Emmanuel Rivera is batting .305 and leads the Legends in RBI with 50. (Photo-Mary Lay)

The Legends will try to bounce back from a 16-2 loss to the Columbia Fireflies Wednesday afternoon at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.   They’ll have two more opportunities against the Fireflies in this series.  Game time is 7:05 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Among the leaders:   3B Emmanuel Rivera is tied for fourth in the SAL in hitting at .305 and tied for second in hits with 99.   OF Khalil Lee is tied for third in the SAL in home runs with 13.

Hot  in July :  In 12 games in the month of July, 2B Gabriel Cancel has 21 hits in 51 at bats (.412), with four homers and 11 RBI.  3B Emmanuel Rivera is 20 for 56 (.357)  in 14 July games and OF Marten Gasparini is at .315 (17 for 54) in 14 games for the month.  As a team, the Legends are batting. .274 in 15 games in July.

At the top:  The Legends lead the South Atlantic League in home runs with 88.  They have a team batting average of .265, one point behind Asheville, Charleston and Hagerstown, who are all tied at .266.

Vs. Fireflies:  Columbia has a 9-7 edge in the season series.  LHP Andre Davis is 2-0 in three starts against Columbia, with an ERA of 1.08 and 25 strikeouts in 16.2 IP.

Congratulations to Camp:  Legends’ relief pitcher Justin Camp was named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week for July 10-16.

In his one appearance last week, Camp pitched five no-hit innings – the 11th through 15th-in the Legends’ 7-6, 21-inning victory at Delmarva. It was the longest game in the Legends’ 17-year history. The first 20 innings were played Thursday night and early Friday morning. Rain then forced the suspension of play, and when the game was resumed Friday evening, the Legends scored a run on Marten Gasparini‘s homer in the top of the 21st and held on to win.

 Prospects:  Current Legends on MLB.com’s top 30 prospects in the Royals’ organization are OF Khalil Lee (#12)  C Meibrys Viloria (#13), LHP Garrett Davila (#16) and OF Marten Gasparini (#18).

Legends’ second baseman Gabriel Cancel is batting .450 (18 hits in 40 at bats) against Greenville this year. (Photo – Mary Lay)

The Lexington Legends are taking some positive momentum into this weekend’s four-game series against Greenville at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

The Legends have won four straight games and are tied for first place in the South Atlantic League Southern Division.  Lexington and Charleston each have nine wins and five losses in the second half of the season.   The season is divided into two halves, with each division winner going on to the post-season playoffs.   Kannapolis won the Northern Division for the first half, and Greenville was the Southern Division champion.

The Legends are batting .266 as a team for the year, one point behind league leader Hagerstown.

Game times this weekend are 7:05 p.m. Friday, 6:35 p.m. Saturday, 2:05 p.m. Sunday and 7:05 p.m. Monday.

Other notes as the Legends take on the Drive, an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox:

Vs. Drive:  The Legends have a 5-5 record against the Drive this season.  2B Gabriel Cancel is batting .450 (18 hits in 40 AB) against Greenville, with five doubles, one homer, four runs batted in and 10 runs scored.

Hot bat:  OF Yeison Melo has 9 hits in his last 21 at bats (.429).

On the rise:  The Legends are now second in the league in team batting average at .266, one point behind Hagerstown.  The Legends batted .272 in the month of June (26 games).   In the series at Greenville June 30-July 3, the Legends scored 33 runs on 55 hits, and won three of four games.

Cashing in: With the bases loaded, 3B Emmanuel Rivera is 4-for-5 with 10 RBI.   Rivera has drawn a bases-loaded walk in each of the two games of the West Virginia series this week.

 Ready to run:  Fans can see two of the league’s leading base stealers in action this weekend.  OF Rudy Martin, who has played in 32 games for the Legends, is third in the league in stolen bases with 25.  Martin is one behind co-leaders Tyler Hill of Greenville and Randy Ventura of Rome.

 

Legends notes entering tonight’s doubleheader against the West Virginia Power in Charleston, where the first of two seven-inning games will begin at 6:05 p.m.

Legends infielder John Brontsema was four-for-four with a home run and five runs scored against Hagerstown June 16.

Hot bat:  INF John Brontsema has hit safely in eight straight games, and has 13 hits in 28 at bats (.464 ) during the streak.

Coming through:  With runners on base, Brontsema is 18 for 35 (.514) with five doubles and six runs batted in.

All-Stars:   Legends OF Kort Peterson, RHP Jace Vines and RHP Grant Gavin were chosen for the SAL Southern Division All-Star team.  Peterson was promoted to advanced-A Wilmington June 9, and Gavin was promoted to Wilmington June 22.  Vines is 7-2 with the league’s eighth-best ERA at 2.64.

