Norwin grad Max McDowell helps turn unorthodox triple play in minor leagues | TribLIVE.com
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Bill Beckner

Triple plays are a rare feat in baseball, but even more rare is one that occurs without the ball being put into play.

That’s what happened Thursday night in the Southern League, and the bang-bang-bang swing involved former Norwin star Max McDowell.

A catcher for the Biloxi Shuckers — the Class AA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers — McDowell helped the Shuckers out of a first-inning jam against the Mobile BayBears with a rather unconventional triple play, the first in franchise history.

He had a part in all three outs.

With runners at the corners, McDowell squeezed a third strike to get a Jhoan Urena looking, then sprung up and fired to second base.

Jack Kruger, who had broke for second on the full-count, was cut down by McDowell’s laser throw. Shortstop Bruce Caldwell made the putout as he swipe-tagged Kruger, before he turned and fired home. Jo Adell, at third, took off for home but Caldwell’s strike to McDowell nailed one of the top prospects in the Los Angeles Angels organization.

Biloxi won 7-3 at Hank Aaron Stadium.

“I think you play long enough, I think I have (been involved in a triple play), but like I said, I think that was the cleanest one I’ve ever been involved in, no errors, no extra throws,” McDowell told MILB.com. “It was just a good baseball play by everyone involved, so it was kind of fun just to be involved in something that was so clean and untraditional at the same time.”

McDowell, a fifth-year minor-leaguer who played college baseball at Connecticut, is hitting .232 in 63 games for Biloxi. He has 22 runs scored, three home runs and 12 RBIs.

He said his teammates made sure he knew what the runners were up to.

“Our dugout was on it,” McDowell said. “They were yelling ‘runner’ and Bruce did a great job at second all in one move with the tag and to turn around and throw. He made a great throw to turn around and get him actually pretty easily at home.”

MILB.com reported that, according to Baseball Reference, there have only been two triple plays in Major League history without bat-and-ball contact.

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