Times Sports Editor
Northview and Indiana State alumna, Brady Shoemaker continues his assault on Appalachian League pitching in his first year of professional baseball.
On July 25, Shoemaker connected for a first inning grand slam for the Bristol Sox in a 6-3 victory over Pulaski. His evening also included three walks and three runs scored for his team.
Monday, Shoemaker launched his fifth home run in 28 games this season and walked once again, raising his on-base percentage to .480 this season.
What has drawn perhaps the most notice though is the fact that Shoemaker has a hit in every professional game that he has played in this year. All told, he has a hit in 28 consecutive games and has hit at a .415 clip over 106 at-bats. He's scored 21 times and has 12 doubles and 22 RBI.
Lest anyone believe that Bristol's home park is especially hitter friendly, Shoemaker has a .431 batting average in road games and is slugging .828 in those games.
Shoemaker, who was the Appalachian League Player of the Week for July 13, was drafted in the 19th-round this spring by the Chicago White Sox.
That week, Shoemaker hit his first two professional homers and drove home four runs as Bristol defeated Kingsport, 11-5. In the win, Shoemaker also went 5-for-5 at the plate and walked in reaching base six times.
On July 19 against Danville, Shoemaker went 3-for-6 at the plate with a homerun and a pair of doubles, driving in four runners.
In the month of July, he has hit .429 in 20 games and has hit .324 with runners in scoring position.
Overall this year, Shoemaker leads the league in hitting at .415 and on-base percentage and is tied for first with his 12 doubles. His .670 slugging percentage is second in the league while his OPS (on-base + slugging) is tops in the league at 1.149.
Perhaps the most intriguing factor in Shoemaker's success this season is that he has had little help in the Bristol lineup.
The team has the third-worst batting average in the league at just .248 and has scored the second-fewest runs in the league, averaging just over four runs per contest (4.14) in 34 games.
Shoemaker's former teammate at Indiana State, Nick Cioli, who also was a member of the Wayne Newton Post 346 squad that reached the championship game of the American Legion World Series, has also had success this year in the White Sox farm system.
Cioli has played in 26 games for the Great Falls Voyagers in the Rookie Pioneer League and has a .320 average in 100 at-bats. He has seven doubles and 12 RBI while reaching base nearly 40 percent of the time and scoring 19 runs.
Over the past 10 games, Cioli has three multi-hit games.
Josh Phegley, also a Post 346 teammates of Shoemaker and Cioli, has struggled a bit in his first season professionally.
The former Indiana University standout, has hit just .163 for Kannapolis, a Single-A squad in the South Atlantic League. Phegley has hit four homeruns and has doubled three times in 80 at-bats for the Intimidators.