Joe De Pinto

St. Francis High graduate Joe De Pinto has been hitting his stride with the Winston-Salem Dash. (Courtesy of Steve Orcutt/Winston-Salem Dash / July 19, 2013)

The following are updates on local baseball players at the minor league level.

Joe De Pinto (St. Francis High, 2007) Winston-Salem Dash outfielder: Early on in the season, De Pinto had difficulty getting going with limited opportunities on the field.

The former Golden Knight has seemed to hit his stride of late and continue to one-up his best performances. Two games removed from arguably his best game of the year, De Pinto topped it with a three-for-four showing July 12.

It was a rare flash of power for De Pinto, as he slugged two doubles, a solo home run and scored twice in an 11-3 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. De Pinto added another double and run batted in Saturday in a 6-5 loss to Myrtle Beach.

It's continued a hot streak for De Pinto, who was batting .345 (10 for 29) with six runs, five RBI, four doubles and two homers over the past 10 games coming into Thursday.

He's lifted his season batting average to .270 (38 for 141). He's scored 30 runs, hit 13 doubles, driven in 13 runs and stolen four bases with Winston-Salem, which is in last place in the second half of the Carolina League Southern Division campaign at 12-14.

Alonzo Gonzalez (Glendale Community College, 2012) Vancouver Canadians pitcher: After enduring his fair share of troubles with the Class-A Lansing Lugnuts, Gonzalez was optioned to the Class-A short-season Vancouver Canadians on Sunday.

After spending the majority of this season starting games, the 6-foot-5 left hander was shifted back to a reliever role in his first appearance with the Canadians on Tuesday. It was a much better result for Gonzalez, who was 2-9 with a 5.56 earned-run average in Lansing.

Down 7-4 in the bottom of the second inning, Vancouver turned to Gonzalez with two outs and the bases cleared. The former Vaquero saw the first batter he faced reach on an error at third before inducing a inning-ending grounder to first.

Gonzalez then struck out two of three batters in the third, with Glendale native and former Crescenta Valley High player Lonnie Kauppila grounding out to short in the frame for the other out. Gonzalez then threw a flawless fourth with another strikeout and two ground outs before being relieved in the fifth.

Despite Gonzalez' strong outing, the Canadians fell 11-6. They were in second place in the Northwest League North Division with a 20-14 record, behind the AquaSox.

Lonnie Kauppila (Glendale native, Burbank High 2010) Everett AquaSox shortstop: In just 14 games, Kauppila has already started making his rounds through the minor leagues.

The 477th selection in the 2013 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft impressed in his first eight games with the rookie Arizona League Mariners. In that time, Kauppila amassed a .385 batting average (10 for 26), .455 on-base and .423 slugging
percentages, along with seven runs, six RBI and a double.

Less than a month after the Arizona League Mariners opened on June 20, Kauppila was assigned to the Everett AquaSox on July 10. Three days later, he was sent to the Mariners triple-A affiliate Tacoma Rainiers only to be bounced back to class-A short-season Everett on July 15.

Through six games, Kauppila hasn't fared as well with the AquaSox. The two-year player at Crescenta Valley High, who later transferred to Burbank, is batting .167 (three for 18) with three RBI and two runs in Everett, which is in first place in the Northwest League North Division at 22-12.

Kauppila's best game with the AquaSox came Tuesday when he went two for three with two RBI and a run scored in an 11-6 win over the Vancouver Canadians.