Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fish hot streak just a click away

One timely hit and club will regain momentum: Ramon

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It should take only one tiny click for the Winnipeg Goldeyes to start regaining momentum in the American Association, according to third baseman Amos Ramon.

He could sense the potential at the beginning of the season, when the team opened with eight straight wins on the road. Ramon believes with some minor adjustments, the Goldeyes will get back to that level.

The Goldeyes dropped to 24-23 on the year with a 5-3 loss to the Gary SouthShore RailCats at Shaw Park on Sunday afternoon. The Fish are on a two-game losing streak, but Ramon has seen flashes of brilliance -- and it's just a matter of putting it together.

"We started to play better against St. Paul and I thought we were going to start clicking, but we can't win games against Gary," Ramon said. "I know Gary's a tough team and they play really good baseball, but we've lost two tough ones to them. We can still scrape this (four-game) series and split it, but we've got to take it one game at a time and win that first one."

'... I feel like we have a better team than last year's right from the beginning'

-- third baseman Amos Ramon

Ramon knows a thing or two about clicking. He led the Goldeyes to the 2012 American Association Championship and picked up playoff MVP honours, too.

"Last year's team, we clicked at the right time and I think it brought us all together," Ramon said. "I really, really like this year's team, and I feel like we have a better team than last year's right from the beginning. But right now we're not playing like it."

The Goldeyes opened up the season looking like true defending champions, winning eight straight south of the border. However, the team's success has been halted. They were once North Division leaders, but are now in third, trailing the leading Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (29-20) by four games.

"We need to do the little things right and just execute a little bit better. We just have to play the game right. Once we do and we're more focused, we'll just get swinging," Ramon said. "We're hitting the ball hard, it's just that right now we're not following it. As long as we keep doing that, things will turn our way."

Ramon doesn't feel any added pressure as a defending champion, but does realize there is an expectation to perform that way.

"You've got that bull's-eye on your back because everyone wants to beat the team that won it last year," he said.

Outfielder Josh Mazzola was also part of last season's championship team, but went into the new season with a fresh approach.

"I don't think there's really much more of an expectation going in as the champions. Teams change, especially at this level of ball," he said. "There's a lot of turnover with guys retiring, guys getting picked up, guys getting released. Any team can change at any moment."

The Goldeyes provided an example of how suddenly the roster can change on Sunday, announcing the release of pitcher Ryan Sasaki. The Goldeyes have also seen players come and go, such as Tyler Graham, or retire, like Leonard Davis.

Regardless of what happens to the roster around him, Ramon just wants to hit the field and produce. The season is a marathon, not a sprint.

And Ramon just wants to take it one game at a time and work toward clicking once again.

kyle.jahns@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 8, 2013 C2

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