Beetes in the Majors, NAHL sets attendance records

Three former Alexandria Beetles players broke spring training with their Major League clubs to start the regular season in Lucas Duda, Danny Worth and Nick Hundley.

Duda made the biggest impression in the first week as the starting right fielder for the New York Mets. The 2006 Beetle hit two home runs in the second of a three-game series against Atlanta to open the season. He has struggled since then, hitting .189 with three home runs and five RBI through the first 10 games this spring. Duda hit .304 with three home runs and 34 RBI during his summer in Alexandria.

Worth opened the season with the Detroit Tigers but was recently optioned to Triple-A Toledo after collecting a hit in just five at-bats. The move was made to make room for Brandon Inge on a loaded Tigers team that come into the season as the clear front-runner to win the Central Division. Worth hit .307 with three home runs and 31 RBI during the 2006 Beetles’ season.

Hundley has also gotten off to a slow start in nine games played for the San Diego Padres. He went hitless in his first 21 at-bats before going 1-for-2 with two walks in a loss to the Dodgers on Sunday. He broke out of that slump with a double and three RBI on a 3-for-5 day from the plate against the Rockies on Monday. Hundley played for the Beetles in 2004, hitting .293 with four home runs and 27 RBI.

Former Beetle Allen Craig opened up the season on the disabled list because of a knee injury. Last year’s World Series hero figures to play a prominent role in the Cardinals outfield once he comes back, which is expected to be soon after he started rehabbing in St. Louis in early April.

*NAHL sets attendance records

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) announced its attendance numbers recently, which showed that the league has reached new highs in both total and average attendance this winter.

The NAHL drew a record 1,128,098 fans through 840 regular-season games this season. The 28-city league averaged 1,342 fans per game, helped out in large part by the Fresno franchise, which welcomed 106,718 fans in 30 home games.

The Blizzard had the 16th highest attendance in the league with an average of 866 per night. Alexandria welcomed in 25,995 fans total in a season that saw the organization finish with a record 40 regular-season wins.