The Wilmington Blue Rocks displayed magic to their home fans once again on Saturday, May 13, winning by virtue of a walk-off for the second straight night and defeating the Brooklyn Cyclones 3-2.
In what’s been an up and down week for the Rocks’ offense, the bats struggled to get going a bit on Saturday. Starter Chance Huff gave the team a chance to hang around, tossing seven strong innings allowing just two hits and two runs while striking out five.
Manager Mario Lisson commended Huff’s ability to bounce back after allowing a second inning home run.
“Really good, man. As long as he continues to command his fastball and use his breaking ball and changeup, he’s in good shape,” Lisson said. “He’s done a good job so far; besides his first two starts where he struggled a little bit, he’s been really consistent.”
A diamond in the rough for Wilmington’s offense was Jacob Young, who secured four of the Rocks’ seven hits and was the only one to record an RBI.
A big factor of the offense not being able to get going was the stellar defense being played by Brooklyn, according to Young.
“They made a lot of good plays, but I think we’ve had that a lot to begin the year,” Young said. “We’ve had a lot of good plays made on us, a lot of unlucky at-bats. We’re kind of used to it at this point, just gotta keep on grinding through and hope good things happen.”
Young wasn’t just able to get it done with the bat, however, as he was able to track down fly balls and make multiple great plays with his glove in center field.
“Center field is fun, you get a lot of space to roam, especially here [at Frawley Stadium],” Young said. “They stung the ball well, pretty much all night, so I was able to get some good jumps on balls and run them down.”
Lisson claims that this should come as no surprise, as Young has been producing in almost every facet of the game all season long.
“He’s having a good year so far,” Lisson said. “He’s playing to the best of his abilities. That’s the type of player that he is; gets on base, can run the bases, can play defense. As long as he sticks to his approach, I think he has a good shot to stay like this.”
With the ballgame tied at two heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, Nick Shumpert was able to work a leadoff walk, followed by a Jordy Barley sacrifice bunt to advance Shumpert to second base. This set the stage for Young, who came through once again, blasting a single up the middle to score Shumpert and secure the win for the Blue Rocks.
“Getting someone on and getting them to second base was huge,” Young said. “I was just looking for something over the middle of the plate. Luckily he threw a hanging curveball, and the rest is history.”
“It takes all of us,” Lisson said. “You’re never out of any game, you just have to continue to compete. The last two nights have proven that.”
As previously mentioned, this week’s series against Brooklyn has featured a bit of offensive inconsistency for Wilmington. With two consecutive walk-off wins and securing the series win, however, both Young and Lisson believe the offense is trending in the right direction.
“We’re starting to catch our stride,” Young said. “We’ve won four this week, that’s been huge for us. We won the series, so now we’re gonna try and take care of business tomorrow. But if you win four a week, you’re going to have a pretty good year, so we’re just going to keep grinding at it and go one day at a time.”
“We gotta continue to play,” Lisson said. “Every single night is different. Sometimes you come out and score a bunch of runs, sometimes it gets harder. You also have to give credit to the pitchers on the other side, they’re doing a great job. It’s just staying with our approach; swinging at pitches that we want to hit and laying off ones that we don’t.”
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