Saturday, September 13th: RockHounds Score 9 Runs on Saturday to Even Up Texas League Series and Force Final Game on Sunday

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Designated Hitter D’Arby Myers (2 for 5 / Double / 3 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Designated Hitter D’Arby Myers (2 for 5 / Double / 3 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Texas League Championship Series – Game #4

Tulsa Drillers                  4

Midland RockHounds  9

WP – Hooker 1-0 / 5.40

Down 2 games to 1 and facing elimination in the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series on Saturday, the RockHounds brought out the bats and put 9 runs on the board to help them even things up and send the series to a decisive Game #5 at Midland on Sunday. The Hounds also got a strong outing from starter Deryk Hooker, who shut out Tulsa for 5 innings before allowing 2 runs in the 6th and exiting with two men on who would eventually come around to score. Hooker picked up the win, while RHP Murphy Smith struck out 5 in 3 scoreless innings of relief, and RHP Ryan Dull got the final three outs in the 9th. At the plate, five Hounds hitters had multi-hit games on Saturday. Designated hitter D’Arby Myers singled, doubled and drove in 3, while first baseman Max Muncy collected 4 hits and drove in a run, and third baseman Matt Chapman singled, doubled, walked and scored twice. Second baseman Daniel Robertson had 2 hits and 2 walks and drove in a run, and center fielder Kenny Wilson singled, doubled, stole a base, scored twice and drove in a pair for the RockHounds. The deciding game of the series is set to take place on Sunday with Nate Long taking the mound for Midland.

 

Sunday’s Game:

Tulsa @ Midland – 2:00pm PT / 4:00pm CT

 

 

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Friday, September 12th: Matt Chapman Homers as Hounds Drop Game #3 and Go Down 2-1 in Texas League Championship Series

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Matt Chapman (2 for 4 / Home Run)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Matt Chapman (2 for 4 / Home Run)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Texas League Championship Series – Game #3

Tulsa Drillers                  5

Midland RockHounds  2

LP – Flores 0-1 / 10.13

HR – Chapman (1)

Midland dropped Game #3 of the Texas League Championship Series in 11 innings on Friday night to go down 2-1 in the best-of-five series. This year’s 1st-round draft pick for the A’s, third baseman Matt Chapman, homered in the 2nd inning to give the RockHounds an early lead. Starter Shawn Haviland allowed 2 runs on just 3 hits while striking out 6 in 6 innings of work and left with his team down by a run. Designated hitter D’Arby Myers walked with the based loaded in the bottom of the 8th to bring in the tying run for the RockHounds. RHP Marcus Walden pitched 3 perfect innings in relief to help keep things tight, while RHP Jose Flores came on to toss a scoreless 10th but gave up a 3-run homer in the top of the 11th to take the loss. Chapman singled, walked and homered in the game, while Myers had a pair of singles and a walk, and catcher Beau Taylor singled and doubled in the loss. Former A’s farmhand Carlos Hernandez got the start for Tulsa and allowed just 1 run over 7 strong innings for the Drillers. The RockHounds must now win Game #4, which is set to take place on Saturday with RHP Deryk Hooker taking the mound for Midland.

 

Saturday’s Game:

Tulsa @ Midland – 5:00pm PT / 7:00pm CT

 

 

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A’s Final 2014 Minor League Hitting & Pitching Leaders

Included: Sacramento River Cats (AAA), Midland RockHounds (AA), Stockton Ports (A), Beloit Snappers (A), Vermont Lake Monsters (A), AZL A’s (Rk)

 

–HITS–

dr621002170 Daniel Robertson SS (Sto)

167 Shane Peterson OF (Sac)

160 Ryon Healy 3B-1B (Sto)

142 Renato Nunez 3B (Sto)

138 Nick Buss OF (Sac)

 

–DOUBLES–

sp45108940 Shane Peterson OF (Sac)

37 Daniel Robertson SS (Sto)

34 Tyler Marincov OF (Bel-Sto)

32 Chad Pinder 2B (Sto)

31 Matt Olson 1B (Sto)

 

–TRIPLES–

Mercedes7 Melvin Mercedes SS-2B (Bel)

