It took Tampa Yankees catcher Wes Wilson five seasons to hit his first professional home run, a 17th-inning walkoff shot in Thursday's 5-4 win over Bradenton - a game during which Wilson also got the win for pitching two perfect innings of relief.
Seems like a storybook night for Wilson, who was signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2011. Only one problem: the bullpen crew of the Single-A Advanced Yankees affiliate retrieved the milestone ball. And they're not giving it up so easily.
Wilson, 25, posted on Twitter the "ransom note" from the pitchers and catcher that collected the ball. "Gonna be a tall task to get that home run ball back," he wrote on his account, @wtwilson5.
The demands include: 10 shares of Apple stock for pitcher Chris Smith, a righthander who, like Wilson, hails from Kentucky; a steak dinner for reliever Alex Smith; a new wardrobe for catcher Kyle Higashioka; Chinese food for reliever Luis Niebla; pitching coach Tommy Phelps asked Wilson to catch more side sessions for Tampa.
For the record, it doesn't appear as if the demand list is merely a joke. These pitchers are serious. Chris Smith (@c_smitty5) explained his request on Twitter like this: "he got me interested in the stock market. I need to build my portfolio. Everyone else is too soft."
Wilson had made two relief appearances for Tampa last season, going 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA, but Thursday's outing was his first in 2015. In 108 games over five seasons, Wilson has 358 at-bats. Wilson is a career .212 hitter with 15 doubles, a triple - and now, finally - a home run.
(39-29, 1st place in International League North)
Catcher Austin Romine was 2-for-5 with a grand slam and six RBIs as the RailRiders beat Rochester, 10-7. Third baseman Gregorio Petit was 3-for-4 with a walk and second baseman Rob Refsnyder doubled and walked.
(37-29, 2nd place in Eastern League Eastern, 0.5 games back)
Rightfielder Aaron Judge was 2-for-3 with a double and a home run, first baseman Greg Bird went 1-for-3 with a double and second baseman Tony Renda was 2-for-4 as the Thunder beat Reading, 5-0. Righthander Eric Ruth (5-0, 1.71 ERA) struck out three in six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and one walk. In his last six games, Judge is 6-for-20 with two doubles and three home runs.
(33-34, 4th place in South Atlantic League Southern, 3 games back)
Shortstop Jorge Mateo was 2-for-5 and stole his 43rd base and rightfielder Austin Aune went 2-for-3 with a walk as Charleston beat West Virginia, 4-3, in 10 innings. Designated hitter Dustin Fowler singled with one out in the bottom of the 10th and scored when second baseman Angel Aguilar followed with a double.
ROOKIE - DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE YANKEES 1
(12-5, 1st place in DSL Boca Chica South)
Righthander Gilmael Troya (3-0, 0.95 ERA) struck out six in five innings, allowing one hit, one walk and one unearned run in a 9-6 win over the DSL Rockies.
Shortstop Diego Castillo was 3-for-5 with a triple, centerfielder Estevan Florial went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk, third baseman Nelson Gomez was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk and first baseman Nelson Alvarez went 2-for-4 with a walk. Florial is hitting .405 (15-for-37) in nine games with two doubles, a triple and a home run.
ROOKIE - DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE YANKEES 2
(6-11, 10th place in DSL Boca Chica North, 6 games back)
Rightfielder Juan De Leon was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk, and second baseman Yonauris Rodriguez went 2-for-5, but the Yankees fell to the DSL Cubs, 8-4.