Vines pitched one scoreless inning in the All-Star game.  Gavin did not pitch.

Vs. Power:  Catcher Meibrys Viloria was 0-for-5 Thursday night, but has 13 hits in 30 at bats (.433) against West Virginia this season.

Recent roster moves:  In addition to Gavin’s promotion to Wilmington, catcher Luis Villegas joined the Legends June 22.  He was with Lexington in 2014 and 2015.  RHP Justin Camp returned to the Legends from Wilmington.  He was promoted to Wilmington from Lexington May 27.  RHP Geoffrey Bramblett was sent from Lexington to Idaho Falls June 24.

Homestand starts Monday:  The Legends will be at home for four games against Columbia starting Monday night.  Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was still on the Columbia roster as of Saturday afternoon.  It’s the second visit to Lexington for the Fireflies, who played a series here May 25-28.  Game times at Whitaker Bank Ballpark are 7:05 p.m. Monday and Tuesday,  12:35 p.m. Wednesday and 7:05 p.m. Thursday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right-hander Jace Vines was selected for the South Atlantic League Southern Division All-Star team. (Photo David Rearic)

The Lexington Legends will open a six-game homestand tonight (Tuesday) at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.   A three-game series against Asheville will be followed by a three-game set against Hagerstown that will wrap up the first half of the South Atlantic League season.

The Legends have a record of 31-33.  They are in fourth place in the SAL Southern Division, seven and one-half games behind first-place Greenville.

Below are the  pitching matchups for the Asheville series, with Asheville pitcher listed first:

Tuesday 7:05 p.m. – RHP Alejandro Requena (3-3, 2.86) vs. RHP Travis Eckert (2-4, 4.88)

 

Wednesday 12:35 p.m. – RHP Brandon Gold (3-4, 4.45) vs. TBA

Thursday 7:05 p.m. – RHP Riley Pint (1-7, 3.98) vs. RHP Jace Vines (6-2, 2.62)

Peterson promoted:  Outfielder Kort Peterson, one of two Legends selected for the Southern Division All-Star team, was promoted to advanced-A Wilmington June 9.  He batted .290 in 52 games for Lexington with one home run and 19 runs batted in.   Outfielder Yeison Melo joined the Legends from extended spring training.

The other selection from the Legends is right-handed pitcher Jace Vines, who is scheduled to start Thursday night against Asheville.

The All-Star game will be played June 20 in Columbia.

 

Outfielder Kort Peterson is batting .290 for the Legends. (Photo-David Rearic)

 

After taking three out of four against Augusta, the Lexington Legends open a seven-game road trip tonight (Tuesday) in Columbia, South Carolina.  They’ll play three games in Columbia and four in Hickory before returning home for a six-game homestand to close out the first half of the season.

Momentum  turned in the second game of the Augusta series, when the Legends, who had been shut out 4-0 in the opener, rallied for a 2-1 win.  They trailed 1-0 in the eighth against Augusta’s Domenic Mazza, who had pitched a

Right-hander Jace Vines has a 6-2 record with an earned run average of 2.28. (Photo-David Rearic)

perfect game against them April 25 in Lexington, and allowed one run in seven innings in a 2-1 win at Augusta May 15.    But Friday night, the Legends scored the tying run in the eighth inning and the winning run in the ninth, and then went on to two more wins Saturday and Sunday.

The Legends are 20-12 since May 1.  They are 29-28 for the season, and five and one-half games behind first-place Greenville in the South Atlantic League Southern Division.

All-Stars: The Legends will have two representatives on the Southern Division roster for the South Atlantic League All-Star game, which will be played at Spirit Communications Park in Columbia, South Carolina Tuesday, June 20.

Outfielder Kort Peterson and pitcher Jace Vines were named to the team in an announcement today by SAL President Eric Krupa.

The complete release from the South Atlantic League includes the full rosters for the Northern and Southern Divisions.

                Peterson, 23, a left-handed hitting outfielder from Santa Cruz, California, was a 23rd-round pick by the Kansas City Royals in the June 2016 first-year player draft.  He is batting .290 in 50 games for the Legends, with one home run and 18 runs batted in.  Peterson played college baseball at UCLA.

Vines, 22, a right-hander, has a 6-2 mark for the Legends with an ERA of 2.28, eighth best in the league.  His WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of 1.04 ranks seventh in the league.  Early in the season, he alternated between starting and relieving, and picked up three saves in four save opportunities.  His last five appearances have been as a starter.  He has won four of those games, and overall, he is 6-0 since losing at Greenville April 12.  Vines finished his college career at Texas A&M.

“Kort and Jace have been outstanding for the Legends, and have been a big part of the momentum the Legends have gained in the last few weeks,” said Legends President/CEO Andy Shea.  “They are very deserving of their selection, and we’ll look forward to seeing them play in Columbia June 20.”

