2017-07-13 / Sports

Borkovich moves up

Braves send Elmwood Township talent to advanced-rookie ranks
By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor


WALTER BORKOVICH, pictured winding up for a pitch in Gulf Coast League action last week, joined the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League on Tuesday. 
Photo: Jeff Morris WALTER BORKOVICH, pictured winding up for a pitch in Gulf Coast League action last week, joined the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League on Tuesday. Photo: Jeff Morris The county kid is making moves.

Already.

The Atlanta Braves on Tuesday sent Leelanau Peninsula product and former undrafted Michigan State pitcher Walter Borkovich from the Gulf Coast League Braves to the organization’s advanced rookie-league affiliate, the Danville Braves in Danville, Va.

Danville competes in the Appalachian League — the second-lowest rung on the minor-league ladder — meaning four affiliates separate Borkovich from his dream of pitching in the big leagues.

“We’re very proud of him,” said his dad, Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich. “We expect that he’ll continue to work hard and live out his dream of making it to Major League Baseball. We know he’s been working his butt off down there.”

Walter Borkovich picked up the promotion following a pair of two-inning appearances in the Gulf Coast League last week.

The former Traverse City West star did not disappoint in his rookie-league debut on the Fourth of July, twirling two innings of shutout ball in a 5-4 loss to the GCL Phillies at Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla. He pitched the fifth and sixth innings, surrendering just one walk and one run while recording five groundouts and one fly out.

He appeared again four days later against an affiliate of the organization he grew up rooting for, the Detroit Tigers, in a 9-4 win at Tiger Town in Lakeland. Borkovich, who was the top arm out of the Spartans bullpen as a senior, replaced Juan Contreras in the bottom of the fourth inning and promptly struck out the first GCL Tigers West batter he faced, second baseman Keyder Aristigueta. The next eight Detroit hitters recorded a fly out, a single, another fly out to end the inning, a fly out to begin the fifth, a groundout, back-to-back singles and a line out to second base, respectively.

“They were quick,” Borkovich said when asked about the appearances via text on Tuesday.

Borkovich, who will wear No. 51 in Danville, is now four minor-league affiliates away from the big leagues, but also less than four hours away from his sister. Ressa Borkovich, a former basketball star and a 2016 graduate of Coastal Carolina University, works in the Myrtle Beach area at Conway Medical Center in Conway, S.C.

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