CORPUS CHRISTI — On a hot seven game win streak, the Corpus Christi Hooks have moved up to second place to the South Division of the Texas League and third place overall. On the hot streak, the Hooks have found themselves in a place they have not been in five years, a pennant race.
The Hooks swept the last place San Antonio Missions in four games and took a series from Midland, winning the series 3-1. The Hooks won seven consecutive games for the first time since May of 2007 and swept San Antonio in a four-game series for just the second time, the previous instance coming June 9-12, 2007.
The final game of the series started off rough for the Hooks, allowing the Missions to score four runs in the first inning before even recording the first out of the game, due to errors and the Missions getting solid hitting. The Hooks got their offense going and produced one run an inning in the second, third, and fifth innings, cutting the deficit down to one for the next three three innings, where the Missions’ early scoring was finally overcome by the Hooks when they scored seven runs in the eight inning, four of those runs coming from a Drew Locke gland-slam. Locke’s grand-slam was his second gland slam in as many nights. He is currently tied with former Hooks player Mark Saccomanno for most grand-slams in franchise history with the tally of four grand-slams.
Another amazing highlight of the night is for another player named Drew, recently called up from Low-A Lexington (Ky.) Drew Muren, who made his Double-A debut Wednesday night, smacked an RBI triple in the 8th inning that scored Chris Wallace. The seven run offensive outburst is exactly what the Hooks needed to keep their winning streak alive. Emotions flared as later in the 8th, Missions’ pitcher Matt Lollis beaned Hooks’ third baseman Jair Fernandez, almost blatantly on the back, near his shoulder, no warnings issued to either dugout.
The very first pitch of the next inning, Hooks pitcher Kevin Chapman was ejected after throwing a patch behind Missions catcher Ali Solis. Chapman was the send Hook to be tossed, the the third inning, manager Keith Bodie tore into third base umpire Gabriel Morales, who called Jordan Kreke out when he appeared to be safe on a steal attempt. That caused Bodie to erupt in an animated argument. He promptly got the boot, hollered more at Morales as he left the field, to a standing ovation from the 5,423 strong in attendance at Whataburger Field, and sounded off after the game.
“It was the worst call I’ve ever seen in 38 years of professional baseball,” Bodie said. “He couldn’t give me any explanation. It was the most blatantly irresponsible call I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Thanks to their recent winning streak, the Hooks have pulled themselves into the race for the Texas League’s first half season championship. The Hooks will face Frisco a total of eight times before the All-Star game, and the conclusion of the first half. Both series will be in Frisco, split up into two separate meetings, divided by Corpus Christi facing San Antonio for four games and Frisco facing the Midland Rockhounds in Midland, then back to Frisco for four more games in the Dr., Pepper Ballpark. The Hooks are four games out of first place. What will make this road trip much more interesting and give the Hooks an advantage is that Houston Astros slugger Carlos Lee will be making a rehab start for the Hooks, this according to an MLB.com report. Lee had been on the DL since June 2nd and will be eligible to return for the Astros’ Sunday match-up with the Texas Rangers in Arlington.
How awesome is that for Lee, he will face the minor league affiliate of the major league club he makes his return against, I am unsure if this is the first occurrence of its kind, which I am more than sure it is not, but it is still a nice little coincidence for him to talk about with the guys around the cage during batting practice!
– Richard Perez