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LCHS grads Eric Smith, Kelson Brown keep progressing in minors

Former Spartan Eric Smith continues his hot hitting at minor-league level with a five-game streak for Ogden Raptors.

August 16, 2012|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • Eric Smith, a former Spartan, has continued his hot hitting with the Ogden Raptors.
Eric Smith, a former Spartan, has continued his hot hitting… (Courtesy of Noall…)

The following are updates on local baseball players at the minor league level.

Eric Smith (La Cañada High, 2009) catcher/designated hitter, Ogden Raptors: Smith just managed to push his hitting streak to five games against the Missoula Osprey with a line-drive single in the top of the eighth Tuesday.

In the five-game span, Smith has three multi-hit games and is batting .380 (eight for 21) with six runs scored, four runs batted in, a homer, a triple and a double for the Ogden Raptors, a rookie affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Smith's second minor-league homer came in the bottom of the first Saturday in a 5-2 loss to the Grand Junction Rockies. It was part of a two-for-three performance for the former Spartan.

His best game of the streak, though, was a two-for-four outing Aug. 8 in an 8-6 win over the Idaho Falls Chukars. He drove in three runs on a triple, a double and a sacrifice fly.

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For the season, Smith is hitting an impressive .353 (66 for 187) with 41 runs, 39 RBI, 13 doubles, seven triples and two home runs. He is also slugging .529 with a .432 on-base percentage.

The Raptors were tied for last place in the second half of the Pioneer League South Division season with a 7-9 record heading into Wednesday's game with the Osprey. They've guaranteed themselves home-field advantage in the playoffs by winning the first half with a 21-17 record, which gives them a 28-26 overall record.

Christian Bergman (St. Francis High, 2006) starting pitcher, Modesto Nuts: Bergman's struggles continued Tuesday in his worst start of the year. The former All-Area Baseball Player of the Year hadn't given up more than five runs in a start until July 27 when he surrendered six. The Visalia Rawhide hung seven runs on the Nuts ace Tuesday.

Modesto picked up the slack and saved Bergman — who gave up nine hits, a home run, a walk and struck out two through five innings — from the loss with a four-run seventh inning for a 10-7 win.

Bergman looked to have recovered Tuesday from a minor bump in the second inning, when he gave up three straight hits for two runs, by retiring the side in order in the third and fourth. Then he gave up five straight base knocks, including a three-run homer to Jonathan Griffin, for five runs in the fifth.

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