Gehrig Anglin’s first name is exactly what one might think it is – an homage to the great New York Yankees first baseman, Lou Gehrig.
He’s even got a sister named Tristen after Hall of Fame center fielder Tris Speaker.
“My parents are just big baseball fans,” Anglin said. “They were looking at some other baseball names. One of them was Rawling (after glove maker Rawlings), but Gehrig just stuck.”
This summer, Anglin has put his power on display for Springfield’s Champion City Kings, including one doubleheader the fans in attendance are likely never to forget.
On July 4, Anglin pulled a grand slam over the left-field fence near the scoreboard at Carleton Davidson Stadium, leading the Kings to a 9-3 victory in the first game of a doubleheader.
“The pitcher threw it right down the middle and I kind of took advantage of it,” he said.
In the next game, the third baseman came up in the bottom of the second inning with the bases loaded and the Kings trailing 5-2. He poked the ball over the right-field fence, clearing the bases for the second time in one day. The Kings eventually won the game 12-10.
“I wasn’t trying to hit a grand slam, I was just trying to find a good pitch to hit and get a couple RBIs,” he said.
It’s the first time a Kings player had ever hit two grand slams in one day in the team’s five-year history, Kings General Manager Rick White said.
When Anglin arrived in Springfield this summer, the St. Clair, Michigan, native hadn’t played since last fall. He sat out the spring season as a redshirt at Wright State University.
“It’s nice to finally be playing again and get back out on the field,” he said. “It took a while to start seeing the spin on the curveball a little bit and see the ball better at the plate. I’m getting back into the groove now.”
He’s taken advantage of his playing time. In 96 at-bats, he’s hitting .281 with a team-high seven HRs, 26 RBIs and a .552 slugging percentage – which ranks among the league leaders in the collegiate wooden bat Prospect League. Anglin also ranks second on the team in batting average, hits (27) and runs (19).
Anglin has spent a majority of the season playing third base and serving as the team’s designated hitter, Stenberg said. At the plate, he’s taking good swings every at-bat and being aggressive to get those opportunities, Stenberg said.
In his second grand slam opportunity on July 4, Stenberg told Anglin to drive the ball the other way – something he’s been encouraging to his players the last few weeks.
“It was nice to see him be rewarded for driving the ball the other way,” Stenberg said.
After a slew of rainouts earlier this year, the Kings are starting to get hot, Anglin said. They’ve won eight of their last 11 games as of July 6.
“The bats are starting to get hot,” Anglin said. “We’re just going to keep riding it and see how far we can take it.”
• The Kings won back-to-back games at West Virginia over the weekend, beating the Miners 14-3 on Saturday and 7-5 on Sunday. As of July 9, the Kings are 15-15, four games behind East Division leader Chillicothe.
The Kings will play at home Wednesday, July 11 against Butler before embarking on a six-day, seven-game road trip. They’ll play games in Butler, Pa., Lafayette, Ind., Kokomo, Ind. and Chillicothe before returning home on July 17.
MORE LOCAL SPORTS
CHAMPION CITY KINGS
Upcoming home games
Wed.: Butler (Pa.), (DH) 5:30 p.m. and 6:35 p.m.
Tue., July 17: Chillicothe (DH) 5 p.m. and 6:35 p.m.
Thu., July 19: Butler, 6:35 p.m.
Sun., July 22: Lafayette (Ind.), 4:05 p.m.
Mon., July 23: Terre Haute (Ind.), 6:35 p.m.
Home field: Carleton Davidson Stadium, 1101 Mitchell Blvd., Springfield