South Atlantic League
What: Five-game series
When: Thursday through Monday (5:05 Thursday and Sunday, 7:05 Friday and Saturday nights, 12:05 p.m. Monday)
Where: Whitaker Bank Ballpark
Tickets: Call (859) 422-7867
Major League affiliates: Houston Astros (Legends), New York Mets
Probable pitchers (Legends listed first): Thursday, RH Mike Foltynewicz (5-11, 4.88) vs. LH Angel Cuan (10-3, 3.71); Friday, LH Luis Cruz (4-4, 4.71) vs. RH Erik Goeddel (3-4, 3.22); Saturday, RH David Martinez (5-6, 3.94) vs. RH Yohan Almonte (7-8, 4.11); Sunday, RH Carlos Quevedo (8-6, 4.56) vs. RH Gonzalez Germen (7-7, 3.93); Monday, RH Ruben Alaniz (6-10, 4.64) vs. RH Taylor Whitenton (5-4, 2.51)
Sand Gnat to watch: LHP Hamilton Bennett (6-foot-1, 180 pounds, from Tega Cay, S.C.) has been lights out coming out of the bullpen. Over 32 games and 52 innings, Bennett is 2-0 with 13 saves, a 1.90 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and while holding opponents to a .167 batting average. He has struck out 54 and walked 15. In two games against the Legends, Bennett has struck out three over two innings, earning a save. Bennett also played one game for St. Lucie of the Florida State League, striking out one and getting the win in a three-inning relief effort. Selected by the Mets in the 29th round of the 2010 draft, out of Tennessee Wesleyan, he broke into pro ball last year with the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League. He worked 19 games and 28 1/3 innings, going 2-2 with a 3.49 ERA, 24 strikeouts and nine walks. At Tennessee Wesleyan, he became the 20th player in NAIA history to throw a perfect game, shutting down Virginia-Wise on May 1, 2010.
Legend to watch: OF Emilio King (6-0, 208, from Samana, Dominican Republic) is reigning SAL Player of the Week. He is 19-for-26 (.528), with three homers, nine RBI and seven runs over his last nine games. Included were multi-hit games of 5, 4, 3 and a trio of two-hit games. In 24 August games, King hit. 337 with four homers, 12 RBI and 13 runs. Overall, he is batting .294 with nine homers, 39 RBI, 47 runs, 23 doubles and three stolen bases. He’s hitting .349 with runners on base. Signed by the Astros as a non-drafted free agent July 5, 2006, King spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons with the Dominican Summer League Astros, 2009 with the Gulf Coast League Astros and 2010 with the Greeneville Astros of the Appalachian League. Totals for those first four seasons included a .214 average, 4 homers, 44 RBI, 70 runs, 25 doubles, 7 triples and 11 stolen bases over 159 games. King, who bats and throws right-handed, was Greeneville’s Offensive Player of the Month for July 2010.
Notes: The Legends, in partnership with St. Catherine College men’s soccer team, will collect new and used shoes throughout the five-game series for the Edge Outreach Program. The program recycles the shoes and uses the money to buy water pumps and purification systems for developing countries. Collection boxes will be located near the ball park entrances. … Following Thursday’s game, fans are invited to stay and watch the Kentucky-Western Kentucky football game on screens located throughout the park, including the outfield video boards. … Friday is Fan Appreciation, Back to School and PTO night, with a Legends cap giveaway. NBA standout and former University of Kentucky standout Tayshaun Prince will be on hand on behalf of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Eat to Win program. Fireworks will follow the game. … Tommy Manzella, an SAL all-star shortstop in 2006, will be inducted into the Legends Hall of Fame before Saturday’s game. The ceremony is set for 6:45 p.m., with first pitch scheduled for 7:05. Manzella, who made it to the Major League in 2009 with the Astros, played 99 games for the Legends, batting .275 with 22 doubles, seven homers, 43 RBI and 16 stolen bases. He now plays for Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate in Reno, Nev., and will address the crowd via video. Basketball Hall of Famer Cliff Hagan will throw a ceremonial first pitch. The game jerseys worn by the Legends will be auctioned to benefit the St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation. … Neither the Legends nor the Sand Gnats have any players on the SAL post-season all-star team. However, Savannah has the manager of the year in Ryan Ellis and coach of the year in Glenn Abbott.
Radio: WLXG AM-1300