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Chavis' '15 debut an unqualified success

Red Sox's 2014 first-round pick slugs homer, hits walk-off double
April 10, 2015

Michael Chavis had a full-season debut to remember. The fact that it occurred on Opening Day made it even more impressive.

The Red Sox's No. 11 prospect homered and hit a walk-off double Thursday night, giving Class A Greenville a 3-2 victory over Augusta.

Chavis started slowly, bouncing into a double play and grounding out in his first two at-bats. With the Drive trailing, 2-1, in the seventh inning, the 19-year-old shortstop launched a solo homer over the left-center field wall of Fluor Field at the West End.

"[A] 2-1 game, he's ready to hit as soon as he steps into the box and gets a really good, aggressive first-pitch swing," Drive manager Darren Fenster said. "It went halfway out of the building in left-center field. He absolutely got all of it."

Two innings later, Chavis finished the comeback he started, smacking a double off the "Green Monster" in left field to score Nick Longhi with the winning run.

"He had two huge at-bats for us," Fenster said. "He had some aggressive swings later in the game and got rewarded for it. "

Chavis, drafted 26th overall last June, played in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League after signing with the club. Making his South Atlantic League debut in front of friends and family, Fenster was impressed by the Georgia native's ability to stay composed.

"It's a great sign for a kid who, this is his first game under the lights, and to have him come up with with the game on the line in the ninth, for him to have the ability to stay calm under pressure and come through with a good at-bat -- he smoked a ball that was a couple of feet from being a home run," the manager said. "That's a testament to him being able to stay composed. Very great time and a great first night for him to build on."

Even with a debut like Thursday's, it's inevitable that Chavis will hit some bumps in the road, something Fenster said he and his coaches are prepared for.

"Our job as a staff is to focus on all the work that happens between 2 o'clock and 7 o'clock," the 36-year-old skipper said. "With young players like Mike and a handful of others, it's teaching these guys how to work before 7 o'clock, getting our focus on that and away from the results of the game, good or bad. I think if we keep them in the consistent routine of work every single day: If you had a great game, we go back to work the next day the same way if you had gone 0-for-4."

Rafael Devers,'s No. 97 overall prospect, got the Drive on the ball with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

Greenville starter Ty Buttrey fanned eight and gave up two runs -- one earned -- on four hits over four innings but did not figure in the decision. Aaron Wilkerson scattered three hits and struck out five over three scoreless frames and Mario Alcantara (1-0) tossed two one-hit innings to earn the win.

Jeremy Sy was 2-for-4 with an RBI for the GreenJackets.

Augusta's Connor Kaden (0-1) recorded two outs but allowed two hits, including Chavis' walk-off double.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.