The Tri-City Valleycats, perhaps not so surprisingly, said farewell to manager Ed Romero after the 2015 season. Romero, now a volunteer high school coach in Florida, won 3 division titles and a league championship. His successor, Lamarr Rogers, won a league title with Greenville last season, and so it was assumed that swapping one successful manager for another wouldn't be a problem.
However, every manager experiences bad nights, and Rogers had his first bad night on Saturday night.
Valleycats starter Ben Smith was like a deer in the headlights. He had control issues, and wasn't helped along by his defense committing 2 errors in the first inning. Smith couldn't get out of the second inning, giving up eight runs (five earned) on three hits and four walks. The Connecticut Tigers batted around in the first, scoring five of those runs, en route to a 9-5 decision over the 'Cats, squaring each team's record at 1-1. The game was played in what Yankees announcer Michael Kay would call "an unmanageable" 3 1/2 hours. Connectict's Joey Havrilick's 3-run homer in the 2nd, for all intents and purposes, iced the game for the Tigers, though Tri-City scrapped back, but left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th.
The bright spots for the 'Cats were left fielder Stephen Wrenn, who continued his hot start with three hits and three runs scored, and reliever Hector Perez, who replaced Smith in the 2nd, and held the Tigers off the board, striking out six.
Up next for Tri-City is a quick road trip to Brooklyn before returning to Troy on Wednesday to play the Vermont Lake Monsters. Then, they'll be on the road again at Lowell next weekend.