When the Gateway Grizzlies broke training camp early last month they did so with the thought that a fast start would be the key to a successful 2016 season.
It hasn’t happened.
Gateway entered the start of a three game series this week at Evansville in a streak where it had lost 12 of 13 games and was in fourth place with a 10-18 record in the Frontier League’s West Division standings. But despite the Grizzlies slow start and recent 10-game losing skid, veteran manager Phil Warren remains calm.
Still in the early stages of its 95-game season, Gateway still has both the talent and time to contend for a playoff spot.
“I like this team. We’re playing good. We’re not playing terrible baseball by any means. We’ve just got to clean some things up, build on our momentum when we get it and score a few more runs. I like the way we’re playing most of the time,” Warren said. “We’ve got to find a way to score a few more runs and at this ballpark (GCS) I don’t think that’s too much to expect. We’ve got to get a few more clutch hits with runners in scoring position.”
Taking on co-West Division leading Evansville the last two days, the Grizzlies seem headed in the right direction
Led by a masterful eight-inning performance by Aviston native Trevor Richards in a 2-1 win on Tuesday and a 13-hit offensive attack in a 9-1 win over Evansville on Wednesday, the Grizzlies are showing signs of coming out of their slump.
Gateway concludes its brief three game road trip on Thursday with the series finale with Evansville then returns home on Friday to begin a three game series with the Florence Freedom.
Leading the way
While the win-loss record may not be where they want it, several Gateway players are among the Frontier League leaders.
Veterans Craig Massoni and Tyler Tewell are among the top 15 hitters in the league. Tewell, one of the league’s top catchers, is leading the Gateway offense with a .319 average, while Massoni is right behind with a .314 clip.
Massoni also leads Gateway with six home runs and a club leading 17 RBI. Infielder Cody Livesay and outfielder Brandon Thomas are tied for third on the team with batting marks of .276.
Blake Brown along with Tewell and Thomas have all clubbed four home runs, while Brown and infielder Vincent Guglietti are a close second in RBI with 15 each.
On the mound, Richards, Vincent Molesky and Jordan Wellander all have two wins each to lead the staff, while Richards and Molersky are both ranked among the top five in the Frontier League with 38 strike outs each.