6 Aaron Shipman OF (Sto)

6 Bobby Crocker OF (Sto)

6 Jaycob Brugman OF (Bel-Sto)

6 Tyler Marincov OF (Bel-Sto)

 

–HOME RUNS–

mo62156637 Matt Olson 1B (Sto)

29 Renato Nunez 3B (Sto)

21 Jaycob Brugman OF (Bel-Sto)

18 Tyler Marincov OF (Bel-Sto)

18 Dusty Coleman SS (Mid)

 

–TOTAL BASES–

mo621566278 Matt Olson 1B (Sto)

263 Renato Nunez 3B (Sto)

258 Daniel Robertson SS (Sto)

250 Shane Peterson OF (Sac)

240 Ryon Healy 3B-1B (Sto)

 

–RBIs–

mo62156697 Matt Olson 1B (Sto)

96 Renato Nunez 3B (Sto)

90 Shane Peterson OF (Sac)

83 Ryon Healy 3B-1B (Sto)

81 Dusty Coleman SS (Mid)

 

–RUNS–

mo621566111 Matt Olson 1B (Sto)

110 Daniel Robertson SS (Sto)

101 Shane Peterson OF (Sac)

79 Nick Buss OF (Sac)

79 Dusty Coleman SS (Mid)

 

–WALKS–

mo621566117 Matt Olson 1B (Sto)

87 Max Muncy 1B-3B (Mid)

72 Daniel Robertson SS (Sto)

69 Conner Crumbliss 2B-OF (Mid)

66 Shane Peterson OF (Sac)

 

–STRIKEOUTS–

dc543038202 Dusty Coleman SS (Mid)

149 Bobby Crocker OF (Sto)

140 Anthony Aliotti 1B-OF (Sac-Mid)

139 Shane Peterson OF (Sac)

137 Matt Olson 1B (Sto)

 

–STOLEN BASES–

bb54299354 Billy Burns OF (Mid-Sac)

31 Bobby Crocker OF (Sto)

18 Tyler Marincov OF (Bel-Sto)

16 Justin Higley OF (Bel-Ver), Boog Powell OF (Bel-Sto), Dusty Coleman SS (Mid)

 

–ERRORS–

lb54218226 Luis Baez 3B-SS (Bel)

22 Dusty Coleman SS (Mid)

21 Melvin Mercedes SS-2B (Bel)

21 Jefry Marte 3B (Mid)

20 Yairo Munoz SS (Ver)

 

–BATTING AVERAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

Powell.343 Boog Powell OF (Bel-Sto)

.310 Daniel Robertson SS (Sto)

.308 Shane Peterson OF (Sac)

.307 Nick Buss OF (Sac)

.288 Chad Pinder 2B (Sto), Nate Freiman 1B (Sac-Bel)

 

–ON-BASE PERCENTAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

Powell.451 Boog Powell OF (Bel-Sto)

.404 Matt Olson 1B (Sto)

.402 Daniel Robertson SS (Sto)

.385 Max Muncy 1B-3B (Mid)

.381 Shane Peterson OF (Sac), Alden Carrithers 3B (Sac)

 

–SLUGGING PERCENTAGE– (minimum 300 at-bats)

mo621566.543 Matt Olson 1B (Sto)

.520 Nate Freiman 1B (Sac-Bel)

.517 Renato Nunez 3B (Sto)

.506 Jaycob Brugman OF (Bel-Sto)

.489 Chad Pinder 2B (Sto)

 

–ON-BASE + SLUGGING– (minimum 300 at-bats)

mo621566.947 Matt Olson 1B (Sto)

.893 Nate Freiman 1B (Sac-Bel)

.886 Boog Powell OF (Bel-Sto)

.873 Daniel Robertson SS (Sto)

.860 Jaycob Brugman OF (Bel-Sto)

 

Click here for A’s minor league pitching leaders…

Wednesday, September 10th: Max Muncy & Daniel Robertson Homer as Hounds Drop Game #2 of Texas League Championship Series

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Max Muncy (Home Run)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Max Muncy (Home Run)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Texas League Championship Series – Game #2

