Roll Goes On, Stampede Falls
So it turns out the JetHawks weren’t simply playing horrible baseball during that recent stretch of 17 losses in 20 games.
They were pacing themselves.
Like a runner knowing just when to kick into overdrive on the final lap of a long race, the JetHawks have turned it on as they near the finish line of the California League’s first half.
After beating the San Bernardino Stampede, 10-2, before 2,544 on Sunday at Fiscalini Field, they have won eight of 10.
With 13 games to go in the first half, the JetHawks are in second place, trailing the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes by one game. And they couldn’t be on a much better roll.
“I feel very good,” JetHawk Manager Dave Brundage said. “We are playing much better baseball, much more aggressive. All three--pitching, hitting and defense--have finally come together.”
The JetHawks (29-28) are over .500 for the first time since May 11. They have scored 10 runs or more in four of the past six games, have gotten six quality starts from their pitchers and have made only four errors.
“All cylinders are going,” said JetHawk starting pitcher Ken Cloude. “That’s the way you win games, and that’s the way you win championships.”
The JetHawks collected 10 hits Sunday, five of them doubles. They also took advantage of four Stampede errors and four walks.
The JetHawks scored a run in the first inning then blew the game open with five runs in the second, all with two out.
With the bases loaded, Jose Cruz Jr. forced in a run with a walk, then Scot Sealy drilled a ball off the fence in right-center field, clearing the bases and giving the JetHawks a 5-0 lead. Sealy had two doubles in five at-bats, after going hitless in his eight previous at-bats.
“We have really good confidence going right now,” Sealy said. “Whoever they throw out there [on the mound], it seems like we are going to hit him hard.”
Jason Cook doubled down the left-field line, scoring Sealy and extending his hitting streak to 10 games. A 6-0 lead was plenty for Cloude.
Cloude (6-2), who has won his last four starts, pitched seven innings, yielding one run on five hits. He struck out seven--building his league-leading total to 79--and walked one.
“When you get a lead like that you just go at guys with fastballs and let them get themselves out,” Cloude said. “It’s not really too hard.”
The JetHawks also played excellent defense. Left fielder Shane Monahan fully extended to catch a liner curving toward the foul line in the second inning. In the ninth, third baseman Luis Figueroa made a diving stop of a ground ball then made a strong throw to get the out at first.
JetHawks 10, San Bernardino 2
JetHawks: 150 022 000 -- 10 10 1
San Bern.: 001 000 010 -- 2 5 4
Cloude, Gould (8) and Augustine, Steinmann (5); Reyes, Paluk (5), Brown (8), Linares (9) and Cooney.
W--Cloude (6-2). L--Reyes (5-4).
2B: J--Sealy 2, Cook, Sturdivant, Monahan; SB--Richardson, Cooney.
Records: JetHawks 29-28; San Bernardino 27-29.