Burgess brings pop (not soda) to Honkers lineup

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Carter Burgess of the Honkers went into Tuesday night's game against St. Cloud ROX hitting .462. He proceeded to go 3-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 21 games.

As a Texan getting acclimated to his first stay in Minnesota, Carter Burgess has made some initial observations.

"First off, the weather here is awesome; the summer is pretty hot in Texas, so the upper 70s here work just fine for me," he said.

"But the most notable thing for me is that everyone calls soda 'pop' here. That's different."

For Burgess, who is here playing summer college baseball with the Rochester Honkers, 'pop' has always just been the sound that occurs when baseball firmly meets bat.

And midway through this Northwoods League season, the shortstop from Sam Houston State University has been serving up plenty of 'pop'.


Burgess extended his consecutive games hitting streak to 21 games Tuesday night at Mayo Field, going 3-for-5 in the Honkers' 9-6 loss to the St. Cloud Rox.

Closing in on record

Burgess, who has hit safely in every game since joining the Honkers two weeks into the season on June 10, is among just 10 players in the 20-year league history to have a 20-game hit streak. He is closing in on the Honkers' team record of 24 set last summer by Jordan Parr of Illinois.

"It's nice to get hits and all, but I just want to focus on getting better and helping the team win," said Burgess, who now has enough at-bats to qualify as the top hitter in the 16-team league with a .470 batting average.

Burgess said his longest hitting streak before this was probably 10 games, and that he is seeing and hitting the ball better than ever before.

"I had a good spring (at college) and I made a few more adjustments at the end of the season that have helped me," he said. "I've relaxed my hands a bit and try to let the ball get a little deeper in the strike zone before I swing at it."

Burgess hasn't been getting lucky during his remarkable hit streak. He has had multiple hits in 11 of the 21 games including five games with three hits and one with four.

"I really haven't seen him get that lucky hit yet; he's squaring up and making good contact every time," said Honkers manager Adam White."He's also one of the hardest guys to strike out in the league; he has only six strikeouts (in 83 at-bats)."


Maintains even keel

White said that Burgess has an even-keel approach to the game, not getting too high or too low, and that's especially important when playing virtually every day.

"Whatever happened the previous day, you have to forget about it and put it behind you," White said. "Carter doesn't dwell on past games."

While it's impossible to ignore his offense, Burgess said he has been more encouraged by his improvement on defense, despite eight errors so far in 21 games.

"I'm learning more about my defense and that's been the most important thing to me," he said. "I've changed my arm angle (on throws) and it has helped my arm strength and to get the ball over to first base faster."

Burgess stays in daily contact with his parents Brad and Vicki, and with his older sister, Kendall, and younger brother, Campbell. His dad was "kind of a Houston legend" as a three-time all-city third baseman in high school. Kendall played college volleyball at Auburn.

Burgess is enjoying his summer in Minnesota, but as for the canned soft drinks he defers to his southern roots.

"That'll always be soda to me," he said with a laugh.

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