Lesson learned: Minor leaguer hits HR but misses plate
BALTIMORE (AP) When a player hits a home run, there's really only one overriding rule when running the bases: Touch `em all.
Elier Levya of the Class A Delmarva Shorebirds failed to do so after hitting a clutch home run Sunday, and his mistake proved costly in a 5-4 loss.
Levya hit the ball over the wall in the ninth inning to apparently give visiting Delmarva a 5-4 lead over Augusta. But after Levya jumped into the air amid a celebration at home, he didn't land on the plate.
Augusta noticed the error, and the umpire agreed. So Levya was credited with a triple and failed to score.
Delmarva is an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, and the major league team presented a video of the slip-up to its players before facing Atlanta on Monday night. Sure enough, Matt Wieters homered in the 11th inning, and manager Buck Showalter was sure to watch the entire jaunt around the bases.
''We showed it in the advance meeting as a reminder,'' Showalter said Tuesday. ''As Matt was running around the bases I was kind of glad I did.''
Showalter said the on-deck hitter should receive a part of the blame for Levya's blunder.
''My first thought when I saw it was, you as an on-deck hitter are supposed to coach the runner at the plate,'' Showalter said. ''Touching the plate should be part of that.''
Showalter has managed thousands of games in the minors and in the major leagues, and couldn't remember something similar happening. This much he does know: It won't occur again for Delmarva anytime soon.
''It's a great teaching point for our guys. Not only the guy who was guilty of it, but the on-deck hitter,'' Showalter said. ''I know our manager (Ryan Minor) there really well, so I know it won't happen again. Use it as a teaching tool. You have to make mistakes to learn from them.''
Levya, a native of Cuba playing in his first professional season, received a lesson he won't ever forget.
''I can take that one off the list for him,'' Showalter said.