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Stewart hits walk-off grand slam for Clearwater

Stepping up to the plate with the bases loaded, trailing by a pair of runs in the 11th inning, Clearwater first baseman D.J. Stewart did so 0-for-5.  His focus at the plate was no different that time than it had been the previous handfull of turns.  Make loud contact was the approach.  The contact was loud, the reaction from his team and the approximately 1,100 fans in attendance was louder.  

A convincing round-tripper in that moment plated Edgar Made, Johan Rojas, Luis Garcia and Stewart.  It gave the Class A Threshers their first win on the young season by a score of 13-11 over the Tigers affiliate Lakeland. 

The grand slam was the 22-year-old's first ever four-run homer as well as his first ever walk-off hit as a professional.

Describing the feeling of walking a game off in such a remarkable fashion as unreal and realizing that his teammates were as hyped for him as he felt personally, Stewart also described the "loud contact" mindset as a new focus.

"This year I really wanted to focus on hitting the ball harder and getting some more doubles and home runs.  I'm a third baseman and a first baseman, so I need to show a little bit more pop in the bat that I haven't in previous years," Stewart expressed via text message.

Lakeland reliever Jack Dellinger, a 2019 32nd rounder, was the pitcher that surrendered Stewart's crushing blow.

"I never faced him before, to my knowledge," Stewart said.  "We didn't have any info on him, so I was going into the at bat blind."

Stewart was the Phillies' 39th round draft selection in 2017 out of Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis, MO.  

Through two games the six-foot-two 205-pounded righty batter is 2-for-9.  

The grand slam matches the amount of big flies Stewart recorded in his first 92 regular season minor league games played prior to Wednesday.  

Last year's top Phillies draft choice, starting pitcher Mick Abel did not factor in the decision.  The 19-year-old tossed 2 1/3 innings allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out two.

Also in the contest catcher Abrahan Gutierrez was 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and the center fielder Rojas went 2-for-6 with a double and three RBI.


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