Grizzlies get fifth win in a row 15-1

NEWS-DEMOCRATJune 11, 2013 

SAUGET -- One day shy of his first anniversary with the Gateway Grizzlies, Ja'Vaun West celebrated early on Tuesday at GCS Ballpark. And his teammates provided the fireworks.

Red-hot Jon Myers hit two home runs and drove in four runs while Jose Flores and Landon Hernandez also went deep as the Grizzlies ran their winning streak to five with a 15-1 win over the Frontier Greys before a crowd of 3,430.

Signed by Gateway on June 12 a year ago, West (4-0) was masterful in six innings of work as he allowed just a second-inning run and two hits, while the Grizzlies pounded four Frontier pitchers for 15 hits.

A former standout at the University of Indianapolis, the 23-year-old West was 5-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 20 games last season. By winning his fourth straight decision in 2013, West's 1.87 ERA will be reduced even further.

"I guess you could say Ja'Vaun's been effectively wild. There are some things we're concerned about with him and we're trying to work with him on,'' Grizzlies manager Phil Warren said. "He's walking alot of hitters and going to a lot of 3-2 counts. I think there was one time tonight when he had a first pitch out.

"But in last start and again tonight he didn't have near his best stuff and he competed for us. That's all you can ask of a pitcher.''

Gateway (14-7) scored three runs in the first inning then got two-run home runs from Myers in the third and Flores in the fourth before icing the game with an eight-run fifth inning.

Hernandez belted a three-run home run and two batters later, Myers, hitting .329 entering the game, hit his second home run of the game and team-leading fifth of the season as Gateway enjoyed its biggest inning of the 2013 campaign.

Myers finished the game 4-for-4 with four RBI while Flores and Hernandez knocked in three runs apiece.

"I kind of changed my approach at the plate and so far its worked out well for me,'' Myers said. "Tonight I had good BP (batting practice) and it just carried over to the game. I was seeing the ball well.''

The Grizzlies wasted little time in jumping on Greys starter Matt Costello in the bottom of the first inning.

Entering the game with a subpar .194 average, leadoff hitter Jonathan Johnson reached on a bunt single and advanced to second base on a passed ball.

Jose Flores then singled up the middle and Chris McClendon, making his first appearance in two weeks, singled up the middle with the first run of the night.

In his third season with the Grizzlies, McClendon had been sidelined with a right hamstring injury.

With runners on first and second, Landon Hernandez bounced a two hopper to the mound that Costello fielded, but in an attempt start a double play, threw wildly into center field. Flores scored on the play and McClendon advanced to third.

McClendon then scored to make it 3-0 when Jet Butler bounced into a double play.

Frontier (9-12), which plays all of its games on the road, got a run back in the second on a single by Chris Kay to cut the lead to 3-1.

But Gateway then put the game away via the long ball in the third and fourth innings.

With two outs in the third, Costello issued a four-pitch walk to Butler, and Myers, leading the team in several offensive categories, belted his fourth home run of the season to increase the lead to 5-1.

Gateway used its two-out magic again in the fourth inning when Johnson reached on another perfect bunt single and scored on Flores first home run of the season.

Given a six-run lead, West was on cruise control in the middle innings.

Up next: The Grizzlies-Greys series continues with an 11:35 a.m. contest Wednesday at GCS Ballpark. The teams will conclude their series with a 7:05 p.m. game Thursday.

West Division-leading Normal comes to town Friday for the first of a three-game series beginning at 7:05 p.m.

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