Midland RockHounds  2

Tulsa Drillers                  5

LP – Jensen 0-1 / 11.25

HR – Muncy (1), Robertson (1)

Tulsa managed to put 5 runs on the board over the first 4 innings against Midland, which would be all the Drillers would need to win Game #2 of the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series on Wednesday and even the series up at one game apiece. Starter Chris Jensen, who was solid all season for the RockHounds, had a shaky outing on Wednesday, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits over 4 innings of work to put the Hounds in a hole they could not climb out of. RHP Murphy Smith tossed 2 scoreless innings in relief, while RHP Ryan Dull pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings, and LHP Frank Gailey got the final out for Midland. With the RockHounds down by a run, first baseman Max Muncy homered in the top of the 2nd to tie things up. Muncy would also draw one of Midland’s only two walks later in the game. Daniel Robertson, starting at second base and batting leadoff, homered in the top of the 3rd to bring the Hounds within 2 runs, but that would be all the scoring the RockHounds would do on Wednesday. Shortstop Dusty Coleman singled and doubled, while outfielder Kent Matthes and pinch hitter D’Arby Myers both singled in the loss. The series will resume on Friday in Midland with RHP Shawn Haviland set to take the mound for the Hounds.

 

 

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Tuesday, September 9th: Nate Long and Kent Matthes Combine to Lead RockHounds to Victory in Game #1 of Texas League Championship Series

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Nate Long (8 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Pitcher Nate Long (8 IP / 3 H / 1 ER / 1 BB / 3 K / Win)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Texas League Championship Series – Game #1

Midland RockHounds  5

Tulsa Drillers                  1

WP – Long 1-0 / 1.13

HR – Matthes (1)

Nate Long’s arm and Kent Matthes’s bat combined to help the RockHounds win the opening game of the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series on Tuesday in Tulsa. Long, the Texas League wins leader, tossed another gem, allowing 1 run on just 3 hits over 8 innings of work to earn the win, while RHP Jose Flores got the final three outs for the Hounds. With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the 7th, left fielder Kent Matthes smacked a 3-run homer to provide the margin of victory for Midland. Center fielder Kenny Wilson and catcher Beau Taylor both drove in a run, while right fielder Jeremy Barfield and first baseman Max Muncy had a pair of hits apiece for the Hounds.

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our weekly A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Saturday, September 6th: RockHounds Win Playoffs to Advance to Texas League Championship Series

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Max Muncy (Home Run)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds First Baseman Max Muncy (Home Run)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Texas League South Division Championship Series – Game #4

Frisco RoughRiders       4

Midland RockHounds  5

WP – Hooker 1-0 / 3.38

HR – Muncy (1)

The RockHounds notched their third straight victory over Frisco on Saturday night to clinch the Texas League South Division Championship and earn their ticket to the Texas League Championship Series. And Midland managed to claim victory on Saturday by collecting just 3 hits. First baseman Max Muncy got things going early by homering in the 1st inning to put the Hounds on the board. Shortstop Dusty Coleman singled and scored on a wild pitch in the 5th, and outfielder Jeremy Barfield, who walked 3 times, doubled and was stranded in the 8th – while designated hitter Conner Crumbliss drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the 5th. Starter Shawn Haviland gave up 3 runs in 4 innings of work, while RHP Deryk Hooker allowed 1 run over 2 2/3 innings to earn the win, and RHP Jose Flores tossed a scoreless 9th to pick up the save. Midland will now take on Tulsa in the best-of-five Texas League Championship Series starting Tuesday in Tulsa.

