Pro Notebook: Snyder Helps Durham to Tonight’s Triple-A National Title Game

September 18 - Brandon Snyder may not have gotten a September call-up to the Tampa Bay Rays, but the Westfield High School graduate finished his season on a high note by helping Triple-A Durham win the deciding Game 5 on Saturday to claim a second straight Governors’ Cup a the International League champions.

Tonight, the 31-year-old third baseman hopes to help the Bulls claim a Triple-A national championship when they face Pacific League champion Memphis in Columbus, OH.

Snyder, who homered during a 3-0 win in Game 3 and was in the lineup for all five games during the championship series against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, enters tonight’s contest hitting .253 with 18 home runs and 60 RBI in 106 games and went 1-for-6 during a brief two-game stint with Tampa Bay in April. It was the fifth Major League club the former first-round pick has appeared with in.

On the losing end was RailRiders first baseman Ryan McBroom (Courtland), a New York Yankees prospect who was also passed over when Major League rosters expanded to 40 players at the beginning of the month. McBroom hit .302 with 15 homers and 60 RBI in 121 games between Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Double-A Trenton.

Blackstone Hopes Big Indy Ball Season Nets Opportunity with Affiliated Club

On Friday, Kent Blackstone will be inducted into Marshall High School’s Athletics Hall of Fame. By February, the former Statesmen standout hopes a breakout season split between two independent leagues will land him a minor league contract from a Major League club.

The 6-foot, 190-pound infielder hit .336 with a .452 on-base percentage with 29 doubles, 12 home runs and 65 RBI in 79 games with High Desert of the Pecos League and Martinez of the Pacific Association, where he finished his season by hitting .349 over 23 games.

Blackstone’s success follows a forgettable 2017 in the United Professional Baseball League, where he hit just .226 in 168 at-bats. The former George Mason University third baseman returned home last offseason unsure whether his pro career may have ended after just one season, then took advantage when given an opportunity in the low-level Pecos League. He hit .330 with 51 RBI in 56 games with High Desert and had his contract purchased in late July by Martinez, a member of the higher-regarded and California-based Pacific Association.

“Maybe the most important thing from this summer is that I gained a lot of confidence in my process to stay locked in every at-bat,” said Blackstone, who totaled 74 RBI over two seasons at George Mason in 2015-16 after transferring from New Mexico State. “I have had some talked with some affiliated guys in hopes of getting an opportunity come spring time. I just need someone to give me the shot.”

Rodriguez, Somerset Begin Play in Atlantic League Playoffs

Alfredo Rodriguez (Oakton) and the Somerset Patriots begin play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball playoffs when the travel to face the Long Island Ducks tonight in Game 1 of a best-of-five league semifinal series.

Rodriguez hit .303 with a .395 on-base percentage, 55 RBI and 17 stolen bases during the regular season as Somerset (72-54) won the Liberty Division first half championship to clinch a postseason berth. The 28-year-old shortstop earned All-Star honors and finished among the top 12 in the league in batting average, on-base percentage, games played (122), at-bats (432), hits (131), runs (69), triples (3) and walks (58) while compiling a .973 fielding percentage, committing just 14 errors.

The Patriots will play at Long Island for the first two games, returning home to host Game 3 on Friday, and if necessary, Games 4 and 5 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Notes: Andre Scrubb (C.D. Hylton) pitched two scoreless innings of relief as Double-A Tulsa rallied from a three-run deficit in a 6-5 win over San Antonio in Game 2 of the best-of-three Texas League championship series. Tulsa swept the series to claim the league title. … George Mason grad Tyler Zombro worked a scoreless seventh inning in a 2-1 loss in Game 2 of the Single-A Midwest League championship series on Thursday, but Bowling Green bounced back to win the next two games and claim the league title. … Brandon Guyer (Herndon) went 2-for-2 with a walk in Cleveland’s 6-4 loss to Detroit, and the outfielder is hitting .321 in 28 at-bats this month. The Indians (83-66) have clinched the AL Central championship.

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Photo of Brandon Snyder courtesy of Minor League Baseball