Minor League Baseball: Power keeps its focus in beating Delmarva
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Every game is important for the West Virginia Power with the team in the middle of a pennant race and slightly more than a month remaining in the season.
Just one-half game out of first place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division entering play on Monday evening, the Power began a pair of crucial home series' with a big opportunity to make a serious push.
That's because the Power doesn't have to leave the confines of Appalachian Power Park for the next seven nights and plays against two of the bottom three squads in the seven-team division.
The Power began the important set of games with a 9-3 victory over the Delmarva Shorebirds.
With the victory, the Power (22-14 in the second half and 59-47 overall) retakes first-place, leapfrogging past Hagerstown by a half game. The Suns lost 5-4 on the road to Lakewood, also on Monday night.
"It's fun when the games mean something," Power Manager Michael Ryan said. "We are excited to be in it. They play the game the right way. It's well deserved and we have to play well in order to stay there."
Ryan said the supposed light schedule this week should not be reason for the team to decrease its intensity.
"We're not going to take anyone lightly," Ryan said. "Baseball is funny. You can get beat on any given night, and we have to realize that. We just have to take it day by day and continue to do what we have been doing to be in this situation."
Being able to compete in a playoff race has the Power players energized and excited to come to the ballpark every day.
"Our whole entire team really wants to make the playoffs," Power starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow said. "It's No. 1 on our minds. It's a huge thing and I'm really stoked for it."
Glasnow, who got the win Monday, indicated the team isn't feeling any more pressure despite huge games seemingly every night on the horizon.
"There is no more or less pressure," Glasnow said. "Nothing has changed. We have been really determined and focused. We just go out and play like we know we can."
Glasnow got plenty of run support in improving his record to 8-2 on the season with a miniscule 2.24 earned run average. He pitched five solid innings, allowing just one hit, a two-run homer by Delmarva's Lucas Herbst in the third inning.
The Power jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead by plating three runs in the second inning. It all got started when leadoff hitter Jordan Steranka struck out but reached first base after a wild pitch by Delmarva starter Luc Rennie.
With one out, the next three Power batters had hits with Luis Urena doubling, Raul Fortunato driving in a run with a single, and the big blow coming from catcher Francisco Diaz with a two run single to give the team the early lead.
The Shorebirds got right back in the game, though, just an inning later, plating two runs to cut the deficit to just one. With one out, Delmarva center fielder Gregory Lorenzo reached on an error by third baseman Eric Wood, and Lucas Herbst followed with a two-run homer.
The Power responded, breaking the game open with four runs on four hits in the fifth inning to seize a commanding 7-2 lead they wouldn' relinquish. They woud tack on two more in the seventh inning on a two run error by Delmarva left fielder Creede Simpson.
The Shorebirds' other run came in rare fashion on an inside the park home run by Wynston Sawyer in the seventh inning. The Delmarva first baseman hit a line drive down the left field corner that rolled around near a tarp and the bullpen area.