Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Kroon's smash is the difference as Kingery rehabs with victorious BlueClaws

Matt Kroon, image- Jay Floyd
LAKEWOOD-- Matt Kroon's first home run of the season plated three in the bottom of the 8th inning to give the Class A BlueClaws a 4-3 victory over Hagerstown on Tuesday night at FirstEnergy Park.

Kroon's big fly came against Suns relief pitcher Ryan Tapani.

Following the game, the 22-year-old righty batter, Kroon, stated that his game plan heading into the at bat, with his team trailing by a pair of runs, was finding a pitch to drive.  The result, however, surprised even the young Phillies prospect.

"Having zero home runs on the season, I had no thought in my head whatsoever that I'm gonna go up there and hit a three-run home run," said Kroon.  "Funny things happen in this game.  Thankfully, it was able to happen to me tonight."

Lakewood reliever Kyle Glogoski notched the win, his second of the year, for the 'Claws while allowing an earned run over 3 2/3 innings of work.  Gilmael Troya recorded the save for Lakewood.

With Lakewood for the contest was Phillies utility man Scott Kingery, who was on a rehab assignment, as he works his way back from a right hamstring strain.  The 25-year-old went 1-for-3 with a fielding error as the shortstop, playing seven innings.

Following the game, Kingery said he felt fine physically.  He stressed the key for him now is to get his timing and feel for the game back after missing three weeks with the injury.

Kingery asserted that he anticipates joining Double-A Reading, likely for two more games, before he is activated on the big league roster this coming weekend.  The Fightin Phils host division rival Portland on Thursday at 6:45PM and Friday at 7:10PM.

The 25-year-old righty hitter made his professional debut with Lakewood after being drafted in the second round four years ago.

Scott Kingery, image- Jay Floyd
"It brought back memories," Kingery said of being back in Lakewood.  "It's the first place I came after I got drafted in 2015.  My host family I stayed with they actually came to the game to watch me and I got to talk to them.  It's fun being back here."

Originally slated to begin his rehab appearance on Monday in Lakewood, things were delayed one day due to a rain out.  Kingery took advantage of his time around the BlueClaws, bonding with younger players.

"It's good to just kind of come down here and get to know them a little bit," Kingery stated.  "It's a lot of guys I haven't met before, so it's good to get to know them." 

As is generally a tradition when well-paid major leaguers compete in the minor leagues on a rehab assignment, Kingery picked up a special post-game meal for the Lakewood players. 

"He's a great guy," said Kroon, who was 2-for-4 on the night. "He worked with us all day.  He's been a good guy to have around the locker room.  Good atmosphere with him around."

His presence was welcome around a team that has struggled to notch victories wins of late.  Prior to Tuesday's win, the BlueClaws had lost nine of their previous 12 match ups. 

Here's hoping whatever rubbed off from the big leaguer sticks around longer than the player did.

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