Portland’s Brett Netzer, right, fist bumps pinch runner Dylan Hardy during a time out after Netzer hit a double against Reading on Monday night at Hadlock Field. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

As the Portland Sea Dogs kept their slim playoff hopes alive, their best hitters have moved on to Triple-A Pawtucket. Third baseman Bobby Dalbec and shortstop C.J. Chatham are gone.

“It’s tough losing those two guys but that’s what we’re here to do, get them better and promote them,” Manager Joe Oliver said.

Oliver spoke before Monday’s game, an 8-7, 10th-inning loss to the Reading Fightin Phils before 6,563 at Hadlock Field.

The Sea Dogs were paced by homers from Joey Curletta and Marcus Wilson, a Jaren Duran two-run single, and RBI singles by Jeremy Rivera and Brett Netzer.

Netzer, a second baseman, is the infielder left behind. Like Dalbec and Chatham, he began the season in Portland and is still in Double-A, showing no signs of envy.

“Not at all,” Netzer said. “The beauty of professional sports is that you get rewarded when you are playing well. They both had really awesome seasons. They’re two friends and I couldn’t be happier for them.

“Everyone has their own path.”

Netzer, a third-round draft pick in 2017 out of North Carolina Charlotte, is one of Portland’s top remaining hitters with a .251 average, 23 doubles and seven home run. He recovered from an early slump.

When the season began, Netzer looked like he would be bucking for a promotion, hitting .315 for the first two weeks. But it was a small sample and didn’t last. Netzer was using an uppercut swing and it didn’t hold up. On July 26 he was batting .236.

Since then Netzer is hitting .320, including four home runs.

“His swing is a little more consistent,” Oliver said. “Lee (May, the hitting coach) has really put some time with him, trying to get him to consistently drive the ball more on a line instead of trying to elevate everything.”

Last year in advanced Class A Salem – his first full pro season – Netzer faded at the end. Now he’s getting stronger.

“It’s been more mechanically, about making adjustments. As far as competing goes and mentally preparing, I feel pretty good,” he said. “I’m picking up a little bit.”

In Monday’s game, Reading got to Portland starter Konner Wade for seven runs for a 7-4 lead after six innings. Curletta’s homer in the eighth closed it to 7-6, but the Sea Dogs stranded three runners. In the ninth, Wilson tied it with his solo shot.

In the 10th, Josh Stephen’s RBI single against Jordan Weems (0-2) put Reading ahead, 8-7. Portland stranded three more runners in the 10th. The Sea Dogs trail first-place Reading by 5 1/2 games.

NOTES: Former major league first baseman Tommy Joseph made his Sea Dogs debut Monday, going 2 for 5 as the designated hitter. Joseph, 28, was the Phillies’ first baseman in 2016-17. He spent 2018 in the minors with the Rangers and played in Korea this season until signing with the Red Sox this month … The Sea Dogs welcomed their 10 millionth fan Monday, awarding Tabitha Berube of Gray with an assortment of prizes, including Red Sox tickets and transportation, and 2020 season tickets to the Sea Dogs. This is the Portland franchise’s 25th season.


Comments are not available on this story.