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 Tigers prospect, Bertram, hits for the cycle

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PostSubject: Tigers prospect, Bertram, hits for the cycle   Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:01 pm

Tigers prospect hits for the cycle
Bertram is first Lakeland player to perform feat since '98

By John Torenli /

07/19/09 12:21 AM ET

After flirting with his first career cycle twice in the past month, Lakeland's Michael Bertram finally got it Saturday night.

But he doubtlessly would have preferred to accomplish the feat under better circumstances.

The 25-year-old third baseman went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and four runs scored to become the first Flying Tiger to cycle in more than 11 years, but Lakeland squandered a late eight-run lead in a 12-11 loss to the Charlotte Stone Crabs.

"It was a great personal honor for me but this is a team sport and I would rather go 0-for-5 any night and win the game," Bertram told The (Lakeland) Ledger.

Mired in a 4-for-25 slump over his previous five games, Bertram got off to a quick start. He ripped a single in the second inning, blasted his 10th homer leading off the fourth and drilled an RBI triple in the fifth as Lakeland opened a 9-3 lead.

With the game seemingly in hand, the only drama for the 1,112 fans at Joker Marchant Stadium appeared to be whether Detroit's 39th-round pick in the 2006 Draft would become the first Flying Tiger to hit for the cycle since Jacques Landry did it against the St. Petersburg Devil Rays on May 8, 1998.

They didn't have to wait long to find out.

After Devin Thomas led off the seventh with a single, Bertram drove a fly ball to deep center field. John Matulia raced back toward the wall in an attempt to make a play but was unable to haul it in as Bertram stood at second with an RBI double, giving Lakeland a 10-3 cushion.

Bertram moved to third on a throwing error by third baseman Matthew Hall and scored on Christopher White's groundout as the Flying Tigers opened an eight-run advantage with six outs to go.

Unfortunately for Lakeland, those outs were hard to come by in the top of the eighth. Charlotte rallied for nine runs -- only three of which were earned -- on six hits and two costly errors, including a poor throw by Bertram that prolonged the inning after a one-out, two-run homer by Ryan Royster.

"I felt sorry that Michael was not able to enjoy his big night," Lakeland manager Andy Barkett told the newspaper. "You have to give the team in the other dugout credit because they kept coming at us."

Bertram fell a homer shy of the cycle against Charlotte on June 18 and finished a triple shy of the feat on July 6 at Clearwater. However, the Flying Tigers emerged victorious in both of those contests.

With a runner on second and two out in the bottom of the eighth, Bertram was unable to pull Lakeland back into a tie as he rolled an inning-ending groundout to second.

John Torenli is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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