Betts lead Sox to good start for second half of CL season

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Minor League Baseball has named Jordan Betts of the Salem Red Sox Carolina League Player of the Week for the period from June 19 to June 25, 2017.

Betts, a 24-year-old corner infielder from Wilmington, North Carolina, batted .563 with a .588 on-base percentage and 1.125 slugging percentage on the week, including three doubles and two homers. He scored five runs and knocked in five more, helping the Sox get off to a 3-1 start in the second half of the season.

As of June 26, Betts is batting .224 with four homers and 20 RBI in 37 games for Salem. His .455 slugging percentage is second among current Salem players, trailing only the injured Trenton Kemp, and is five points higher than that of All-Star first baseman Josh Ockimey.

Betts has split time between first base and third base this season, most often finding himself blocked at each position by an All-Star. Third baseman Michael Chavis was promoted to Double-A Portland after the All-Star Break, and Ockimey remains a mainstay at first base. This is the fourth time a Salem player has earned Player of the Week honors in 2017, as Chavis was recognized twice and Ockimey once.

Betts split the 2016 season between Salem and Double-A Portland, batting .228 with five homers and 50 RBI over 90 games. He hit .241 in 77 games for Salem, and made his Double-A debut 4/18 after going 7-of-16 (.438) in his previous four games. He hit .302 in 15 games in June, and struck out just five times in 43 at-bats.

In 2015, Betts spent the entire season with Salem, leading the club in games (113) and ranking among the team’s leaders in runs (T-2nd, 40) and doubles (3rd, 21). He made 74 starts at third base, and 36 at first base. Betts had a career-high 5 RBI on June 9, 2015 at Lynchburg, and fell just one RBI short of matching that this past Sunday night against Wilmington, when he went 4-5 with two doubles, a homer, two runs scored and four RBI.

Betts spent his first pro season with Short-A Lowell in 2014, leading the Spinners in homers (10), RBI (40), walks (tied, 25), and slugging percentage (.479). He ranked fifth in the New York-Penn League in homers, and became the rst Lowell player to hit 10 or more homers in a season since 2008, when Luis Sumoza cracked 11. He earned NYPL mid-season All-Star honors, and homered in three of his first seven professional games.

Betts attended Duke University, where he was a four-year starter (2011-14) and two-time All-ACC selection (2013-14) before the Red Sox selected him in the 18th round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Prior to college, Betts attended New Hanover High School in North Carolina, alma mater of former Boston Red Sox star Trot Nixon. He hit .517 as a junior, was named the conference’s Player of the Year as a senior, and was also quarterback of the football team.

On Monday in Salem Betts kept his hot streak going with a homer for the third straight game, and Shaun Anderson notched his first win at the High-A level as the Salem Red Sox bested the Lynchburg Hillcats 5-2 at Haley Toyota Field.

The Sox picked up their third straight win and gained a bit of satisfaction against the Hillcats, who tied them in the first-half standings but earned a playoff berth based on the head-to-head record between the two teams. Lynchburg couldn’t build past two solo homers by Sicnarf Loopstok.

Lynchburg drew first blood in the top of the fourth against Anderson as Loopstok hammered a solo homer over the left field wall to put the Hillcats ahead 1-0. However, Salem answered in the bottom of the inning. Jose Sermo cracked a two-out double off Lynchburg starter Shao-Ching Chiang and Betts smashed a two-run blast of his own over the wall in left.

Anderson pitched brilliantly, allowing two runs on four hits and one walk over six frames while fanning two for a quality start. Daniel McGrath walked three and whiffed two in two scoreless innings. Kelley slammed the door for his seventh save, allowing only one hit.

The Sox were scheduled to wrap up the Lynchburg series with Tuesday and Wednesday games at Salem Memorial Ballpark, then they’re out of town for 11 straight days as the Salem Fair comes to town.