Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Seeing double? The Fish are, a lot

SS to 1B trio turning plenty of double-plays

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If defence wins championships, a lot of titles are won on the infield.

If the last 28 games are any indication, the Winnipeg Goldeyes have locked on to a winning combination in shortstop Tyler Kuhn, second baseman Brock Bond and first baseman Casey Haerther.

That trio has turned the exciting and all-important double-play an impressive 22 times in the past 28 games and is certainly a key factor in the Goldeyes' position atop the North Division standings.

Bond was added to the roster to relieve injured second bagger Jake Blackwood 28 games ago. But since Blackwood's return 10 games ago, the combination of Kuhn and Bond has been too good to pass up, relegating Blackwood to third base.

It's been a common display for Fish fans: Grounder to Kuhn, relay to Bond and then fired to first baseman Haerther for the second out.

Bond said it's just a matter of feeling comfortable with the guys beside him.

"I think it's just good chemistry we have on this team," said Bond, who has one only error this season, noting the sun was in his eyes. "Playing up the middle with Kuhn and you know that helps out a lot, we're kinda similar players and he makes just about every play too."

Both played against each other in 2012 during their time in AAA, where Bond was with the Fresno Grizzlies and Kuhn with the Reno Aces. "I remember him, he was a good little scrappy player for them," Bond said. "Like I said when I got here, they're very welcoming here, you know I felt very comfortable from the get go.

"I think that's the biggest thing is feeling comfortable. Just catch the ball and throw it, keep it simple."

For Kuhn, who played the first 34 games alongside Blackwood, the chemistry with Bond was seamless, noting the similarities the two have. Both players are consistent, Bond's not going to wow you with anything but he does everything well and plays the game the right way, Kuhn said.

"You definitely wanna have some sort of connection or relationship with the guy you play middle infield with," said Kuhn, who carries eight errors on the season. "Just because you need to know where they like the ball on the double play turns. You know, where they're stronger covering ground, positioning-wise if I move, he moves.

"That sort of thing we need to be on the same page with and we really haven't had any problems at all so far."

Through the seven games of error-free baseball for the Fish, they have won four-straight. In those tough situational moments where runners are in scoring position and the douple-play is necessary to get out of the jam, they seem to find a way to get it done.

That's something Kuhn credits to the guys on the mound.

"That's our pitching, it really is," he said. "With our pitching staff, the way they throw the ball you know they get a lot of ground balls, so it's our job to turn the double-plays when we have the opportunity. Our pitchers know that and they pitch to that."

kyle.edwards@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 24, 2014 D3

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