How are things?
Lakewood won the first-half crown in the South Atlantic League, but they're not resting on their laurels. In fact, their .600 winning percentage in the second-half (27-18) equals their percentage from the first-half (42-28) and they hold a 1/2 game lead over Hickory in the second-half standings. The Crawdads have won three straight to help close the gap. After starting the second half 10-2, Lakewood has gone 17-16 and are just 6-8 over their last 14 games at home, but they do hold a league-best road record at 38-23.
This past Tuesday, Lakewood had a 17 run outburst against West Virginia to skate to a 17-3 win. On the way to picking up two touchdowns and a field goal, the BlueClaws hitters broke a few franchise records, including most runs in a game, which also came against West Virginia at FirstEnergy Park back in 2005. Alan Schoenberger scored five runs, which also broke a franchise record of four runs scored in one game, which was set by seven other BlueClaws over the years. Lakewood also tied a franchise record with five home runs in the game.
Jeremy Barnes is 12-for-25 (.480) over his last six games, raising his average from .268 to .285 on the season. On Monday, Barnes became the first BlueClaws player this season to record three doubles in a game. In the first-half of the season, Barnes played only at second base, but he's shifted over to third base 14 times in the second-half of the season.
In his last eight games, Stephen Batts has collected seven multi-hit games and has gone 23-for-58 (.397) over his last 14 games to raise his average to .283. Like Barnes, Batts is seeing time at third base during the second-half and has played there 13 times. It's the first time since his freshman year in college that Batts has played the position.
In addition to Batts eight-game hit streak, Michael Dabbs has hit safely in eight straight and 17 of the 19 games that he's played with Lakewood. Jiwan James also has a streak of 17 straight games where he has reached base safely.
Left-hander Kyle Carr opened the season with Williamsport, but has now put together a 12 2/3 inning scoreless streak with Lakewood. Carr was drafted by Minnesota in 2008, but was released during spring training this season and initially signed with Fargo of the Northern League, but the Phillies signed him just before the start of the Northern League season. Carr is one of four BlueClaws players who spent time with independent league teams. The other three are infielder Keoni Ruth (Golden League) and pitchers Joe Esposito (Atlantic League) and Mike McGuire (Can-Am League). Esposito was recently promoted to Clearwater.
A couple of 'Claws are chasing franchise records. Catcher Sebastian Valle has hit 15 home runs and needs seven more to tie Juan Richardson's mark of 22 set back in 2001. Jiwan James is chasing two records; he needs 20 more runs scored to tie Michael Bourn's team record of 92 set in 2004 and needs 19 more hits to tie Quintin Berry's record of 152 set back in 2007. Both players have 24 games left to reach their milestones. As a team, Lakewood has a shot at breaking their franchise record for wins in a season and would have to go 16-8 to beat the record of 84 wins set by the 2006 club.
Eric Massingham came off the DL on Tuesday. To make room for him, pitcher Joe Esposito was promoted to High-A Clearwater.
South Atlantic League leaders
Jiwan James - third in games (113), first in at-bats (473), first in hits (133), fifth in runs (72), second in triples (9)
Anthony Hewitt - first in strikeouts by a hitter (138)
Brody Colvin - eighth in ERA (3.17), tied for first in starts (23), fourth in innings pitched (122)
Luke Wertz - lowest batting average against among relievers (.186), second in lowest walks-intentional walks/nine innings among relievers (1.54), fewest base runners/nine innings among relievers (7.56)
Team Stats - seventh in hitting (.261), second in team ERA (3.09)
On the agenda
Lakewood started a nine-game homestand Thursday night against Delmarva. The series with the Shorebirds goes through Monday before Greensboro comes in for a four-game set. Greensboro is third in the SAL North, five games behind Lakewood and Delmarva is sixth in the SAL Northern, 8 1/2 games behind the 'Claws.
Promotions during the homestand include fireworks August 13, a baseball giveaway on the 14th, the ZOOperStars on the 16th, team card sets on the 17th, a notebook giveaway on the 18th, a Miles Austin bobble-head night on the 19th and more fireworks to wrap up the homestand on the 20th.