Walks and Long Balls Define Scorpions-Javelinas AFL Matchup

Upon first seeing the pitching matchup of Austin Kubitza vs. Jason Garcia in the Scottsdale Scorpions vs. Peoria Javelinas game on Wednesday, I anticipated a good pitching matchup. Instead we were in store for the longest game in the Arizona Fall League this year, granted just 3 hours 9 minutes, and a combined 16 walks.

Garcia got through just 2.1 innings allowing three runs on two hits and four walks. The two hits he gave up were definitely big ones. Adam Brett Walker II took an 84 MPH slider and hit it clear out of the stadium in Peoria. Sam Travis chased Garcia from the game with an RBI double in the third. Todd Hankins hit a 420+ foot home run in the fourth off Stephen Johnson to extend the lead.

By the end of the game, the Scottsdale Scorpions had eight runs on ten hits and ten walks. The Javelinas wound up with just two runs, coming from a Nick Torres solo HR and Fernando Perez driving in D.J. Peterson on a fielder’s choice to first.

Kubitza put in four scoreless innings of work for Scottsdale, striking out five but issuing four of the six walks to the Javelinas. He did a good job of keeping hitters off balance all day with his fastball working consistently from 88-90 MPH, his change was 84-86, while his slider was 82-83. He has little-to-no wasted movement in his windup and hides the ball well making the fastball play harder than the 90 MPH would suggest.

At the plate, the two standouts were Sam Travis and Walker II. In addition to the big home run, Walker II was credited with a run scoring triple, although Mike Yastrzemski came in hard a couple steps only to realize the liner was going to carry over his head. Walker II has a swing that is very much built for power, but his ability to hit for average is somewhat of a question. He drops his backside early in his swing to create an upward, line drive, swing path. This causes him to pop out quite a bit, but when he connects there is real power there.

Sam Travis on the other hand does not have the big power that his college teammate Kyle Schwarber has, but he has current gap power that could develop into 15-20 home runs in the future. He has a very quick bat and good bat control. Most scouting reports show him with below average speed, but he didn’t look that way on the field today, getting from home to first in 4.28 seconds and later stealing third. He ended the day with two hits, a run scored, one RBI, and reached base in three of his five trips.

Todd Hankins was the other Scorpion with multiple hits, with the fourth inning home run and an infield single to third base that he showed off his wheels and beat the throw from Gabriel Quintana.

At the plate for Peoria, they came away with just five hits, and the home run from Torres was the only extra base hit on the day for the team.

The unique play of the day came via D.J. Peterson singled into left and advanced to second on an error. Before the next pitch could be throw, Kubitza stepped off and tossed the ball to first base on an appeal, and he was ruled out for never touching first.

With the win, Scottsdale improves to 11-7, still a game back in the East Division while Peoria falls to 8-9 and a tie with Glendale two games back of Surprise in the West Division.


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