April showers were missing this year, but the Lexington Legends have been blooming in May.

With no rainouts – not even a delay – during the April schedule, the Legends compiled a 9-16 record.

But they have turned it around in May, and with two games left on the May schedule, they have a 16-10 record for the month, and are going into the May 30 game just one game under the .500 mark for the season at 25-26.

Even with the May 11 promotion of Chris DeVito, who was leading the South Atlantic League in home runs and RBI and in the top five in batting average, the Legends as a team have a batting average of .266 for the month, 20 points higher than their April mark.

Catcher Meibrys Viloria, the Most Valuable Player in the Pioneer League in 2016 after hitting .376 for Idaho Falls, started slowly for Lexington, but after batting .186 in April, has hit .324 for May.  Pitcher Jace Vines, after losing his first two decisions, has five wins, three saves and a no-decision in his last nine appearances.  He is 4-0 with a 2.25 earned run average in May.

“We’ve got a lot of good young kids here that are doing a great job,” said manager Scott Thorman.  “They’re coming to play every day, they’re doing exactly what we need them to do — and they’re putting some wins together, which is nice.”

The rain did finally intervene in May, with two rainouts on the most recent homestand.

Tebow time:  Tim Tebow and the Columbia Fireflies made their first appearance at Whitaker Bank Ballpark for a four-game series May 25-28.  The former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner played in three of the games and was 0-for-9 with seven strikeouts. Fans turned out in big numbers, with crowds of over 7,000 Thursday, Friday and Sunday, topped by 8,185 Friday night.  The Saturday night game was rained out, and was made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday.

 

 

 

 

The Legends start a seven-game homestand Monday night (May 22), when they open a three-game series against the Hickory Crawdads, an affiliate of the Texas Rangers.  In Tuesday night’s game, the Legends will face former University of Kentucky Wildcat Kyle Cody.  The Columbia Fireflies, with outfielder and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, will be in for four games starting Thursday night.

The Legends are coming off a nine-day, eight-game road trip on which they had a 5-3 record.  They won three out of four in Augusta before splitting a four-game series with Rome.  For the season, the Legends have a record of 19-24 and trail Southern Division leader Greenville by nine games, but they do have a winning record (10-8) for the month of May and recently moved past Asheville into fifth place.  Though Greenville has pulled away, Columbia and Charleston lead the Legends by three games, and second place Rome is just three and a half ahead of Lexington.

The Legends are now fifth in the 14-team South Atlantic League in batting average with a team mark of .258.  They are hitting .273 as a team in the month of May.  Among the hot bats in the Lexington lineup are third baseman Emmanuel Rivera (13 hits in his last 34 at bats, .382) catcher Nick Dini (10 hits in his last 27 at bats, .370), and outfielder Kort Peterson (12-33, .364).

Pitching matchups for the Hickory series (Hickory pitcher listed first):

Monday, 7:05 p.m.  RHP Jonathan Hernandez (2-3, 2.80) vs. RHP Travis Eckert (1-2, 5.59)

Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.  RHP Kyle Cody (1-4, 3.41) vs. LHP Andre Davis (3-2, 5.40)

Wednesday, 12:35 p.m.  RHP Michael Matuella (0-2, 10.80) vs. RHP Jace Vines (3-2, 2.01)

For tickets and promotion information, visit www.lexingtonlegends.com or call (859) 422-7867.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday –

 

 

In his first 12 games in the month of May, catcher Meibrys Viloria is batting .400 (16 for 40) with three homers and 10 runs batted in. (Photo- Mary Lay)

Meibrys in May:  After a slow start, Legends catcher Meibrys Viloria is among the South Atlantic League’s hottest hitters.  For the month of May, he is batting an even .400 (16 hits in 40 at bats) in 12 games.   He has hit all three of his home runs in May, and 10 of his 12 runs batted in have come in May.

He was named South Atlantic League Player of the Week for May 1-7, when he had eight hits in 15 at bats.

In the Legends victory today (May 16), Viloria had two hits in four at bats, and drove in three runs.

DeVito departs: First baseman Chris DeVito was promoted to advanced-A Wilmington May 11.  DeVito was leading the South Atlantic League in home runs with 11 and RBI with 38, and was tied for second in batting average at .347.

Legends 6, GreenJackets 4:  Gabriel Cancel had three hits and Meibrys Viloria drove in three runs as the Lexington Legends took a 6-4 win over the Augusta GreenJackets Tuesday in Augusta.

The Legends took the lead with two runs in the top of the first inning.  With one out, singles by Angelo Castellano and Kort Peterson put runners at first and second. Castellano went to third after Emmanuel Rivera lined out to center field.  Cancel’s single scored one run, and Peterson later came home on a wild pitch.

