04/28/2015 8:27 AM
Ten Things to Know About Sweets Baseball
April 28, 2015: Season 6, Volume 11
1. In the pros, Sweets alumnus Eric Yardley has close games locked down for Lake Elsinore to start the year. The Storm's closer snagged his California League-leading third save Wednesday with a shutout ninth inning at High Desert, and threw a perfect ninth against Rancho Cucamonga in a 5-1 Storm win. The former Seattle Redhawk has yet to allow a run in six appearances, yielding four hits and a walk while striking out eight.
2. There aren't many prep hitters in Calfiornia better than Willie MacIver. The senior at College Park followed up a disciplined display last Tuesday against Northgate (1-for-2, two walks, three runs scored) with a hitting bonanza on Thursday, going 4-for-5 with two RBIs and finishing the home run shy of the cycle in a 16-3 Falcons win. His hitting streak is now up to a dozen games, while his team has won four in a row and seven of its last eight. MacIver is now second on the team in hits, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and RBIs. He trails the same player in all those statistics...
3. ... and to no one's surprise, that player is Joe DeMers. On Tuesday, DeMers threw his third no-hitter of the season and second in a row in an 11-0 win over Northgate, walking one and striking out five to trim his ERA to a microscopic 0.26 in 54 innings. He also went 4-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored that day, following it up with a 4-for-5 effort with four RBIs against the Broncos two days later. It truly is a season beyond words for the Washington commit, who Huskies skipper Lindsay Meggs thinks could be his team's Friday night starter as a freshman.
4. After going just two innings in his team's 10-2 win against Kiona-Benton, DeSales ace Cam Richman no doubt wanted to bounce back with a statement in his Sunday start against Tri-Cities Prep. The Portland commit was more than able to TCB against TCP, throwing a one-hit shutout, fanning eleven batters and walking just one in a 9-0 Irish win. Richman sports a 0.81 ERA and 66 strikeouts through his first 43 frames of work this season. Richman will likely get the ball to start in a big district clash with Asotin on Thursday.
5. Long Beach State freshman Darren McCaughan continues to produce solid work out of the bullpen, posting an inning of scoreless releif on Friday against Cal Poly, but more notably, the native of Downey, California, is starting to settle into his midweek role. He was saddled with a loss against Loyola Marymount last Tuesday, but did not allow an earned run on four hits and a walk in three innings. The right-hander has not allowed an earned run in his last four appearances overall. He won't get the start tonight against UCLA, but will be available out of the bullpen, where he's 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in thirteen appearances.
6. When the Aliso Niguel Wolverines need a win, they turn to their ace, Kyle Molnar, and the UCLA commit delivered in a big way on Wednesday. Molnar went the distance for the fourth time this season, allowing just one earned run on five hits while striking out ten in a 4-2 Wolverines win over Tesoro. He also came up big at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a three-run home run in the sixth that put Aliso Niguel on top for good. The Wolverines split their doubleheader with the Titans, and with just four games left in league play, they need a big weekend against Dana Hills, the No. 3 team in California - and the eighth-best team in the country.
7. It seems like every week, we have a story about Juan Gamez going for a trot 'round the bases. North Dakota State's top slugger did it again this week, with his seventh home run of the year against Western Illinois on Saturday, but he flashed the ability to hit for average, as well, going 5-for-12 (.417) in the set with four singles, as well as two RBIs and three runs scored. The junior's slash line of .275/.336/.495 is the highest all three numbers have been since his senior year of high school.
8. Sticking with the Bison, outfielder Jon Hechtner hadn't had a hit since March 8 coming into this weekend's action, and had taken just four at-bats since that date. The former All-Summit League selection finally recaptured his form against Western Illinois, however, going 4-for-8 in two games with a pair of RBIs, doubling both year-to-date totals, drawing two walks, and scoring once. Hechtner entered 2015 a career .273 hitter, and now sits at .182, meaning there could be a significant spike in his production in the last three weeks of the year.
9. Confidence is especially important for young players at any level, and UC-Riverside freshman Cody Sporrer will no doubt be riding high after a dandy of a week. Sporrer gave his whole team a boost with a pinch-hit tenth-inning single to extend their midweek game with UNLV, which the Highlanders won, then went 5-for-12 with two RBIs and his first career triple in a weekend set at Cal State-Northridge. The week tacks 32 points onto Sporrer's average, lifting it from .250 to .282 and putting Sporrer a little higher on Troy Percival's depth chart.
10. We round out this week's news with a ray of hope from Portland, where the Pilots were just 9-35 heading into Sunday's action against Loyola Marymount. They went down 2-0 in the fourth, and looked like they might get swept at home by the Lions. Head coach Chris Sperry went to his bullpen for Alex Fisher, needing a lift for his team. Fisher responded with the best performance of his career to date, going 5.1 shutout innings, allowing just one hit and one walk with three strikeouts. The Pilots rallied around him, took the lead on a Kevin Farley inside-the-park home run, and Fisher retired the last six in order for a 3-2 Portland victory with the sophomore right-hander getting his first career win.
Just 37 days remain until the Sweets open the 2015 season against the Medford Rogues! Purchase tickets today online, downtown at 109 E Main Street, or by calling 509-522-BALL.