QUINCY -- Two weeks ago, Riley Pittman was hoping for a phone call.
"After it didn't come, I was done waiting around," he said.
Pittman batted .228 for the Sanford Mainers last summer in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and he was hoping to get a return trip to the East Coast. However, he grew tired of waiting and got in touch with one of his coaches at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, who contacted Pat Robles, an assistant coach with the Quincy Gems in the Prospect League.
Pittman had two hits in his first game with the Gems on June 14 and has hit safely in eight of Quincy's nine games. The Gems have gone 6-3 since Pittman's arrival.
"Things didn't work out in Maine, and I'm really glad I came," said Pittman, a native of North Richland Hills, Texas. "The fans are good, the baseball's good, and the guys are great.
"We've got 30-some games left to make something special happen."
Pittman hit .305 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs in 174 at-bats during his sophomore year at Arkansas-Little Rock, but his numbers dipped to .228 with five home runs and 26 RBIs in 184 at-bats this past spring.
He has 12 hits in 37 at-bats for a .324 average in nine games for the Gems. He has 10 runs batted in.
Sliders' Leonetti returns
Springfield Sliders manager Steve Leonetti made his return to the field on Saturday. He had been suspended for the past eight games.
"It was OK," Leonetti said when asked what it was like to be back in the dugout. "You'd like the outcome to be better, but it was an ugly game. Four errors, 20 hits. Just gross."
The Prospect League gave Leonetti a two-game suspension and a $200 fine for comments he made about umpires to the Springfield State Journal-Register in a 10-8 loss to the Hannibal Hoots. That suspension was added onto an automatic two-game suspension for being ejected from the game.
Leonetti then was booted from an 8-3 loss to Danville on the following night and received another two-game suspension. The league added another two-game suspension because he didn't leave in the field in a timely manner.
Asked how he passed the time, Leonetti said, "I spent a lot of time thinking about lineup combinations and pitching combinations, and who I can try to recruit and add more pitching."
Comebacker to the back
The last out of the bottom of the eighth inning was interesting.
Quincy's Aaron Campbell hit a line drive up the middle, and Springfield relief pitcher Alec Altmyer turned his back to the ball. Campbell's liner hit Altmyer right in the ... um, er ... behind.
Altmyer picked up the ball and threw him out, then walked off the field with a smile on his face.