East County Sports

Valhalla’s Garcia gets Busch curtain call

2015 LOCAL PRO BASEBALL STARS

By Ramon Scott

© EastCountySports.com

ST. LOUIS, Mo.(7-4-15) — St. Louis’ GREG GARCIA, from Valhalla High, had a pinch-hit walk in Thursday night’s (July 2) game against the Padres, his first-ever appearance against his hometown team.

A seemingly uneventful plate appearance compared to what the 25-year-old from El Cajon did last Friday night against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium.

Garcia, recalled to the majors by the Cardinals on June 19, hit a pinch-hit home run off of Cubs’ reliever Pedro Strop into the center-field bleachers for his first career Major League home run to lead off the eighth inning and tie the game, 2-2. Waiting on deck for his arrival was former Hawaii teammate Kolten Wong, as they exchanged a “hang loose” wave after he crossed the plate.

Caught up in the wild emotion of celebrating with his teammates, Cards’ manager Mike Matheny had to tell him that a curtain call still awaited.

“It was so cool,” said Garcia, the grandson of former major league manager Dave Garcia. “You can’t re-create that feeling, and to do it with this group of guys and how they’ve embraced me the last year and a half is some something special to contribute. For me to help out any way I can makes me feel good.”

Garcia was a second-team All-East County selection in his junior and senior seasons with the Norsemen in 2007-08. Garcia played collegiately at the University of Hawaii, were he was named to the All-Western Athletic Conference team for three seasons (2008-10). He was selected by the Cardinals in the seventh round (No. 229 overall) of the 2010 MLB Draft. He made his debut on April 28, 2014, playing in 14 games.

After being recalled two weeks ago, that day he collected two hits in a 12–4 win over Philadelphia. When Garcia hit his big fly, it was his first home run in his last 294 major and minor league at-bats. He had 37 homers in 574 career at-bats in the Cards’ minor league system.

Garcia struck out during a pinch-hit at-bat late in the game on Friday night in the Cards’ 2-1 loss to the Padres. Garcia is currently 7-for-26 in his ML career, including a pair of doubles. Oh, and one curtain call.

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