June 24, 2013
By Jon Cooper
As much as Georgia Tech’s competing for an ACC title and getting to the NCAA Tournament has become a rite of spring, so has the Yellow Jackets being well-represented in summer leagues around the country.
This summer there are 16 Yellow Jackets working on their games in 10 different leagues around the country.
Here’s a first look at how they’re doing and where they’re doing it.
Coastal Plain League (4)
Josh Heddinger, Peninsula Pilots – The hero of the Nashville Regional has been superb in his two summer outings — one start and one long-relief appearance. The sophomore right-hander has allowed three earned runs in 8 1/3 innings (a 3.24 ERA), having surrendered eight hits, striking out 10 while walking only four. He got a no decision in his start, being charged with three runs (all earned) and four hits in 4 1/3 innings at Edenton. He struck out five and walked three. Three days later he earned a save, throwing four scoreless innings, allowing only four hits, striking out five and walking one in a 3-0 win over Morehead City.
Joe Wiseman, Wilmington Sharks – The freshman righty has pitched a lot better than his numbers show. In his first three appearances he’s 0-1 with a 22.50 ERA, allowing five earned runs (six overall) in 2.0 innings. But all five runs came in one appearance, in which he didn’t retire a batter, allowing all five runs on two hits with three walks, June 13 vs. Morehead. He didn’t get the loss in that outing, instead getting it on June 21, when he allowed one unearned run and one hit in the Sharks’ 3-2 loss to Wilson.
Jonathan King, Asheboro Copperheads – The freshman lefty is pitching to a 1.80 ERA and was solid in his one start, throwing five innings, allowing one run, while allowing four hits, striking out five while walking four. King allowed a run in the first inning then shut down the RedWolves the rest of the way despite allowing base runners in three of the four innings.
Jared Jillson, Asheboro Copperheads – The freshman righty has thrown a pair of shutout innings in his two appearances. He threw a scoreless ninth, allowing two hits, in finishing off an 8-2 win at Martinsville on June 11, then, six days later, fired a perfect eighth, with a strikeout, to help King earn his win.
Peninsula is 10-10, fifth in the East, 5 1/2 games back. Wilmington is 11-9, third in the East, while Asheboro has a 13-7 record, tied for first in the West, featuring a league-low 1.88 team ERA.
Cape Cod League (2)
Matt Gonzalez, Bourne Braves – Playing at shortstop, the Tech freshman has picked up at the plate for Bourne where he left off with Tech. He’s hitting a sizzling .348 (8-for-23), with hits in five of his last six games, a .348 on-base percentage and .739 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging). His average and eight hits rank second on the team. Gonzalez is hitting .385 (5-for-13) over his last three games, with a three-hit game and a two-hit game.
A.J. Murray, Chatham Anglers – The sophomore first baseman has started slowly at the plate this summer, batting .143. In an 8-5 win over Yarmouth-Dennis, he hit the ball with authority, putting up a two-double, two-run performance. The doubles keyed the five-run fifth and three-run sixth. A positive for Murray is that after striking out three times in both of his first two games of the summer, he’s K’d only five times in the last five. Defensively, he’s been a vacuum at first base, playing flawlessly over his first seven games.
Chatham begins the week in second place in the Eastern Division, with a 6-4 record, a half-game out of first, but looking to snap a four-game losing streak, which actually began with a 1-0 loss to Bourne on June 19. The Braves are 5-5, in fourth place in the Western Division, two games back.
New England Collegiate League (2)
Daniel Spingola, Danbury Westerners – After taking a week to get going — he began 2-for-14 — Spingola, has regained the form that made him an NECBL All-Star with the Westerners in 2012. He enters this week hitting .367, third on the team and sixth in the league, after batting .615 (8-for-13) over the weekend and .385 for the week (10-for-26). He put up a pair of three-hit games and a two-hit game, driving in five runs and scoring three times. Against Keene on Friday, he went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored in the 9-5 win. Two days later, at New Bedford he had three hits, drove in three runs and stole two bases in a 10-5 win. Spingola, who is riding a four-game hitting streak, has a .441 on-base percentage, and an .841 OPS and is 4-for-4 in stolen bases. He’s made one error thus far in centerfield.
Alex Cruz, Danbury Westerners – Cruz has been tearing the cover off the ball, hitting a team-leading .600 (6-for-10) in four games with a .636 on-base percentage and a 1.336 OPS. He has multi-hit games in all three games he’s played at shortstop (he is 6-for-9 in those games), but is 0-for-1 in his lone game at third. His first start on the mound on Saturday was a struggle, as he allowed six runs (five earned), three hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings, leaving with a loss in the Westerners’ 8-0 defeat and an ERA of 19.29. Cruz struck out four batters in the appearance. Danbury, the top hitting team in the league (.265), is 5-5 over its first 10 games, in third place, three games back in the Western Division.
