Early success comes way of local trio

GLENDALE — The following are updates on local baseball players at the minor league level.

Joe De Pinto (St. Francis High, 2007) Great Falls Voyagers second baseman: In the top of the first inning on the road against Missoula in the ninth game of his professional career, De Pinto sent his first pro home run to left field on Wednesday.

Unfortunately for his Voyagers, the 2-0 lead his dinger staked his team to didn't hold up in a 12-5 loss.

Nonetheless, De Pinto has made his share of noise in the infant days of his pro career.

In only his second at-bat of the season, De Pinto doubled for his first career pro hit on June 20 against Billings in a 9-4 win. Batting ninth in the lineup, he went two for five with a run scored.

On Wednesday, De Pinto went two for five with another run, this time batting as his team's No. 3 hitter.

De Pinto had two-hit games in each of his first three outings and has hit safely in seven of his nine games. Thus far, the starting second baseman is batting .289 with five runs, three doubles, six runs batted in and a stolen base.

Great Falls, a rookie league squad for the Chicago White Sox, who drafted De Pinto in the 21st round, was 4-6 and in third place in the Pioneer League North standings heading into a Thursday road game against Missoula.

Dustin Emmons (Crescenta Valley High, 2007) Kingsport Mets pitcher: It hasn't taken the former News-Press Male Athlete of the Year long to show he belongs at the pro level.

Emmons has made three appearances thus far for the Mets and sported a 2.25 ERA heading into Thursday's action.

The former Falcons standout and All-Area Baseball Player of the Year made his professional debut on June 23 at Kingsport in a 2-1 loss to Johnson City — which got the win with Glendale Community College product Ryan Sherriff on the mound. Emmons threw a scoreless seventh and eighth, giving up just two hits, while walking none.

He returned to the mound on Saturday and pitched another shutout inning, giving up one hit and no walks.

Emmons finally gave up a run on Monday, as he pitched one inning and allowed three hits and a run, with two strikeouts to no walks.

Ahead of its Thursday night game at Elizabethton, Kingsport was 4-5 and tied for fourth in the Appalachian League West.

Ryan Sherriff (Glendale Community College, 2011) Johnson City Cardinals pitcher: Sherriff, who dazzled for the Vaqueros during their memorable run to the state championship series before being drafted in the 28th round by the St. Louis Cardinals, made his professional debut on June 23.

Sherriff wasted no time in making his mark, as he pitched three innings of scoreless relief to earn his first pro victory, as the Cardinals defeated the Kingsport Mets, 2-1.

For the game, Sherriff allowed two hits and one walk over three innings.

His next appearance came Wednesday, as he got his first start and a hardluck loss, throwing six innings of two-run ball in a 4-3 loss to Elizabethton. Sherriff gave up solo home runs in the first and fourth innings. He gave up just four hits and struck out four to no walks.

For the season, he's 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA.

Coincidentally, Sherriff is on the same roster as outfielder Gary Apelian, who played for Santa Ana College, which lost to GCC with Sherriff on the mound in the state championships. Sherriff's also joined by catcher Jonathan Keener. The two were briefly teammates this summer with the Glendale Angelenos. Leading into Thursday, Keener had played in three games, struggling with a .100 batting average, while Apelian has been an everyday starter hitting .321.

The Cardinals, a rookie league squad for the St. Louis Cardinals, were a stellar 8-1 after Wednesday and in first place in the Appalachian League West standings. Johnson City was set to open up a home series against Pulaski on Thursday night.

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