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Lamb slam lifts Diamondbacks; Appel Hooks up with ex-Hyannis broadcaster in minors

Jake Lamb (Y-D, 2011) / photo courtesy of Arizona Diamondbacks
08/31/2014 6:11 PM

Article By: Joe Sherman

      HIGH & INSIDE – Friday night (high)lights: Jake Lamb (Y-D, 2011) hit an eighth-inning grand slam to lift the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Colorado Rockies, 5-2. The D'Backs had loaded the bases with two outs before Lamb drove a pitch from Adam Ottavino (Harwich, 2005) 420 feet over the center field fence. Lamb, who finished 1-for-4 on the evening, has struggled at the plate in his rookie season, slashing .218/.279/.345 with two homers and nine RBIs ... Buster Posey (Y-D, 2006-07) went 5-for-5 with a triple, three RBIs and three runs scored as the San Francisco Giants routed the Milwaukee Brewers 13-2. It was the second five-hit game of Posey's career and it continued the catcher's red-hot month of August in which he was batting .350 (36-for-103). Posey singled in a run in the second inning and tripled to plate two more in the fifth. Posey owns a .297/.352/.472 slash line with 18 home runs and 71 RBIs ... Yasmani Grandal (Brewster, 2008) hit a walkoff RBI single in the 12th inning to lift the San Diego Padres over the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2. Grandal was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts prior to his single. The 25-year-old has had an otherwise tough season, slashing .210/.309/.372 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs in 337 plate appearances ... Chris Iannetta (Chatham, 2002) drew a bases-loaded walk and hit a two-run home run in four at-bats as the Los Angeles Angels shut out the Oakland Athletics, 4-0. Iannetta came into the game mired in a slump, hitting .056 (1-for-18) since Aug. 20. He broke a scoreless tie with his two-run shot off of Jon Lester in the fifth inning, then walked with the bases loaded to force in a run in the sixth. The catcher has quietly put together a productive season, slashing .257/.372/.412 with six home runs and 37 RBIs in 309 plate appearances ... Jacoby Ellsbury (Falmouth, 2004) went 2-for-5 with a triple and a two-run homer as the New York Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-3. Ellsbury has four homers and nine RBIs over his last five games. Unfortunately, he hurt his left ankle while sliding into home plate in the ninth inning. Test results were negative, but he was limping after the game and was doubtful for Saturday ... On Thursday night, Jason Castro (Y-D, 2007) hit a fifth-inning grand slam to power Houston past Texas 4-2. Castro finished 2-for-3 with a walk. His slam came in the fifth inning, a 420-foot blast to right field and the only offense the Astros could muster. But it was enough to back a strong pitching performance by Collin McHugh (Wareham, 2007). Castro snapped a six-game hitless streak spanning 22 plate appearances. It was his 13th home run and gave him 50 RBIs for the season … Oakland’s Josh Donaldson (Harwich, 2006) hit his 26th home run, a solo shot in the sixth inning, but the A’s lost to the Angels 4-3 Thursday night. Donaldson also doubled, finishing 2-for-3 with an RBI and two walks. He has already set a career high for home runs and is on pace to do the same for RBIs. His slash line reads .256/.346/.471.

Chris Blake / photo courtesy of Corpus Christi Hooks

      LOW & OUTSIDE – Mark Appel (Y-D, 2011) turned in the best performance of his brief minor league career Tuesday as he pitched the Corpus Christi Hooks past Frisco, 1-0. The first overall pick in last year’s MLB First-Year Player Draft took a one-hitter into the ninth inning and recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts. “Everything was working,” Appel said afterward. “I was able to locate my fastball, locate off-speed. My mentality was to attack hitters and keep attacking. It was just a matter of execution (and) I was able to execute pretty well.” “He had three major league pitches working,” Hooks manager Keith Bodie told reporters. “That’s as good as you can do it.” Appel lowered his ERA to 3.15 in six Double-A starts since being promoted by the Houston Astros from Class A Advanced Lancaster, where he went 2-5 with a 9.74 ERA and allowed 74 hits, including nine home runs, in 44 1/3 California League innings. Corpus Christi’s only run came in the eighth inning when Astros No. 5 prospect Colin Moran (Bourne, 2011-12) hit a two-out, RBI single ... Appel and Moran aren’t the only Cape Cod connection to Corpus Christi. The Hooks’ media relations coordinator, Chris Blake, spent three seasons as Internet broadcaster for the then Hyannis Mets (now Harbor Hawks) and credits his time there with preparing him for the rigors of minor league baseball. “Spending three summers calling games for the Hyannis Mets was an opportunity that prepared me for the everyday grind of a minor league baseball season,” he says. “Coming to the CCBL as a 17-year-old out of high school, I grew up a lot on the air and off with the help of my broadcast partner, John Cabral, and my host family, Bill and Maura Bussiere. There’s no doubt the Cape League helped me develop as a broadcaster.” Blake joined the Hooks full time in December 2012. In addition to calling the middle innings of home games, he assists with the team's website, publications and communications matters. A 2011 graduate of TCU, Blake previously spent a season with the independent San Angelo Colts, three summers at Hyannis and one year as a public relations intern at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The Irving, Texas, native called TCU baseball for three seasons and contributed to the football pregame show, "Horned Frog Countdown," on KTCU. As sports director of the student newscast, Blake covered TCU’s 2010 run to the Rose Bowl. He went on a monthlong journalism fellowship to Greece in 2011 and worked on the assignment desk at NBC5 in Dallas-Fort Worth. Away from the ballpark, the former high school band nerd enjoys music, coffee, playing sports and reading. Blake’s baseball roots run deep and strong. His dad, John Blake, is the Texas Rangers’ executive vice president, communications ... Brian Johnson (Y-D, 2011) is having fun pitching for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. The big left-hander, Boston’s No. 10 prospect, held New Hampshire to one hit – a solo homer – over seven innings recently in a 7-1 victory that gave him his 10th win of the season. The no-hitter became a one-hitter when Andy Burns (Brewster, 2010-11) homered just inside the right field foul pole in the sixth inning. Johnson, Boston’s first-round draft pick (31st overall) in 2012 out of the University of Florida, exited with a 6-1 lead after lowering his Eastern League-leading ERA to 1.83 … 

Seth Schwindenhammer / photo courtesy of Lowell Spinners

Brian Johnson (Y-D, 2011) is having fun pitching for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. The big left-hander, Boston’s No. 10 prospect, held New Hampshire to one hit – a solo homer – over seven innings recently in a 7-1 victory that gave him his 10th win of the season. The no-hitter became a one-hitter when Andy Burns (Brewster, 2010-11) homered just inside the right field foul pole in the sixth inning. Johnson, Boston’s first-round draft pick (31st overall) in 2012 out of the University of Florida, exited with a 6-1 lead after lowering his Eastern League-leading ERA to 1.83 … A recent CCBL story pointed out that the surnames of two 2014 draftees from the Cape League – Michael Theofanopoulos (Brewster, 2012) and Sheehan Planas-Arteaga (Chatham, 2013) – both contain 14 characters, the same number as Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Miami catcher credited with having the longest surname in Major League Baseball. That story did not mention another minor league player who has a 15-letter last name. Seth Schwindenhammer, a former Red Sox draftee, is now out of baseball after hitting .196/.270/.327 in five low minor league seasons. Schwindenhammer signed with Boston as a 17-year-old high school pick in 2009, and he’s still only 23. But with his baseball career now apparently behind him, there’s little chance he’ll ever be in a position to challenge Salty as the MLB player with the longest surname.