Erik Kratz, a 2002 Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) graduate, has stepped up when the Philadelphia Phillies have needed him most.
Kratz has filled in for starting catcher Carlos Ruiz and went 3-for-6 with a double and his fourth home run of the season over the weekend (Aug. 4-5). With Ruiz out as much as six weeks, Kratz could see increased playing time.
“I’ve just been fortunate some balls have been falling in, and I’ve been able to put a couple over the fence, too,” Kratz told MLB.com after Sunday’s game against Arizona. “I’m getting pitches and not swinging at a pitcher’s pitch.”
As of Aug. 7, Kratz was hitting .379 with four doubles, four home runs and nine RBIs.
“He’s been good for us,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel to MLB.com. “Kratz has improved his hitting at least 100 percent since I saw him two years ago. He’s definitely done a lot of work.”
“He did a great job,” added Roy Halladay, who picked up a win with Kratz behind the plate. “We’re fortunate. Carlos [Ruiz] is irreplaceable, but Kratz is very intelligent. He does a great job calling a game. We’re fortunate to have guys like him and Brian Schneider to step in with Carlos missing time.”
At EMU, Kratz was the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002, claiming an NCAA record for career doubles with 77. During his senior season, he set single-season school records with 72 hits, 48 runs, 25 doubles, 14 home runs, 59 RBIs and a .507 batting average.
He is school’s all-time leader in career hits (220), home runs (33), doubles (77), RBIs (159), runs (147), batting average (.415), slugging percentage (.762) and total bases (404). In addition, Kratz was behind the plate for each pitch during his four-year EMU career.
Kratz is scheduled to be inducted into the EMU Athletic Hall of Honor during Homecoming and Family Weekend 2012, October 12-14. He will be featured at the Hall of Honor Breakfast on Saturday morning, October 13. To register for the breakfast, visit the Homecoming and Family Weekend 2012 registration page.
Kratz and his wife Sarah, a 2001 EMU grad, have two sons.
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