And, the Cards cleaned up on Saturday also (even without me there). They beat the Arkansas Travelers 9-4 winning their second straight game with the help of a newly acquired right-fielder--Terry Evans. The 24-year-old slugger, who wears number 40 on his jersey, is certainly a player to watch. He made his Double-A debut Friday night in Wichita where, in his first at bat, he hit a sacrifice-fly to right field and drove in Juan Richardson to earn his first RBI as a Springfield Cardinal--good news for the Birds. He would hit 11 more RBI in the next two games--better news.
The 6'3", 200-pound outfielder was obtained by the Cardinals as their 47th selection in the 2001 draft. He is a graduate of California State University--San Bernadino and lives in the same small town in Georgia where he was born. The Dublin native played for Johnson City in 2002, Peoria in 2003-04, and Palm Beach in 2004-05.
In 2005 with Palm Beach, he played 110 games in the outfield; had a 10-game hitting streak; batted .447, going 17-for-38; hit four home runs in the month of April and four more during the season (seven of his eight homers came off right-handed pitchers). He hit .182 in the playoffs, going 2-for-11 with seven strikeouts.
On Saturday, in his first game in front of the home crowd, Evans hit seven RBI, to tie a franchise record (the second time this year he has tallied seven RBI in a game). Evans picked up two RBI in the first inning, three in the sixth with his first home run of the game and two in the seventh following his second home run.
So far, Evans' hitting, combined with some excellent plays in the outfield, has not been just a fluke. On Sunday, Evans hit two of the five home runs the Cards would put on the scoreboard, in an 11-1 victory over the Arkansas Travelers.
Evans has hit four home runs in two days and has, of course, become an instant hit with the fans. If Evans hits a home run in Monday night's game the roof will come off Hammons Field and the crowd noise will be heard all the way to St. Louis. The win on Sunday, coupled with a loss by Tulsa to Wichita, brings Springfield back to within two games of first place with a chance to play the division-leading Tulsa Drillers four games beginning on Thursday (June 15) at Hammons Field. If you have never attended a Double-A baseball game--this is the time to do it. The excitement of a new young player with a hot bat and a down-to-the-wire first-half of the season pennant race is what makes minor league baseball such a treat.
Springfield is a great town with a great baseball history and Hammons Field is truly the prized jewel in the Queen City's crown. And, even though the baseball excitement is reason enough to visit Springfield, check out those young bluegrass musicians I listened to so sinfully on Saturday night. The Arkamo Rangers and Uncle Fudd are as traditional as baseball and well worth the little extra effort to find where they might be playing.
Baseball, bluegrass and two-dollar beers--does life get any better
than that? I guess a pennant would be nice.
You can write John Brayfield at email@example.com