C.R. Kernels outfielder Casey Scoggins has mom to thank for outstanding defensive ability

Dayton beat Cedar Rapids in 10 innings, 6-4

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Casey Scoggins was one of the best defensive outfielders in college baseball. He’s got a major award to prove it.

His mom helped make him so good.

“At my dad’s softball tournaments when I was growing up, my mom would throw me pop flies,” Scoggins said Saturday night, before the Cedar Rapids Kernels’ rain-delayed, 6-4, 10-inning loss to Dayton at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “I’d practice going back to the fence and robbing home runs. My dad was a pretty good outfielder when he played, so I guess it trickled down to me. I’ve just been blessed with good reactions.”

Albie Scoggins played baseball at Indian River Community College in Florida and the University of Florida, so there’s the genetics part of it. Christine Scoggins wasn’t a softball player or anything, but a doting mother, obviously.

Casey Scoggins was a 2015 NCAA Division II ABCA/Rawlings National Gold Glove winner at the University of Tampa after his junior season. He has played well in center and left fields since coming to Cedar Rapids from Rookie-level Elizabethton on July 7.

And he has evolved into the club’s leadoff hitter, coming into Saturday night’s game with a .298 batting average. He won’t give you any power, but he’s pesky from the left side of the plate, and has shown an early penchant for fouling off two-strike pitches.

“I think things have gone smoothly,” Scoggins said. “I feel like I’ve settled in nicely. I was only in Tennessee for two weeks, and right when I got settled, I got moved up here. But I feel pretty good here. I wasn’t playing much, probably played in only three or four games, had, what 12 at-bats? They said they needed some help up here in the outfield. It caught me off guard, but I’m playing now.”

Scoggins was the parent Minnesota Twins’ 39th-round draft pick in June. The three-day draft lasts only 40 rounds.

“I got quite a few calls on day two from teams saying I could go in the ninth or 10th round. That was pretty cool,” he said. “I was told early on it would probably be day three when I got taken. I was thinking mid-20s. But it started to get to the 31st, the 32nd round, and I was like ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m not going to get taken.’ The Twins called me in the 23rd, and that was pretty much the first time I’d talked to them all season ... I’m just thankful to have the opportunity to play baseball.”

Saturday’s game began a half-hour late. Cedar Rapids rallied from a 3-1 hole to take a lead in the sixth on a Sean Miller two-out RBI double.

Dayton tied it the following half-inning on a Nick Senzel sacrifice fly. Senzel was the parent Cincinnati Reds’ first-round draft pick in June, the second-overall selection from the University of Tennessee.

In the 10th, Shed Long and Senzel had back-to-back leadoff singles against losing reliever Anthony McIver (0-1) to put runners on the corners. McIver appeared to have worked his way out of the jam, as he got two outs, keeping Long at third and Senzel at second.

McIver intentionally walked Kevin Franklin to load the bases and set up a possible lefty-lefty matchup with Reydel Medina. But he was pinch hit for by righty Brantley Bell, who hit a grounder that C.R. third baseman Chris Ibarra dove to his left for and threw to second a bit low and out of the grasp of second baseman Miller, allowing two runs to score.

The teams play again Sunday afternoon at 2:05.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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