Seager's arrival helped ignite playoff drive for Lookouts

Seager's arrival helped ignite playoff drive for Lookouts

September 4th, 2014 by David Paschall in Sports - Professional

Lookouts batter Corey Seager bats during Chatanooga's home game against Jacksonville at AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

It's almost as if the Chattanooga Lookouts got better when shortstop Corey Seager arrived.

Seager, the top minor-league prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, has been a driving force in Chattanooga's late-season surge to the Southern League playoffs. In 38 games with the Lookouts, he has racked up 51 hits and has batted .345 with 16 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 27 RBIs.

"He takes pressure off of everyone," Lookouts manager Razor Shines said. "The kid is a player, and you would have to be blind not to know that. Then I'm sure that your dog would let you know that the kid is a player."

The Lookouts, who went just 61-77 overall this season but closed on a 21-8 run to win the North Division's second half, open their best-of-five divisional series in Huntsville tonight at 7:30 EDT.

Seager was promoted from the high Single-A California League in mid July, but the Lookouts did not see an immediate change in their win-loss fortunes. By the start of August, however, the presence of the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder from Concord, N.C., became evident on a nightly basis as Chattanooga won 11 consecutive games.

"There is definitely a little more life in the air now," Seager said. "It was hard losing every day, and when you finally start winning some games, attitudes start changing and everybody starts getting a little more tempo. Everything gets a little cleaner, and it's a lot more fun."

The five Lookouts who logged more than 100 games this season -- Scott Schebler, Darnell Sweeney, Daniel Mayora, O'Koyea Dickson and Chris O'Brien -- appreciate the arrival of Seager and what he's meant. Mayora watched his average soar to .302 by season's end, while Sweeney (.288), Schebler (.280), Dickson (.269) and O'Brien (.266) have come up clutch as well during Chattanooga's recent stretch.

"Our lineup has a lot of power and a lot of speed," Dickson said. "I think we have a good mix of everything. It's been big having a guy like Corey come up and help the team."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.