By Andrew Shortall, email@example.com
3:00 PM PDT, September 22, 2012
The following are updates on local baseball players at the minor league level.
Nik Turley (La Cañada Flintridge native) starting pitcher, Trenton Thunder: Needing to win to keep their hopes of an Eastern League Championship alive, the Thunder turned the ball over to Turley in the fourth game of the best-of-five series with Trenton trailing the Akron Aeros in games, 2-1.
Turley, who graduated from Harvard Westlake, gave Trenton a chance to win, but didn't have the run support after he gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks through six innings. He also struck out eight batters in the 6-1 loss.
Turley retired the side in order in the first, third and fourth innings but gave up two runs in the second on a one-out walk, triple and sacrifice fly. He gave up one more run in the fourth after he surrendered two straight singles to start the inning and gave up a one-out double for his final run of the day.
Although his stint with the Thunder only lasted nine games, as he was called up from the Tampa Yankees on Sept. 3, Turley certainly left an impression in Trenton. The 6-foot-6 left-hander drew comparisons to Andy Pettitte, according to an article in the Times of Trenton.
"I guess we're both tall, both lefties and have a good pickoff move,'' Turley told the Times of Trenton. "I can see why people would compare me to him. But growing up I didn't try to look like him. I just tried to be me. But if people want to compare me to Andy Pettitte then that's an honor. He was one of my favorite pitchers growing up."
Turley, who is listed as the Yankees 12th-ranked prospect on MLB.com, flashed his pickoff move Sept. 15 when he caught an Aeros baserunner leaning the wrong way at first base in the first inning.
Turley went 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in the postseason with Trenton. He gave up 13 hits, six runs, five walks and struck out nine in 11 innings in the playoffs.
For the year — combining his numbers with Trenton and Tampa — Turley was 10-5 with a 3.00 ERA and 117 strike outs in 117 innings. Turley made 22 starts and had one shutout.
Christian Bergman (St. Francis High, 2006) starting pitcher, Modesto Nuts: Hope wasn't lost for the Nuts. Although Modesto trailed the Lancaster JetHawks, 2-0, in the best-of-three series coming into third game of the California League Championship on Saturday, it knew full well one victory could quickly lead to another with Bergman being saved for a possible game four, according to the Modesto Bee.
The Nuts were unable to extend the series, as they suffered a 3-2 loss and were swept. Lancaster never trailed, as it scored one run in the bottom of the first inning and added two more in the third for a 3-0 lead. Modesto scratched out two runs in the fourth to cut the lead to one, but wouldn't score again.
Bergman, who was named the California League Pitcher of the Year, didn't pitch in the league championship, but was solid in both of his postseason appearances — one of which was made out of the bullpen. He struck out 14 and allowed eight hits and two walks in 12 innings in the postseason.
It capped off another standout year in the Colorado Rockies farmhand. He was named the California League Pitcher of the Year after he posted a 16-5 record with a 3.65 earned-run average in the regular season. He also struck out 121 batters through 162 2/3 innings and 27 starts for the Nuts, who finished second in their league's North Division at 73-67.
Kevin Thompson (La Cañada High, 2006) shortstop, Ogden Raptors: Thompson didn't make an appearance in the Raptors' Pioneer League playoff run, but he still flourished in his first minor league season.
The shortstop went two for three with three RBI in his final game Sept. 2 — a 7-3 win over the Orem Owlz. Though he wasn't a regular for Ogden, Thompson still made the most of his opportunities, especially in his final 10 games of the season. He batted .278 (10 for 36) with 10 RBI, five runs and two doubles in his final 10 appearances of the season.
For the season, Thompson batted .218 (22 for 101) with 16 RBI, 13 runs, five doubles, five steals and a home run, appearing in 30 of 76 games.