On July 4, Danny Edgeworth was playing professional baseball in Boise, Idaho and wondering when the game was going to end.
Edgeworth, playing designated hitter for the Boise Hawks of the short-season Northwest League, played 20 innings that day as the Hawks beat the Eugene Emeralds in a game that featured a combined 44 strikeouts between the teams. (Edgeworth had just one, though.)
And that was after a six-plus hour bus ride the night before.
"That was a tough day," Edgeworth said. "That was a long day for sure."
That's how it goes sometimes in minor league baseball, as Edgeworth, a Lambert alum, found out this summer. He and former Forsyth Central pitcher Andrew Gist were the two Forsyth County products to make their professional baseball debuts in 2017, and both players adjusted to the grueling, whirlwind environment of the minors to have successful summers.
Edgeworth, who was drafted in the 23rd round out of Mercer by the Colorado Rockies, hit .303 and slugged .402 for the Hawks, mostly playing third base. Gist, drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the ninth round from the University of Georgia, had a 2.81 ERA in 16 appearances, mostly coming out of the bullpen, for the Hudson Valley Renegades of the short-season New York-Penn League.
Neither player knew exactly what to expect coming into the summer. Their closest experience to the minors had been college ball, especially during the summer, and those experiences could also be a conversation starter with teammates.
"You have a lot of time to talk to people and make friends in the bullpen, that's for sure," Gist said.
Pro ball proved to be a new challenge for both Edgeworth and Gist. The batters were faster and had more pop and the average fastball was a couple miles per hour quicker than it was in college.
"It took me a while to get going," Edgeworth said. "The game's just faster."
Both players eventually settled in, though, with Gist adjusting to the bullpen role and finding feel for his curveball, and Edgeworth catching up to the speed of the game and putting together a 22-game hit streak in August.
Edgeworth is done for the year, having been named to the Northwest League Postseason All-Star team for his performance, and Gist and the Renegades won the New York-Penn League championship series on Thursday. Edgeworth is already back in Georgia, taking some time off before starting his offseason workouts and probably getting a job, and Gist plans to head back to Athens to work out at UGA's facilities and take a class.
They hope their next assignment in the minors is with a full-season club, where the travel, competition and living situations get even tougher. But it's still baseball, and minor leaguers sometimes catch a break, like Edgeworth and Hawks did after the day after marathon against the Emeralds.
"We slept in," Edgeworth said. "...We just needed to get rest."