Stockton Notebook: Melillo Still Sizzling

Sunday afternoon's 103 degree temperature couldn't compare to the heat coming off Stockton Ports second baseman Kevin Melillo's bat. Melillo went 3-4 with a homer and two RBI, extending his hitting streak to 13 games, as Stockton topped Bakersfield, 4-1.

Kevin Melillo, who was a double short of the cycle, performed well in the heat and also continued his streak of hitting successfully in every game since joining the Ports on July 4th.

"The heat wasn't bad," Melillo said. "I'm used to it. I'm from down south in Florida where it's a lot hotter than this. It's my kind of weather. I like playing in this a lot more than playing where it's freezing"

"You could see the body language from the Bakersfield players, they were just baking out there in the sun today. It can really take a lot out of you. I think they lost a lot of their momentum as the game went on because of that."

Another Ports player burning up the field was starting pitcher Brad Ziegler.

Ziegler (7-6) picked up the victory with seven innings pitched and one run on eight hits and nine strikeouts.

"The biggest thing for me was keeping the ball down in the zone and getting some ground balls and even when they were hitting the ball in the air they weren't getting any solid contact," Ziegler said.

"I just like getting the ball it doesn't matter if it's hot. It could be raining, it doesn't matter, as long as I'm on the mound."

The Ports scored their first run in the bottom of the third after Melillo hit a off the wall triple to centerfield and Blaze starting pitcher Matt Lorenzo (1-4) balked him in. The inning continued with an RBI single by centerfielder Dustin Majewski that scored third baseman Lloyd Turner as the Ports took the 2-1 lead.

Stockton added its other two runs in the bottom of the sixth when Melillo hit a two-run shot to Home Run hill in centerfield.

"Melillo really cares about what he does on the offensive and defensive side," Manager Todd Steverson said. "He's one of those guys that has a nack for getting the bat head on the ball."

"A lot of will and determination can take you over any hump. It's just the fact that you want it so bad. I'm quite sure he wants it that bad."

Steverson was also pleased with his starting pitcher.

"It was nice for him to go out there and do what he did," Steverson said. "You can't ask for more in 103 degree heat to go out there and throw 7 innings."

"He threw his pitches, kept them down and off balance, and all of them were working today. When he's got that going he will tend to stay in the game that long."

Melillo also gave high praise towards the right handed starter.

"Ziegler was out there dealing for us," Melillo said. "Every start that I've seen him have, he's kept a great tempo and doesn't leave us out there too long and gets these guys in the dugout ready to hit."

The Ports (16-7), who swept the Blaze this weekend, are just one game behind the first place Modesto Nuts and are set to face them this week.

"We've been kind of mirroring each other everyday," Steverson said about his team and the Nuts. "I think it'll be a good series, they have a good pitching staff over there and we do too."

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