By
Updated: January 15, 2019
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Tuesday, April 4th, 2028
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Harpoon Secure Opening Day win at Mack Stadium

Written by Reginald Tarquin, April 3rd, Mack Stadium, Hartford, Conn.

Hartford Harpoon beat writer, RTHH@Couvant.com

With the eighth season of PEBA baseball upon us the Hartford Harpoon welcomed the West Virginia Alleghenies to Mack Stadium. New GM Nigel Laverick had only be appointed by owner Grey Davidson III the day before and the talk of the fans arriving at the Stadium was what would he bring to the franchise? GM Laverick has had a chequered career in the PEBA, the best years most commentators will agree were his six years with the London Underground where he won his championship ring 10 years ago. Since then it has been increasingly brief stays with Marseille, San Juan, Duluth and Kalamazoo, his last stop in the 2026 season. The fans I spoke to all were hoping that he could revive the spirit that made London such a force in times gone by. Despite the lack of a driving force in recent years they were hopeful that the new appointment would break the recent swings in the Harpoon’s form. Not many would commit to saying that this would be the year, most felt that Laverick would need at least one off-season before the team showed any significant progress. Others pointed to a fairly shambolic farm system that had only managed three winning seasons at A-ball, one at Double-A and none at Triple-A since moving to Hartford. “It’ll take a long time to rebuild the farm” said one and I have to agree with him. With Hartford’s first pick in the 2028 Amateur draft being the 56th overall, it’s probably fair to say the draft’s unlikely to produce many prospective PEBA stars this year for the Harpoon.

The fans were thrown again when the Harpoon’s announced the lineup card. Fan favourite, despite making 22 errors at shortstop,  Luis Cedeño had been shifted to the hot corner, All Leather second baseman Mark Edwards had followed Luis left round the diamond to the shortstop role and young utility man Jack Allen was starting at second base. Another talking point was how long Opening Day starter Alfredo Zambrano would last this season after he suffered seven separate injuries in 2027 restricting him to just 24 starts. Allen was to be the lead-off man while Carlos Ryan who hit 36 homers & 102 RBI in 2027 seemed a good choice as the clean-up hitter.

Zambrano allowed two hits in the top of the first when we got the 2028 season underway but pitched out of a jam forcing a doubleplay. Allen opened the Harpoon’s season at the plate with a lead-off single, stole second and advanced to third on a sac fly but that was all the home side got. The entire second innings was a damp squib with both teams going 1-2-3. The Alleghenies got a base runner in the top of the third but could do nothing with him. The Harpoon had the crowd, a healthy 49,627, on their feet in the bottom half of the innings. Walter Winston led off with a single, stole second before Edwards became the second base runner. Cedeño was next to bat and his line drive evaded the infield as he ended up on second, driving in both Winston and Edwards for Hartford’s first lead of the new season.

The top of the fourth saw Pedro Flores launch a solo homer off Zambrano but again the Alleghenies couldn’t sustain a rally. Two singles in the bottom of the sixth inning saw Harpoon extend their lead when Winston added his second hit of the day driving in Carlos Ryan but Ron Myers was thrown out at the plate following Ryan home to end the innings. Matt Brown relieved Zambrano in the top of the eighth and allowed just a base runner. With only a single in the bottom of the eighth Harpoon turned it over to He Ling to close the game out in the ninth. A Brad Davis double and a walk issued to Dewitt Barry set the alarm bells ringing but Ling got Flores to ground into a double play before striking out Tony Velázquez to earn his first save of 2028.

Zambrano (1-0) got the win with Bartolo García taking the loss. Allen went 3-4 from the lead off slot and Ryan & Winston both were 2-3.

Next up for the Harpoon is three more games against the Alleghenies today, Wednesday and Thursday before the Havana Leones from the Trans-Atlantic division come to town for a three-game series over the weekend.