After several weeks of hitting the road, the Midwest A’s are ready to settle back into more familiar surroundings.
And get into a groove.
The A’s began a stretch of 13 straight games at Raymore-Peculiar High School’s diamond on June 27 after playing their last 15 on the road. And so far the A’s seem to be enjoying the comforts of home. On June 30, they beat the Baldwin City Blues 9-3 for their ninth victory in their last 12 games and fourth straight since coming home.
“We’ve just got to be comfortable in our own setting,” A’s manager Cody Newman said. “We have an excellent facility and the kids enjoy playing here. Hopefully we can keep the good vibes going and keep the winning going.”
Newman’s goal was to see the A’s get through their long road stretch with a winning record, and they broke even at 7-7 over the 15 games (one was rained out). The last time they played at home was June 7, when they swept a double header with Rossville.
Better yet, the A’s, 17-8 overall on June 30, came off that long stretch leading the six team Mid-Plains League. The A’s were 14-6 in league play after beating Baldwin City, just percentage points ahead of the second-place Topeka Golden Giants.
“I think we’ve been pretty consistent all year using all three facets of the game,” Newman said. “I don’t thinks it’s been really one that stands out.”
That was true against Baldwin City. Starting pitcher Zack Sargert threw 3 1/3 perfect innings and held the Blues to one run and one hit over five. Sargert and relievers Nate Brown, Nick Brandecker, Tanner Rosenthal and Derek Watkins allowed only three hits combined.
Sargert’s start was only his second of the season after being moved up from the bullpen to replace Derek Gordon. Gordon, the brother of Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, recently signed a contract with the Kansas City T-Bones.
“Zack’s stepped in and done a great job in his last two starts,” Newman said. “That’s what we asked our kids to do in the summer – when they’re called up go out and do their job and Zack’s done that.”
The offense did its part, too, with Jacob Boylan, Matt Fultz and Andrew Kreiling all hitting two-run homers as part of a 12-hit attack. On defense, the A’s had no errors and even nailed a runner at third base after the catcher’s throw to second sailed into to the outfield.
“A lot of hitters have been hot lately, and when the bats get hot everyone else gets hot,” Boylan said. “Our defense has been solid the last few games. We want to keep that going definitely.”
The A’s home stand continues with games against the Topeka Golden Giants July 7-9, the Junction City Brigade July 11-12 and the KC Monarch on July 14. They aren’t going anywhere for a while, and that’s just fine with them.
“A lot of us have jobs and everything, so it’s nice to stay home,” Boylan said.