Winthrop pair compete in All-Star game on opposite sides

A couple of former Winthrop standouts were on opposite sides last Monday in a Class A South Atlantic League game in Asheville, N.C.

Chris Carrara, promoted by New York Yankees, started at second base for the Charleston RiverDogs, while former teammate Matt Repec was the designated hitter for Asheville.

Carrara, the Yankees' 30th round pick in the 2007 June First-Year Player Draft, started his professional career at Staten Island of the short-season New York-Penn League. He was hitless in 12 at-bats before being sent to Charleston when the RiverDogs moved infielder Chris Kunda to Tampa of the Class A Florida State League.

Carrara picked up his first hit in a 6-1 loss to Asheville when he beat out a third-inning infield hit to Tourist shortstop Hector Gomez.

Repec was 2-for-3 with a double and a homer and drove in two runs. He was a 27th round selection of the Colorado Rockies in the 2006 June draft.

There are five former Winthrop standouts in the South Atlantic League. Joining Carrara and Repec are pitchers Heath Rollins of Columbus and Chris Leroux of Greensboro and catcher Alan Robbins of Lakewood.

• HAPPY HOMECOMING: A return to his home state seems to be agreeable with former Charlotte Knight Willie Harris.

Harris, in his first year with the Atlanta Braves, is a native of Cairo, Ga. After bouncing around with three other organizations, Harris signed as a free agent with the Braves on Dec. 9, 2006.

And he has turned into a bargain.

The left-handed hitting outfielder, who played for the Knights in parts of three seasons (2002-04), was batting .320 after 69 games, with a homer and 18 RBIs and a team-high 16 steals.

A week ago, Harris accomplished something only one other Atlanta player has done -- collecting six hits in a game. Harris had four singles and two triples in a 14-6 victory over St. Louis. Felix Millan accomplished the feat in 1970.

Harris began his professional career with Baltimore, but was traded to the White Sox in 2002.

He was granted free agency in December of 2005 and signed with Boston. Harris spent the 2006 season with the Red Sox and Triple-A Pawtucket before signing with the Braves.

• FAMILIAR TERRITORY: Knights manager Marc Bombard and designated hitter Ernie Young have had homecoming of sorts during the current 12-game road trip.

The first stop on the four-city trip was Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where Bombard spent eight years managing the team then affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies. His teams finished first three times in divisional play.

Knights infielder Tomas Perez played one year (2000) at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for Bombard.

The Knights' second stop was at Buffalo where Young spent two years (2004-05) playing for the Bisons and hit a combined 47 homers and drove in 178 runs.

• FIRST SHUTOUT: It took the Knights 104 games to register their first shutout of the season.

Left-hander Heath Phillips won his fourth straight decision, going seven innings, allowing six hits, walking one and striking out five in last Tuesday's 2-0 victory at Buffalo.

Phillips and relievers Mike MacDougal and Dave Aardsma combined for the shutout. MacDougal and Aardsma each pitched a perfect inning with Aardsma recording the save.

• ON DECK: The Knights continue their 12-game road trip with a 2 p.m. game at Indianapolis (Pittsburgh Pirates) today.