Portland’s Nick Lovullo turns a double play as Binghamton’s Jhoan Urena tries to break it up Friday. (Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald)

PORTLAND — When Binghamton manager Luis Rojas saw his catcher having trouble on the receiving end of the first few knuckleballs from Rumble Ponies starter Mickey Jannis, he knew it was going to be a good night.

“I think he missed the first three out of five knuckleballs,” Rojas said of Binghamton catcher Patrick Mazeika. “It was dancing.”

Indeed, except for a pair of unearned runs in the first inning, Jannis held the Sea Dogs in check Friday night to help the Rumble Ponies squeak out a 3-2 Eastern League baseball victory before a crowd of 5,289 at Hadlock Field.

Run-scoring singles by Jantzen Witte and Luke Tendler in the first inning gave Portland a 2-1 lead, but the Rumble Ponies tied it in the second and took the lead for good in the fifth on a double-play grounder with the bases loaded.

John Mora led Binghamton (38-40) with two hits. Witte and Tender each had two of Portland’s nine hits.


Jannis (5-2) allowed six hits over seven innings and did not give up an earned run. He struck out six, walked none and retired 19 of the final 22 batters he faced.

“He was very effective,” Rojas said of Jannis, who also mixed in a fastball and slider. “He was using his three pitches, but mainly the knuckleball was the one that set the tone, with the movement that he had.”

Teddy Stankiewicz (5-7) struck out three and walked three in six innings for the Sea Dogs (29-49). A double and a walk preceded a perfect bunt by Josh Allen to put Binghamton in position to break open the tie game in the top of the fifth.

Instead, Stankiewicz induced a double-play grounder from cleanup hitter Kevin Taylor and got a fly out thanks to a diving catch from Tate Matheny in shallow center.

“Teddy did a great job of minimizing or escaping trouble entirely,” Sea Dogs manager Darren Fenster said. “To get out of a situation like that with just one run is a great job.”

Travis Lakins pitched a scoreless eighth inning and allowed a two-out single, only the second hit in 10 innings since being converted from a starting pitcher to a reliever.


The Sea Dogs threatened in the ninth, but closer Casey Taylor picked off pinch-runner Danny Mars after the first of three singles and induced a force at third base to end the game.

“That saved the game right there, that quick pick-off and perfect throw,” Rojas said of Taylor. “That was on his own. That didn’t come from the dugout.”

All-Stars and Tebow

Rosters for the annual Eastern League All-Star Game are out. The Eastern Division squad includes three Sea Dogs — first baseman Josh Ockimey and pitchers Kyle Hart and Matt Kent — as well five Rumble Ponies. The game is scheduled for July 11 in Trenton, New Jersey.

Binghamton outfielder Tim Tebow is among the All-Stars. He entered the weekend with a six-game hitting streak and was batting .318 in June and .406 over his previous 10 games to raise his average to .261.

Tebow, 30, went 0-for-4 as the designated hitter. Joining Tebow as Binghamton representatives for the game are infielder Levi Michael, catcher Mazeika and pitchers Nabil Crismatt and Daniel Zamora.


“I’m not where I want to be,” Tebow said. “I feel like I’m getting closer, and taking steps there, but I’ve got a long way to go.”

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner is trying to make it in pro baseball after failing to stick in the NFL.

“There were several specific adjustments we made that really made a difference for me,” he said. “All of a sudden your bat path is way different. Instead of fouling them off, now you’re doing more damage.”

Portland’s All-Stars

As for Portland’s All-Stars, Sea Dogs manager Darren Fenster said he’s happy for Ockimey, Hart and Kent.

“It’s a credit to those guys for the year that they’ve had so far,” Fenster said. “In a year when our overall record isn’t good, I think we have a handful of guys who earned All-Star consideration.”


Chavis almost back

Sunday’s game will be the 80th of the season for the Sea Dogs, which means third baseman Michael Chavis — considered the top prospect in the Red Sox minor-league system — will be eligible to play on Monday.

In April, Chavis was suspended 80 games without pay after his urine sample tested positive for a form of anabolic steroid. He has been working out since then in Fort Myers. The Red Sox have not said whether Chavis will return to Portland next week or ease his way back with a rehab assignment at a lower level, perhaps Single-A Lowell.

Teddy Stankiewicz pitches for the Portland Sea Dogs against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies on Friday. (Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald)

John Mora of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies dives back to first on a pickoff attempt by the Sea Dogs on. (Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald)

Portland’s Teddy Stankiewicz tosses the ball to first base to get out a Binghamton runner Friday. (Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald)

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