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(Reading, Pa.)---The Reading Phillies came out on top 7-6 in the annual battle between
the senior-most minor league clubs in the Philadelphia farm system Tuesday night at
FirstEnergy Stadium. The game was part of the Fifth Annual Capital BlueCross 222 Showcase
between the Reading Phillies (AA) and Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA).
The win was Readings first victory since the 2009 duel between the teams and the
second in the five-year history of the event. Lehigh Valley leads the series 3-2.
First baseman Darin Ruf went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a home run to lead the Reading
Phillies at the plate. The Creighton University product led the Florida State League in
doubles (43) and total bases (245) in 2011. He also slammed 17 home runs for the
Clearwater Threshers (A+).
The offense popped quickly for the R-Phils with centerfielder Tyson Gillies lining a
double down the right field line to lead off the first inning. In the next at-bat, Cesar
Hernandez slapped a double to drive in Gillies for the first run of the game. Ruf
continued the hit parade in the first inning with his two-run home run.
Lehigh Valley didnt go down without a fight, though. Kevin Frandsen knocked in a
three-run double to give the IronPigs the brief lead in the top of the second inning. In
the bottom half of the frame, Readings Tim Kennelly tied things up with a one-run
single to drive in Jiwan James.
The R-Phils didnt look back once they evened the game in the fourth inning. It
was Hernandez and Ruf that once again led the charge for Reading in front of 2,592 fans.
Hernandez hit a two-run double to put the give Reading the lead. The second baseman
finished the day going 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Last season in Clearwater,
he set professional highs in six categories, including runs and RBI.
On the mound, Julio Rodriguez struck out six hitters over 4.2 innings, while allowing
five hits and six earned runs in his time in a Reading jersey. Fellow starter David
Buchanan entered the game in relief during the sixth inning and allowed just one hit and
no earned runs in three innings. Justin Friend got the save in the ninth inning. Friend,
who played in Reading last season, allowed two hits and no runs.
Proceeds from the games ticket sales benefitted Baseballtown Charities, a
non-profit 501 (c)(3) entity that was launched in 2002 in association with the Reading
Phillies in order to keep baseball alive in Reading through charitable donations to
underprivileged youth, who otherwise wouldnt have the opportunity to play baseball.
The organization was also founded to pay tribute to Readings rich baseball history.
The organization underwent a re-branding during the offseason featuring a new character
named Bunbino. The new logo and color scheme will play a part throughout the season and
the 2012 Baseballtown All-Star Classic.
The R-Phils open up the 2012 season with a doubleheader against the Portland Sea Dogs on Thursday, April 5. The first 2,500 adults 21 and over will receive a Ryan Howard and Crazy Hot Dog Vendor Double Bobblehead courtesy of All-Star Distributing/Coors Light. Gates open at 2:00 p.m. at VIST Financial Plaza, with game time slated for 4:05 p.m. An R-Phils Dance Team Poster Calendar will also be given away to the first 2,500 adults 15 and over. The second game will start approximately at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 610-370-BALL, visiting www.RPhils.com, or in-person at the R-Phils Ticket Office located at FirstEnergy Stadium.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.