nationals jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings. However, a run in the 5th and 6th inning cut the Nats lead to two and injected some life back into the Thunder bench. Then in the top of the 7th, the T-Men sent nine batters to the plate, scored four runs to take a 6-4 lead, the Nationals went down in order in the bottom of the 7th, and the Thunder claimed victory as the league's 3-hour game time limit expired.
Bobby Morgensen led the way with three singles, team hit-leader Cleveland Westbrook picked up two more singles, and winning pitcher Kody Gardere singled twice while driving in a run. Mike DeLeeuw (RBI) and Wisley Correa (2 RBI) came up big in the 7th inning with their only hits of the day, and Victor Henriquez and Greg Nicholson each singled.
Guy Bitchatcho started on the mound for the T-Men, tossed the first three innings, and left the game with a 4-0 deficit. Kody Gardere pitched the next four innings to pick up the win, striking out 7 of 15 batters faced while allowing two hits.
The victory gave manager Mike Soulen his 400th career win.
THUNDER STAR OF THE GAME - Kody Gardere: 2-4 with an RBI, and picks up the win by tossing four scoreless innings.
11/13 - Sluggish, uninspired, flat, and sleepy.
Perhaps it was a Championship hangover for some of the Thunder players that played in the recent 18+ MSBL Fall Classic tournament, but it was a quiet go Sunday morning as the team needed 11 innings and a throwing error to nip the Diamondbacks.
Josh Mowrey and Kennie Silvestri tossed complete games for their teams, each keeping hitters off balance and often working quickly through innings. Mowrey (3-0) earned his third win of the season as he struck out seven and scattered five hits, and needs five wins to reach 60 career Thunder victories.
The Thunder offense managed eleven hits but stranded nine runners until the bottom of the 11th. With one out, Cleveland Westbrook singled and Michael "MJ" Jordan followed with a bunt single. Westbrook headed to third on the play and the first baseman made a bad throw toward third base, allowing Westbrook to score the walk-off winning run.
Cleveland Westbrook, Wisley Correa, and Mike DeLeeuw each singled twice, Erick Abreu and Michael "MJ" Jordan singled and doubled, and Kody Gardere singled.
As a side note, the next Thunder victory will give manager Mike Soulen 400 wins.
THUNDER STAR OF THE GAME - Josh Mowrey tossed 11 innings for the win.
10/30 - One bad inning and some missed opportunities at the plate led to the Thunder's first loss of the season.
Kody Gardere toed the mound for the first time in a long time and tossed two scoreless innings to start the game, which included striking out the side in the 2nd. Cleveland Westbrook, who also hadn't pitched in some time, took the mound in the third but battled with control as he walked two and gave up a single which loaded the bases. Gardere was brought back into action and despite striking out two batters, he gave up two hits and a sacrifice fly and the Hurricanes took a 4-1 lead. Jack Palma did a great job over the next four innings, as he struck out four while allowing only one run to keep the Thunder in striking distance. Anthony Auletta tossed the 8th, striking out two of three batters faced, and Ricky Miranda threw the 9th but ran into trouble as he gave up two runs via a walk, a hit batter, and two hits.
The Thunder offense managed three runs off nine hits and left nine runners on base, five of which were in scoring position. Mike DeLeeuw (single/double) and Greg Nicholson (two singles) had two hits and an RBI, while Cleveland Westbrook, Franklin Garcia, Wisley Correa, Bobby Morgensen, and Kody Gardere each singled. The team had chances but was unable to capitalize, as they left runners in scoring positions in the 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 8th innings.
THUNDER STAR OF THE GAME - Mike DeLeeuw: 2-4 (single/double/RBI).
10/23 - In a reminder that the world stops for nothing, the Thunder took the field just 4 days after the passing of teammate Shawn Chiaramonte. With #24 on their sleeves, #24 spray painted in multiple locations on the field, and after 24 seconds of silence observed by both teams before the game, the Thunder honored Shawn the best way they could, by beating the Beach Bums 7-3 in their fifth game of the season.
With Shawn on their minds, the T-Men banded together and played solid baseball, including out-hitting the Beach Bums 13-7. From the top of the batting order, Cleveland Westbrook (two singles, double) and Michael "MJ" Jordan (two singles, two stolen bases, sac bunt RBI) created havoc on the bases with their speed and accounted for three of the team's seven runs. Guy Bitchatcho singled and doubled, Anthony Auletta (RBI), Greg Nicholson, Jack Palma, Kody Gardere (RBI), and Franklin Garcia singled, and rookie Steven DeLaMota hammered a two-run home run in the top of the 9th.
Veteran right-hander Josh Mowrey picked up his second win of the season, as he tossed five and struck out three, allowing one earned run. Jack Palma threw a scoreless 6th and 7th inning while picking up two more strikeouts, and Anthony Auletta gave up one run in the 8th as he struggled a little with command. The two-run home run by DeLaMota in the 9th took away a save opportunity, but Ricky Miranda fired a 1-2-3 inning and struck out two to secure the win.
