Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ left fielder Ramon Flores went into Thursday’s Opening Night without an ounce of nerves. In fact, Flores said through a translator that it was “the first time on an Opening Night he didn’t feel nervous,” and he has no explanation why.
Amazing things happen when you are confident at the plate. During his first at-bat of the game, Flores blasted a home run over the right field wall, which set the pace for offensive greatness to come throughout the night.
The powerhouse started the 2015 season with a bang; Flores went 5-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Oh yeah, and he hit for the cycle. In fact, Flores is only the third player in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise history to achieve that milestone.
Flores was “locked in from the first pitch,” and believed that playing winter ball this past offseason was undoubtedly a factor in his offensive game.
“He is very happy,” his translator said. “He didn’t expect on Opening Night to hit for the cycle and get on base five times. He’s happy he got the results.”
Throughout the game, Flores “wasn’t thinking about the cycle at all.” In the bottom of the 8th inning on a 3-2 count, Flores pulled the ball down the right field line and recorded a double, which completed the cycle.
Flores carried the RailRiders to victory after a mediocre performance by starting pitcher, Bryan Mitchell. Mitchell’s outing concluded after 3.2 innings pitched, in which he gave up five hits, two runs and three walks.
“Going into it, I felt really good,” Mitchell said. “I felt good before the game. The warm-up was really good. I got out there and just had a little bit of a tough time.”
The cold, rainy weather and the pitch clock were two elements Mitchell was not used to. In regards to the pitch clock, Mitchell said that it didn’t bother him per say, but he was “definitely aware of it.”
“Twenty seconds is a lot quicker than you think,” he said.
Although there is no penalty for a pitcher failing to start his delivery before twenty seconds just yet, the pitch clock will take some adjusting for pitchers in the minors.
“For instance, out of the stretch behind home plate..not to say I’m watching them, but they’re definitely in your vision,” Mitchell said. “I wouldn’t say it affected me, but we were all definitely aware of it.”
The RailRiders take on the Chiefs tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. Jaron Long will take the mound for the RailRiders in the hopes of securing their second win of the season.