Cannon-armed pitcher Hans Crouse took a moment to introduce himself to hundreds of Spokane Indians fans Wednesday, two days before his Opening Day start at Avista Stadium.
A year after signing a contract for more than $1 million out of high school, Crouse told the red-clad contingent what to expect from his fastball Friday night.
“Hi, I’m Hans Crouse,” the fourth-ranked Texas Rangers prospect said into the microphone during player introductions. “And I’ll be bringing that gasoline.”
Crouse plans to bring the heat, but it was slugger Curtis Terry who brought the lumber to the Indians’ fan festival, a free event in which fans get their first glimpse of the team, meet players and run the base paths.
Terry, who led the Northwest League in home runs last season, was ribbed by teammates who said he’d lose this year’s home run derby a year after winning it. After a relatively slow first round in which it appeared Terry might surrender his crown, he flipped the switch.
Terry sent 22 baseballs out of the park in the second round, cruising to his second derby win with the club. He’d never hit so many in such a short period of time, he said.
“Something inside me just took off,” said Terry, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound first baseman. “I can’t really explain it.”
The Indians, an NWL playoff team a year ago, begin their 2018 campaign at 6:30 p.m. Friday against the Boise Hawks.