Lexington Legends third baseman Emmanuel Rivera had two hits in four at-bats to claim the South Atlantic League batting title, but the Hagerstown Suns built an early lead and went on to an 11-6 win over the Legends in the final game of the season on Monday.
A seventh-inning double gave Rivera a .310 average for the season, one point better than Greensboro’s James Nelson, who went 2-for-4 in a 2-1 win over Hickory earlier in the day.
Rivera needed the second hit. Had he gone 1-for-4, Nelson would have won the title. Rivera also led the league in hits with 144. He’s the second player in the Legends’ 17-year history to claim the batting crown. J.D. Martinez, now with the Arizona Diamondbacks, won with a .362 average in 2010.
Rivera’s 12 homers were third-most on the team and he led the Legends with 72 RBI. Khalil Lee, a 19-year-old center fielder in his first season with the team, led the Legends with 17 home runs. Lee was selected by the Royals in the third round of the 2016 draft and spent last season with the club’s Class A affiliate in the Arizona League, the AZL Royals.
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Dillon Drabble chewed up the most innings on the mound by far for the Legends this year. The 21-year-old right hander tossed 60 1/3 innings, going 4-2 with a 3.88 ERA and 51 strikeouts to nine walks in seven starts. Grant Gavin pitched the second most innings at 49 1/3. The 22-year-old right hander went 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA, 47 strike outs and five walks in 13 appearances.
The Legends finished the season with an overall record of 62-75, sixth-best in the South Atlantic League’s seven-team Southern Division.