Former Crowder and current Double-A Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado) right fielder Sam Hilliard finished second in the Eastern League Home Run Derby on Tuesday.
Hilliard smacked nine homers in the final round against winner Deivi Grullon of the Reading Fightin’ Phils (Philadelphia), who edged Hilliard with 10 homers.
Hilliard’s night was highlighted by 13 homers in the first round, including a shot that apparently reached the Delaware River beyond the right field wall in Trenton, New Jersey.
In the first half of the season, Hilliard batted .285 (76 for 267) with 41 runs scored, 15 doubles, one triple, seven homers, 29 RBI, 26 walks and 87 strikeouts, and 20 stolen bases in 27 attempts.
Hilliard’s earned three straight midseason all-star game appearances, with the California League the previous season and the South Atlantic two seasons ago.
— Former Crowder and current Single-A Advanced Dunedin Blue Jays (Toronto) pitcher Connor Eller earned a win Tuesday night in his start against the Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia).
Eller allowed no earned runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings and he struck out four and walked none. Eller’s fourth start this season, all for Dunedin, was undoubtedly his best and may have cemented his place in the starting rotation. Eller’s also appeared 20 times in relief for Dunedin this season.
With Dunedin, Eller owns a 4-2 record with a 3.10 ERA and 28 strikeouts and 14 walks over 40 2/3 innings. Eller’s Dunedin work has nearly brought his overall ERA this season to under 4 — it stands at 4.07 — after it was inflated by his one outing with Triple-A Buffalo, where he surrendered five earned runs over 1 1/3 inning.
Over his last 10 appearances, Eller is 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA and 11 strikeouts and eight walks over 21 innings. It’s safe to say that he’s warmed up along with the temperatures.
Eller’s win Tuesday gave him 10 for his pro career that started in 2016 and the Blue Jays selected Eller in the 22nd round of the draft from Ouachita Baptist, his collegiate destination after Crowder.
— Former Crowder and current Single-A Advanced Tampa Tarpons (New York Yankees) closer Andrew Schwaab returned to the wins column Monday night against the Jupiter Hammerheads (Miami).
Schwaab pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in the ninth and 10th innings of the win, with three strikeouts and two walks and two hits allowed.
Schwaab earned his first win in 11 appearances this season for the Tarpons and this was his first win since May 16. Schwaab snapped a streak of three straight losses.
On the season, between stops at Double-A Trenton and Tampa, Schwaab owns a 3-6 overall record with a 5.28 ERA and 35 strikeouts and 20 walks over 30 2/3 innings. Walks have especially been an issue for Schwaab this season.
In the two previous seasons, Schwaab earned midseason all-star honors, in the Florida State League last season and the South Atlantic two seasons ago.
The Yankees made Schwaab an undrafted free agent in 2015 after Schwaab finished up his collegiate career at Missouri, his collegiate destination after a standout career at Crowder.