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Fish feed off bottom of batting order

There aren't any stinkers anywhere in Goldeyes lineup

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Winnipeg Goldeyes first baseman Casey Haerther went 4-for-4 in Thursday's 5-2 win over the Grand Prairie AirHogs.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Winnipeg Goldeyes first baseman Casey Haerther went 4-for-4 in Thursday's 5-2 win over the Grand Prairie AirHogs. Photo Store

When people think of professional baseball lineups, they think of the best hitters leading off -- loading the bases -- and the big slugger bringing them home with a grand-slam home run.

But then you have the Winnipeg Goldeyes, who can be dangerous anywhere down the order. The Fish showed their depth in a three-game series sweep over the Grand Prairie AirHogs this past week, generating the majority of their runs from the bottom half of the batting order.

Bottom-half batters Donnie Webb, Josh Mazzola and Casey Haerther combined for 15 of of the Goldeyes' 20 runs over the last three games. All three players are turning out to be a fun trio to watch.

The trend throughout the series saw the outfielder Webb starting things off in the the sixth spot, followed by Mazzola, and then Haerther would connect to bring them home.

"I mean everyone is going to have their days, it's just when someone doesn't do their job, someone else picks them up," said Webb, who is batting .298 on the season. "We just have a good team."

Mazzola managed to get a respectable four hits throughout the series and each time he got on base you could be sure he was going to score because of the way Haerther was performing.

The first baseman can't remember the last time he had a series like this. He racked up an outstanding three home runs and nine RBIs in only three games. The "eight-hole" player went 11 for 13 in the series, for an astonishing .846 batting average.

"I'm just hitting the ball well right now. The thing is I'm getting pitches to hit and I'm laying off the pitcher's pitches," Haerther said Thursday. "You got to ride this out as long as you can, these things, they don't happen that often, but you know I'm swinging it well."

So what is it about the bottom half of the Fish order? He laughed. "You know it's the fact anyone in this lineup could hit two, three, four. Most people don't realize that," Haerther said.

Manager Rick Forney argued the same thing, there are no bad hitters in the Fish dugout. "You look at their resumés, they have never really experienced a whole lot of failure as hitters. People at the bottom of my order are just as good as the people at the top or the middle," Forney said.

As of Thursday the Fish sit in first place in the North Division. But their momentum is about to be tested when they take on another contender in the St. Paul Saints over the weekend.

Not taking anything away from the success of the Goldeyes and their key contributors, but so far this season the Fish have gone up against teams on the lower end of the spectrum and manager Rick Forney said it will be an early challenge against a team they are likely to hear more of.

"They got a lot of firepower in their offence, they can score some runs, they got some good starting pitching, so we have to play well to have a chance against them," said Forney of the Saints.

kyle.edwards@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2014 C6

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