The last piece in our 2017 BlueClaws Year In Review Series looks at BlueClaws Relief Pitchers.
Previously - First Half In Review, Second Half In Review, Infielders, Outfielders, Starting Pitchers
The BlueClaws had two All-Star relief pitchers in Will Hibbs and Trevor Bettencourt, among their assortment of relievers this season.
Hibbs, out of Lamar University in Texas, began the year with 32 straight scoreless innings, coming within seven of South Atlantic League record for consecutive scoreless innings. The right-hander did not allow his first earned run until June 10th and finished his BlueClaws season at 6-4 with a 1.77 ERA and 20 saves. His save total was the 2nd most in BlueClaws history, behind Jared Simon's 30 from 2008. Hibbs saved eight games over the final month of the season and gave up just two runs in 17.2 innings in August/September.
Video: Hibbs Makes Mark in Lakewood
Bettencourt, out of UC-Santa Barbara, went 3-2 with eight saves and a 3.28 ERA before getting promoted to Clearwater in July. His most memorable out came in a May 6th win at Columbia, where he came in with two on and two out, getting a strikeout to end the game and complete a no-hitter. Nick Fanti, Bettencourt's roommate, had gotten the first 26 outs. With the Threshers, Bettencourt gave up just four runs in 22 innings and pitched in the Arizona Fall League.
Ismael Cabrera returned for a second season with the BlueClaws and went 8-5 with a 3.63 ERA. He earned two saves, including one in an Opening Day win at Kannapolis.
Casey Brown, who grew up a Phillies fan and went to Gloucester Catholic, joined the BlueClaws in May and went 2-2 with a 2.95 ERA over 22 appearances. Brown was signed by the Phillies last fall after pitching for the Normal Cornbelters in the Frontier League following a career at Central Connecticut State. Brown talked to KYW Newsradio for this feature in July.
Video: Meet Casey Brown
Jake Kelzer, who was a baseball player and swimmer at Indiana, joined the BlueClaws in July and gave up nine runs in 21.2 innings of work. Jonathan Hennigan struck out 67 hitters in 49.1 innings while Tyler Hallead struck out 49 in 41 innings of work.
Addison Russ joined the BlueClaws in July after getting drafted out of Houston Baptist this year. After allowing six runs in his first seven innings, he gave up five in 21.1 innings over his final 11 appearances and finished with 36 strikeouts in 28.1 innings this year.
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