KODAK — Jo Adell has made an immediate impact for the Mobile BayBears as he is the Angels’ top prospect and fourth rated prospect in all of baseball. Considered the best Angels prospect since Mike Trout, Adell came into Friday’s game against the Tennessee Smokies with a .355 batting average and kept that already paltry number climbing higher.
Adell showed off his power in the top of the first inning as he gave Mobile a 1-0 lead with a towering homerun to right field, his fifth of the year. He followed that up with a solo shot that tied the score in the eighth. The BayBears used the long ball for the third time in the contest as Bo Way slugged his fourth dinger of the season, a two-run job, to give Mobile a 5-3 lead in the ninth, one they maintained in the home-half of the frame to down the Smokies.
Tennessee had two runners in scoring position in the eighth inning and one in the ninth but failed to get any runs across. Smokies’ manager Jimmy Gonzalez said the inability to pick up the key hit when they needed it was the downfall for his team in Friday’s contest. “We had a couple of things that didn’t go our way in those situations. We had guys at second and third and struck out twice and then the homeruns we gave up were mistakes out over the plate and that will cost you.”
Mobile improves to 10-11 in the second half of the Southern League schedule and 37-52 overall. Tennessee falls to 8-14, 41-50. Smokies’ starting pitcher Jeffrey Passantino has had a long journey this season as he has played for four teams in the Cubs organization so far. He scattered six hits in five innings with three earned runs and five strikeouts but didn’t figure in the decision. “He has been pitching well the two times he’s been here,” Gonzalez said of Passantino. “He has done what we have asked him, to give us five solid innings and that has been a plus for us.”
Allen Webster pitched one inning as he is on a rehab assignment from Chicago and had one strikeout. Michael Rucker fanned three in two innings of work and Jake Stinnett took the loss as he pitched the ninth inning with three strikeouts but gave up the game-winner.
BayBears’ starter Andrew Wantz was chased after only two innings when he gave up six hits and three runs. Isaac Mattson had two K’s in three innings, as did Jesus Castillo in one inning on the mound, and Joe Gatto picked up the win as he threw two innings to improve to 4-3 on the season. Adam Hofacket recorded his sixth save of the season by pitching the ninth.
After Adell gave Mobile the early lead, Tennessee bounced back in the bottom of the second with timely hitting and aggressiveness on the base pads. Zach Davis singled and stole second. He was followed by Charcer Burks who walked and both batters moved up a base on a double steal. Christian Donahue entered the contest with a .193 batting average and was relegated to hitting in the nine spot but none of that mattered as he tattooed a three-run bomb down the right field line to give the Smokies a 3-1 advantage.
Mobile got one of the runs back in the fifth when Julian Leon smacked one of his two doubles on the night to left field and scored on a single by Adell to center field to notch his second RBI of the evening. Adell went yard once more in the eighth with another solo blast to right field that knotted the score at 3-3.
After Adell tied things up, the Smokies had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the eighth as they got two runners into scoring position. Vimael Machin drew a lead-off walk and Jhonny Pereda, who had his 14th multi-hit game of the season, singled to right field. After Jared Young sacrificed both runners over a base, Mobile pitcher Joe Gatto got out of the jam by freezing Zach Davis and Charcer Burks on strikeouts.
Way’s two-run blast put the Smokies against the wall going to their final at bats in the ninth. Gioskar Amaya led off the bottom of the inning with a hot shot to short that he beat out at first base. Roberto Caro drew a one-out base on balls to move Amaya to second but the BayBears turned a double play to end the game and secure the 5-3 win for the Gulf Coast visitors.
Zach Davis arrived in Kodak on Thursday after being called up and has made the most of his opportunity for the Smokies. In two games, the Houston native has gone 3-for-7 and was 2-for-4 on Friday night with two stolen bases and a run scored. “He’s a guy who has been swinging the bat well,” Gonzalez said of Davis. “He swung it well in Myrtle Beach to get the promotion and he is continuing to do well here. He is a fast runner and will do good things on the bases.”