MISSOULA – The Missoula Osprey won the Pioneer League North Division title in the first half, but have struggled to create any lasting momentum throughout the season. Consistency, however has been no problem for two of Missoula’s sluggers.
Third baseman Joey Rose and catcher Andy Yerzy have each recorded long hitting streaks. The run for Rose ended at 21 games on Sunday, the longest streak in the Pioneer League this year. With a first-inning hit on Wednesday, Yerzy moved his mark to 17 games, the longest current streak in the league.
The two high draft picks out of high school struggled in their first professional years last summer. Yerzy, a second-round pick out of Ontario, Canada, hit only .216 with a single home run over stints in Missoula and with the AZL Diamondbacks.
Rose, a fifth-round selection from New Jersey, batted only .226 with one home run in the AZL.
But it’s all coming together now for the pair of 19-year-olds. Rose has a .309 batting average with eight home runs and 34 RBI. He credits feeling more comfortable at the plate and working hard with the right people during his first professional offseason.
Yerzy is hitting .293 with six home runs and 33 RBI. He feels his patience at the plate has made the biggest difference, allowing him to take advantage of hitters’ counts.
And even though they both say they don’t pay attention to the hitting streaks, it’s impossible to ignore completely.
“I have my dad text me every night,” admitted Rose. “I don’t try to think about it, but he was always there, ’16, 17, 18…'”
“Me and Rose are roommates with everything,” said Yerzy. “We’re roommates on the road. We’re roommates during the spring. We’re roommates during extended. So I think me and him kind of feed off one another, where if he starts to hit, I want to hit just as good as him. And I feel like he’s the same way.”