In a game in which former Phillies top draft pick Anthony Hewitt earned the dreaded Golden Sombrero, last year's top overall draft pick Bryce Harper helped the Nationals affiliate Hagerstown Suns lock down a 1-0 victory over the hometown Lakewood BlueClaws.
Harper had a difficult time in his first two trips to the plate on Saturday, as he faced Lakewood righty Garett Claypool, who got the best of the much-hyped Harper by shutting him down on strikes both times. However, the youngster sometimes referred to as "The Natural" was prepared for Claypool's fastball in his third at bat and drove it the opposite way, to deep left field for a homerun that scored the game's lone run.
The homer extended the 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound outfielder's hitting streak to 18 consecutive games.
Harper later added a single off of BlueClaws reliever Colby Shreve. The Nevada native is batting a stunning .472 in 13 May games.
Hewitt, Philadelphia's 1st round selection in the 2008 draft, struck out 4 times in 4 trips to the plate against three different Suns hurlers and saw his season batting average fall to .240.
Two interesting notes from Lakewood...
1- With roughly 200 fans waiting outside FirstEnergy Park's visitors' lockerroom hoping to see Harper exit on Friday night, BlueClaws team officials decided to sneak Harper out a different exit and drive him to the team bus, just down the sidewalk from the facility. Harper was secretly loaded onto the bus, which drove away, with fans still waiting.
2- For Friday's game, Harper was designated as the IHOP Strike Out Player of the Game. The promotion provides discount coupons to fans in attendance if the designated player strikes out. Harper locked in the reward for the crowd with his 1st inning punch out at the hands of Lakewood left-hander Jesse Biddle. When he learned of the promotion after the game, Harper jokingly stated that he hoped to be included in the coupon distribution. Prior to Saturday's game, a Lakewood staffer presented Harper with his IHOP discount voucher.
Check the media player below for audio of Harper's Saturday postgame meeting with the local media.
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