14 Aug

rise and shine

Christian Johnson, a former Clinton High star who has been plugging away in the low minors since 2019, hit his first career home run on Saturday night for the Low-Class A Charleston RiverDogs, then belted his second in his next at-bat. Johnson, now 21, was drafted in the 19th round by Tampa Bay in ’19 and had played in rookie ball for three seasons before getting a brief call-up to Charleston in July. He went back to the Florida Complex League after two games (1-for-7), then returned to the RiverDogs on Aug. 4. He is 4-for-17 since. Johnson’s career average is just .177, but maybe Saturday’s performance will be a spark. … A trio of Mississippi State products took star turns in the big leagues on Saturday. Hunter Renfroe smacked his first triple since 2019, driving in the go-ahead run and then scoring an insurance run in the 10th inning of Milwaukee’s 3-2 win at St. Louis in the National League Central showdown. The Brewers are just a half-game behind the Cardinals entering today’s series finale. Renfroe, batting .246, has 44 RBIs. At Texas, Nathaniel Lowe went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run as the Rangers, playing a spoiler role, beat wild card-chaser Seattle 7-4 in an American League West clash. Lowe, a .284 hitter this year, has a 19-game on-base streak during which he is batting .357. And at Kansas City, while the hapless Royals were getting crushed by the Los Angeles Dodgers 13-3, Brent Rooker got his first two hits of 2022 in his first game for KC. He also drove in a run and threw out a runner at the plate from left field. Rooker, a .211 career hitter in 68 MLB games, was 0-for-7 for San Diego this year before being traded at the deadline. P.S. Ex-Taylorsville High star and big league vet Billy Hamilton chose free agency rather than accept an assignment to the minors by Miami. He has played for seven different big league clubs since 2013 and swiped 321 bases, most ever by a Mississippi native. He also has 401 minor league bags.

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