Local players hold on to the dream of playing in the show
August 24, 2010
By Bob Taylor
There have been some high points, and some low ones, for five local baseball players who have been competing in the minor leagues this season.
Of the group, only Issaquah High School graduate Colin Curtis has played in the major leagues this year. The New York Yankees called up Curtis in June from Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, of the International League. The left-handed hitting outfielder played in 22 games with the Yankees, batting .256 with a home run and eight runs batted in.One of Curtis’ highlights during his stay with the Yankees came July 21 when he hit his first career home run. The blast came off Scott Shields, of the California of Anaheim. Curtis was called upon to pinch hit for Brett Gardner when the later was ejected from the game while batting with a 0-2 count.
Curtis was sent back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre July 31, when the Yankees traded for veteran players Austin Kearns and Lance Berkman. It took Curtis a few games to adjust to the AAA league. However, he has been hot since Aug. 14, going 13 for 30 with six doubles and four RBIs. Curtis, who began his professional career in 2006, is hitting .276 on the season for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Another Issaquah graduate who recently had a noteworthy accomplishment was left-handed pitcher Matt Wickswat, who is playing for the Class A Kannapolis Intimidators in the South Atlantic League. Wickswat teamed with two other pitchers Aug. 20 for a 1-0 no-hit victory against the Hickory Crawdads. The no-hitter was the first for Kannapolis, in North Carolina, since 2003. Wickswat worked the first five innings, striking out five and walking just one batter to pick up the victory.
Signed by the Chicago White Sox as a nondrafted free agent in 2008, Wickswat faced just one batter over the minimum. After giving up a one-out walk in the second-inning, the 24-year-old pitcher retired the next 11 hitters he faced. Wickswat left after the fifth inning after reaching his innings limit for the game.
“I was able to throw my fastball and get ahead of batters with it, and my defense helped me out,” said Wickswat, who picked up his first win since July 11.
Wickswat improved his record to 7-5 and lowered his earned run average to 3.88. He has also been used in the bullpen and has one save.
Julian Sampson, a Skyline High School graduate, has been pitching out of the bullpen lately for the Williamsport Crosscutters, of the Class A New York-Pennsylvania League. On Aug. 21, Sampson hurled three innings and struck out four in a 5-2 loss to Batavia. On Aug. 15, he also had three strikeouts in one and one-third innings of work when Brooklyn 2-1 edged the Crosscutters.
Sampson, who began his career in 2007 after being drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, has a 2-2 record with one save and 32 strikeouts in 30.2 innings this season.
Michael Lee, another Skyline graduate, has been pitching for the Salem Red Sox, of the Class A Carolina League. He has a 9-6 record with two saves. Lee has pitched as a starter and a reliever. He has a 5-3 record as a reliever.
One of the highlights for Lee came Aug. 5, when he struck out five hitters in six innings and earned his ninth victory of the season as the Red Sox defeated the Frederick Keys 7-3.
However, one of the lowlights came Aug. 17, when Lee was placed on the disabled list. No further details were available.
Brad Decater, a former Skyline infielder, is playing his first season of professional baseball. He was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the June Amateur draft. After signing, Decater was sent to the Bluefield Orioles, who play in the rookie Appalachian League. Decater’s best game to date came Aug. 8 against Princeton when he had two hits and drove in a run.
Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.