We were a small part of an amazing day in the life of Clearwater Threshers young pitcher Elniery Garcia. June 3rd will be a date all of us will never forget.
The 21-year-old is the top young left-handed starting pitching prospect in the Phillies system.
After last season ended, he asked up if he could stay with us if he was assigned to Advanced A, as he described it. We were pleased to have been asked by both him and fellow starter Ranfi Casimiro. We have know both of them from Gulf Coast League days.
This Friday was a day never to forget for Garcia. It was the day he would become a father for the first time and he was scheduled to make his eight start of the season trying to build on his 4-2 record.
The day started out as it normally does. Elniery likes to cook on the days he starts. We all sat down to a delicious Dominican meal of pork and rice mangu’. He could be a master chef if this baseball thing does not work out.
We also learned this would be the day that Elniery would become a father. His son arrived on time and by 1:30 he came down the stairs with a big smile on his face. He received word from the D.R. that everything went well in child birth. We all hugged in celebration.
But it was back to work for Garcia. Soon he had to report to Bright House for his 6:15 start against the Jupiter Hammerheads. He left with pictures of his newly born son on his iPhone and a smile on his face.
Later, Baseball Betsy and I returned to Bright House as we always do to watch Elniery warm-up in the left field bullpen.
We then found our seats. My seat would be for the first time this season a few rows back directly behind home plate. Elniery wanted straight on video of his delivery on the mound. Watch his several of his pitches to batters in the 5th and 6th innings HERE and HERE .
The game did not start out like we had hoped. The first batter took him deep into the Tiki Bar seats in left. Another run would score to give Jupiter a quick 2-0 lead after the top of the first. That would be the only runs they would get the rest of the way.
Garcia settled-in to pitch shutout ball the rest of way and the Threshers would give him eight runs to work with. Watch them score several of the runs on doubles by Zach Green HERE and Andrew Pullin. HERE.
What a nice team present to the new father of only a few hours earlier.
He would go on and pitch 4.2 innings of shutout baseball the rest of the way. He relied on his fastball sitting much of the night at 94 and topping at 95. He did not have his usually good curve ball but he did not walk a batter in the game.
After 115 pitches by Garcia, reliever Joey DeNato came on with two out in the sixth for the save by pitching shutout ball the rest of the way to secure the win. For Garcia it pushed his record to 5-2 with a 2.19 ERA.
After the game we picked up our two guys and headed back home to celebrate a great day in the life of a fine young man.
After some cake and gifts to celebrate his son’s birth, Baseball Betsy read that Garcia just made his first All-Star team. It was announced on the Florida State League web page that he was one of eleven pitchers selected to represent the Northern Division in the game.
What a day in the life and times of Elniery Garcia:
He would become a father for the first time.
Then he goes out and serve as a stopper picking up his fifth win of the season to break-up the Threshers three game losing streak to keep them in the hunt for the first-half championship in the FSL Northern Division.
And at the end of the night he learned that he had been chosen for the FSL All-Star game.