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our weekly A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Friday, September 5th: Top Draft Pick Matt Chapman’s Big HR Breaks Tie and Puts RockHounds up 2-1 in Texas League Playoff Series

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Matt Chapman (Home Run / Double / 2 RBIs)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Third Baseman Matt Chapman (Home Run / Double / 2 RBIs)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Texas League South Division Championship Series – Game #3

Frisco RoughRiders       2

Midland RockHounds  3

WP – Walden 1-0 / 0.00

HR – Chapman (1)

A couple of new arrivals played a big role for the RockHounds on Friday night by driving in all three of the team’s runs to help the Hounds earn the victory and go up 2-1 in their best-of-five playoff series with Frisco. With infielders Jefry Marte and Hiro Nakajima recently landing on the disabled list, two 1st-round draft picks, infielders Matt Chapman and Daniel Robertson, have joined Midland’s playoff squad. And on Friday night, Chapman doubled in the RockHounds’ second run of the game and, with the contest tied 2-2, homered in the bottom of the 7th to bring home the winning run for the Hounds. Shortstop Daniel Robertson, who played his last game for the Ports on Thursday, started at second base for Midland on Friday and went 1 for 4, singling in the RockHounds’ first run of the game. Right fielder Jeremy Barfield had 3 hits, including a double, for the Hounds. Starter Chris Jensen turned in another solid effort, allowing 2 runs, just 1 earned, while striking out 5 over 6 1/3 innings of work. RHP Marcus Walden struck out 4 in 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win, while RHP Jose Flores got the final three outs to pick up the save. RHP Shawn Haviland is scheduled to take the mound for Midland on Saturday as the team tries to wrap up the series.

 

Saturday’s Game:

Frisco @ Midland – 5:00pm PT / 7:00pm CT

 

 

Be sure to like A’s Farm’s page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @AthleticsFarm. You can also get our weekly A’s minor league newsletter e-mailed to you free by signing up here.

Thursday, September 4th: Kenny Wilson Helps Hounds Even Up Series while Stockton’s Season Comes to an End

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kenny Wilson (3 for 5 / RBI / Run / Stolen Base)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Midland RockHounds Outfielder Kenny Wilson (3 for 5 / RBI / Run / Stolen Base)

 

TEXAS LEAGUE  (Double-A)

Texas League South Division Championship Series – Game #2

Midland RockHounds  6

Frisco RoughRiders       3

WP – Dull 1-0 / 0.00

Farmhand Of The Game:

Outfielder Kenny Wilson

(3 for 5 / RBI / Run / Stolen Base)

With the game tied in the top of the 9th, the RockHounds pushed three runs across the plate to secure the victory and even up their best-of-five playoff series with Frisco on Thursday. Center fielder Kenny Wilson, who has proven to be one of Midland’s most productive hitters in this playoff series, had 3 hits on Thursday while driving in the tying run in the 6th and scoring the winning run in the 9th for the RockHounds. Right fielder Kent Matthes singled, doubled and walked, while second baseman Conner Crumbliss singled, walked and drove in a pair, and 1st-round draft pick Matt Chapman went 2 for 4 with a walk and scored a run for the RockHounds. Scheduled starter Chris Jensen was scratched for unknown reasons and RHP Tim Sexton came out of the bullpen to make the start on Thursday. Sexton was charged with 2 runs over 3 innings of work, while LHP Frank Gailey pitched 2 2/3 perfect innings in relief after Midland tied the game in the top of the 6th. RHP Ryan Dull struck out 2 in 1 scoreless inning to earn the win, and RHP Jose Flores got the final out to pick up the save. The series will now shift to Midland for Game #3 on Friday.

Click here for more on the Stockton Ports’ Game #2 Result…

Wednesday, September 3rd: Tim Alderson & Michael Ynoa Struggle in Stockton’s Loss while Nate Long & Hiro Nakajima Have a Rough Time as RockHounds Lose

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Catcher Beau Taylor (2 for 2 / 2 Walks / Home Run)

A’s Farmhand Of The Day: Stockton Ports Catcher Beau Taylor (2 for 2 / 2 Walks / Home Run)

 

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE  (High-A)

California League North Division Miniseries – Game #1

Stockton Ports    3

Visalia Rawhide  13

LP – Alderson 0-1 / 16.20

HR – Taylor (1)

Farmhand Of The Game:

Catcher Beau Taylor

(2 for 2 / 2 Walks / Home Run)

