Locals at the pros: Gavin Cross hits the tubes | Sports News

A month and 24 games into his professional baseball career, things are looking good for Gavin Cross.

The former Tennessee High and Virginia Tech star has a .269/.414/.526 slant line to go along with five home runs, 17 RBIs, 17 runs and four stolen bases since joining the Columbia Fireflies from the Low. -A Carolina League. .

It came after he started his pro career hitting .500 (5 for 10) with one home run and three RBIs in three games with the rookie-level Arizona Complex League Royals.

“He had an immediate impact on this team in everything he does,” Columbia bench coach Glenn Hubbard said. “He can punch, run, throw, play the tough game. He runs balls into the outfield, which was a big plus for us. I can’t wait to see him come through the minor leagues and play for our major league team.

Selected ninth overall by Kansas City in the MLB Entry Draft in July after three stellar seasons at Virginia Tech, Cross had to undergo a transformation that all first-year pros must go through.

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“The biggest adjustment to pro ball is definitely the routine of playing six games a week,” Cross said. “In college, we play four times a week. Playing six games in a row takes some getting used to. Learn to take care of my body, limit my swings when I need to. … Until Sunday, I mean I played 20 games in 22 days or something. So just trying to have a good body and put the best Gavin on the pitch that day is the biggest adjustment.

Cross suffered a 2-for-24 fall at one point, but came out of it in spectacular fashion when he connected for a grand slam on August 30, a punch that put him back on track.

“The week before I really struggled and just tried to find the right timing and compete,” Cross said. “That’s the great thing about professional ball is that you play every day, so you have a new opportunity every day, regardless of what happened the night before. It was just brilliant to have a barrel roll on the ball and help the team win and keep it going for a good week.

Cross learns from some guys who have reached the highest level in the game.

Hubbard was a fan favorite when he was an infielder with the Atlanta Braves in the 1980s.

Columbia manager Tony Pena Jr. played in the big leagues and was once a teammate of Bristol’s Jimmy Gobble with the Royals.

“TJ, my husband, [hitting coach Chris Nelson], as well as all the other coaches here have been great,” Cross said. “They treat us like we’re professional baseball players. They give us the platform to go out there and be successful. One of the funniest coaching teams I’ve been on. The locker room is a fun place with these guys and blessed to have them. Their knowledge of the major leagues and how they can help me with their experience is something I try to get from them every day.

Cross had two hits and scored two runs on Sunday.

“It was great to be able to get back on the court and be done with the draft and everything that led up to that,” Cross helps. “I had to answer a bunch of questions before the draft that I really didn’t know the answer to, like ‘Where are you going? ‘When do you start playing?’ among others. So just being able to fit into a big organization like Kansas City has been an honor and playing with those guys has been a blast so far.

Thomas Francisco has been doing well lately.

The former Abingdon High School hitter compiled a .240 batting average with six home runs and 57 RBIs this season between the Low-A Palm Beach Cardinals and High-A Peoria Chiefs.

He’s hit safely in eight of his last nine games with Palm Beach.

“Taking it all one day at a time is key,” Francisco said. “There are no highs without lows in this game. I’m really happy with the way I’ve been playing over the last few months and I’ll try to keep that going.

Pittsburgh Pirates starting prospect Hunter Stratton (Sullivan East) ends the summer strong.

The right-hander went seven straight scoreless innings in five appearances for the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.

Included in his successful streak was a save against Louisville on Aug. 31 as he is now 2-5 with two saves and a 5.40 ERA in 40 outings.

Hunter Wolfe’s productive first season as a professional will culminate in a postseason game.

The Dobyns-Bennett High School graduate is hitting .256 with seven home runs and 35 RBIs in 66 games for the American Independent Association’s Cleburne Railroaders and was selected as the team’s rookie of the year.

He also scored 40 points and stole 19 bases for a team that qualified for the playoffs.

Evan Carter (Elizabethton) returned to the High-A Hickory Crawdads roster on Sunday and went 0-for-3, got hit by a pitch and scored a run in his team’s 4-2 Premier League loss. the South Atlantic against the Aberdeen Ironbirds.

It was Carter’s first game since Aug. 20, when he was on the injured list with a bruised left knee. The Texas Rangers’ top-rated prospect hits .286 with 11 home runs, 24 stolen bases and 65 RBIs in 76 games.

A .242 batting average, .338 on-base percentage, one home run and 17 RBI appear on the stat line of utility man Tyler Blaum of the Atlantic Independent League Charleston Dirty Birds. He is a former standout from the College of the University of Virginia at Wise.

Clint Freeman (David Crockett) has completed his eighth professional season.

He hit .246 with 16 home runs and 48 RBIs, while going 0-3 with a 6.20 ERA on the mound this summer for the Gateway Grizzlies of the Independent Frontier League.

Gabe Wurtz of the Billings Mustangs continues to crush offers from opposing pitchers.

The slugger who once played at the University of Virginia College in Wise went 3-for-5 with a triple steal, two runs and two RBIs in his team’s 16-4 loss to the Ogden Raptors on Sunday.

He entered Monday hitting .307 with 20 home runs and 76 RBIs for a club that plays in the independent Pioneer League.

Landon Knack (Science Hill) pitched three scoreless innings for the Tulsa Drillers on Friday night.

The right-hander struck out six and walked two against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

He is 2-8 with a 4.53 ERA in 15 starts for the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jacob Watters made the second appearance of his professional baseball career on August 31 for the Lansing Lugnuts, the High-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

The former Bland County High School and West Virginia University pitcher started and allowed an unearned run and zero hits, while walking three times in one working inning. He earned a no-decision in Lansing’s 4-2 loss to the South Bend Cubs.

Watters had pitched a scoreless inning in his pro debut Aug. 23 for League A rookies at Arizona Complex.

Andrew Lee (Morristown West) is 3-2 with one save and 3.89 ERA in 27 relief outings as he appeared with Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Rochester in the Nationals farm system from Washington.

If you watched the Toronto Blue Jays claim a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, you heard a familiar voice on NBC’s Peacock streaming service broadcast as Kevin Barker was in the booth with Bob Walk and Jason Benetti to call the action. .

A 1993 graduate of Virginia High, Barker played in the big leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds. His playing days ended in 2011 and soon after he started working in radio and television in Toronto.

Billy Wagner (Tazewell) was back on an MLB mound on Aug. 27.

The former All-Star relief pitcher participated in an alumni game the New York Mets hosted at Citi Field.

He allowed a bloop single to Kevin Elster, grounded Rafael Santana in a defender’s pick, then was relieved by Ed Lynch.

> Clyde “Hardrock” Shoun of Mountain City, Tenn., hit a full game six hits for the St. Louis Cardinals in their 6-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 6, 1940.

Shoun also went 1 for 4 and scored a run.

> Tracy Stallard, a native of Coeburn, Va., won a full game for the St. Louis Cardinals in their 10-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on September 6, 1965.

Stallard allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits in his nine innings on the job, while walking two and scoring two strikeouts. Dick Allen and Johnny Callison were his batting victims.

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