Shortstop Angelo Castellano hit the most recent of the Legends’ six grand slams in 2017.

After splitting a four-game series at Hickory, the Legends remain on the road.  They’ll open a three-game series in Asheville Monday night.  Game time is 7:05 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Pitching matchups (Lexington pitcher listed first) :

Monday, Aug. 7 – Nolan Watson (1-7, 7.19 ERA)  vs.  Erick Julio (4-10, 4.85)

Tuesday, Aug. 8 – Ofreidy Gomez (5-9, 5.11) vs. Antonio Santos (7-9, 5.32)

Wednesday, Aug. 9 –  Garrett Davila (7-6, 5.59) vs. Riley Pint (2-10, 4.38)

The Legends will be back at home Thursday night to open a four-game series against the Charleston RiverDogs, an affiliate of the New York Yankees.  Game times are 7:05 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 6:35 p.m. Saturday and 2:05 p.m. Sunday.

On the rise:   2B Gabriel Cancel is batting .371 (26 for 70) in 18 games since July 1, with six homers and 14 RBI.   He was limited to 13 games in July due to a right wrist strain.   

Roster move:   INF John Brontsema has been promoted to Wilmington.  INF Max Bartlett, who had transferred from Lexington to Burlington August 3, is back with the Legends.

Cashing in:  The Legends are 22 for 53 (.415) with the bases loaded this season.  3B Emmanuel Rivera is four for five, including a grand slam.  The Legends have hit a league-leading six grand slams this year – one each by Rivera, Manny Olloque. Khalil Lee and Angelo Castellano, and two by Chris DeVito.  Lee’s slam and one of DeVito’s were hit in the same game April 28 vs. Hagerstown, a 16-4 Legends victory.  The most recent slam was by Castellano in Saturday’s 9-3, 9-inning win at Hickory in game 2 of a doubleheader.

Prospects:  Current Legends on MLB.com’s top 30 prospects in the Royals’ organization are OF Khalil Lee (# 2), 3B Emmanuel Rivera (#17) , C Meibrys Viloria (# 18), OF Marten Gasparini (#20) and 2B Gabriel Cancel (#24), RHP Nolan Watson (#27), LHP Garrett Davila (#28), and RHP Gerson Garabito (#30).

 

 

Nolan Watson will make his first start for Lexington since May 7. (milb.com)

Watson returns:  Right-hander Nolan Watson is scheduled to make the start tonight (Friday) for the Legends.   Sidelined in May by a shoulder injury, Watson returned to action in late June, making four rehab starts for the Arizona League Royals and three for Burlington of the Appalachian League.  Tonight will mark his first start for Lexington since May 7.

Watson was a first round pick by the Kansas City Royals and the 33rd overall pick in the June 2015 first-year player draft.

Homestand continues through Wednesday:  The Legends will play the Kannapolis Intimidators, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, Friday at 7:05 p.m., Saturday at 6:35, and Sunday at 2:05.  Kannapolis took the series opener Thursday night 2-0.

Pitching matchups (Kannapolis pitcher listed first:

Friday – Blake Hickman (2-5, 4.26 ERA) vs. Nolan Watson  (1-5, 5.71)

Saturday  – Dylan Cease (0-2, 3.72) vs.  Ofreidy Gomez (4-9, 5.49)

Sunday –  Luis Martinez (4-1, 3.28) vs. Travis Eckert (4-6, 5.07)

The homestand continues as West Virginia visits for a doubleheader Monday night and single games Tuesday and Wednesday.   The first of two seven-inning games will begin at 5:35 p.m. as the Legends and Power make up a game that was postponed due to rain July 6.  Tuesday’s game begins at 7:05 p.m., and Wednesday’s first pitch is set for 12:35 p.m.

July numbers:   Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera has batted .321 in 21 games in the month of July.  He’s sixth in the league in hitting at .300.  Second baseman Gabriel Cancel is batting .412 in July (21 hits in 51 at bats), but has been limited to 12 games due to a right wrist strain.  He has been on the disabled list since July 19.  Right-hander Anthony Bender is 2-1 in July with an ERA of 1.57 in six appearances, including his first three starts of the season.  He pitched six no-hit innings in a start against Columbia July 21, which earned him South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week honors for July 17-23.  Right-hander Justin Camp has an 0.77 ERA in four July appearances covering 11 and two-thirds innings.  He also earned a South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week award after pitching five no-hit innings (11th through 15th) in the Legends 7-6, 21-inning win at Delmarva July 13-14

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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