Real, a 48th-round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves, is a sophomore with the University of New Mexico Lobos. The 6'0" 215 lb. slugger played in 41 of the Lobos' 61 games in his freshman season, although he did not make any appearances as a catcher. Real hit a solid .271 with 3 homers and 29 RBI, but his production in the clutch was remarkable. Not only did he collect 20 of his 29 RBI with two outs, but he knocked in seven runs in last year's Mountain West Tournament championship game.
Real will play a much more important role with the 21st-ranked Lobos this season. Although he'll primarily be used at first base, he'll also get a significant amount of playing time behind the plate -- something that probably wouldn't be possible without the catching experience he gained playing for the Eau Claire Express in the Northwoods League last summer. Real, who had only ever caught in his senior year of high school, did more than just hold his own playing summer collegiate baseball. Real surprised even himself by being selected as the starting catcher for the South Division in the Northwoods League All-Star Game. He then went on to homer in that game, which was played in front of 6,073 fans. He finished the summer with a .235 batting average, .316 on-base percentage, 5 homers and 22 RBI in 183 at-bats.
The University of New Mexico baseball team opens their season with a three-game set against Oklahoma State this weekend. Ray Birmingham, head coach of the Lobos, is obviously a big fan of Real's. Birmingham was recently quoted as saying "Alex will be an All-American before he leaves here."
I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to seeing Real suit up for the HarbourCats at Royal Athletic Park -- no matter which position he is playing. Just make sure you don't park your car on Pembroke Street when he's in the lineup.
- In case you were busy with the Family Day long weekend and missed the announcement, the HarbourCats are running a "Name the Mascot" contest. You have until the end of the day on February 24th to enter. Go to the team's website for contest rules.
- I love the idea that our new mascot will be both roly-poly and pantless -- my favourite mascot of all time also fit that description. Now can we get the colour of his/her fur changed to orange?
- Austin Russell has cooled off a bit of late after a good start with the Southern Polytechnic Hornets. Although our hometown boy still has a .333 batting average, the Hornets are hitting .363 as a team and have scored an incredible 75 runs in the their 9 games. Russell has been on the bench for the last couple of games, but we're sure he'll be back out there cranking out the base hits very soon. The Hornets host Talladega College in a three-game series this weekend.
- In spite of some scorekeeping glitches, we were able to confirm that Victoria's Nick Pivetta did in fact make his debut for the New Mexico Junior College Thunderbirds this past weekend. On Saturday, he earned the win in the Thunderbirds’ 15-7 victory over Blinn College. Pivetta surrendered five hits and one earned run in 3 2/3 innings of work, while he walked two and struck out four batters. According to Clayton Jones of the Hobbs News-Sun, approximately ten scouts were in attendance at the game. New Mexico is scheduled to play a doubleheader against Otero Junior College on both Friday and Saturday afternoons.