By Kris Norton
Huntingburg - Holland native Colson Montgomery joined WITZ via Zoom hours ahead of his 45th straight game on base for the Chicago White Sox Minor League Baseball affiliate Winston-Salem Dash, a streak that has spanned two leagues over the summer.
With a one-for-four appearance at the plate which included a run and a walk, the "Holland Hammer" has now reached base in all but three of his nearly 60 appearances in Low- and High-A summer ball. But, the 20-year-old Montgomery says, once each game begins, ever-expanding on-base streak isn't much on his radar.
"Once the game kind of starts, I don't think about it - I just think about playing the game and winning the game," Montgomery said. "When I get in the box I don't think about, 'Oh, my streak of getting on base,' I want to get on base so I can help my team."
"I don't really try to pressure myself with it, I just try to make every single at-bat worth it and try to make myself as hard as an out as it can be for the pitcher," Montgomery added.
Just over one year ago, Montgomery may have been spending more time calculating answers for a high school Math class than batting averages. Though, the highly-regarded shortstop prospect currently boasts an average of .333 batting and an on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) metric of .967.
The on-base streak's longevity comes as unfamiliar territory to Montgomery.
"I don't think I've really played 44 straight games, either," Montgomery reminds us. "I didn't really think about any of this coming."
What Montgomery did see coming, sooner or later, was a promotion from Low-A Minor League Baseball with the Kannapolis Canonballers. That's where the streak began, and where the Holland native was assigned after being selected 22nd overall by the White Sox in the 2021 MLB Draft.
But, Colson wasn't given much of a head's up before receive the news of his promotion.
"I mean, I knew I was playing well for a really long stretch and I was talking to all of our coaches - like, what could happen and things like that," Montgomery said. "They were just telling me 'Just keep playing your game, just keep doing you.'"
Then on June 24th, the news came in a meeting with Kannapolis Cannonballer Team Manager Guillermo Quiroz.
"After one of our games, our clubhouse manager came in [and] he told me, 'Hey, the manager wants to talk to you,'" Montgomery remembers. "He [Quiroz] told me that I was ready for the next step, and that I was going to Winston-Salem."
No word yet on when Montgomery might receive the next call up.
In the meantime, Colson is trying to stick to take it all in - finding a routine, learn as much as he can, and keep a positive outlook.
"I'm just taking it day-by-day, each game at a time, I mean sticking to my routine and listening to my coaches," Montgomery said. "Most importantly, I'm just trying to stay positive through it all, because, this can be tough for a lot of kids - especially at a young age - too, because it's very overwhelming, you're away from home. It's a lot of pressure, a lot of eyes on you, but I just try to have fun with it all."
As Montgomery continues to fine-tune his game, he knows what the coaches would likely want to see from him.
"Keep staying consistent in the field, not too many errors, not too many mental mistakes," Colson said. "Also, just keep learning about the game because I really haven't played this game that long. Especially not a whole, full season."
Currently, according to Major League Baseball's website, Montgomery is the highest rated White Sox prospect in the minor league farm system. In his first full year, Montgomery is the #93 prospect in all of baseball.