The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

June 27, 2013

Clinton LumberKings Winning series is key for second half

By Brenden West

Herald Assistant Sports Editor

CLINTON — Win games, then win series; win enough series and Clinton manager Eddie Menchaca believes his club will be poised for a fifth consecutive Midwest League postseason run.

“The expectation, now, is to finish better than we did in the first half,” Menchaca said. “To do that, we have to find a way to win more series and find ways to sweep teams. If you have a chance to win a series, a chance to sweep somebody, you’re bound to make the playoffs.”

With a 33-36 start to the season, the LumberKings were good enough for fourth place in the first half of the Midwest League’s West Division standings. A few things will work in Clinton’s favor to meet the playoff goal, primarily the fact that all records are wiped out for the second half of the season and their are two fewer teams in each division in the playoff hunt because the top two teams in the first half already qualified.

It means the LumberKings’ sluggish 4-7 start to the season — and another six-game losing streak to end May — may not cause too much harm later. With the restart, Clinton can possibly finish as low as fourth in the standings and still hold playoff hopes. And so far the team has four of its All-Stars (outfielders Jabari Henry and Dario Pizzano, catcher Tyler Marlette and pitcher Tyler Pike) to play with.

But with key contributors Brock Hebert, Patrick Kivlehan and Grady Wood already getting the call to High-A, it’s created a few holes for Menchaca to fill.

He isn’t worried, though. All players need to do, he said, is work hard.

“The winning will take care of itself,” he said. “It’s not about ‘winning first.’ It’s get better.

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