Christian Bergman brings his best, grabs no-decision

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

Christian Bergman (St. Francis High, 2006) starting pitcher, Modesto Nuts: Bergman's consecutive win streak came to an end at four starts Monday, but Bergman was still dominant in the six-inning performance.

The former All-Area Baseball Player of the Year gave up just four hits, two walks, an earned run and struck out seven in a 2-1 loss to the Lancaster Jethawks.

The Jethawks also snapped Bergman's scoreless innings streak without giving up an earned run at 19 1/3 when Grant Hogue singled in Ben Heath in the bottom of the fifth for a 1-0 Lancaster lead. Bergman, who was relieved in the bottom of the seventh, was saved from the loss when Modesto's Joey Wong hit a leadoff homer in the seventh to tie the game at 1.

Bergman's record sat at 12-5, which still keeps him atop the California League leader board in wins, with a scheduled start Saturday night against the Lake Elsinore Storm for the Nuts, the class-A advanced affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The former Golden Knight also leads the league in innings pitched (117.1) and his 2.84 earned-run average is the second best in the league.

Bergman also has 91 strikeouts to 26 walks and a 1.14 WHIP to his name this season for the Nuts, who are in first place in the league's North Division with a 17-12 record.

Eric Smith (La Cañada High, 2009) catcher/designated hitter, Ogden Raptors: Less than 30 games into his minor league career, Smith has already made an impression with the Ogden Raptors, a rookie affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Pioneer League.

The former Stanford University player and All-Area standout is hitting .377 (40 for 106) with nearly a run batted in in each game this season, as he's driven in 23 runs in 26 games. The catcher is also slugging .538 with eight doubles, three triples and a home run to his credit.

Smith didn't start in the Raptors' season opener, but it was an impressive debut when he got the call behind the plate in the second game of the season on June 19, as he went three for four with two doubles and a RBI in an 8-5 win over the Grand Junction Rockies.

There's no sign of Smith cooling down, either, as he was looking to build upon a 12-game hitting streak headed into Saturday night's game with the Great Falls Voyagers, the top team in the Pioneer League's North Division. The Raptors led the league's South division by two games with an 18-13 record going into Saturday.

So far, he's put together 12 multi-hit games and five three-hit games with perhaps his finest performance coming July 8 when he went three for five with four RBI, a double and his first professional home run — a three-run shot to right — in a 13-2 win over the Rockies.

Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. (St. Francis High, 2000) designated hitter/first baseman, Leones de Yucatan: The former Golden Knight and Glendale Community College standout almost single handedly lifted the Leones de Yucatan to a victory in the second part of a doubleheader with the Guerreros de Oaxaca Wednesday when he went two for four with a home run, double and five runs batted in a 10-8 loss for Leones de Yucatan.

Leones took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, as Valenzuela lined a two-RBI double to center field for a 3-0 lead.

Valenzuela extended the Leones' lead to 7-3 when he bashed a three-run homer to right field. It was his second three-run dinger of the day with the first coming in the opening inning of a 7-4 win over Guerreros de Oaxaca for Leones de Yucatan in Wednesday's first game.

His average currently sits at .318 (111 for 349) with 60 RBI, 34 runs, 28 doubles and nine home runs.

The Leones de Yucatan currently occupy seventh place of the Mexican League's Sur Division with a 41-62 record headed into Saturday's game.

Joe De Pinto (St. Francis High, 2007) second baseman, Kannapolis Intimidators: It's been a season of struggles so far for De Pinto, who was assigned to the White Sox extended spring training squad May 28.

De Pinto worked his way back up to the Intimidators, the Class-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox in the South Atlantic League, on June 24 but it's continued to be a trying campaign for the former Golden Knight, as he's batting .235 (36 for 153) with eight doubles, two triples and 16 RBI with Kannapolis. He batted .313 (five for 16) with three doubles and four RBI in a short stint with the Bristol White Sox, a rookie affiliate of the White Sox.

De Pinto is on a bit of a hot streak, having logged at least one hit in the past three games and four of the last five after he lined a single to right field in the bottom of the eighth Friday, which saw a 5-3 win over Charleston RiverDogs.

The Intimidators were 12-15 for fifth place in the league's Northern Division heading into Saturday's game.

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