FAIRMONT — Michael Bass has adjusted to challenges with precision throughout his baseball career.
The latest obstacle, a curveball several minor leaguers face every season, is his toughest barrier to date.
The former Robeson County standout and UNC-Wilmington All-American was one of 11 players released by the San Diego Padres last week as professional franchises trimmed rosters at the conclusion of spring training, an annual harsh reality for Class A and short season players hoping to stay in the farm system.
The speedy second baseman hit .234 last season in 51 games for the Eugene Emeralds after being drafted in the 27th round following a stellar career at UNCW, but as playing time dwindled this spring, so did his chances at staying within the Padres umbrella.
Bass was told by team personnel it was a numbers game and development would be an ongoing issue without daily at-bats at a solidified position in the minors. With more money invested in other prospects, Bass was one of several who didn’t make the cut including four pitchers and five other infielders.
“I know my tools aren’t exceptional, but I can make things happen and I’ve always tried to be a playmaker,” Bass said. “My ability to take hits away from other teams defensively is probably my biggest asset on the field because each base or (runner) becomes more important the higher up you get.
“Outside of playing ability, I have experience playing at high levels and winning. I haven’t been a part of many losing teams, so I know what it takes to be a winner.”
As a top-of-the-order infielder, Bass is back on the market and says he would be interested in pursuing an opportunity with another franchise should a team seek interest.
“I’ll give it a shot if I get a call,” he said. “But I don’t think I’ll go the independent ball route.”
Bass finished his career as a four-year starter at UNCW among the top-five in seven offensive categories, including hits (257) and stolen bases (76). At Fairmont, Bass hit .451 as a senior and earned all-state and Robeson County player of the year honors.
Lumberton baseball beats South View
LUMBERTON — The Lumberton baseball team hit its offensive stride Wednesday, racking up 13 hits in a 10-4 win against South View.
The Pirates (8-5) waited on a hanging curve, hitting it to gaps, down the line, and scoring all 10 runs in the first three innings.
“It was one of those nights where everything was going our way,” Lumberton coach Paul Hodges said. “We hit the ball really well and hit hit hard.”
The top part of the order came through, with Travis Suggs going 2-for-3 with a double and a triple. Daniel Oxendine went 2-for-4 with a double and triple and Justice Sampson went 2-for-3 with two doubles. Austin Hammonds also went 3-for-3.
Raleigh Forrest picked up the win with Logan Frederick and Evan Odum pitching the final two innings. The trio allowed five total hits.
Lumberton softball lost 15-5 to South View.
LHS soccer beats Swett 9-0
PEMBROKE — The Lumberton soccer team continued its undefeated run through the conference with a 9-0 win against Purnell Swett on Wednesday.
The Pirates (8-1, 5-0) went up 4-0 at halftime and ended the game by mercy rule with eight minutes left. The Rams (2-5-1, 0-5) have yet to win a conference game this year.
Madi Britt led Lumberton with three goals and Michaela Nash had two goals and an assist. Other goals came from Chloe Locklear, Kendall Blaine, Helena Massol and Kayla Malinsky. Madison Sirmans led the Pirates with two assists. Locklear, Blaine and Massol also had assists.
Brittany Bolin and Alexis Andrews combined for two saves.
Reach Brad Crawford at 910-272-6111 or on Twitter @MrPalmettoSDS.