2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Sky Sox fall short in season opener, 2-1

    Fri, April 4, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    FriedrichColorado Springs opened the PCL season with a 2-1 loss at New Orleans.

    Lefthander Christian Friedrich got the nod for the Sky Sox (0-1), and started his third consecutive Opening Day and delivered arguably his best start.

    Friedrich tossed five innings, scattering four hits, allowing one run, while striking out nine batters. His only blemish was a solo-homer by Zephyr left fielder Kyle Jenson to lead off the second inning. The nine Ks were the most on Opening Day in Sky Sox history.

    New Orleans starter Brian Flynn protected the Zephyrs’ lead with six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and one walk, while striking out five batters. Flynn is the reigning ERA king in the Pacific Coast League.

    The Zephyrs’ 1-0 lead remained for much of the game until left fielder Tim Wheeler led off the eighth inning with a triple. In the next at-bat, catcher Michael McKenry hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Wheeler and tie the game.

    New Orleans answered immediately in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Manny Corpas (0-1) with a lead-off single by Jensen, followed by a Justin Bour RBI double in the next at-bat. Corpas was able to get out of the inning with two fly outs and a ground out.

    In the ninth, a potential Sky Sox rally began when leadoff hitter and center fielder Jason Pridie singled to start the inning, but was later picked off at first by Zephyr closer Chris Hatcher., who allowed a walk but bounced back with two strikeouts to end the game.

    Zephyr Arquimedes Caminero (1-0) picked up the win with two innings of relief work.

    Sky Sox lefty Boone Logan (Major League rehab assignment) pitched a scoreless sixth inning striking out two, but did allow a single and a walk.

    Righty Rob Scahill also pitched a scoreless frame with one strikeout and one hit, a soft line-drive single.  

    Rutledge and Paulsen were the other two Sky Sox players with hits, both singles.

    The Sky Sox will take on the Zephyrs at 6 p.m. MT Friday night in New Orleans in Game 2 of the four-game series. On the mound will be a pair of righties, Christian Bergman for Colorado Springs and Bryan Evans for New Orleans.

  • Friday Sky Sox game now part of Saturday doubleheader

    Fri, August 9, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    t551_main_logoAfter a 2 hour, 18-minute rain delay, Friday’s game between the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Nashville Sounds was postponed to 3:30 p.m. Saturday as part of a doubleheader.

    “Mother Nature was not kind to us tonight,” on-field host Jon Eddy told the few hundred at Security Service Field that waited out the downpour that caused serious flooding in other parts of Colorado Springs.

    The Saturday twin bill will consist of two seven-inning games. Friday’s tickets are good for admission to any remaining 2013 home regular-season game, including doubleheaders.

    The scheduled starters for Saturday are Colorado Springs right-hander Chris Volstad (5-4, 4.95 ERA) versus Nashville righty Johnny Hellweg (10-4, 2.44) in Game 1 and Cory Riordon (4-4, 6.75) against Sounds lefty Aaron Laffey (1-2, 5.13) in the nightcap.

    Friday’s starter for the Sky Sox, righty Armando Galarraga (0-1, 9.39), will throw in Sunday’s series finale.

    Due to weather delays, the Sky Sox (56-6) are scheduled to play four doubleheaders, including one at Fresno on Sept. 2, the last day of the regular season.

  • Rain postpones Fresno at Colorado Springs finale

    Mon, July 29, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    t551_main_logoThe Fresno at Colorado Springs baseball game was postponed due to steady rain, periodic hail and unplayable field conditions. The Pacific Coast League game will be made up in Fresno at a time to be determined Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, the final day of the regular season, if necessary.

    Monday’s tickets are redeemable for any remaining home game at Security Service Field this season. This is the sixth home game postponed due to weather this season.

    The Sky Sox (55-52) leave Monday night for a Tuesday through Friday series in New Orleans.

  • Sky Sox rally comes up short in ninth versus Bees

    Thu, July 11, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Culberson MUGThere would be no ninth walk-off home win for the Sky Sox on Thursday.

    “The guys did a good job getting a couple hits to start (the ninth) but we couldn’t get it done tonight,” Colorado Springs shortstop Charlie Culberson said after a 4-2 loss to Salt Lake before 8,173 at Security Service Field.

    The Sky Sox mounted a short-lived rally in the ninth when Hernan Iribarren ripped a line drive into the gap, past diving right fielder Kole Calhoun for an RBI triple. That scored Tim Wheeler, who hit a leadoff single, and made it 4-2 with no outs.

    But closer Daniel Stange responded with three straight strikeouts on 10 pitches to secure the PCL Northern Division victory.

    Please go to gazette.com for the rest of the article.


