Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 11, 2023

photo: Andre Granillo and Cooper Hjerpe (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Scottsdale Scorpions blew a nine-run lead, losing to the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League semifinal play-in game on Friday and ending their season. Five Cardinals saw action. Victor Scott went 1-for-5 with an RBI and run scored. Jeremy Rivas pinch ran in the ninth. Tekoah Roby started with Cooper Hjerpe and TCN Player of the Day Andre Granillo pitching in relief.

Results from the Arizona Fall League game played Friday, November 10.

Scottsdale Scorpions 9, Peoria Javelinas 12

Five St. Louis Cardinals played in Scottsdale’s semifinal and season-ending loss to Peoria, a club it dominated in the regular season at 5-0-1.

Center fielder Victor Scott hit in the leadoff position. Jeremy Rivas pinch ran in the ninth. Tekoah Roby started on the mound. Cooper Hjerpe and Andre Granillo pitched in relief.

Scott was 1-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. In the first inning, Scott popped out to third base. After the lineup batted around, Scott game up again and singled to center field. He came home on a long ball by teammate Gabriel Rincones as the Scorpions took a 9-0 lead.

Victor Scott

In the third inning, Scott lined out to the pitcher. In the fifth, he popped out to third and struck out in the eighth.

Tekoah Roby pitched just 1 1/3 innings, gave up seven runs on three hits, struck out one and walked four. Roby had a 1-2-3 first inning with a pop out and two fly outs that included a jumping catch by Scott on the warning track. But in his second inning, pitching with a nine-run lead, the wheels came off Roby’s bus.

Roby gave up a leadoff home run to prospect Kyle Manzardo of the Guardians. After a strikeout, he yielded a single and a wild pitch that scored a run mixed among four walks.

Roby’s last pitch became a grand slam by Ryan Bliss of the Mariners, who had been robbed by Scott in the first. In the process, Scottsdale’s seemingly commanding lead had shrunk to 9-7. For the evening, 25 of Roby’s 46 pitches went for strikes.

Cooper Hjerpe pitched two innings of relief, in the fourth and fifth, facing 10 batters. The lefty gave up two unearned runs on one hit, struck out three and walked one.

In the fourth, Hjerpe struck out one and induced two ground outs.

Cooper Hjerpe

In the fifth, he was done in by his defense. Hjerpe gave up a leadoff single, then struck out the next batter. The third hitter reached on an error by the third baseman. Hjerpe then walked the next batter and struck out the fifth batter. The next hitter reached on a fielder’s choice with another throwing error that scored two runs. The final hitter grounded out. At that point, the game was tied, 9-9, with Hjerpe assigned a blown save. He threw 18 strikes among his 33 pitches.

The Scorpions’ next pitcher, Jordi Martinez of the Phillies, allowed two runs in the sixth inning as Manzardo went deep again, tagging Martinez with the eventual loss.

Andre Granillo

With Scottsdale down 12-9, Andre Granillo pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth on a ground out and two fly outs. Six of his eight offerings were strikes.

Jeremy Rivas pinch ran for teammate Israel Pineda in the bottom of the ninth after the latter singled to center. Rivas advanced to third on a double and the next batter walked to load the bases with two out. Representing the potential winning run at the plate, Adrian Placencia of the Angels fanned swinging as the game and season ended for the Scorpions.

Scottsdale pitching gave up just six hits on the evening, but three left the park. Scorpions hurlers issued eight walks and fanned 11. The Scottsdale offense pounded out 14 hits and drew five free passes but were shut out over the final eight innings.

Scottsdale finished the 2023 AFL with a 15-13 record. Peoria moves on to the Championship Game against the Surprise Saguaros Saturday evening.

Saturday’s game:  AFL Championship Game, Peoria vs. Surprise, 7:00 p.m. CT

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