Appel Gives a Preview of What is to Come


Mark Appel (Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)

Entering the last exhibition game of 2014, the focus was on the Houston Astros’ opponent; Veracruz of the Mexican League. But Mark Appel stole the show in Houston’s 6-1 victory.

The first overall pick of last year’s draft got the start on Sunday and pitched three scoreless innings. Appel allowed just two hits while striking out three batters and exciting the hometown crowd. Houston’s future ace will now make his way to California to start his ascension to the major leagues by pitching for High-A Lancaster.

Pat Urkfitz pitched the next three innings and continued to keep Veracruz off the scoreboard allowing just one hit and recording one strikeout. Bobby Doran then picked up both the blown save and the win as he pitched the last three innings of the game. Doran allowed three hits and one walk allowing the Astros to end the 2014 exhibition season on a winning note.

Adron Chambers plated Erik Castro with a third inning sacrifice fly and then the Astros scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for the victory.

With the regular season starting on Tuesday, the Astros’ roster was stacked with prospects and players slated to begin the year in the minor leagues. Before joining Appel in California, Carlos Correa put Houston ahead for good with a sacrifice fly which was followed a George Springer bases loaded walk. Japhet Amador then closed out the scoring with a single against his former team that cleared the bases with the help of a throwing error.