Deuces wild for Mavericks' Demeritte

Rangers No. 20 prospect delivers fourth two-homer game of season

Through 65 California League games, Travis Demeritte has averaged one homer per every 13 at-bats. (Ben Sandstrom/MiLB.com)

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com | June 18, 2016 2:45 AM

Travis Demeritte has repeated a particular kind of performance a few times in the California League this year, but he doesn't mind.

"That feeling's never getting old," the Rangers' No. 20 prospect said.

Demeritte slugged a pair of solo homers Friday night as Class A Advanced High Desert beat visiting Stockton, 11-1. It was the fourth two-homer game of the season for the 21-year-old second baseman.

"I was seeing the ball pretty well," he said, "and I got a couple pitches to hit and made sure I didn't miss them."

The Mavericks are in first place in the California League South Division with two games to play in the first half. The victory, combined with Rancho Cucamonga's 11-inning loss at San Jose, gave High Desert a two-game lead.

"It was awesome, especially going into the break," Demeritte said. "[The win guaranteed] we're still a game up on Rancho with the next two games, so it was huge to come out and do this tonight."

The New York City native, who had gone 1-for-15 in his previous five games, said he needed to trust his instincts rather than make adjustments to find his way out of the slump.

"It's always a grind -- this game itself is a grind. I've been trying to stay with my approach and not get too deep into it mentally," he said. "I knew [the hits] were going to come, so I wasn't going up there changing anything. I knew I was going to get some good pitches, and I was focused on handling my part of the deal. I'm happy I got the two tonight."

The two long balls gave Demeritte 18 on the season, putting him four ahead of Visalia's Rudy Flores for the league lead and one behind Double-A Reading's Dylan Cozens for most in the Minor Leagues. He said he hasn't exactly tracked that race.

"I haven't been aware and I haven't been paying any attention," the 2013 first-round pick said. "I just play hard and try to give my team the best chance to win, whether it's with a homer or a sac fly."

In the second inning, Demeritte took a pitch from No. 29 A's prospect Brett Graves, then hammered the next offering the other way, over the right-field fence.

"I was trying to get something I can drive," he said. "The first pitch, he threw a cutter up in the zone and I saw it pretty well. I said, 'Well, if he throws that again, I won't take it.' He threw it again. I hit it pretty well, but the wind was blowing straight across. I was running really hard down the line before it went out."

Leading off the eighth against Corey Miller, fresh out of the Ports bullpen, Demeritte saw five pitches.

"He started me off with a fastball down [out of] the zone. Those guys were showing me a lot of fastballs tonight, so I was looking for it," he said.

A couple pitches later, "[Miller] threw a fastball I put a bad swing on, so I knew at some point in the at-bat I was going to see that again. He threw a changeup away, and that gave him strike two, but I stayed with my plan. I ended up getting that pitch and I didn't miss it. I knew that one was gone off the bat."

Leading off for High Desert, Scott Heineman went 2-for-3 with a homer, double and five RBIs.

"That's awesome, for our leadoff guy to be producing like that," Demeritte said. "That's big for us. We're going to need him the next few games as well as rest of the season."

Rangers No. 12 prospect Ariel Jurado (6-1) allowed a run on six hits and two walks while fanning a pair over six innings to lower his ERA to team-best 3.08.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @JoshJacksonMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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