Jamie Ritchie may be a catcher and he may not be the fastest player on the diamond, but he doesn't necessarily fit the mold of slow, plodding athletes who wear the tools of ignorance.
Even so, hitting a triple to complete the first cycle in Double-A Corpus Christi's 13-year history was the last thing the 24-year-old was expecting.
Gameday box score
Ritchie's bases-loaded triple in the eighth etched his name in the Texas League record book and gave him a season-high four RBIs for the Hooks, whose late rally fell short in a 7-6 loss to Frisco on Sunday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Video: Corpus Christi's Ritchie hits for the cycle
Ritchie tied his career high with four hits and became the first Texas Leaguer to hit for the cycle since Bubba Starling did it for Northwest Arkansas on July 28, 2015.
"I went up there knowing I was a triple shy and I was thinking about it," the backstop said. "But hitting a triple is one of the hardest things to do out there and being a catcher who's not the fleetest of foot, I thought, 'No way.' But I fouled off a few tough pitches and then barreled one away that found the gap. At that point, I was just going for it. It felt really good when I reached third."
2017 Minor League milestones
Ritchie got one of the more difficult hits out of the way in his first at-bat, blasting a solo homer to left field that gave the Hooks an early lead. He singled to right leading off the fourth and doubled to left and scored in the fifth. Batting with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, the 2014 13th-round pick ripped his first triple since Aug. 28, 2015 into right-center.
"When I was heading towards first I heard someone yelling at me to go for it. I usually don't hear anything when I'm out there," the Georgia native said. "My teammates in the dugout were giving it to me pretty good, too, when I got to third. At that point, I felt like I was running in sand and I needed some oxygen. It was nice to get back into the dugout for a few before having to go back out there.
"I came close to hitting for the cycle before in college [at Belmont University]. I was a triple shy in both of those instances, too, but there's some luck involved and tonight it went my way. I feel very fortunate and pretty surprised, to be honest."
Ritchie entered the season with a .287/.417/.405 career slash line. He was assigned to Double-A after hitting .276 with a career-high seven homers and 57 RBIs in 2016 with Class A Advanced Lancaster. That included a four-hit, six-RBI performance on May 16. On Sunday, he broke out of a 6-for-39 funk that spanned 14 games and lowered his line to .223/.352/.266 in 59 games with the Hooks.
"As Minor Leaguers, we're always making adjustments," Ritchie said. "[Hitting coach Joel Chimelis] has been a great help to me. It's been a process throughout the year and I've just got to keep working. I'm a bit of a passive hitter, but tonight I tried to be a little more aggressive, which is something we've worked on. I give a lot of credit to him."
• Get tickets to a Hooks game »
Juremi Profar and Eric Aguilera homered for Frisco, while Richelson Pena (1-0) allowed one run on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts over six innings in his Double-A season debut.
Top Astros prospect Kyle Tucker contributed two hits for the Hooks.