Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Goldeyes gaining ground in race

A 5-1 homestand puts Fish back in wild-card picture

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Goldeyes' Ryan Scoma (32) is tagged out after getting caught leading off first base in the bottom of the fifth of the conclusion of Saturday's rain-delayed game Sunday.

PHOTOS BY MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Goldeyes' Ryan Scoma (32) is tagged out after getting caught leading off first base in the bottom of the fifth of the conclusion of Saturday's rain-delayed game Sunday. Photo Store

A 5-1 homestand isn't bad for the Winnipeg Goldeyes. Especially as the playoff picture becomes clearer with each and every week. While the Fish aren't at the top of the wild-card race, they've certainly done enough to stay in the picture.

After completing two games against the Sioux Falls Canaries on Sunday, Goldeyes outfielder Tyler Graham said he believes he might have the formula that will allow his team to continue its winning ways.

"I think it's important for this team to get on the board early and just keep adding on. Obviously (Chris) Salamida had a heck of a game pitching. He kept us in it and he kept them off the board the whole game," Graham said referring to the Goldeye's 4-2 win over the Canaries.

The Goldeyes are 22-14 when scoring the first run of the game and it's helped them put together a 14-6 record over the past 20 games.

Manager Rick Forney is expecting his team to continue scoring early as they head out to Sioux City to take on the Explorers in a four-game series. Especially after the Explorers' three-game series against the St. Paul Saints.

"That's a tough place to play for some reason. I don't know what it is, but the voodoo dolls are out there. I don't know why, but we've got to find a way to win three games down there," Forney said. "I know their pitching and their bullpen got used up in St. Paul this weekend, so hopefully we'll swing the bat well early and get to their bullpen and have opportunities to score runs."

The Goldeyes are now 3 1/2 games back of wild-card leaders Gary SouthShore RailCats. They'll look to continue that momentum into their road trip to Sioux City, much like they carried it through this entire homestand, a nice turnaround after losing three straight to Fargo-Moorhead at the start of August.

"I would say if we laid an egg this homestand coming off that last weekend in Fargo, it probably would have been over for us, to be honest with you. But guys responded. We got off the bus, played well Monday and carried it all the way through Sunday," Forney said.

The groove the Goldeyes have got into has become somewhat natural, according to Salamida. In a way, the Goldeyes don't have a choice.

"I think we're playing with a little more of a sense of urgency. We've got a little over 20 games left and we've just got to keep on putting wins together because that's the only way we're going to get into the playoffs," he said.

The results have shown on the field in this homestand. Pitching has kept the opposition off the board and the Fish have been to score runs late in the game.

"We're being serious, but we're having fun at the same time. We're picking each other up it seems," Salamida said. "Like if one guy doesn't get a hit, then the other guy is going to get a hit. If someone gives up a couple runs as a pitcher, the next guy is going to come in, do his thing and back him up."

kyle.jahns@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 12, 2013 C5

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