Recker Rocking The Cal League With Hot Bat

After a slow start this season, the Stockton Ports have picked up the pace in late May and into June, moving themselves into playoff contention. One of the biggest reasons for the team's success has been the offensive firepower of catcher Anthony Recker, who is among the California League leaders in nearly every category.

On Wednesday, Stockton Ports catcher Anthony Recker extended his hitting streak to eight games by going 2-4 with two doubles and three RBI against the Modesto Nuts. Such performances have become commonplace for Recker, who has been one of the hottest hitters in the entire minor leagues since the start of June. Recker recently had a stretch of games during which he homered seven times in seven games and in four games in a row. For the month of June, Recker is batting .340 with 12 extra-base hits and a 1291 OPS in 50 at-bats.

Recker's hot month of June came on the heels of a standout May, during which he hit .321 with a 953 OPS and 22 RBI in 22 games. For the season, the Alvernia College alum is batting .316 with a 1011 OPS and 13 homeruns. Although Recker has been an excellent hitter throughout his brief minor league career, he can't recall a stretch during his career where he has hit better than he is hitting right now.

"This is all kind of new waters for me. I have never hit the ball this well before, at least not consistently. Obviously, it is a lot of fun and a lot of hard work paying off," Recker said.

That work was rewarded most recently with the announcement that he would be representing the Ports at the California League/Carolina League All-Star Game, which is being held at the Ports' Banner Island Ballpark on June 19. Recker is the Ports only All-Star representative. Last season, Recker participated in the Midwest League All-Star Game as a representative of the Kane County Cougars.

In the minor leagues, all-star game rosters are determined by a vote from the coaches throughout each league, something Recker says makes being a part of the minor league all-star games even more rewarding.

"It's definitely gratifying because you know that it is the coaches that have seen you play that have voted you in. It just proves that a lot of your hard work is paying off and that they are seeing it and that other people are seeing it out on the field, which is always good," Recker said.

Recker isn't satisified with merely being a good offensive catcher, however. He works hard on improving his defense behind the plate and is the first to admit that his defense is still a work in progress.

"I've been a little shaky so far. I have been putting a lot of work into it with Darren Bush, our manager, just on receiving," Recker said.

"My throws were off at the beginning of the year and my receiving is not where it should be and my blocking, I've been kind of alternating between good games and bad games, so I am trying to even that out."

Recker's recent hot streak at the plate has coincided with a stretch of good play by the entire Ports' roster. Since May 22, the Ports are 14-8. That has brought the Ports' record to 35-31 and has put them only a game out of first place in the California League's Northern Division. Stockton's offense has been particularly good during this 22 game stretch, as they have scored in double-digits in five of those games and at least five runs in 16 of those games. The old baseball saying states that hitting is contagious, and Recker is a believer in that phenomenon.

"It goes with any game, especially baseball, that it seems that when one person starts hitting, the rest of the team follows. That's how it has been the last few weeks and we've been winning a lot of games so hopefully we can keep it going."

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