Rick Fraire arrived in Quincy just a couple hours before the Gems took the field for their fourth game of the season.
He was pleased with the 8-4 win over Lafayette that improved the team to 4-0 on the season.
Fraire did not want to talk much about the quick start, stating “there’s still a lot of games to be played” and the team would just take “things day-to-day.”
The Gems have won just twice since and are .500 on the season entering Wednesday night’s home contest with the Terre Haute Rex.
Despite the recent struggles, Fraire is seeing a lot of good from his team:
Adams heating up
Some lofty expectations were placed on Tarelton State University’s Blake Adams. The senior garnered national awards for a stellar spring season.
Adams slugged 17 home runs, 16 doubles, scored 74 runs and batted in 69 as he earned Second-Team All-American status by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in addition to First-Team Division II honors by the Conference Commissioners Association.
Those same eye-popping numbers did not immediately translate into success for the Gems. Eight games into the season, Adams was hitting below the Mendoza Line.
But the slugger is finding his stride in Quincy. After his first home run of the summer Tuesday night in addition to a two-bagger, Adams is batting .293 for the season.
Avila moves up
Eddie Avila, the flame-throwing right-hander who lit up the radar guns this season up to 98 mph, signed a professional contract with the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League.
Avila was signed on Tuesday.
Avila sported a 2-0 record for the Gems this summer with a sparkling ERA of 1.98. He fanned 17 batters in 13 ⅔ innings of work.
“Eddie is a super kid with a bright future,” Fraire said. “We are very lucky to have had him even if was just for a short time. We are glad he was able to get picked up. We will miss him on the mound for us but it’s exciting for him and his family as well as the Gems family.”
Bullpen adds an arm
Tyler Engel was a late arrival to camp this summer and has only appeared in three games. The utility player, who is hitless in eight at-bats, may have just been upgraded to a super-utility player after Tuesday.
Engel tossed a scoreless inning out of the bullpen in the Gems win over Lafayette. It was his pitching debut this summer.
“We were able to get a good look at Tyler out of the 'pen tonight and liked what we saw,” the Gems manager said. “We think he can really help us coming out of the bullpen.”
Hurler wins POW honors
After eight scoreless innings over two appearances, Austen Seidel earned the Prospect League Pitcher of the Week honors for last week.
Seidel fanned eight batters in six shutout innings in the Gems win Tuesday night.
For the season, Seidel boasts a 2.38 ERA with 16 punchouts in just 11 ⅓ innings of work.
--Ryan Knernschield had to be moved from behind the plate to being used as a designated hitter last week due to having poison ivy on his knees. Max McGuire filled in nicely with a pair of hits and scored two runs in the Gems loss to Kokomo Saturday night.
--Corey Young continues to recover from a lingering hamstring injury. The talented middle infielder was used in a limited role as DH Tuesday night. Young is batting .381 on the season with two home runs and seven RBIs in just six games played.
--Tyson Banks has pitched 4 ⅔ innings of scoreless ball on the season. Banks is expected to be the Gems closer, as he closed out Tuesday night’s win.
--Former players Austin Piscotty (2015), Cam Sanders (2016) and Dean Naveraz (2016) were all selected in the MLB Draft last week. Eddie Jiminez, a 2018 signee of the Gems, was also taken in the draft.