Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Fish need to get into swing of things
The Winnipeg Goldeyes know it's time to start thinking about reclaiming the American Association's North Division.
With 42 games left in the baseball season after Thursday night's 8-6 win against the Pheasants in Sioux Falls, S.D., the Goldeyes (35-23) have found themselves one game behind the division-leading Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, who also won Thursday.
Though it might feel like an injustice to the Goldeyes, who owned first place for 54 straight days starting with the season-opening road trip in Texas, that's what happens when your biggest rival goes on a 14-game winning streak.
It was the Pheasants who finally put an end to the RedHawks' run, which was one short of the league record of 15 straight wins (Pensacola Pelicans in 2010), with their 5-3 win over Fargo on Wednesday.
"We don't pay much attention to Fargo," said Goldeyes designated hitter/outfielder Kyle Day in a telephone interview from Sioux Falls. "There's still a lot of baseball to be played and we need to see to it that our business is taken care of each day."
As the league's three division winners earn automatic playoff berths, the Goldeyes have plenty of time to make some gains.
After Thursday's come-from-behind win in Sioux Falls, the Goldeyes return home for six games including three against the Quebec Capitales of the Can-Am League, as part of the interlocking schedule between the two leagues, and three against the Pheasants.
"It's time for us to just play our game and get on a winning streak here on the road and build on our winning road record," said Goldeyes third baseman Amos Ramon, who returned to the Goldeyes lineup on Tuesday in half the time expected to heal a separated shoulder suffered on June 16.
The Goldeyes now have an 18-12 record on the road.
"We have a strong defence and we know we can play a lot better defensively," said Ramon, who went 0-for-3 at the plate his first game back Tuesday but Wednesday hit an RBI double and scored a run.
"We're starting to see some production from the bottom of the lineup with Jose (Duran) and Ridge (Carpenter) and me.
"We can set the table for the top of the lineup and the middle, get on base, and those guys can hit us in."
After Ramon's return this week and the acquisition of Duran last week, the Goldeyes released Vancouver native David Narodowski after Sunday's 6-3 home loss to the St. Paul Saints. Narodowski played 36 games at shortstop but was only hitting .194.
The Goldeyes have been without outfielder Jon Weber, third in team hitting at .316, for three games since leaving Monday's game with an ankle injury.
Day, who has served as the DH as much as in the outfield, is also the Goldeyes' backup catcher but has only worked three games behind the plate.
"It's been a really frustrating season for me being banged up, my hamstring has been bothering me since the second game of the season and then I hurt my shoulder running into the wall (last month)," said Day, hitting .322 behind team leader Yurendell de Caster's .329. "I might be able to catch on Sunday (against Sioux Falls), if I can get healthy enough."
Luis Alen has worked as the team's catcher in 54 of the 58 games so far.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 20, 2012 C8
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