TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s been nine years since former Troy High star pitcher Eric Beaulac has thrown a competitive pitch. But the 2008 New York Mets draft pick turned back the clock Friday night with the Tri-City ValleyCats, making a one-inning spot start against the Washington Wild Things in an effort to raise awareness and money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Beaulac wrapped up his professional care in 2014 with a year spent playing independent ball, but the 36-year-old showed no sign of rust Friday night, retiring the side in order in a nine-pitch first inning. With a tip of the cap and wave to his family in attendance, Beaulac walked off the mound to a standing ovation from the ValleyCat faithful.
Manager Pete Incaviglia probably wished he could’ve gotten a couple more innings out of Beaulac, because things went south for the pitching staff after the first frame. Joe Johnson came in relief in the second, and issued a solo homer to Melvin Novoa. Andrew Czech walked before Anthony Brocato brought him in with an RBI double. Brocato then came around on a two-run blast from Ian Walters to pull Washington ahead, 4-1.
The ValleyCats retaliated in the third. Culver led off the frame with his second double. Broughton walked, and Hair plated Culver with a single. Zach Biermann knocked in a pair with a double. Jakob Goldfarb collected his second two-bagger to bring home Biermann, and put the ‘Cats on top, 5-4.
Landazuri received a no-decision. He threw 3.1 innings, yielding six runs on 10 hits, walking one, and striking out four.
Scotty Dubrule worked a one-out walk in the fourth, and Nick Grotta drove him in with a double to tie the game 5-5.
Pavin Parks singled and was replaced by Culver at first base, who reached on a fielder’s choice to open the home half of the fourth. Broughton singled for his fifth multi-hit game of the season. Carson McCusker lined an RBI single off Stephen Knapp as Culver came around to score, and pull Tri-City ahead, 6-5. Broughton tried to score on the same play, but was gunned out by Brocato.
Wagner Legrange ended Johnson’s night with a solo homer to make it a 6-6 ballgame. Johnson tossed four innings, he gave up six runs on six hits, walked three, and struck out one.
Aaron Ernst went out for his second inning of work in the eighth. He issued back-to-back free passes to Brocato and Walters. Harrison Ray ripped a go-ahead single to left off Reymin Guduan. Broughton’s throw to the plate caused both runners to advance, but Ciaran Devenney threw the ball away, allowing Walters to score on an E2. Grotta then followed suit with another RBI base hit to provide Washington with a 9-6 cushion.
The Wild Things bullpen fired five 5.2 scoreless innings. Knapp (1-0) earned the win. He hurled 3.2 innings in relief, yielding two hits, walking none, and striking out one. Ernst (0-1) received the loss. He tossed an inning, allowing two runs on no hits, walking two, and striking out one. Lukas Young picked up his first save of the season with a shutout ninth inning. He did not give up a hit, walked one and struck out one.
Despite the loss, nothing could diminish the significance of Beaulac’s outing.
“It was honestly a dream,” said Beaulac. “I’ve been looking forward to this for about four months now. And to be able to share that with my friends and my family; I couldn’t ask for anything more. I feel so fortunate for the opportunity. To have it work out the way it did, you couldn’t even script it like that. It was definitely one of the most meaningful...the most meaningful inning of my life.”
Beaulac spent time on the Baltimore Orioles big league roster in 2012, and played six years in the Minor Leagues between the Orioles and the New York Mets. The Troy native partnered with the ValleyCats in his Visionary of the Year campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; to donate or learn more about his campaign, click here.
The ValleyCats begin a three-game homestand tomorrow, Saturday, May 20 at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium against the Washington Wild Things. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.