Bluefield's Shelby has night of firsts

Orioles prospect slugs two homers, nearly hits for the cycle

Jeremy Shelby was selected by the Orioles in the 38th round of the 2010 Draft. (Bluefield Orioles)

By Alex Raskin / Special to | July 10, 2010 7:39 PM ET

Before Saturday, Jeremy Shelby had not homered, tripled or driven in a run as a professional. The 38th-round pick in the 2010 Draft hadn't even enjoyed a win as a starter.

That all changed as Shelby homered twice, tripled, singled and collected five RBIs to lead the Bluefield Orioles to a 15-5 rout of the Greeneville Astros.

The Grambling State product had a chance to hit for the cycle in his final at-bat but slugged his second homer of the game instead.

"I did know [I needed a double]," Shelby said. "I was just looking for a strike. I knew what I had to get.

"It's kind of bittersweet. The double would have been memorable, I kind of wanted the double. But as long as we won, that's what was important. I wanted the win. That was the first win with me in the lineup, so that felt good."

Shelby's night may have ended with a blast, but it began with a bunt single.

"The third baseman was playing back and I knew if I put a good angle on it, it could work out for me," said Shelby, the Orioles' leadoff hitter. "It really sets up your day at the plate when you can see the ball like that from that perspective. It really helped me out with the rest of my at-bats."

After flying out to left in the second inning, Shelby hit his first professional homer, a two-run shot to center field off Astros starter Ruben Alaniz (2-1).

"It was a fastball," Shelby said. "It kind of elevated a little bit, but I got my hands around on it and put a good swing on it."

In the fourth, Shelby plated Riley Hornback and Moises Ciriaco with his first Minor League triple.

"I was expecting him to come back with the curve, but he came back with the fastball," he said. "It went in the gap and I hadn't run in a while, so I kept running past second base because it felt good and ended up on third."

Shelby scored on Kyle Hoppy's single to give Bluefield a 14-2 lead.

After walking in the sixth, he went deep again in the eighth to cap the scoring.

"It was a first-pitch fastball," Shelby said. "A lot of guys throw a first-pitch fastball. One of my teammates said it was off-speed, but it looked like the fastball to me."

Shelby's brother, White Sox prospect John Shelby III, had a three-homer game for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem on May 3, 2008. His father, John, was an 11-year Major League veteran and is the first-base coach for the Baltimore Orioles.

"I haven't gotten to talk to any of the family yet," the 22-year-old said. "Growing up, I didn't get to see my dad a lot, so a lot of those baseball experiences like this are shared over the phone.

"Baseball is what we live for in my family, so things like this are always special."

Shelby raised his average to .419 and has five extra-base hits in 11 games.

Alex Raskin is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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