THUNDER STAR OF THE GAME - Cleveland Westbrook: 3-4 (two singles, double, 2 runs scored).
10/16 - In the second game of a two-team doubleheader, against a short-handed Tribe squad, the Thunder scored in every inning but one, and exploded for five runs in the bottom of the 7th, which led to a 10-run lead that ended the game early due to the league's run rule.
Five Thunder players had two singles each: Cleveland Westbrook (RBI, 2 R), Mike DeLeeuw (2 RBI, 3R), Anthony Auletta (RBI, R), Wisley Correa (2 RBI), and Kody Gardere (R). Rookie Victor Henriquez picked up his first hit of the season with a single in the explosive 7th inning. Michael "MJ" Jordan picked up an RBI with a sac fly in the 5th.
Newcomer Sammy Camacho earned the win. Camacho faced twenty-five batters over six innings, gave up five hits, and struck out three while allowing one unearned run. Rookie Ricky Miranda threw the top of the 7th. He struck out the first two batters faced, gave up a single, then struck out the next batter to end the inning.
THUNDER STAR OF THE GAME - Sammy Camacho: Earned his first win by tossing six, and escaped three innings with runners in scoring position to keep the Tribe in check.
10/16 - In the first game of a two-team doubleheader, the Thunder beat the Marlins 7-1 thanks to some timely hitting, solid pitching, and some defensive miscues by the Marlins.
Anthony Auletta and speedster Cleveland Westbrook led the team with two hits each. Westbrook (RBI) singled twice and stole four bases, while Auletta missed a two-homerun day by inches, as one of his hits landed on the top of the right field fence and bounced back into play. Auletta (RBI) finished with a double and a home run. Guy Bitchatcho and Michael "MJ" Jordan helped the cause with singles, with Bitchatcho picking up an RBI on a fielder's choice.
Caleb Pitts won his first game of the season, as he tossed the first six innings. Pitts faced 20 batters, he walked one, struck out one, and scattered three hits. Jack Palma threw the last three innings, striking out 3 of the 11 batters faced while giving up a run on three hits.
THUNDER STAR OF THE GAME - Anthony Auletta: 2B / HR / 2 R / 1 RBI
10/2 - The T-Men pitching staff did a great job as Josh Mowrey (5 IP, 18BF, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 H, 1 unearned run), Jack Palma (2 IP, 7 BF, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 H, 0 R), Anthony Auletta (1 IP, 4 BF, 0 BB, 2K, 1 H, 0 R), and Erick Abreu (1 IP, 6 BF, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 H, 0 R) combined efforts to 2-hit the Reds Sunday afternoon at the Santaluces Sports Complex.
In the bottom of the 2nd, the Reds took an early 1-0 lead, after a walk and error allowed an unearned run to cross the plate. The Thunder quickly answered in the top of the 3rd, as Erick Abreu hit a sacrifice fly that scored Matt Ziemak who reached base via walk earlier in the inning. In the 7th, rookie Bobby Morgensen walked, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Guy Bitchatcho, then scored on a single by Shawn Chiaramonte. Morgensen's run would end up being the game-winning run, which earned righty Jack Palma his first win of the season, with Erick Abreu picking up a save.
The Thunder would add two insurance runs in the 9th, as they sent seven batters to the plate. Anthony Auletta, Shawn Chiaramonte, and Cleveland Westbrook each singled, and Erick Abreu (sac fly) and Michael "MJ" Jordan (fielders choice) knocked in a run.
THUNDER STAR OF THE GAME - Shawn Chiaramonte had the game-winning hit in the 7th and finished the day 2-4 with RBI.
9/25 - The Thunder won their opener Sunday afternoon at the Santaluces Sports Complex against the Caribe Stars, as the first fall season Battle of the Josh's (Josh Rivera and Josh Mowrey) was won by Josh Mowrey, as he picked up his first win of the season.
Mowrey faced 21 batters, struck out three, gave up three hits, and allowed two unearned runs over 5 innings. Rookie Jack Palma tossed the next three innings and after giving up 3 straight hits and two runs, Palma found his groove and proceeded to strike out the side in all three innings, racking up 9 K's in three innings. Anthony Auletta tossed the 9th and struck out all 4 batters faced. (One strikeout victim reached first on a wild pitch.) If you are keeping score at home, the last 13 outs of the game for the Stars were via strikeout.
Three of the nine Thunder batters collected 9 of the team's 11 hits. Anthony Auletta went 4-5 and drove in 3 runs, as he smashed three doubles and a single. Mike DeLeeuw went 3-4 and drove in 3 runs, as he ripped two singles and a double. And Darren Hansen went 2-5, as he drove in 1 run via a single and double. Daniel Hansen and Kody Gardere (RBI) each singled, and Cleveland Westbrook picked up an RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
THUNDER STAR OF THE GAME - Anthony Auletta went 4-5 with three doubles, a single, and 3 RBI's. He also struck out all four batters faced in the 9th.