The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 17, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Area pair still at it in rookie ball

Sports Editor

Paying another visit to the variety store...

Fields of dreams

Ashtabula County's two selections in the 2013 Major League Baseball amateur draft continue to do well in their initial endeavors into professional baseball.

Zak Blair, a Jefferson and Mercyhurst University graduate, was hitting .328 for the Arizona League Cubs through yesterday's day off for the league.

That .328 mark places him 12th in the Arizona League and Blair is one of 19 guys in the loop hitting .300 or better.

The second baseman had 19 hits in 58 at-bats heading into last night's game, with four doubles, one triple and 11 RBI. Blair has an on-base percentage of .409, is slugging at a .431 rate and has an OPS (on-base percentage, plus slugging percentage) of .840. He has 25 total bases and continues to make contact, having drawn seven bases on balls and struck out only three times.

He stands ninth in the league in on-base percentage and 14th in OPS.

Blair and his AZL Cub teammates will host the AZL Diamondbacks today at 10 p.m.

Blair, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound left-handed hitter, was a 20th round draft choice by the Cubs in June.

Brandon Easton, a Pymatuning Valley graduate and a Lakeland Community College product, has made two appearances for the Gulf Coast League Twins, including one start.

The hard-throwing 6-5, 190-pound southpaw has no decisions in his two appearances, carrying a 3.60 earned run average. Easton has worked five innings, allowing four hits, two runs (both earned), with two strikeouts and one walk heading into yesterday's games against the GCL Orioles. Easton & Co. will play the GCL Rays today at noon.

Easton was a 24th-round draft pick by the Twins.

As a reminder, those wishing to follow the progress of Blair and Easton can do so by going to and typing their names into the search window.

Golden girls

The Ohio Outlaws 16U Silver, which boasts local standouts Lexi Zappitelli of Conneaut (the 2013 Star Beacon Ashtabula County Player of the Year) and Taylor Rowe and and Sam Blashinsky of Edgewood, brought home the gold over the weekend.

The Outlaws earned the championship of the Stingray Tournament, walloping the Michigan Bulldogs, 9-1, in the championship contest. Along the way to the title, the Outlaws outscored their five opponents in elimination play, 39-1, and over the course of the entire tournament (8 games), outscored their overmatched foes, 59-6, winning all eight games they played.

The Outlaws will be journeying to Chicago next weekend to take part in the Sparks Midwest College Showcase, then will wrap up their 2013 season by heading west to Sunnydale, Calif. to participate in the USA-ASA National Championship tournament.

The Outlaws are managed by Edgewood assistant coach Dave Blashinsky.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at