Augusta got one run back in the bottom of the first on singles by Sandro Fabian and Kelvin Beltre and a double by Skyler Ewing.

Peterson started the third inning with a double.   He went to third on a single by Cancel and scored on a bunt single by Viloria, giving the Legends a 3-1 lead.

After each team scored a run in the fourth, the Legends added two in the fifth for a 6-2 margin.  Peterson was hit by a pitch, and was replaced by Amalani Fukofuka.  Rivera lined out, but Cancel singled, moving Fukofuka to second base.  A double steal put runners at second and third, and Viloria’s double to right field scored two runs.

Augusta countered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, the first coming on Frandy De La Rosa’s fourth home run of the season, but neither team scored again.

Lexington starter Travis Eckert (1-2) was the winning pitcher.  He worked five and two-thirds innings and allowed nine hits and four runs.   Walker Sheller gave up three hits and no runs in two and one-third innings of relief, and Grant Gavin pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.

Augusta starter D.J. Myers (1-4) took the loss.

The Legends won three out of four in the series.

Box score

On to Rome:  After an off day, the Legends will open a four-game series in Rome Thursday night.  First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

Congratulations to Miller:  Lexington native and former Legends outfielder Anderson Miller was named Carolina League Player of the Week.  Miller, who plays for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, hit .417 (10-for-24) with a pair of homers and drove in six runs while yielding a .500 on-base percentage.  The award has gone to a Wilmington player in each of the last two weeks.  Outfielder Elier Hernandez, also a former Legend, won for the week of May 1-7.  Hernandez has since been promoted to double-A Northwest Arkansas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris DeVito leads the South Atlantic League in home runs and RBIs and is fifth in batting average.

The Lexington Legends will open a three-game series against the Greensboro Grasshoppers Wednesday, May 10 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.  Game times are 12:35 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday and 7:05 p.m. Friday.

The Legends are coming off a 3-4 road trip to Greensboro and West Virginia.  They lost two out of three to the Grasshoppers before splitting a four-game series against the Power.   Wednesday’s starter for Greensboro, right-hander Michael King, was the losing pitcher in the Legends’ 5-2 win at Greensboro May 3.

Infielder Angelo Castellano was 5-for-11 in the series against Greensboro.  Infielder Gabriel Cancel was 4-for-10, and DeVito was 2-for-7 with a home run and three runs batted in.  Catcher Nick Dini had four hits in eight at bats, including a home run.

Pitching matchups for this week’s series (Greensboro pitcher listed first):

Wednesday –  RHP Michael King (2-2, 4.03) vs. RHP Gerson Garabito (3-1, 2.50)

Thursday –   RHP Jordan Holloway (0-0, 4.03) vs. RHP Ofreidy Gomez (0-4, 5.74)

Friday –  RHP Dustin Beggs (2-2. 1.29) vs.  LHP Andre Davis (2-2, 6.67)

DeVito watch: First baseman Chris DeVito leads the league in homers with 11, RBI with 37, hits with 42, total bases with 85, home runs to at bats ratio (1 HR per 11.60 AB) and is tied for the lead in extra base hits with Jake Ring of Delmarva with 21.  DeVito is fifth in the league in batting average at .328.

Gavin’s been good:  Opponents are batting .082 (5 for 55) against right-hander Grant Gavin, the second-lowest opp. BA in the league among relief pitchers.

Heating up in May:  After batting .186 in April (13 for 70, 0 HR), catcher Meibrys Viloria has 10 hits in 18 at bats in May, including his first two home runs of the season.  He was named South Atlantic League Player of the Week for May 1-7.

For information on tickets and promotions, visit lexingtonlegends.com or call 859-422-7867,

 

 

Meibrys Viloria had eight hits in 15 at bats last week.

Catcher Meibrys Viloria of the Lexington Legends has been named South Atlantic League Player of the Week for the period of May 1-7.

In five games last week, Viloria had eight hits in 15 at bats, including three doubles and his first two home runs of the season.  He also scored five runs and drew five walks.

Viloria, 20, a native of Cartagena, Colombia, signed with the Kansas City Royals as a non-drafted free agent in July of 2013.  In 2016, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the Pioneer League.  He batted .376 for Idaho Falls and led the league in batting average, doubles and runs batted in.

“Meibrys had a great week for the Legends, and is showing why he’s regarded as one of the top prospects in the Kansas City Royals organization,” said Legends President/CEO Andy Shea.  “We’ll look forward to seeing him play again when the Legends get back home.”

Viloria is currently ranked 14th on the list of top 30 Kansas City prospects by MLB.com.

The Legends will wrap up their current road trip tonight (Monday) with a 7:05 p.m. game at West Virginia.    They will open a three-game series Wednesday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark against Greensboro.  Game times are 12:35 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday and 7:05 p.m. Friday.

 

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