DANVILLE, Va.- The Bluefield Blue Jays jumped out to an early 3-0 lead over the Danville Braves and never looked back, winning Saturday's series opener by a 6-1 final. The Danville offense struggled most of the evening, and a chance to make noise late in the game was stifled by a double play with the bases loaded.
Bluefield (15-8) opened the scoring innocently enough on a groundout to second base that scored a run. But controversy arose in the second inning when Chavez Young blooped a double just over the infield and down the right field line. A strong throw to the plate easily beat Jesus Severino, who was initially called out. Blue Jays' skipper Dennis Holmberg rushed out of the Bluefield dugout to argue, saying Danville catcher Hagen Owenby had dropped the ball. The umpires conversed and overturned the call, which led to an impassioned yet unsuccessful argument from Danville manager Nestor Perez. The Blue Jays added another run on a throwing error in the third, giving them a 3-0 lead.
Both teams would trade zeroes through the middle innings until Bluefield pushed across two unearned runs in the 8th inning. The Braves (11-12) finally got on the board with a bases loaded walk to Riley Delgado in the bottom of the 8th, making the score 5-1 in favor of Bluefield. With the bases still loaded and one out, Owenby and Joe DiBenedetto engaged in a lengthy battle in which Owenby fouled off multiple 3-2 pitches. Finally, he smashed a hard ground ball towards first base, but Blue Jays' first baseman Ryan Noda gloved it and turned a 3-6-3 double play, ending the Braves' threat. The Blue Jays would add one more run in the 9th, winning by a 6-1 final score.
Jacob Belinda makes his first start of the season (and of his professional career) Sunday afternoon at Legion field on Virginia 529 day. Fans with a Virginia 529 card can show their identification at the gate and receive free admission to the game. The 4 p.m. game between the Braves and Blue Jays is the second game of the series and the second game of Danville's six game homestand. It's also National Ice Cream Day, and the first 250 fans in attendance will receive a coupon for a free ice cream from Chick-Fil-A. For tickets, call 434-797-3792 or go online to dbraves.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.