Santos, Collins, Pierce make impact in pro debuts

Published 10:27 pm Monday, June 17, 2013

Former Troy teammates Danny Collins, Trae Santos and Logan Pierce all began their careers in professional baseball as the Short Season Class A season opened.

Santos, playing for the Eugene Emeralds an affiliate of the San Diego Padres, got an early start as the Northwest League opened its season on Friday while the New York-Penn League, where Collins and Pierce are assigned didn’t begin until Monday.

Santos didn’t play in Friday’s opener but did see action as a pinch hitter in Saturday’s game, striking out in his only at bat. On Sunday, however, Santos laced an RBI double in the sixth inning against two-time league champion Boise to tie the game at 1-1. Eugene would lose the game but Santos finished 2-for-4 and proved a tough out for a Eugene squad that struggled at the plate in its first three games.

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Collins made his presence felt early with a solo home run in his first professional at bat in the second inning. He would later single to finish 2-for-4 for the Jamestown Jammers, a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate.

“It was awesome, just a great feeling,” Collins, a 13th round draft pick said. “I go a lot of love from my teammates, a lot of high-fives.”

Not to be outdone, Pierce, a graduate of Charles Henderson High School and drafted in the 15th round, went 2-for-4 with a single in his pro debut for the Philadelphia Phillies Short Season Class A affiliate, the Williamsport Crosscutters.

While all three have more than 70 games left in the season, there are many firsts yet to come for the trio. One will come on Thursday when Collins’ Jammers meet Pierce’s Crosscutters in a three-game series in Jamestown pitting the two former Trojans against one another for the first time.

While Santos, the Padres 17th round selection, won’t get the chance to face his former teammates, all three keep in touch on a regular basis.

“I text them once a day to see how they’re doing, what their experience is like,” Collins said.

And his feelings on playing against Pierce?

“I’m sure there will be some talk between us because we are so close. It will be nice to play against someone who you know so well and share the experience with.”