Congratulations to Gift Ngoepe, who became the first major leaguer born on the African continent today. Honestly, he’s not likely to have a long major league career as a good glove/poor bat infielder, but it still means he’s one of the best 0.01% of baseball players in the world.
If you don’t know his story, Ngoepe literally grew up in a baseball clubhouse as a club team in South Africa let him, his mother and brother live in the clubhouse in exchange for cleaning, cooking and general work around the park. His little brother Victor is also in the Pirates system. Unfortunately, their mother passed away a few years ago before she could see this moment.
May Gift be the first of many major leaguers from Africa.
The I-Cubs World Series ring ceremony will be this Friday night before their game with Colorado Springs. The Iowa players who were on the major league team last season will be getting their rings, along with the coaching staff and front office.
Behind three home runs by third baseman Jason Vosler, the Tennessee Smokies blinded the Chattanooga Lookouts (Twins), 8-4.
Starter Jen-Ho Tseng pitched six innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits. He walked three and struck out two as his record improved to 2-0.
All three of Vosler’s home runs came with a man on and came in consecutive at-bats in the third, fifth and seventh innings. Vosler hit three home runs all of last season and now he hit three in one day. He has four total home runs this season. Vosler was 3 for 5 with six RBI.
First baseman Yasiel Balaguert was on base for all three of Vosler’s home runs. Balaguert was 2 for 4 with a double and a walk.
Left fielder Charcer Burks went 3 for 5 with a double and one run scored. Center fielder Jacob Hannemann was 2 for 5 and scored once.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans polished the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals), 7-3.
Ryan Kellogg got the win tonight after allowing three runs (all in the third inning) on four hits (also all in the third inning) over five innings. Kellogg struck out four and didn’t walk anyone.
Casey Bloomquist pitched the other four innings without allowing a run for his first save this season. Bloomquist gave up two hits. He struck out four and also did not issue a walk.
Third baseman Jesse Hodges connected for a solo home run in the second inning, his second home run of the season. Hodges also had a double in a 2 for 4 night.
Second baseman Bryant Flete was 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Shortstop Trent Giambrone was 2 for 4 with one run batted in and one run scored.
Right fielder Eddy Martinez went 2 for 4 with an RBI groundout in the first inning.
South Bend Cubs
The South Bend Cubs locked up the Lansing Lugnuts (Blue Jays), 14-9.
Jose Paulino pitched the first four innings and surrendered seven runs on six hits and four walks. Two of the seven runs were unearned. Paulino struck out two.
Kyle Miller took the win with 4.1 innings of relief of Paulino. Miller gave up two runs, one earned, on four hits. He also walked four batters and struck out just two.
Third baseman Vimael Machin hit his first home run of the year with two on in the fifth inning. Machin also had an RBI double in the first inning and an RBI single in the seventh. He was 3 for 5 with five RBI and three runs scored.
Left fielder Kevonte Mitchell hit a solo home run in the eighth inning, his second of the season. Mitchell was 4 for 6 with two runs scored and two RBI.
I’m told Mitchell’s home run was a titanic blast, although there doesn’t appear to be any video. They’re telling me it was 501 feet.
The day after his big night, shortstop Zack Short went 2 for 3 with a double, a triple and three walks. He also stole one base. Short scored four runs.
Right fielder Chris Pieters went 2 for 4 with two walks and a steal. He scored twice.
Center fielder Luis Ayala went 2 for 4 with a triple and a walk He scored once and had one RBI.