With a new building looming over centerfield, the Reading Fightin Phils faced off against the Hartford Yard Goats in their home opener Tuesday night. A perfect night for baseball, it was 71 degrees at first pitch.
David Parkinson returned from a year hiatus. He looked effective in his 1st inning pitched since 2021. He allowed a single to Rockies’ top prospect Zac Veen but otherwise had a quick inning with 1 strikeout.
Chris McMahon got the start for Hartford. McMahon is from the West Chester area, graduating from Rustin High School.
A strong start for the Reading Fightin Phils
Johan Rojas hit a 1st pitch single up the middle and subsequently stole 2B. Oliver Dunn followed up with a RBI single down the right field line. After a Carlos De La Cruz walk, McCarthy Tatum singled through the 2B hole, bringing home Dunn who stole 3rd. McMahon regained composure striking out 2 of the last 3 batters.
The Yard Goats would respond in the 3rd inning. After a Hit By Pitch and an infield dribbler that hit the 3B bag, Hunter Goodman hit a double to left field, just outside the reach of Matthew Kroon. Parkinson got 1B Grant Lavigne to pop out to end the inning.
The Fightin Phils took the lead right back in the bottom of the inning. Baron Radcliff drew a 1-out walk and Kroon homered to set the score at 4-2. It was the first of the season for Kroon.
Parkinson’s day ended after the 5th inning. Despite the 2 runs, he pitched well. He allowed just 3 hits and walked none, striking out 5. Tyler Mckay entered the game in the 6th. Mckay made a great play on a Veen groundball. He chased down the weak grounder, slide on his knees, and flipped the ball to first to make the out.
He came back out for the 7th but allowed a leadoff homer to Julio Carreras. Braden Zarbnisky was the next man in for Reading. After recording the next 2 outs, Zarbnisky would also succumb to the long ball. Bladimir Restituyo hit a line-drive homer out to left-center, tying the game 4-4.
The Yard Goats bounce back
Andrew Schultz came out of the bullpen for the 8th. The Yard Goats would load the bases with 1 out. 9-hole hitter Eddy Diaz grounded a ball up the middle to break the tie, 5-4. Restituyo continued his damage, doubling down the left field line, 7-4. An error by 3B Tatum pushed the deficit to 8-4.
Baron Radcliff blasted a homer in the bottom of the inning to make the score 8-5. It was his first of the season after homering 17 times in 2022.
After Wendell Rijo walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, shortstop Julio Carreras made a throwing error on a Pedro Martinez groundball. Martinez would be tagged out to end the inning, but Rijo did score, 8-6.
Max Kuhns pitched a 1-2-3 top of the 9th, striking out 2. His fastball was impressive, topping out at 98 MPH. “We were glad to see what we saw from him tonight. (He) kept the ball down and worked in and out of the strike zone,” said Reading manager Al Pedrique.
The Reading Fightin Phils had the tying run come up to the plate 3 times after a Rojas walk. They couldn’t come back and lost their 4th straight 8-6.
“It was a tough loss,” said manager Pedrique. “I thought Parkinson did a great job, kept us in the game. He was great.”