Jake Esch, Colin Willis Earn American Association Honors for Week 4

Jake Esch, Colin Willis Earn American Association Honors for Week 4In American Association Daily, the Minor League Sports Report names their American Association Player and Pitcher of the Week for Week 4 as chosen by Robert Pannier and Kevin Luckow, with Gary Southshore RailCats outfielder Colin Willis being named Player of the Week and St. Paul Saints starter Jake Esch chosen as Pitcher of the Week.

Colin Willis, Jake Esch Honored in Week 4

The Minor League Sports Report has named their Player and Pitcher of the Week for Week 4 of the 2018 American Association season. Gary Southshore RailCats outfielder Colin Willis was chosen as the Player of the Week, while RHP Jake Esch of the St. Paul Saints was named as the Pitcher of the Week.

Player of the Week: Colin Willis, Gary Southshore RailCats

Colin Willis of the Gary Southshore RailCats was chosen as the Player of the Week after leading the American Association with a .440 average from June 4 – June 10. In seven games, the RailCats outfielder scored 5-runs, drove in 6 and hit 2 home runs, both of which came in Sunday’s come from behind victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

In the team’s seven games during the week, Willis had hits in six of them. He started out the week a bit slow, going 3-10 in the three-game series against the Winnipeg Goldeyes. On June 4, he was 1-4 with a run scored and an RBI in a 4-3 victory. A day later, the outfielder would go 0-3, not coincidentally the only game Gary Southshore lost to the Goldeyes in the series. The final game was a 6-2 victory, where Willis was 2-3 with a double.

In the four-games series with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Willis caught fire. He would finish 8-15 in the series, with 4-runs and 5-RBI. Gary Southshore won three of the four-games, staring on June 7, when they won 3-2 with the RailCats outfielder going 1-3 with a double and an RBI. He went 2-4 with a run in the 2-1 victory the following day and would be 2-3 with a run in the 3-1 loss on June 9. On Sunday, June 10, Willis had a huge game, going 3-5 with 2-runs and 4-RBI. He blasted two homers in the contest, including a 3-run shot in the eighth that gave his team the lead for good.

In the seven games, Colin Willis was 11-25 and had five extra base hits, including 3-doubles. He posted a .533 on-base percentage and had a slugging percentage of .800.

Willis became the second Gary Southshore RailCats player to be honored this year, joining Alex Gunn who was named Pitcher of the Week in Week 3.

Pitcher of the Week: Jake Esch, St. Paul Saints

St. Paul Saints RHP Jake Esch was named as the Pitcher of the Week by the Minor League Sports Report. Esch was 2-0 in two starts with a o.69 ERA, helping St. Paul to a 4-2 week.

Esch began the week with his best outing of the season tossing seven shutout innings against the Wichita Wingnuts on Tuesday, June 5. The right-hander was in complete control of this contest, as he held a 1-0 lead through the first five innings. In the sixth, the Wingnuts had their first real chance against the St. Paul starter when they loaded the bases with one down, but Jake Allen made a great diving catch that he turned into a double-play to end the threat. Esch came out after 7-innings, allowing 5-hits, 2-walks and he struck out a season high 10.

On Sunday, June 10, the right-hander followed up his season-best performance with another stellar outing, going 6-innings in the Saints 4-1 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries. Esch blanked the Canaries through the first five innings, holding a 2-0 lead. He gave up two hits in the second, but would give up just one more over the next three frames. Sioux Falls scored their only run in sixth, the last inning for the righty. He allowed 5-hits, 3-hits, and a run, striking out 3.

In 13.0-innings pitched, Jake Esch allowed 10-hits, 5-walks and just one run. He struck out 13. He posted a 2.1 strikeout to walk ratio, tied for best in the league during the week.

By Robert Pannier

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