    The Rockies made room for outfielder Dexter Fowler and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki by sending outfielders Tyler Colvin and Corey Dickerson down to the Sky Sox. … Righty Rob Scahill was moved back to the temporary inactive list. … Dickerson, 24, made his Major League debut on June 22 at Washington as he went 2-for-4 with 2 doubles and an RBI. In 15 games with the Rockies, he went 7-for-33 (.212) with four doubles, two RBIs and five runs while appearing in all three outfield positions. … Colvin, 27, appeared in 27 games for the Rockies while hitting .160 (12-for-75) with three home runs, 10 RBIs and eight runs. …  Dickerson promises to be a big offensive boost to the PCL’s best hitting club (.294). He earned the call-up by batting .386 (107-for-277) with 19 doubles, 13 triples, nine home runs, 38 RBIs, and 56 runs. …Colvin hit .293 (56-for-191) in Colorado Springs with eight doubles, four triples, nine home runs, 29 RBIs and 42 runs scored in 55 games. In 384 career Major League games, Colvin batted .241 (259-for-1076) with 53 doubles, 18 triples, 47 home runs, 160 RBI and 148 runs. … Wednesday’s winner, right-hander Jeff Manship, is playing well after his return from the disabled list on July 15. He has a 2.63 ERA in three games (two starts) after recording a 6.33 ERA before July 1.

  • Postgame notes: Sky Sox 8, Sacramento 3

    Wed, July 10, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    t551_main_logoBen Paulsen’s RBI double in the third moved him into the PCL lead with 46 extra-base hits this season, not including Wednesday night’s results. … Wednesday was Triple-A All-Star third baseman Ryan Wheeler’s 25th birthday. … Righty Rob Scahill (3-0, 4.36ERA, 1 save) was activated from the temporary inactive list. … Tuesday night’s win by Jeff Francis was his first in Colorado Springs. His previous win for the Sky Sox was on Aug. 14, 2004, a franchise-record span of 3,251 days. The previous mark was 2,800 by Jerry DiPoto (Aug. 7, 1992-April 7, 2000). … With was far less media attention with The Denver Post and mlb.com staying home.  …  Four Japanese media took advantage of the series to catch up with Sacramento infielder Hiro Nakajima and left-hander Hideki Okajima and Sky Sox lefty Hisanori Takahashi. …  Sacramento fell to 25-22 on the road. … Manship last went seven innings for the International League’s Rochester (Twins) on May 21, 2012 against Triple-A Gwinnett (Braves).

  • Postgame notes: Veteran pitchers Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis making progress

    Sat, June 29, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Francis MUGVeteran lefthander Jeff Francis gave himself a passing grade for his pitching performance in his return to Security Service Field on Friday. He did a good job keeping his pitches low in the strike zone to get groundouts; a focus during his time in Colorado Springs.

    “That’s No. 1,” he said. “Getting grounders and having a shortstop like Charlie (Culberson) playing well behind me has been key for me over the years.”

    Francis threw 76 pitches, including 49 strikes, and allowed three hits and two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.

    More importantly, the veteran pitched well enough to keep his team in the game, which was tied at 2-2 when the rain delay ended his night.

    Cook phillies mug“It was really good for his confidence to get that result,” Hill said. “That will open things up to be worked on now that, like any professional athlete, he has his confidence back.”

    There’s a lot of career wins to be found in one corner of the Sky Sox clubhouse with the lockers of veteran righthander Aaron Cook (72 victories) and Francis (63) next to each other, putting the No. 1 and No.2  Rockies all-times winners inches of each other.

    Sky Sox fans may see righthander Aaron Cook in action soon. Cook (injured arm) will throw a bullpen session on Monday, taking another step toward an eventual return to the lineup.

    “We’ll reevaluate after that,” Cook said. “I had a bullpen session a couple weeks ago and had a setback so we’ll see.”


    Ben Paulsen’s triple Saturday was his 10th this season, making him the 10th Sky Sox to do so and push the pro baseball-lead team into fifth all-time with 54. The franchise record is 74 in 1992. … Starter Chris Volstad opened with eight strikes in a row before throwing a ball with one out in the second inning.

  • Postgame notes: Tucson sweeps Colorado Springs

    Thu, June 27, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    A lengthy scoreless innings streak came to a halt and with it, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox’s chance at a doubleheader split Thursday night.

    Tucson rallied with two runs in the sixth inning against reliever Mike McClendon to upend the Sky Sox 5-4 in Game 2 and sweep the PCL twin bill.

    The tight game turned when Tucson tied the game at 4-4 on an RBI single by Gregorio Petit in the sixth that ended the scoreless streak at 11 1/3 innings. A wild pitch on a strikeout against pinch hitter Rene Rivera allowed him to reach base and scored Petit for the winning run against Colorado Springs (43-36).

