Where have you gone, Tim Rall?
It doesn’t have quite the same ring as the lyric from the Simon and Garfunkel song “Mrs. Robinson”, but it’s a question which a few fans of the Bangor Lumberjacks have asked recently.
Here’s the answer:
Rall is alive and pitching fairly well for the Class A minor league affiliate of the Seattle Mariners in San Bernadino, Calif.
The 23-year-old native of Lynbrook, N.Y., has appeared in nine games for the Inland Empire 66ers of the California League since his contract was purchased from the Lumberjacks. The lefthander started four games before being converted to a reliever. In 34 innings, Rall has allowed 32 hits and 16 runs (15 earned) while striking out 27 batters and walking eight. His record is 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA.
Rall is an example of the reasons independent minor league baseball was created. Any NEL player getting a contract offer to play in affiliated ball is always allowed out of his contract. Standard contract buyouts are $3,000, a sum paid to the independent league team.
He was undrafted after a solid collegiate career at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in N.C., where he set career records for most appearances (120), innings pitched (300 2/3) and strikeouts (302). He also holds the school’s single season records for most wins (11 in 2001) and appearances (34 in both 1999 and 2000).
Despite getting bypassed by the Major League Amateur draft, he decided to attend the independent Northeast League tryout camp last March. He lasted until the seventh pick of the first round in the tryout draft even though Bangor manager Kash Beauchamp thought he was the best player there.
“I was really impressed after I saw him throw. I didn’t think we had a shot at getting him, but there he was when we had our pick,” Beauchamp said.
Rall was named to the NEL all-star team after going 4-0 with a 1.81 ERA in nine starts during the first half. He struck out 58 batters and walked 22 in 59 2/3 innings. He was also NEL pitcher of the week for July 7.
“Off the mound, my thought on Rall was that he was kind of laid-back and not as intense, but when he gets on that mound, it’s his game and you can see that in the way he carries himself,” said Bangor catcher Brad Hargreaves. “He has a bit of an ego, which you need, but he’s not cocky.”
Bangor general manager Curt Jacey said it’s great to see Rall doing well and he is confident he will continue to impress in the Mariners organization.
Sea Dogs sail off with win
For the third time in the last four years, the Portland Sea Dogs had a winning season.
The Dogs finished third in the Eastern League’s north division with a 72-70 record after beating the New Haven Ravens 6-4 Monday before the 36th sellout crowd at Hadlock Field this season.
Before the game, the Sea Dogs announced their team award winners for the season.
Jeremy Owens was named Most Valuable Player after a 21-home run, 68-RBI season. He is the 10th player in franchise history to hit 20 home runs in a season. The EL all-star only missed six games all season.
Josh Stevens was named Pitcher of the Year after a 10-9 campaign. The EL all-star and teammate Tim Kester combined to become the first Sea Dogs duo with 10 wins since 1996. James Johnson was named Citizen of the Year for his community work and John Nathans was honored with the 10th Player Award for being the unsung hero of the squad.
Catching kids at the clinic
The Bangor Lumberjacks’ free baseball clinic for children ages 6 to 13 was well attended Sunday afternoon by both area youths and youth league coaches.
“We had about 30 kids and a few coaches. It was really great,” said Beauchamp, who ran the clinic along with pitcher-coach Kevin Pincavitch and outfielder Edwin Thompson.
“Being able to help generate interest in the game of baseball is a good thing because I think it’s been declining lately,” Beauchamp said.
Young players were instructed in everything from the proper way to grip a bat to pitching and hitting drills to fielding tips and techniques for the better part of two hours.
“I love working with kids. Their enthusiasm is great,” said Thompson, who grew up in Jay. “Any time I get a chance to do something like that, I always help out.”
Andrew Neff can be reached at 990-8205, 1-800-310-8600, or email@example.com