Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Fish primed for Tuesday home opener
Coming home from Texas at 6-3 and in top spot
Following the longest road trip in club history, the Winnipeg Goldeyes will play their home opener Tuesday with a winning record.
The Goldeyes have been away from Shaw Park since May 12. After 17 days, three exhibition games and a Texas tour of nine regular-season games, the Goldeyes are returning with a 6-3 mark and top spot in the North Division of the American Association.
The Goldeyes will open their home schedule with the first of a three-game set against the Amarillo Sox at 7 p.m. More than 7,000 tickets have been sold. The teams play again Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Thursday at 11 a.m.
After losing 14-7 Saturday night to the Diablos in El Paso, the Goldeyes boarded a bus bound for Winnipeg. The trip, expected to take at least 27 hours, would have seen the team arrive back in Winnipeg in the early hours this morning.
"The only way I can think of to make a road trip of this length go by fast is by winning baseball games," Forney said.
That's what the Goldeyes did. The Goldeyes took two of three in El Paso against the Diablos, one of three in Laredo against the Lemurs and won three straight to open the season in Amarillo against the Sox.
With a winning percentage of .667 heading into their 10th game of the season and first at home, it's the start that Forney was looking for.
"Every year is difficult and the schedule is tough for everybody in the league. To make the playoffs is not going to be easy but it's a doable task," Forney said. "Every 10 games, that's how I like to look at my schedule. If you have three or four periods of 10-game stretches where you get 3-and-7 or 2-and-8, then you're going to be on the outside looking in.
"You need to find a way to be consistent and be consistent early. Your bad stretches have to be 4-6. That might not be so bad at the end of the day, if you only do it twice. If we can find a way to play .600 baseball like we did last year, I think we should be okay."
In three of the six wins, the Goldeyes scored the winning runs in their last at-bat. Twice on the road trip, the team had three-game winning streaks.
"It's nice to come to the field when that's taking place. It sure was a lot of fun last year, but it's not an easy task with the quality of teams in our league and the gruelling schedule, with the travel thrown in," Forney said.
Key to last year's wining club was team unity.
After 17 straight days of togetherness on the road, Forney said he hopes the groundwork for a strong team bond is in place.
"It kind of starts right there," Forney said. "You need guys that enjoy going to work together every day -- not just enjoy hanging out -- you need to enjoy working together and have other things in common."
Individually, left-fielder Jon Weber is leading the team and is sixth in the AA with a .415 average. Weber is one of nine players in the 13-team league batting .400 or better and one of only six who have not committed an error.
Reliever Kaohi Downing is tied for the AA lead with three wins and is sixth in strikeouts with nine. Second baseman Matt Cusick is tied for fourth in RBI with 10 while Weber is fifth with nine.
Winnipeg's season-opening homestand will wrap up with the Gary SouthShore RailCats visiting Shaw Park on Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 28, 2012 C2
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