    “I was just trying to bury the breaking ball,” McClendon said. “It was a good pitch because he swung at a ball on the outside; it just got away.”

    The Pacific Southern Division-leading Padres (44-37) won the Thursday opener 7-4, powered by a two-run homer by Jonathan Galvez in the top of the seventh for a three-run advantage. The lead held after Tucson reliever Colt Hynes struck out two Sky Sox to earn his fourth save.

    The two seven-inning games, which drew 3,051 fans to Security Service Field, were played to make up a snowed-out game in April.

    Pregame notes

    Game 1: RHP Parker Frazier (0-0, 11.91 ERA) vs. Tucson RHP Brandon Kloess (2-2, 4.02)

    Game 2: RHP Cory Riordan (4-2, 6.23) vs. Jorge Reyes (4-3, 4.72)

    Notes: Tonight is the second time the two teams have played a doubleheader with Colorado Springs recording two walk-off wins on April 11. … Charlie Blackmon is batting .391 (9=for-23) with two triples, one homer, four walks and seven RBIs. … OF Kent Matthes has hit four home run in as many games with the Sk Sox since moving up from Class AA Tulsa. Charlie Culberson enters the twin bill on a season-high 12-game hitting streak (.352, 19-for-54) with three homers, three triples, a double an 11 RBIs.

  • Postgame notes: Colorado Springs 8, Tacoma 3; Fireworks cancelled

    Fri, June 21, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    The Sky Sox connected on four triples, two by Ben Paulsen, to match a franchise single-game record (1991, 1998 and 2003) to cruise to a 8-3 victory over Tacoma. The hosts added two doubles and a homer for seven extra-base knocks out of 14 hits.

    The Friday win before 8,361 at Security Service Field gave the hosts the series, 3-1, and moved the Sky Sox to 1.5 games of the Rainiers (44-32) after starting the homestand 3.5 back in the PCL Pacific Northern Division.

    “Winning this is huge for us,” Paulsen said. “This gives us a lot of confidence going on the road.”

    A triple to lead off the fourth by Paulsen led to one run and his second in the fifth made it 5-2. The Sky Sox (41-32) pace professional baseball with 51 triples, which includes individual pro leader Corey Dickerson (13) who was called up to the Rockies before Friday’s game.

    Sky Sox starter Drew Pomeranz (8-1) is now tied for league lead with 8 wins and leads PCL with 96 Ks.

    Colorado Springs is now 11-2 on Thursday and 9-3 on Fridays. The Sky Sox were 25-19 on Thursdays and Fridays last season.

    Roster shuffle

    Outfielder Corey Dickerson, 24, was called up to the Rockies and was in uniform for Colorado at Washington on Friday night.  His .386 batting average leads the PCL as does his 13 triples, and total bases (179). He also had 19 doubles, 9 home runs, 38 RBIs and 56 runs this season. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound eighth round draft pick (2010), had reached bases safely for 23-straight games before being called up. …. Righthanded pitcher Logan Kensing, 30, was designated for assignment to make room on the full Rockies 40-man roster. He went 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA (21 innings, six earned runs) in 19 PCL games. He appeared in one game for the Rockies with a scoreless 2/3 inning on Wednesday against Toronto. … Catcher Joe Gonzalez (No. 43) was promoted up from Double-A Tulsa.

  • McClendon shines in relief in Thursday night’s comeback victory

    Fri, June 21, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    The four scoreless innings by reliever Mike McClendon Thursday allowed his teammates to mount an eight-run rally in a 12-11 come-from-way-behind victory over Tacoma. It cannot be underestimated how critical that was against a Rainiers squad hitting .300 on the road.

    “He was very aggressive and focused which is what we want all out pitchers to be, especially Mac,” manager Glenallen Hill said. “With his pitches and changing speeds he needs to have that attitude.”

    Those four innings extended his streak to eight and only one run in his last nine appearances with a perfect ERA over the past 10 days.

  • Postgame notes: Colorado Springs 12, Tacoma 11; Jim Tracy, Vinny Castilla added to charity roster

    Thu, June 20, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Colorado Springs recorded its seventh walk-off home victory this season to pull out a 12-11 win on Thursday night over PCL Pacific Northern Division leader Tacoma.

    Colorado Springs’ Drew Garcia hit a leadoff double to start the bottom of the ninth. A sacrifice bunt by Lars Davis moved him to third. Intentional walks to Charlie Blackmon and Tim Wheeler loaded the bases for a possible double play.

    But pinch hitter Hernan Iribarren, who hit a leadoff single against reliever Brian Moran in the eighth, knew exactly what to do.

    “I knew he would throw offspeed because of how he threw against me earlier,” he said of his RBI single. “I just stayed calm and held back a little.”

