NEW BRITAIN - The last time Jonathan Pettibone pitched in a competitive game it was 2014.
That all changed Saturday night. The New Britain Bees pitcher made his team debut and did not disappoint, helping the Bees beat the York Revolution 3-2 to earn their first win of the season.
In a pitch-count limited outing, the former Phillies starter tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and struck out three while walking none. In two of his innings, Pettibone retired York’s lineup in order.
“I felt good,” Pettibone said. “I was just going out there for the first time in two years, getting my feet wet, getting ahead [of hitters] and just have the defense backed me up behind me. Shoulder feels good. It’ll be sore tomorrow, but that was to be expected.”
As Pettibone was cruising on the mound, his offense provided some early run support in a noticeable turn from Friday night. James Skelton and Craig Maddox both collected two hits, with Skelton driving in two runs as well.
Maddox slapped a double to left field in the bottom of the third inning that proved too difficult for Revolution leftfielder Jose Constanza to handle, allowing Steve Carrillo to score.
Once Pittibone reached 44 pitches with one out in the fourth, Kyle Simon (1-0) took over and kept York’s batters at bay. The 2016 Atlantic League ERA leader threw the next 2 2/3 innings, surrendering one run and two hits. He did work himself into some trouble in the fifth, issuing back-to-back walks, but got himself out of the situation unscathed.
Skelton, meanwhile, gave the Bees a little bit of breathing room in the bottom half of the fourth, launching a two-run homer off Revolution starter Stephen Janas (0-1) to bring home himself and Michael Crouse. Skelton just missed a homer in the third and had to settle for single.
“He showed his changeup early and I was able to work the count to 3-2 ,” Skelton said. “In the back of my mind, I knew he had thrown me a cutter earlier and then it looked like the changeup was coming. I saw it, adjusted and hit the pitch.”
York, however, did not go away. Joel Guzman grounded out to shortstop in the top of the sixth off Simon to bring home Alonzo Harris.
The Revolution brought home another run an inning later, when Bryan Pounds also grounded out - this time to second base - to bring home their second run of the game off Jason Jarvis in his Bees debut.
That was as close as the Revolution got in their comeback attempt, although they did make it difficult for New Britain.
Jarvis gave way to former MLB All-Star Brandon League in the eighth. But after retiring the first batter he faced, League ran into some trouble. Constanza drew a walk and was followed by back-to-back singles from Harris and Guzman.
League, however, worked himself out of the jam by getting Isaias Tejeda to ground into the inning-ending 6-3 double play.
The Bees were retired in order in the bottom of the frame, sending MLB veteran Joel Beimel to the mound for the save opportunity in the ninth. Beimel retired York’s first two batters without much difficulty, tallying a strikeout and a flyout to leftfield. But then Ryan Dent doubled to right and a wild pitch allowed his pinch runner, Brandon Thomas, to reach third.
A batter later, Angel Franco stepped up to the plate looking to bring in the tying run, but Beimel got him to pop up to third baseman Jovan Rosa to end the game.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach