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Home | Tag Archives: el paso chihuahuas (page 5)

Tag Archives: el paso chihuahuas

Aces shoot down Chihuahuas 9-2

Reno starter Matt Koch pitched eight innings in the Aces’ 9-2 win over the El Paso Chihuahuas Monday night at Greater Nevada Field.

It was the longest start by an Aces pitcher this year. Monday’s game started El Paso’s three-city road trip, the Chihuahuas longest road trip of the year.

Matthew Batten’s RBI single in the top of the fifth gave El Paso a 1-0 lead and gave Batten 15 RBIs in his last nine games.

One week after winning the Jarritos Triple-A Home Run Derby in El Paso, Reno’s Yasmany Tomas hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie.

Chihuahuas righty Emmanuel Ramirez allowed four runs in five innings in his first Triple-A start of the season Monday, which was his 25th birthday.

Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Wilmer Flores went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in his first MLB injury rehab game for Reno.

Next Game: Tuesday, 6:35 pm at Greater Nevada Field, completion of suspended game from April 15. El Paso RHP Tyler Higgins (3-0, 5.40) vs. Reno TBA. The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.

Reno 9 El Paso 2 – Monday  |   Box Score  |  Team Records: El Paso (56-38), Reno (41-53)

WP: Koch (2-6)  |  LP: Ramirez (0-1)  |  S: None  |  Time: 2:40  |  Attn: 3,521

Isotopes scorch Chihuahuas 12-3

It was a slow burn for the El Paso Chihuahuas who just fizzled 12-3 against the Albuquerque Isotopes in the near-100-degree temperature of Sunday’s game – which also served as the longest home game of the season.

The Isotopes were at Southwest University Park playing like a playoff-bound powerhouse making a pit stop to spank a division rival in late August – they were dominant. The only problem is they are actually a sub-.500 team, in 4th place in their division and are about 17 games behind the team they beat.

The grilling actually started in the 2nd inning for the Chihuahuas when the ‘Topes piled on five runs to make it 6-1.

The ‘Topes feasted on the Dogs’ pitching all through the game and by the 9th inning the scores was 12-2. The last run the Dogs scored was made on a bases-loaded walk. El Paso made the last three outs on two strikeouts and weak infield flyball.

The winning pitcher was Pat Dean (3-9, 7.24 ERA). The losing pitcher was Dietrich Enns (9-6, 5.84 ERA). There were 7,549 fans sizzling in their seats at Southwest University Ballpark.

El Paso is still leads the Pacific Coast League-Pacific Southern Division.

Albuquerque 12 El Paso 3 – Sunday  |  Box Score  |   Team Records: Albuquerque (40-54), El Paso (56-37)

WP: Dean (3-9)  |  LP: Enns (9-6)  |  S: None  |  Time: 3:36  |  Attn: 7,549

Gallery+Story: Force is strong with Chihuahuas, Isotopes shutout 7-0

The El Paso Chihuahuas  beat the Albuquerque Isotopes 7-0 Saturday for their first win in three tries since the Pacific Coast League All-Star Break.

Dillon Overton pitched five scoreless innings Saturday in his third start of the season vs. Albuquerque.

Kyle Lloyd threw two scoreless relief innings in his first Triple-A game of the season. Brad Wieck struck out five in a two-inning outing to close the game and has struck out 22 batters in Triple-A this season, compared to only three walks.

Ty France went 3-for-4 with an RBI Saturday on his 25th birthday. Jason Vosler drove in four runs on a sacrifice fly and a three-run homer.

Esteban Quiroz homered as well for El Paso, his 15th longball of the year.

It was El Paso’s second shutout win of the season.

Next Game: Sunday, 6:05 pm at Southwest University Park. Albuquerque LHP Pat Dean (2-9, 7.74) vs. El Paso LHP Dietrich Enns (9-5, 6.43). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.

El Paso 7 Albuquerque 0 – Saturday  |  Box Score  |  Team Records: Albuquerque (39-54), El Paso (56-36)

WP: Overton (4-4)  |  LP: Garcia (0-2)  |  S: None  |  Time: 2:50  |  Attn: 9,647

Gallery: Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post

Isotopes nuke Chihuahuas 13-1

The Albuquerque Isotopes scored nine early runs for the second straight night and beat the El Paso Chihuahuas 13-1 Friday.

It was the most lopsided loss of the season for the Chihuahuas.

Sam Hilliard went 3-for-5 with two home runs, including a grand slam, the Isotopes’ second grand slam in as many nights.

El Paso’s sole run came on an RBI single by Boog Powell in the bottom of the fourth.

Infielder Matthew Batten pitched a scoreless ninth inning for El Paso, the fourth time this season a Chihuahuas position player has pitched, with three of those outings taking place in games vs. the Isotopes.

Next Game: Saturday, 7:05 pm at Southwest University Park. Albuquerque RHP Rico Garcia (0-1, 7.20) vs. El Paso LHP Dillon Overton (3-4, 7.59). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.

Albuquerque 13 El Paso 1  – Friday  |   Box Score  |  Team Records: Albuquerque (39-53), El Paso (55-36)

WP: Hoffman (5-5)  |  LP: Mitchell (0-1)  |  S: None  |  Time: 3:31 |  Attn: 7,392

Video+Story: Isotopes survive Chihuahuas’ Rally, take game 9-8

El Paso fell one run short of the biggest comeback in team history Thursday, as the Albuquerque Isotopes held on to beat the Chihuahuas 9-8.

El Paso trailed 9-0 in the fourth inning before eight unanswered runs got them within one. The team record for biggest comeback win is seven runs, set multiple times.

One night after hitting a home run in the RMHC Triple-A All-Star Game, Luis Urias hit his 18th regular season homer of the season for El Paso.

The Isotopes scored eight runs in the second inning, matching the most runs allowed in an inning this season by the Chihuahuas. Albuquerque’s Drew Weeks hit two homers in the inning to tie a Pacific Coast League record.

Former San Diego Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso had two RBIs for Albuquerque Thursday in his first game in the Colorado Rockies organization.

Next Game: Friday, 7:05 pm at Southwest University Park. Albuquerque RHP Jeff Hoffman (4-5, 8.01) vs. El Paso RHP Bryan Mitchell (0-0, 7.11). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.

Albuquerque 9 El Paso 8 – Thursday  |  Box Score  |  Team Records: Albuquerque (38-53), El Paso (55-35)

WP: Howard (2-1)  |  LP: Keel (6-4)  |  S: Johnson (2)  |  Time: 3:33  |  Attn: 7,596

El Paso favorite Cody Decker returns as Border Youth Athletic Association Executive Director

The El Paso Border Youth Athletic Association (BYAA) announced Monday, the return of El Paso fan favorite, Cody Decker. Decker will become the Associate Executive Director for Athletic Development with BYAA.

“I have spent some of my best days as a professional baseball player in El Paso and feel a deep connection to the community here,” said Decker.

“My wife, Jenn and I are excited about our future  in El Paso. I want to share my love for this city and its authentic stature as a training facility destination with a national audience of athletes.” Decker went on to say, “I know that working with Border Youth Athletic Association and allowing its young players to get exposure to world-class athletes and to witness their dedication will be a gamechanger with a life-long positive impact.”

The former El Paso Chihuahuas All-Star, who played during the club’s inaugural season in El Paso in 2014 and in 2015, is the Chihuahuas all-time home run leader with 48 dingers.

In addition, Decker announced his retirement from professional baseball at Southwest University Park. He and his wife Jenn Sterger Decker, who is a former sportscaster, were in El Paso for the announcements as the El Paso Chihuahuas play host to the 2019 Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

Decker will assume responsibility for all baseball and softball athletic development for BYAA’s programs including strength and conditioning and will champion the growth of BYAA to the greater El Paso community.

“Cody Decker has a very special place in the history of baseball in El Paso,” says El Paso Border Youth Athletic Association President, Founder and El Paso Baseball Hall of Famer, Dwayne Aboud. “He made an indelible impression on the city and will now do the same for border youth who want to become collegiate student athletes by leading the development of our unprecedented national-level training programs.”

In addition to playing with the Chihuahuas, Decker also played for the San Diego Padres in Major League Baseball after earning a spot in the Pacific Coast League’s All-Star game in 2015.

Committed to educating and preparing El Paso youth for a successful future by providing the educational resources and professional coaching needed to become collegiate student-athletes, BYAA reaches the economically-distressed regions of El Paso via several programs.

For more information about BYAA, click here.

Chihuahuas smash Salt Lake 9-2; End 1st half of PCL Season in 1st Place

The El Paso Chihuahuas won 9-2 over the Salt Lake Bees Sunday in the final game before the Pacific Coast League All-Star break.

The Chihuahuas enter the All-Star Break 21 games over .500 and in first place in the Southern Division by four and a half games, with a Sunday night game involving second place Las Vegas still pending.

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Matt Harvey took the loss after allowing three runs on five hits in a 3.1 inning injury rehab start Sunday.

El Paso’s Kazuhisa Makita was the winning pitcher Sunday and hasn’t allowed any runs in six Triple-A innings, striking out nine in that time.

Matthew Batten went 2-for-4 with two RBIs Sunday and has driven in nine runs over his last two games. Sunday’s win was El Paso’s fifth this season in which they didn’t hit a home run.

The Chihuahuas took three of the four games in Salt Lake and have won four of five overall.

Next Game: Thursday, 7:05 pm at Southwest University Park. Albuquerque TBA vs. El Paso RHP Bryan Mitchell (0-0, 7.11). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.

El Paso 9 Salt Lake 2 – Sunday  |  Box Score  |  Team Records: El Paso (55-34), Salt Lake (39-50)

WP: Makita (2-0)  |  LP: Harvey (0-2)  |  S: None  |  Time: 3:03  |  Attn: 3,504

Batten’s bat lifts Chihuahuas over Bees 8-6

Matthew Batten hit a second-inning grand slam in the El Paso Chihuahuas’ 8-6 win over the Salt Lake Bees Saturday night at Smith’s Ballpark.

Batten had three hits and seven RBIs in the win, one RBI short of the Chihuahuas’ single-game record, also set in Salt Lake by Austin Hedges on July 10, 2016.

Dietrich Enns got the win for the second straight start Saturday and has allowed only six earned runs in his last 16.2 innings.

Brad Wieck picked up his second save in as many games after arriving from San Diego.

Batten’s grand slam was El Paso’s fourth of the season.

The Chihuahuas have won two of the three games in Salt Lake and three of their last four games overall.

Next Game: Sunday, 1:05 pm at Smith’s Ballpark. El Paso RHP Tyler Higgins (3-0, 3.38) vs. Salt Lake RHP Matt Harvey (MLB rehab). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.

El Paso 8 Salt Lake 6 – Saturday  |  Box Score  |  Team Records: El Paso (54-34), Salt Lake (39-49)

WP: Enns (9-5)  |  LP: Bridwell (4-4)  |  S: Wieck (2)  |  Time: 3:38  |  Attn: 10,432

‘Bases Loaded’ Exhibit set to open at Museum of History July 11th

The El Paso Museum of History (EPMH) invites the public to celebrate the opening of its newest exhibition, Bases Loaded: El Paso and Beyond.

“Baseball, like apple pie, is one of those ideas that is inseparable from the idea of America,” said El Paso Museum of History Director Dr. Vladimir von Tsurikov. “Here at the Museum, we’re excited to take that national mythos and examine it from the unique El Paso perspective.”

The exhibit, which opens at 6:30 p.m., July 11., celebrates the local and national history of baseball starting with its pre-Civil War origins to the Chihuahuas arriving in El Paso.

In addition to tracing the evolution of baseball’s legacy as a national pastime, the exhibit also highlights baseball’s intersections with race, like the sport’s role in Mexico and key events in breaking the color barrier.

“As visitors move through the exhibit, they are invited to explore how different groups across the United States have shaped baseball’s beginnings, rise, and continued popularity,” museum officials shared. “Interactive displays, like a walkable baseball diamond and Chihuahuas fan photo booth, transform the space into an immersive historical experience.”

Materials for the exhibit have been sourced from across El Paso’s enthusiastic baseball community.

Many of the artifacts for Bases Loaded have been provided by Fernando Grado, an El Paso native and baseball enthusiast. His personal collection, which he began in his youth, includes local memorabilia from the Browns and Diablos as well as collectibles from eminent players like Jackie Robinson and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

Also on display are items borrowed from the El Paso Chihuahuas’ own archive.

The exhibit runs through January 2020 and is free and open to the public.

Extra-Innings homers lift Chihuahuas over Salt Lake 9-7

Austin Allen hit two home runs, including a two-run shot in the top of the 10th inning, in the El Paso Chihuahuas’ 9-7 win over the Salt Lake Bees Friday.

Allen has hit six home runs in his last seven games and has two multi-homer games since June 29. Esteban Quiroz also homered for El Paso, advancing El Paso’s season total to 189, which leads all of professional baseball.

The Chihuahuas stole four bases Friday to set a season high.

El Paso also turned four double plays to match a season high. The Chihuahuas are now 4-1 in extra-inning games this year, while the Bees dropped to 3-4.

The Chihuahuas and Bees have split the first two games of the series.

Next Game: Saturday, 6:35 pm at Smith’s Ballpark. El Paso LHP Dietrich Enns (8-5, 5.32) vs. Salt Lake TBA. The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.

El Paso 9 Salt Lake 7 – Friday – 10 Innings  |  Box Score  |  Team Records: El Paso (53-34), Salt Lake (39-48)

WP: Maton (2-1)  |  LP: Bard (1-3)  |  S: Wieck (1)  |  Time: 3:21  |  Attn: 10,170

Salt Lake Bees sting Chihuahuas on road opener 9-6

The Salt Lake Bees scored six runs in the first two innings and beat the El Paso Chihuahuas 9-6 Thursday night at Smith’s Ballpark.

The Chihuahuas hit four home runs in the loss, including the 22nd of the season by Michael Gettys. It was his eighth homer in his last 16 games.

The Chihuahuas trailed 6-1 early and pushed the score within one to 7-6 before Salt Lake’s late tallies.

Boog Powell, Seth Mejias-Brean and Jose Pirela also homered for El Paso.

The Chihuahuas are now 4-2 all-time on the Fourth of July and have played four of their six Independence Day games at Salt Lake.

There was a one hour and 16 minute rain delay before the game.

Next Game: Friday, 6:35 pm at Smith’s Ballpark. El Paso LHP Dillon Overton (3-4, 7.31) vs. Salt Lake RHP J.C. Ramirez (MLB rehab). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.

Salt Lake 9 El Paso 6 – Thursday  |  Box Score  |  Team Records: El Paso (52-34), Salt Lake (39-47)

WP: Peters (3-1)  |  LP: Keel (6-3)  |  S: Jewell (6)  |  Time: 2:42 (1:26 delay)  |  Attn: 14,104

Gallery+Story: Safe at home! Chihuahuas grab 8-4 win over Grizzlies

The El Paso Chihuahuas trailed 4-3 in the second inning Wednesday before scoring five unanswered runs to come back and beat the Fresno Grizzlies 8-4.

Michael Gettys’ three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth, his team-leading 21st homer of the season, provided late insurance for El Paso.

San Diego Padres outfielder Travis Jankowski reached base three times and stole a base in his second MLB injury rehab game.

Kazuhisa Makita struck out five in three scoreless relief innings in his first Triple-A game of the season. The Chihuahuas bullpen has allowed only one earned run in their last 13 outings.

The Chihuahuas have hit 182 home runs this season, the highest single-season total in team history.  The Chihuahuas won two of the five games against Fresno and five of the nine games on their homestand.

Next Game: Thursday, 6:35 pm at Smith’s Ballpark. El Paso LHP Jerry Keel (6-2, 6.42) vs. Salt Lake LHP Dillon Peters (2-1, 4.89). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.

El Paso 8 Fresno 4 – Wednesday  |  Box Score  |  Team Records: Fresno (44-42), El Paso (52-33)

WP: Makita (1-0)  |  LP: Ross (2-1)  |  S: Yardley (5)  |  Time: 3:02  |  Attn: 9,945

Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post

Gallery+Story: Chihuahuas’ rally falls short, Fresno wins 11-9

Tuesday night’s Chihuahuas game against the Fresno Grizzlies could have started in the 4th inning when they were tied at 6 – and it could have ended soon after.

But the game had to go the required distance, and the Grizzlies piled up five more runs by the 6th inning to thrash the Dogs 11-9. .

The Chihuahuas had two chances late in the game to catch up to the Grizzlies with the bases loaded. Michael Gettys (.248 BA),  who has 20 home runs this season, was fanned in the 8th inning.

Seth Mejias-Brean came up as a pinch hitter in the 9th as the Dogs’ last hope. The bases loaded on two outs and by that time, the score was 11-9 Fresno.

The pitch flew out of the closer’s hand and Mejias-Brean attacked it with a ferocious swing that sounded like it missed the barrel of the bat and floated to to shallow center field where a Grizzly claw was waiting.

With the loss, the Chihuahuas are trailing the five-game series with the Grizzlies 3-1,  but have a chance to at least draw closer with a win in the last game Wednesday.

Tuesday’s loss had little effect on the standings: the Dogs are still in top of the Pacific Coast League Pacific Southern Division with a 51-33 record.

The winning pitcher was Erick Fedde (12.60 ERA, 1-1). The losing pitcher was Kyle McGrath (8.23 ERA, 3-3). There were 6,845 at Southwest University Ballpark.

Next Game: Wednesday, 7:05 pm at Southwest University Park. Fresno RHP Joe Ross (2-0, 3.68) vs. El Paso LHP Paco Rodriguez (3-1, 3.73). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.

Fresno 11 El Paso 9 – Tuesday  |  Box Score  |  Team Records: Fresno (44-41), El Paso (51-33)

WP: Fedde (1-1)  |  LP: McGrath (3-3)  |  S: Bacus (6)  |  Time: 3:14  |  Attn: 6,845

Author: Larry Monarrez  |  Gallery: Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post

Videos+Story: Chihuahuas maul Grizzlies 11-1

The home-run hitting leaders of the PCL finally came back to Southwest University Park on Monday after a two-game skid and unloaded four long balls on the Fresno Grizzlies in their 11-1 win.

The Chihuahuas dropped the first two games of the series against Fresno but still sit atop the PCL- Pacific Southern Division and lead the league in home runs (178) and total bases (1,618).

The Dogs started declawing the Grizzlies in the 3rd inning with Jose Pirela (.344 BA)  two-RBI triple that rolled to the left field wall. Pirela caught a lift home on the first of Aderlin Rodriguez’s home runs – it was an impressive and rarely seen arching ball that flew to the deepest part of center field and flew over the 50-foot green wall marked “406.” El Paso scored four on two swings.

El Paso followed up in the 4th inning with back-to-back homers by infielder Jason Vosler (.290 BA) and outfielder Matthew Batten (.317 BA). Vosler’s homer was tall and sailed in the that winds headed in the same direction.

The ball landed within a few feet of a brand new Mustang on display before bouncing out to Santa Fe Avenue.

Following the back-to-back dingers, catcher Webster Rivas (.243 BA) slammed a liner to the “406” in center field that looked like the third “back” but it was caught over-the-shoulder style by the speedy Fresno center fielder, El Paso 6-0.

El Paso continued to sprinkle in runs through the 8th inning, including the second homer by Rodriguez (.278 BA) that flew over the Peter Piper Pizza Porch in left field and landed somewhere in the alley.

The Dogs’ pitching deserves a lot of credit for the win.

Starter Dietrich Enns went more than six innings striking out 8, walking 4, and giving up no runs. The only Fresno run made blemished the scoreboard in the 8th inning from a couple of back-to-back doubles off a reliever.

The winning pitcher was Enns (8-5, 5.32 ERA). The losing pitcher was Ben Braymer (0-1, 9.35 ERA). There were 7,334 fans at Southwest University Ballpark.

Next Game: Tuesday, 7:05 pm at Southwest University Park. Fresno RHP Erick Fedde (0-1, 15.75) vs. El Paso LHP Kyle McGrath (3-2, 7.19). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.

El Paso 11 Fresno 1 – Monday  |  Box Score  |  Team Records: Fresno (43-41), El Paso (51-32)

WP: Enns (8-5)  |  LP: Braymer (0-1)  |  S: None  |  Time: 2:48  |  Attn: 7,334

Ty France – El Paso Chihuahuas All-Star

It was one of life’s breath-swiping moments, the kind that lodges itself center stage in the mind’s scrapbook forever.

And ever.

Ty France walked into the San Diego Padre clubhouse and was greeted by teammates Austin Hedges and Eric Hosmer. His wide eyes could hardly take it all in.

And then there it was.

The jersey number 11 with France stitched across the back hung in front of the locker – his locker.

It had been a steady rise through the rough and tumble and unforgiving Minor League Baseball world for the 24-year-old southern Californian and that moment, the moment that whisks the breath away, will have a special significance in his memory bouquet for a lifetime.

France is back in El Paso now and El Paso Chihuahuas fans are enjoying every at-bat of it. He is simply ripping through the Pacific Coast League.

He was the Pacific Coast League (PCL) Player of the Week April 15-21, then was called up to the Padres because of injuries. Now, back in his first full season at the Triple-A level, France took right up where he left off.

France was named the PCL Player of the Week for June 10-16, soaring through another particularly torrid run at the plate. The third baseman and occasional first baseman who is also available for some action at second base, hit .476 with six home runs and nine runs batted in during the week. He hit a home in five straight games, June 10-15 and hit a pair of round trippers on June 14.

At the end of that week, he had accumulated more than 100 at bats and he was hitting .427 with 15 home runs and 42 runs batted in … an amazing 42 RBI in just 28 games.

“It’s been good,” he said with a small smile and a hefty dose of humility.

“Ty has been on an amazing run,” said Chihuahua radio play-by-play announcer Tim Hagerty, who has seen all but a couple of the team’s games over the past five-plus seasons. “He had that amazing week in April and then got called up. Franmil Reyes had a similar week in May of 2018 and then got sent back down. That is normal. Alex Dickerson had a great run in 2016. Hunter Renfroe led the PCL in home runs (30) and was named league MVP in 2016.

“But Ty has been fun to watch and he’s been amazing,” Hagerty said. “It’s been a fun challenge for me to dig into the team’s history. At this time, he’s had a little more than 100 at bats and that’s a pretty good chunk of season. I’m not sure there has been any Chihuahua streak quite like his.”

France gazed out onto the Southwest University Park playing field and reflected on his journey.

“The Padres have treated me well,” he said. “Each year I’ve moved up a level. I’m grateful to be where I am today.”

Pausing, smiling again, he said, “Sure, there are some tough times and some frustrations in the lower minor leagues … riding a bus for eight hours straight … McDonald’s the only thing open to eat at times. Those are experiences a lot of people can’t understand. But, hey, we were playing baseball and it’s part of the business, part of the process.”

France had that great run in April and is having another great run in June. And then there was that special life moment smack in the middle.

“It was crazy,” he said, shaking his head. “It happened so fast. And it was definitely shocking. I hadn’t saved Edwin’s (manager Edwin Rodriguez) number. He called me after the game that night. It was 10:30 or 11. I saw a number from Puerto Rico that I didn’t recognize. So I didn’t answer it.

“He texted me seconds later and told me to call him that I was getting called up,” France said with a light chuckle. “Within the next eight hours I was on my way to San Diego.”

He made the traditional calls – girl friend, parents, agent – and was on his way to a dream.

The smile broadened and he said, “It was pretty special to walk in the clubhouse and be greeted by Hedgie (Hedges) and Hossie (Hosmer) and then to look over and see the jersey with No. 11 and my name on the back was just pretty cool.

“I didn’t play that night so I was able to sit there and take it all in,” he said. “I was in the big leagues. It was all pretty cool.”

And then came another lifetime moment, just two days later.

“My first appearance was in D.C.,” he said. “I pinch hit in the eighth inning. I got down 0-2 and then battled back and got a 3-2 count. It was a grinding at-bat. And then I got my pitch and got my first Major League base hit, a single through the 5-6 hole.”

He got that baseball and it will forever have a special place in his life’s trophy case, that single to left field will be as vivid 50 years from now as it is today. That single to left field will be a warm glow on even the coldest of winter nights.

France played in 34 Major League games but, when Fernando Tatis Jr. got healthy again, was sent back to El Paso.

“Andy (Green, Padres manager) sat me down and told me I did a good job,” France recalled. “But he said there was just not a spot for me right now – which I understood. It’s a business and I get it. I just have to keep working hard and do everything I can do down here to get back up there.”

This is the business of professional baseball and even the best of the Chihuahuas like Renfroe and Reyes and Dickerson have come back down for brief moments.

And El Paso baseball fans have enjoyed watching each and every one of those moments.

Rodriguez has been a France fan since their days together at Lake Elsinore. Just before this season began, Rodriguez said, “Ty is such a good athlete. He can play third base, first base and he got some looks at second base during Spring Training. You might even see him in the outfield.

“Definitely, he will hit,” Rodriguez said. “He will hit for average and he will hit for power. He is just a hard-nosed player that the fans will really like.”

France has lived up to all of Rodriguez’ predictions – and more.

He grew up in the Los Angeles area and was always an athlete. He played football, basketball and baseball growing up and played football and baseball at South Hills High School in West Covina, Calif.

“I played football for fun,” he said. “Fullback and linebacker. But it was always about baseball. I stopped playing football after my junior year. I figured if I got hurt then, I’d have a year to recover. But, if I played my senior year and got hurt, then …

“Growing up college was always the number one priority and I didn’t want my parents to have to pay,” he said. “So I worked my butt off.”

France moved south a bit and played three years at San Diego State.

“Sure, as a kid you always have the dream of playing in the big leagues,” he said. “After my freshman year at San Diego State, it started to sink in. OK. I can do this.”

He hit .336 with four home runs and 49 RBI in 64 games as a San Diego State junior and was drafted in the 34th round by the Padres.

“We had a good team my junior year and we had six or seven guys get drafted,” he said with a shrug. “We wouldn’t have been that good the next year so I just felt like it would be beneficial for me to go.”

He played for Tri-City in the Class A Short Season after signing in the summer of 2015. He then began his ascent. He started 2016 in Class A Fort Wayne and moved up to Advanced A Lake Elsinore during the season. He began 2017 in Lake Elsinore and moved up to Double-A San Antonio during that season. He began 2018 in San Antonio and finished in El Paso.

In a world where even the best of players sometimes get bogged down along the way, France has always been upwardly mobile.

France also began to grow into his power in the last two seasons. He is athletic, solidly built (“I’m 6-feet in cleats,” he said, laughing) at 215-pounds. He hit 22 home runs in 2018, mostly in the thick air and tough hitter’s park in San Antonio.

And now he is a home run threat each time he grabs a bat out of the rack and strolls toward home plate. More than, that, though – as Rodriguez said – he will hit for average.

France shrugged again and said, “The talk of the year is that the baseballs are different. I don’t think anything’s that different. You’ve still got to get a good pitch to hit and you’ve still got to hit it.”

And that, almost certainly, is the most difficult thing to do in all of sports.

And France has been doing that, doing it at an almost other-worldly pace, turning in some sort of Godzilla year.

“It’s already been a special year” he said. “This year was my first time to go to big league spring training. Definitely, being around the big name guys helps your confidence. Sharing the field, sharing the locker room with all those guys lets you know you are close to a dream come true.”

Ty France continues to work at his craft, continues to improve, continues to climb that most difficult of ladders – the ladder of professional baseball, that ladder strewn with broken hearts and broken dreams and what-ifs.

Through it all, he remains grounded, remains pointed toward his true north. He has a tattoo in script on his left arm – “Through sunshine and rain, I’ll be there. I love you the most.”

It is a message, a gift his mother, Diane, has given him for a lifetime.

And, through it all, he knows two things.

One, he has already reached the top of that ladder, albeit briefly. He has stepped center stage in this nation’s grand drama, the drama that is Major League Baseball.

“It was eye opening, it was a dream come true,” he said. “I felt I handled myself well. I can always say I was a Major League Baseball player.”

Two, he knows he is but a phone call away from more dreams.

In the meantime, France continues to thrill El Paso baseball fans as they flock to beautiful and scenic Southwest University Park to see their beloved Chihuahuas chase another championship.

Watching hits continue to spray from his bat like summer rain, one cannot help but think France might soon again be a Major League Baseball player.

That telephone could ring again at any moment.

And this time you can be certain he will answer that number from Puerto Rico.

Ty France will join Austin Allen and Luis Urias in the 2019 RMHC Triple-A All-Star Game to be held on July 10 at Southwest University Park. The game will be preceded by the 2019 Jarritos Triple-A Home Run Derby on July 8.

Author: Bill Knight – El Paso Chihuahuas

***

Bill Knight is a contributing writer for the El Paso Chihuahuas. He may be reached at bknight@epchihuahuas.com.

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