In only in his second year of professional baseball, Steve Ascher has already earned a championship ring. Not bad.
Ascher, a former Mattituck High School pitcher from Cutchogue, helped the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs secure their first Florida State League championship. The 6-foot, 185-pound left-hander pitched four innings of scoreless relief, striking out five batters in the decisive Game 4, a 3-2 defeat of the Dayton Tortugas. Kean Wong’s bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 13th inning brought an end to the game and gave the Stone Crabs the series, three games to one.
“I kind of felt that we were going to pull it out the whole time,” said Ascher, who pitched the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th innings, throwing 55 pitches. He added: “I felt great. I never felt more confident on the mound.”
Ascher, 23, was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays out of Oneonta State in the 17th round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He played for the Princeton (W.Va.) Rays in a rookie league last year. This year he was skipped a couple of levels and assigned to play in the advanced Class A Florida State League.
Ascher did well, going 7-3 during the regular season with a 2.50 earned run average. He made 35 appearances (31 in relief), allowing 71 hits over 75 2/3 innings. His strikeout to walk ratio was excellent: 39-2.
“I think I just had to prove to myself that I could play at whatever level I’m at,” he said.
Following the title-clinching game, Ascher was praised by his manager, Michael Johns.
“Ascher’s had stones all year,” Johns said in an interview that was posted on YouTube. Johns said Ascher has “that intangible of being able to get out of tough situations because he’s got grit and he’s got heart and he was awesome. He’s been awesome all year.”
Photo Caption: Since being drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014, former Mattituck High School standout Steve Ascher has done well in the Rays’ minor-league system. (Credit: Courtesy photo)
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