Hamptons Collegiate League (2)
Kyle Leach, Westhampton Aviators – The freshman right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in six games. He’s allowed only two runs in seven innings and has been unscored upon in five of his six appearances. He earned his win at Sag Harbor on June 16, throwing a scoreless 10th inning in a game the Aviators would win in the 11th.
Cole Miller, Westhampton Aviators – The sophomore infielder is hitting .256 (10-for-39), and rising as he heads into this week. Miller, who has a homer and eight RBIs, with a .356 slugging percentage and a .715 OPS, takes a five-game hitting streak into this week’s games, after batting .438 (7-for-16), with a pair of multi-hit games over his last five. Miller led the team in average, slugging, hits and RBIs, last week and has raised his average more than 100 points during his current streak.
The Avaiators are 8-8, fifth in the HCBL, 1 1/2 games back.
Valley League (1)
Thomas Smith, Harrisonburg Turks – A part of Harrisonburg’s championship team last summer, Smith is doing his part in the Turks’ attempt to repeat. He’s hitting .279, with three doubles and two RBIs. He’s also drawn six walks, part of his .373 on-base percentage, and is 3-for-3 in stolen bases. During the Turks’ six-game winning streak last week, Smith had at least one hit in each game, including a two-hit effort in the 6-3 win over the Woodstock River Bandits. It was his second multi-hit game of the summer. Defensively, Smith has been perfect in 26 chances at second base.
The Turks are off to another strong start, leading the South with an 11-5 record, good for a one-game lead.
Northwoods League (1)
Sam Clay, Mankato MoonDogs – The freshman lefty has been outstanding in his three appearances thus far. Clay boasts a 1.12 ERA, giving up one earned run in eight innings. He’s allowed three hits and is holding opposing hitters to a .111 batting average. In his last outing, Clay threw five shutout innings, allowing one hit in Mankato’s 6-0 win at St. Cloud. He has had bouts with his control, having walked six hitters (three in each of the last two appearances) against five strikeouts.
Mankato is 14-12, fourth in the North Division, 4 1/2 games back.
Florida League (1)
Grant Wruble, Leesburg Lightning – In six games, the freshman catcher is hitting .217 (5-for-23), with a run scored and two driven in, but has had a tough time of late, battling through a 1-for-10 stretch over the last three games — two of those games came the same day, Sunday. Wruble began the season hitting .308 (4-for-13), getting at least one hit in each of his first four games.
Leesburg is at 7-7, part of a three-way tie for third place in the league, 1 1/2 games back.
Alaska League (1)
Devin Stanton, Chugiak Chinooks – The junior lefty has been quite effective in his four appearances, allowing only three earned runs in 11 1/3 innings, a 2.38 ERA. He’s struck out 10 and walked seven, while allowing 13 hits. After making three relief appearances, Stanton made his first start his last time out on Friday. He took a 2-1 loss, but pitched well, allowing two earned runs and four hits in four innings, striking out three and walking three.
Chugiak has started 1-9, 7.0 games out of first and 4.0 out of fifth.
Sunbelt League (2)
Mitch Earnest, OTC Bearcats – The junior catcher has played in five games and is hitting .133, (2-for-15), but he has bounced back from an 0-for-10 start over his first four games. He has two hits in his last five at-bats and brings his first hitting streak of the summer into the week, as he’s gotten hits in each of the last two games. Against the 6-4-3 Cougars on Friday, Earnest had a double and scored twice in a 15-10 loss.
Dylan Dore, Douglasville Bulls – The freshman outfielder is off to a hot start for the Bulls, hitting a team-best .389 (7-for-18) with a double, two RBI and three runs in six games this season. He’s coming off his best game of the summer on Saturday, going 3-for-4 against the 643 Cougars.
OTC has struggled thus far, as the Bearcats are 1-10 at the bottom of the West, seven games off the pace in the Division (4 1/2 out of third). Douglasville is 8-3 through 11 games and is three games back of the West Division leader, Home Plate Chukars.
Cal Ripken League (1)
Will Young, Herndon Braves – The sophomore infielder is off to a scathing start, as he’s hitting .340 (16-for-47), with two doubles, a triple and five RBIs. His 16 hits and five RBIs lead the club. He also boasts an .830 OPS and is 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. Young started the summer with an 11-game hitting streak, including four multi-hit games, although he has gone hitless in his last two games. He’s played primarily at short and has a .945 fielding percentage (four errors in 69 chances).
Herndon sits in last in the league with a 3-11 mark, 7 1/2 games back (2.0 games out of 11th).
West Coast League (1)
Gregory Feinberg, Medford Rogues – The freshman catcher has played in four games for the Rogues and is hitting .250 (3-for-12) and has driven in three runs.
Medford is 6-12 and finds itself six games of South Division leader Bend.