    The fans can thank reliever Mike McClendon, who allowed one hit over the final four innings against a team batting .300 on the road, for giving the Sky Sox a chance to pull off the comeback. Tacoma fell to 35-3 when leading after the seventh inning.

    “McClendon did an outstanding job,” Iribarren said. “He came in and shut them down. As a team, we never gave up.”

    Colorado Springs (40-32) knocked out Tacoma starter Hector Noesi after three runs in the fifth and a solo home run by Greg Golson that sparked a six-run sixth.

    It was the Sky Sox’s ninth last at-bat win this season.


    Friday’s scheduled starters are lefthander Drew Pomeranz (7-1, 4.25 ERA) against Tacoma RHP Brian Sweeney (7-2, 3.81).

    Injured pitcher Aaron Cook (arm) threw a simulated game Thursday afternoon at Sky Sox stadium.  … Nine-year veteran left-hander Jeff Francis, 32, accepted an assignment in Colorado Springs. He could have moved to another organization but chose to stay with the Rockies. … Francis made 11 starts for the Rockies this season, going 2-5 with a 6.58 ERA (52 innings, 38 earned runs), 17 walks and 43 strikeouts. Francis is a 69-78 with a 4.93 ERA all-time. Francis was re-signed by Colorado during the offseason, who originally selected him ninth overall in 2002 rookie draft.  … According to the Denver Post, righthander Chris Volstad was waived to make room on the Rockies’ 40-man roster for righty Roy Oswalt, who started against Washington Thursday night.

    Former Rockies manager Jim Tracy and Colorado standout Vinny Castilla will be in the MLB lineup for Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. Heroes Classic celebrity charity softball game.

    The club announced that for each $10-30 ticket purchased for the event, $5 will be donated to the Pikes Peak Community Foundation (PPCMF) to assist victims of the Black Forest Fire. Also, anyone who has lost their home in the recent fire or is still evacuated may come to the game for free by stopping by the Sky Sox box office.

    A limited number of special VIP package tickets are available for $30 and include:

    o    A general admission ticket to the game.

    o    Access to a special VIP autograph session before the game with the former Major League players, including Rollie Fingers

    o    Membership in the MLBPAA

    Regular general admission tickets  will be $10. All seating is general admission so first come, first choice.

    Care & Share Food Bank will be on hand to accept nonperishable food donations and the Springs Rescue Mission will take clothing, household items and clean-up items such as work gloves, rakes, shovels and trash bags.

    The fire and police department teams include several former Major League players including Hall of Fame pitcher Rollie Fingers who saved over 340 games in his career and won both the Cy Young Award and American League MVP Award in 1981. The night will culminate with a fireworks display.

    The teams will wear custom-made jerseys that will be auctioned off during and after the game with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting the PPCF.

    Other former Major League players who  will be participating in the game include:

    Rollie Fingers: Hall of Fame pitcher, Cy Young Award Winner & AL MVP in 1981, played 18 seasons with Oakland, San Diego & Milwaukee, won three World Series with Oakland 1972-74.

    Dave Henderson: Outfielder played 14 seasons with Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, Oakland & Kansas City, won a World Series with Oakland in 1989, hit 197 career home runs.

    Mike Timlin: Four-time World Series Champion with Toronto (1992-93) & Boston (2004, 2007), reliever played in 18 seasons with Toronto, Seattle, Baltimore, St. Louis, Philadelphia & Boston.

    Turk Wendell: An 11 year veteran who played for the Cubs, Mets, Phillies & Rockies. Appeared in the 2000 World Series with the Mets and pitched in 552 career games.

    Bob Knepper: Two-time All-Star, pitcher played 15 seasons with San Francisco & Houston, won 146 games in his career including six season with 10 or more wins.

    Mark Knudson: A member of the Rockies inaugural 1993 team, pitcher played in eight seasons with Houston, Milwaukee & Colorado.

    Mark Lee: Pitcher played four seasons with Kansas City, Milwaukee & Baltimore.

    Gary Krug: Mitchell High School grad and current Pine Creek JV Baseball Head Coach played for the Cubs in 1981, former Head Baseball Coach at Cheyenne Mountain  High School.

    Brian Fisher: A 2nd round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 1980, the righty won 36 games in seven seasons with the Yankees, Pirates, Astros and Mariners.

    Bobby Johnson: A catcher & first baseman who played three season with the Texas Rangers. He is also the nephew of Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.

    Mike Thompson: A right-hander who pitched for the Padres for two seasons after being a 5th round pick in 1999.

    Scott Randall: A former member of the Sky Sox where he played three seasons after being drafted by the Rockies in 1995. He pitched in the Majors for the Reds and three a no-hitter in 1996 with the Asheville Tourists.