Class A Short Season leagues are considered by many to be more about acclimating players who just cracked into the world of professional baseball than winning and losing. But that doesn't make a loss like Saturday night's sting any less for Drew Ellis .
"It doesn't feel good by any means," the D-backs' second-round pick said after going 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and an RBI in Hillsboro's 10-9 loss to Spokane in walk-off fashion at Avista Stadium.
"But I think our team is really good and I think our pitching staff is really good. I want to win ballgames. Not only myself, but I know a bunch of guys on the team who want to win as well. Connor Owings , who won the College World Series, and I have talked quite a bit about just winning ballgames, talking about what it takes to win at this level. He obviously won at Coastal Carolina and we won a lot of games at the University of Louisville, so we're just trying to figure out what it takes to win and also develop your skillset as well to be the best player that you can be."
Gameday box score
The 21-year-old third baseman, playing in his seventh professional game, began his night with an RBI double to center field in the first inning to score first-round pick Pavin Smith and give the Hops a 2-0 lead.
Ellis lined a single to left in the second, ground another base hit to left in the fifth and drew a seven-pitch walk in the ninth. He also struck out in the seventh.
"I haven't felt great at the plate lately, so I was just trying to stay simple and stay short with my approach, look for a pitch over the plate that I can do some damage with," said Ellis, who carried a .280 average into the contest but has hit safely in five of six games. "I got a couple of fastballs tonight that I put barrels on and the results took care of themselves."
After he was 44th overall a little less than a month ago, Ellis wrapped up his sophomore campaign with Louisville, where he produced a .355/.448/.701 slash line, 20 homers, 18 doubles and 61 RBIs. His production helped lead the Cardinals to a program-best 53-win season and their third trip to the College World Series in five years.
And the Kentucky native hasn't had much time to rest since.
"It's been crazy," he said. "After our season finished in Omaha, I got called up by Arizona on the Monday [June 26] after. I signed my contract on Wednesday and flew out to Oregon and then started playing on Friday, so it's kind of been nonstop lately.
"But I enjoy it. I enjoy playing the game and everything that the game brings and allows me to do. Hopefully, one day I can make it to the big leagues, so I've just got to be the best player that I can be."
The Hops took a 9-7 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but reliever Erbert Gonzalez gave up three consecutive one-out singles. A throwing error by catcher Daulton Varsho allowed the tying run to score and Clayton Middleton delivered the walk-off single to cap the back-and-forth tilt.