While catcher Matt Wieters commands most of the attention around the Keys these days, an interesting battle between Frederick and the Potomac Nationals has developed for first place in the Carolina League's Northern Division.
This duel is tinged with the Baltimore-Washington rivalry, sending the Orioles' Single-A affiliate Keys against the Washington Nationals' Single-A team, which is located in Northern Virginia.
The teams met for the first time this season in a three-game weekend series at Frederick. The Keys needed a sweep to gain first place in the division, and they kept that possibility alive Friday night with a come-from-behind 5-2 victory.
Frederick won behind the pitching of Jake Arrieta and a two-out, two-strike, two-run homer by first baseman Brandon Snyder in the fifth inning that tied the game at 2. It was Snyder's first homer of the season, and it came against the Nationals' ace Jordan Zimmermann on a 3-2 pitch.
Chris Armador singled in a run in the sixth to give Frederick a 3-2 lead as the Keys went on to the win. Arrieta pitched six innings, allowed two runs and four hits, struck out six and walked five to improve to 2-0.
All visions of a sweep ended Saturday, when Potomac won, 3-2, behind a two-run homer in the fifth inning by third baseman Leonard Davis.
Wieters hit a long home run in the fifth inning to pull the Keys within 3-2, but the Nationals' bullpen shut down Frederick the rest of the way to even the series.
An interesting note to Saturday's game was the appearance of Washington Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes as a designated hitter for Potomac. Dukes is recovering from a hamstring injury.
He went 0-for-2 in four plate appearances. He was also hit by a pitch and walked.
The Keys won the series finale yesterday, 6-2, to trim the Nationals' lead to 1 1/2 games.
With more run support, Tides pitcher Garrett Olson's record would correspond better with his impressive statistics.
Olson (1-1) has a 1.85 ERA in 24 1/3 innings. He has started five games and allowed 22 hits.
The Tides lost a big part of their offense last week when the Orioles called up the team's leading hitter, infielder Eider Torres, who was batting .338.
The Baysox looked like a team ready to win its fifth straight game Saturday in Manchester, N.H.
Starting pitcher David Hernandez looked unhittable at times through the first five innings against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats as the Baysox led 2-1 after five innings.
That was his last inning as Hernandez finished with 11 strikeouts and allowed four hits and four walks.
However, the Baysox's bullpen faltered and the four-game winning streak ended with a 6-2 loss.
The Shorebirds have not been immune to power outages at the plate this season.
However, they really turned on the switches Thursday evening against the West Virginia Power in Charleston. The Shorebirds' 8-5 victory was fueled by three straight singles to begin the game by Matt Angle, Matt Tucker and Tyler Henson. Later, Pedro Silveren had a two-out, RBI single in the second to give Delmarva a 3-0 lead.