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Orioles minor league recap 6/26: Heston Kjerstad adds another multi-hit game

Two Orioles affiliates got blown out on Saturday. Zach Peek pitched well for Bowie, while Kjerstad got two more hits for Delmarva.

NCAA BASEBALL: JUN 10 Div 1 Championship Super Regionals - Ole Miss at Arkansas
I’m looking forward to eventually having access to Heston Kjerstad pictures that aren’t still in his college uniform.
Photo by Andy Altenburger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Triple-A: Lehigh Valley (Phillies) 9, Norfolk Tides 1

Yeah, this one, uh... it wasn’t great. Starting pitcher Chris Vallimont, a 40-man roster player who was making his Triple-A debut, did not have a great first experience at the level, getting smoked for six runs on nine hits in a four inning start. He even committed a balk. Vallimont had done well at Double-A since arriving by waiver claim. Perhaps his subsequent outings at this level will fare better than this one.

The offense was not any great shakes either. Tides batters had only four hits in the game. At the top of the order, Terrin Vavra, Gunnar Henderson, and Jordan Westburg all went hitless. Vavra at least reached base once when he was hit by a pitch to lead off the game and stole a base afterwards. Kyle Stowers drove in Vavra with a first inning single. That was it for the Norfolk offense.

Norfolk box score.

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 2, Erie (Tigers) 1

Like with Norfolk, the batters of greatest interest are concentrated at the top of the lineup here, and like Norfolk, they didn’t do much in this game. Hudson Haskin, César Prieto, and Joey Ortiz were 0-4 each in this contest. That did not stop the Baysox from winning anyway. Bowie broke a 1-1 tie in the ninth, with Adam Hall reaching on a HBP. He advanced on a single, stole third (his 16th steal), and then scored the winning run on a groundout. Nice work.

The effort by Zach Peek, the starting pitcher, went a long way towards making sure Bowie’s eventual two runs would be enough. Peek, part of the Dylan Bundy trade, scattered four hits and a walk over a six inning start, with the only run scoring after an Ortiz throwing error, making it unearned. Peek has now made ten starts at this level with a 2.68 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. That does not suck. After Peek, Easton Lucas added two scoreless innings, and Griffin McLarty closed out with a scoreless ninth for his first save at this level.

Bowie box score.

High-A: Wilmington (Nationals) 11, Aberdeen IronBirds 1

Ah, and back on the wrong end of a butt-kicking. This one was almost over before it even started. Aberdeen’s starting pitcher Ignacio Feliz loaded the bases in the top of the first inning with a single and a pair of walks, then gave up a grand slam, which proved to be more than enough for the Blue Rocks to win it.

Feliz’s three rocky innings featured four hits and four walks. The 22-year-old righty has been striking guys out like crazy, but has now also walked 27 batters in 48.2 innings. Still, even this tough outing leaves his ERA at 3.88. He’s had more good ones than bad so far.

In contract to Norfolk and Bowie, there’s at least something good to be said about the hitting of the most interesting prospects here. Colton Cowser was on base twice: A single and a walk. Coby Mayo had a single and a double. The IronBirds had ten hits overall and plenty of scoring chances, but they went 1-10 with RISP and so could only get the one run across the plate.

Aberdeen box score.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 4, Lynchburg (Guardians) 3

Heston Kjerstad’s Finally Arrived tour rolled through another successful date in Salisbury on Saturday night. The long-delayed outfielder played a second straight full game in the outfield, adding two more hits to his tally, as well as an RBI. Kjerstad stayed on the bases long enough to score two of Delmarva’s four runs. It’s only been 11 games, and it’s only Low-A, but we really couldn’t have hoped for better than his early .415/.468/.585 batting line.

Elsewhere in the Shorebirds lineup, speed demon Luis Valdez had a pair of hits and stole his 33rd base of the season. That’s a lot! He was also caught stealing for the ninth time, which is, you know, also a lot. It’s a 78.6% rate which is very close to the break-even point, though. Former Andrew Cashner trade piece Noelberth Romero hit his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning, providing the third and decisive fourth runs.

Delmarva box score.

Sunday’s Scheduled Games

  • Norfolk: at Lehigh Valley, 1:35. Starter: D.L. Hall
  • Bowie: at Erie, 1:35. Starter: Garrett Stallings
  • Aberdeen: vs. Wilmington, 2:05. Starter: Jean Pinto
  • Delmarva: vs. Lynchburg, 2:05. Starter: Ryan Long