Eugene Emeralds Notebook: Rewards

EUGENE, OR-- A day of smiles so bright it would have lit up the day had the sun not been present. Pitcher's batting practice – a reward for a job well done.

"When they have a shutout, they get to take batting practice," manager Greg Riddoch said.

The shutout being spoken about with reverence came on June 27 – a 9-0 shellacking on the road against Vancouver. Their first shutout came a week earlier when they notched a 2-0 win over Boise.

"Hitting batting practice is always fun," Bagley said. "We don't get to do it that often. It was a blast."

With one boon already granted – where Pablo Menchaca took two balls over the fence – this round was the prize for that Vancouver blanking.

Menchaca was honored with one captaincy and Tyson Bagley nabbed the other. The teams were set and the rules laid down. Five innings, six outs per frame, and hitting coach Eric Peyton calling each ball put in play as an out, a single, double, etc.

The team breakdown:

Team Menchaca (and batting order): Gary Poynter, Cooper Brannan, Geoff Vandel, Menchaca, Rey Garramone, Kyle Heyne, Rob Musgrave, Alexis Lara.

Team Bagley (and batting order): Anthony Bass, Nick Schumacher, Tyler Davis, Bagley, Tom Davis, Erik Davis, Simon Castro, Nick Vincent.

Team Menchaca put a run on the board in the first to take an early lead on a sacrifice fly from Lara, who showed some pop in his bat and ended the day with two RBIs.

Team Bagley stormed back with five runs in the second inning – led by Tom Davis. After grounding out in his first at-bat, Davis collected three straight doubles and notched the only homer of the day.

Davis ended the day with four runs scored and four RBIs – accounting for all of the Team Bagley runs.

"I was trying to take team swings in every at-bat to help the team as much as possible," Tom Davis said. "I got some good pitches grooved into me. They were hard pitches; tough pitches to hit. I got lucky and put the good part of the plate."

Up 8-3 going into the bottom of the fifth, Team Menchaca scored a pair of runs but would get no closer, ending the contest in an 8-5 win for Team Bagley.

"Tom Davis, team MVP," Bagley yelled.

Bass had hits in each of his first three at-bats and looked like a runaway for the MVP honors until Tom Davis took over the game.

And Davis was picked in the fifth round.

"He was my sleeper pick," Bagley said. "I was expecting Tyler Davis, my first round pick to come through a little more for me. That didn't work out."

"They thought they had the edge on us after the draft," Tom Davis said. "Our captain, Tyson, did a great job of evaluating talent. I knew I was a steal when he picked me. I am confident as a hitter and got the job done."

Vandel had two hits and two RBIs for Team Menchaca, arriving late to the game. Menchaca, meanwhile, went 0-for-5 and struck out twice – drawing lots of enjoyment from Team Bagley.

How long do bragging right last?

"It will be a battle until our next pitcher's BP session, and we will hold it over them until then," Bagley added.

The Emeralds staff will have to wait for their next shutout before another session of pitcher's batting practice is granted.

"It is a lot of fun," Tom Davis said. "It is a long season so things like that break up the season and make it worthwhile."

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