The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

June 27, 2013

Clinton LumberKings Winning series is key for second half

(Continued)

“You expect things to be better in the second half. You expect to come to the ballpark and know that we’re not going to do the same things as in the first half. Little things that got us in holes in the first half, we’re expecting not to do that anymore.”

And, even without the “win first” mentality, “We’re expecting to win more ballgames,” Menchaca said.

To do that, the LumberKings will rely on continual development and a few new arrivals from the Short Season-A Everett AquaSox.

In 10 days since the break, Clinton moved up middle infielder Martin Peguero (19, from the Dominican Republic) to help fill in for Hebert. Newcomer Mark Bordonaro has made four late-game appearances and looks to be the heir apparent to Wood. And recently acquired Hawaiian Charles Kaalekahi already started twice and is 1-0 in three games; he’ll likely vie for a spot in the rotation along with Venezuelan Victor Sanchez, who recently returned from injury.

At 5-1 since the restart, the coaching staff likes the second half product thus far. Menchaca attributed that to development and expects to see more.

“The guys understand themselves as ballplayers now,” he said. “They’re getting better, they know what to get better at. So now, it’s just putting it out there and seeing what we can do.”

Despite the hot start, other teams are keeping pace. In the Western division, Cedar Rapids leads with 6-0, while Beloit and Quad Cities are tied with Clinton for second place.

However, if those standings hold, it would mean the LumberKings would clinch with both the Snappers and Kernels receiving bids in the first half.

But there’s still a lot of season left, and if one thing hasn’t changed it’s the team’s game-to-game approach.

“We don’t talk about it. We just talk about what’s ahead of us right now,” Menchaca said.

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