The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

July 5, 2014

A Don McCormack column: Diamond duo doing well

Our area’s two ballplayers who are embarking on their second seasons as professionals in the minor leagues are both coming off solid performances in their respective most recent games.

Brandon Easton, a Pymatuning Valley graduate and product of Lakeland Community College, made his second start for the Class A Gulf Coast League Twins on Thursday.

The 6-foot-5, 190-pound southpaw fired 5 strong innings against the GCL Rays on Thursday.

Facing the South Division’s top squad, Easton did not earn a decision, despite allowing but 5 hits and 1 unearned run. He fanned 5 and walked but one in his 5 innings on the bump.

Blair, a Jefferson and Mercyhurst product, had an excellent game for the Class A Boise Hawks, the Chicago Cubs’ affiliate in the Short-Season Northwest League.

Blair, a 5-10, 190-pound left-handed hitting second baseman, went 2-for-5 in a game against the Tri-City Dust Devils, a affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

Both of Blair’s hits were singles and he also scored a run in the contest.

For the season, Easton has made three appearances, two of which have been starts, for the GCL Twins.

While he has yet to record a decision, his season numbers are excellent.

The former Laker has compiled a sparkling 1.50 earned run average. In 12 innings of work, he has allowed 11 hits, 5 runs, 2 of which are earned, and perhaps most impressively, has struck out 14 batters in his 12 innings of work, while issuing only 5 walks.

Opposing batters are hitting only .239 against Easton.

Blair, on the other hand, got back on track with his 2-for-5 performance against Tri-City.

For the season, the former Falcon is hitting .250, recording 8 hits in 32 at-bats. Blair has scored 7 runs, driven in 1 run and has worked his way for 5 bases on balls. He has struck out 6 times.

Blair has an on-base percentage of .351 and a slugging percentage of .250 for an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .601.

Easton and his teammates stood 4-8, 5 games behind first-place Tampa Bay in the GCL’s South Division heading into Friday’s game at the GCL Red Sox.

Blair and his Boise teammates were 10-11, tied for second place in the NWL South Division, trailing the first-place Hillsboro Hops, an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, by 4 games along with the Eugene Emeralds, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

Easton was drafted by the Twins in the 24th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

Blair was selected by the Cubs in the 20th round of the same draft.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.

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