Marred in a hitting slump and coming off a winless road trip, the Gateway Grizzlies returned to GCS Ballpark on Tuesday looking to get on track at the expense of the River City Rascals.
It didn’t happen. A steady drizzle and an ominous forecast caused the first of a three-game series between the two Frontier League West Division foes to be postponed.
“The rain was with us in Michigan last week and followed us to Chicago on the weekend. Now its here with us again tonight,” Gateway manager Phil Warren said. “It’s unfortunate but when Mother Nature decides to intervene, there’s not much you can do about it.”
The cancellation of the game on Tuesday means Grizzlies and Rascals will play a doubleheader on Wednesday beginning at 11:35 a.m.. The series concludes on Thursday with a 7:05 p.m. contest. Windy City then invades GCS Ballpark on Friday for the first of a three-game series. The six-game homestand concludes on Sunday with a 6:05 p.m. contest.
The Rascals (16-10) and Grizzlies (7-20) begin the series headed in different directions. River City has a four-game winning streak after sweeping Normal in a two game series. The Rascals boast a Frontier League leading batting average of .291.
Gateway however continues to struggle. After winning three of its last four gamers on its last homestand — including taking two out of three games against the Rascals — the Grizzlies were outscored 28-13 in their five game swing north against Traverse City (Mich.) and Windy City.
The 7-20 start is Gateway worst in several years, but Warren said he has seen signs in the last few games that maybe, just maybe, his team is starting to break out of the slump.
“The last few games I’ve started to see signs that maybe we’re starting to put things together a little bit better,” Warren said. “On the last road trip I thought our pitching was very good except for one outing out of the bullpen ands then the start on Sunday (a 9-5 loss). We’ve just got to get the bats going a little better.
“It’s been that way this year. Early we were hitting the ball well and our pitching was struggling. In the last couple of weeks its been the other way around. Our defense, for the most part, has been very solid all year. I’m just waiting for us to put everything together and go on a long winning streak. This club has too much talent for that not to happen.”
Warren insists that the team’s morale is still very positive.
“The players are still really positive. It’s s long season and we know what kind of talent we have on this team,” Warren said. “I’d rather struggle early then struggle late. The last two years we’ve come out and played very well early in the season then for one reason or another, struggled down the stretch.
“Like I said, there is an awful lot of talent on this baseball team.”
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2661.