Wild Things sweep past winless Greys

May 22, 2014

It’s only three wins, the critics will say.

Yes, it’s three wins, but they came against a winless team, the critics will say.

It was three wins against the league’s travel team, the critics will say.

The Wild Things, however, only care about what the standings show. And there is much to be said for winning games you’re supposed to win.

Washington completed a series sweep of the Frontier League Greys with a 5-2 victory Thursday night. The sweep evens the Wild Things’ record at 3-3 after they opened the season by losing three games at Florence last week.

“It’s not like we had a terrible series against Florence,” said Washington right fielder Stewart Ijames. “We competed well and just had a couple of breaks that didn’t go our way. We bounced back, took a series and now we’re back to .500. We just have to keep battling uphill.”

Ijames’ hitting and some strong starting pitching are big reasons why the Wild Things will take a three-game winning streak into tonight’s series opener against Rockford at Consol Energy Park.

Ijames continued his sizzling start to the season by going 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. He drove in Ryan Kresky with the game’s initial run in the bottom of the first inning, and later scored on a double steal as the Wild Things scored four quick runs against Greys starter Justin Jackson (0-2).

Ijames, who led the league in doubles as a rookie last season, pushed his batting average to .462 (12-for-25) with five extra-base hits.

“Stewart had a very good year last season and I’m surprised that he didn’t get an invite to spring training in affiliated ball,” Washington manager Bart Zeller said. “He put up big numbers as a rookie. If he keeps putting up those kinds of numbers, then someone is going to give the guy a chance. He’s a hard worker.”

The Wild Things sent eight batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning. William Beckwith drove in Carter Bell with a double that made the score 3-0, and Scott Kalamar capped the big inning with a run-scoring single.

That was enough support for starting pitcher Tim Flight (1-0), who allowed only four hits and one run over seven innings. Flight, who pitched in the New York Yankees’ system last year, did not issue a walk. The lefty struck out six.

“Flight did a really good job. He had total command of the strike zone,” Zeller said.

In the three games against the Greys, Washington’s starting pitchers allowed only two runs over 20 innings.

The Greys scored a run off reliever Matt Purnell in the eighth to pull to within 5-2, but Jonathan Kountis got the final three outs for his second save.

After falling behind early, the frustration of an 0-6 start finally boiled over for the Greys in the fourth inning, when manager Kyle Haines was ejected by base umpire Ron Arnsperger. That came after Haines was involved in an animated argument with home-plate umpire Mark Schmidt.

Washington stretched its lead to 5-0 in the fifth, when Kalmar reached on a bunt single and scored on a two-out double down the right-field line by Danny Poma.

Cameron Monger, who had three of the Greys’ seven hits, tripled and scored on Logan Pierce’s sacrifice fly in the sixth. Pierce drove in the Greys’ other run on a groundout in the eighth.

“I’d like to see us put some more offense up after we score four in the first,” Zeller said. “You want to add on to it.”

Chris Dugan has been covering local sports for more than 30 years and has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1986. He was named sports editor in 2006. Before joining the O-R, he was sports editor at the Democrat-Messenger in Waynesburg. He is a former member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. If you have an idea for a story, send him an email at dugan@observer-reporter.com.

View More from this Author



blog comments powered by Disqus