Berry Puts Fire At The Top Of Lakewood Lineup

Good help is hard to find, especially in the leadoff spot of the batting order. That help wasn't hard to find for the Lakewood BlueClaws, though. Quintin Berry, the speedy centerfielder for the BlueClaws has been one of the best leadoff men in the South Atlantic League in 2007.

Quintin Berry brings a nice combination of speed, instinct, and hitting and has given the BlueClaws a solid start at the top of their lineup. While he had some early season struggles at the plate, Berry has been swinging a hot bat over the last month. Berry's hot hitting garnered him the Philadelphia Phillies Minor League player of the week for the week ending May 27th.

Berry put his early season struggles behind him and has gone on to raise his average to .296 on the season. He has now hit safely in 11 straight games and is third in the SAL in stolen bases with 23. Berry batted safely in all seven games of the week in which he won the Phillies Minor League player of the week award. He also scored nine runs while collecting 13 hits in 29 at bats. "He's been playing hungry, he's worked hard with hitting coach Kevin Jordan and has done a great job," said Manager Steve Roadcap on Berry's play. Berry has been the BlueClaws hottest hitter through the first ten games of the BlueClaws' 13 game homestand. "He's played great baseball over the last 10 days," said Roadcap on Berry's recent success.

Berry's speed is his best asset, on the bases and in the field. He is a constant threat to run on the bases and tracks down almost anything that comes his way in centerfield. A very common site at BlueClaw games is Berry, a left-handed hitter, dragging a bunt between the pitcher and first baseman and beating the play down the line. "My bunting ability really opens things up for me offensively," said Berry on his bunting skills. Once Berry reaches first he is off to the races. "As soon I get to first I get a feel for the pitcher and then I'm ready to go," said Berry on his base stealing approach. Berry stole 19 bases in only 62 games last year for Batavia in the New York-Penn League. "I like to think of myself as a Juan Pierre type leadoff hitter although most people compare me to Kenny Lofton," said Berry on his Major League comparisons. His speed is put to good use in centerfield as well, whether it's a shallow fly over second or a deep fly to center. Berry gets to both with relative ease. "He can really run them down out there," said Steve Roadcap on Berry's defensive ability.

Before being drafted by the Phillies, Berry played College baseball at San Diego State University for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. It's safe to say he learned from one of the games greatest players. "It was one of the best experiences of my life," said Berry of his college tenure. "Everything I do at the plate, from my approach to my swing, I learned from Tony Gwynn." There aren't many players that can say they learned first hand from a Hall of Famer. In 2005 Berry hit .419 becoming the first San Diego State Aztec to hit over .400 since 1992. He was named to the first team all Mountain West Conference and received second team all West Region honors.

The BlueClaw Beat:

  • BlueClaw hurler and the Phillies 7th ranked prospect by Philly Baseball News, Kyle Drabek, was put on the Disabled List last week with inflammation in his right elbow. It appears to be a precautionary measure rather than a serious injury.
  • Carl Henry Jr., the New York Yankees first round draft pick in 2005 and component of the Bobby Abreu trade has struggled at the plate this season hitting .188. He does have 7 homers and 28 RBI.
  • BlueClaw closer Ronald Hill was promoted to the Phillies High Class-A team in Clearwater. Hill converted his final 10 save opportunities, compiling a 2.63 ERA. Hill was the first BlueClaw to receive a promotion in 2007.
  • The BlueClaws are 6-5 on their 13 game homestand and have an overall record of 26-25, good for third in the South Atlantic League Northern Division. They are currently 9.5 games behind first place West Virginia.
  • 99,452 fans turned out to support the BlueClaws in the month of May, making it the best May in the team's seven year history as far as attendance. The BlueClaws need just 124,868 fans to reach 3 million in their history and become the fastest team in the league and New Jersey history to do so.

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