A year after Robbie Podorsky was playing for Delgado Community College, his dreams came true when the Padres picked him in the 25th round of last month's Draft. So when the 22-year-old tied a Northwest League record on Saturday night, he was almost at a loss for words.
"It's an amazing feeling," he said. "I think it hasn't set in and hit me yet. It's kind of one of those games you dream of where everything's working, everything falling your way."
In his 14th game as a pro, Podorsky went 6-for-6 and drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning as Class A Short Season Tri-City edged Boise, 8-7, on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. The 22-year-old, who fell a homer shy of the cycle, became the sixth player in league history with a six-hit game and the first since Syketo Anderson accomplished the feat for Boise on June 19, 2001.
Gameday box score
After transferring to McNeese State this year, Podorsky compiled a .323/.401/.460 slash line with five homers and 28 RBIs in 57 games. While that season included a five-hit game against Prairie View A&M on March 3, Saturday's effort with the Dust Devils meant a little more to the Prairieville, Louisiana, native.
"First off, the competition for that game was a little worse," Podosrky said. "It was kind of the same thing. Everything felt like it was connecting, I was on time with everything, I hit the pitches where I wanted to hit them and I was lucky enough that they found holes in both games."
Three weeks after Podorsky's last game with the Cowboys, the Padres drafted him 738th overall. He joined the team's entry in the Rookie-level Arizona League and hit .400 in 11 games before his promotion to the Dust Devils. Getting to the professional level has kept Podorsky grounded.
"It was a very, very stressful process," he said. "The Draft is so unpredictable because you don't know where you're headed. There's like a fork in the road, 'Am I going back to college or going in the Draft?' I had a couple of sleepless nights heading into the Draft, and then during the Draft -- that was hard to sit through. Three days of hearing names before they get to you.
"It's been very humbling from where I've been and where I've come through. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be here today."
After two hitless games with Tri-City, Podorsky swung at the first pitch of the night from Garrett Schilling and laced a single back up the middle. Noting that the defense was playing back in the third inning, he laid down a bunt for his second knock.
"I do feel like it got off the monkey off my back, now that I'm playing at a higher level and not knowing what to expect," he said. "Hopefully, I'll get the ball rolling. ... Most of the time, you want to see pitches unless it's the perfect pitch you're looking for. I'm looking for a pitch that I can handle very well, something that I'm comfortable hitting 10 out of 10 times. The first pitch of the game happened to be that pitch."
With one out in the fourth, Podorsky slugged an RBI double to left field. Two innings later, the 5-foot-7, 170-pound center fielder showed off his speed with first Minor League triple.
"It was fun," he said with a laugh. "After I got to third, they actually checked to see if I touched first base because I almost tripped after rounding first. I knew off the bat it was in the gap and I kept running. It was definitely a well-hit ball -- especially for me."
Podorsky knew he'd had a chance for the cycle in the eighth, but he kept himself from swinging for the fences and delivered another first-pitch single.
"At that point during the game, it was close and we needed a baserunner, we didn't really have anybody in scoring position," he said. "Plus, I'm a guy who runs into home runs by mistake. I can't sit there and try to hit a home run; I'll mess up my swing."
After the Hawks forced extra innings with a two-run eighth, Podorsky came up in the 10th and fought off an 0-2 slider for an infield single that scored Westhers Magdaleno and put the Dust Devils back in front for good.
"I ended up letting my instincts take over and I ended up swinging at a ball," he said. "I got just too little of the barrel on it to beat it out. ... I just felt lucky. That was it, I was lucky. Things don't always work out, especially in this game."
Justin Lopez went 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Luis Asuncion and Luis Anguizola both contributed two hits for Tri-City.
For the Hawks, Rockies ninth-round pick Sean Bouchard went 4-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI.