As the summer heat builds across the Midwest, so does Jordan Smith's bat.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Willmar native and a 2011 Cleveland Indians draft pick is hitting .457 in the month of July to become the second-leading hitter in the Midwest League.
Entering Sunday's game Smith, an outfielder for the Lake County Captains (36-42) in Eastlake, Ohio, was 11-for-20 (.550) in his last four games to raise his batting average to a team-leading .314 (among players with enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title). On Saturday Smith went 3-for-4 to drive in two runs in the Captains' 5-2 win over Beloit, a Class A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
Smith is also leading the team in RBI with 41 and his five triples are tied for the team lead. He is also second on the team in hits with 89, third in runs with 38 and fourth in doubles (16) and home runs (five).
Smith's recent production could mean a call up to advance Class A ball for the former Willmar Stinger and St. Cloud State Husky. Smith has increased his average each month -- .255 in April, .284 in May and .337 in June -- and that could lead to a move out east to Zebulon, North Carolina, home of the Carolina Mudcats.