A pair of 5-run innings did in the Ports in the first game of their best-of-three California League playoff series on Wednesday night. Starter Tim Alderson allowed a total of 6 runs, 5 in the 4th inning, to take the loss. RHP Michael Ynoa gave up another 4 runs in the 6th on a hit batter, a single, a double, a walk and an errant pickoff throw. Ynoa apparently injured himself on the throw and walked off the field with the trainer after the attempted pickoff. RHP Bobby Wahl replaced him and immediately surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced, while RHP Josh Bowman gave up 2 more runs in the 8th. Catcher Beau Taylor reached base 5 times, on a single, a pair of walks, a hit-by-pitch and a 2nd inning home run which briefly gave Stockton the lead. First baseman Matt Olson doubled twice, singled, walked and drove in a run, while shortstop Daniel Robertson singled twice, walked twice and scored a run, and designated hitter Renato Nunez singled in a run in the loss. The series moves to Stockton on Thursday with LHP Chris Lamb taking the mound for the Ports.

Click here for more on the Midland RockHounds’ Game #1 Result…

The Stockton Ports: A Team That Plays Together – And Stays Together

drobertson-Oak3This year’s Stockton Ports are a pretty special team. Not only is the roster loaded with many of the A’s best young prospects, but the team finished the regular season with the best record in the California League at 85-55 and will begin play in a best-of-three California League playoff series starting Wednesday in Visalia.

In July, A’s Farm spoke with a number of the Ports’ top players about how their seasons have been going on the field – which you can see here – so this time around, we thought we’d take a look at how things have been going off the field. In particular, we spoke with four Ports players who’ve been living together all season – shortstop Daniel Robertson, first baseman Matt Olson, second baseman Chad Pinder and pitcher Austin House. Outfielder Billy McKinney began the season with them but, with his trade to Chicago, has since been replaced by pitcher Dylan Covey.

All four of the house regulars have had solid seasons for Stockton. Robertson finished the year as the California League hits leader, while Olson won the league’s home run title. Despite missing about a month’s worth of time due to injuries, Pinder was still second on the team in doubles and batting average, and House tied for the second most saves in the league.

While most people know the kind of money that major league ballplayers make, most fans don’t really appreciate what life is like in the minor leagues and would probably be a bit surprised to find five of the A’s top prospects all spending the season together in one two-bedroom apartment. But that’s the way it often works below the major league level, where cramped quarters and long bus rides are a way of life. But when you’re busy chasing the dream, it’s all a part of the adventure – and can also help to foster the kind of camaraderie that’s needed to succeed in a game that truly is a team sport.

We talked to Robertson, Olson, Pinder and House last week, just a day after they’d clinched the California League Northern Division second-half title and with less than a week left in the regular season…

 

(DR=Daniel Roberston, MO=Matt Olson, CP=Chad Pinder, AH=Austin House, AF=A’s Farm)

 

AF:  So we’ve got the four of you roommates together here the final week of the regular season. You’ve been living together all season long, and I know Billy McKinney was living with you before he was traded, but has anyone else taken his place since the trade?

ALL:  Dylan Covey.

AF:  So then Dylan took over Billy’s spot when he got here from Beloit.

ALL:  Right.

AF:  Well how’s this living arrangement been working out so far this year?

DR:  Honestly, I get so sick of these guys sometimes. No, I’m just kidding. It’s worked out great. We drove up here after spring training and found an apartment. We’ve got two to a room. [Austin] House lives in the living room.

AF:  So you’ve got your own room?

AH:  Yeah, I have my own room!

DR:  The only thing he’s missing is a door. But it’s worked out great. We’re there to sleep most of the time. If you get more people in, it kind of helps out with the money situation – it just makes it a little cheaper. And these guys are awesome to live with. So I’ve had a blast all year.

AF:  So who’s rooming with who?

DR:  Me and Olson, Pinder and Covey.

Daniel Robertson

Daniel Robertson

AH:  And then they all hang out in my room.

AF:  And you and Olson were roommates in spring training too, right?

DR:  Yeah.

AF:  So what’s your average daily schedule look like?

MO:  I’m always up first…no later than 10:00 most days.

DR:  He [Pinder] is the last.

AF:  So when are you usually getting up?

CP:  11:30.

AH:  And I wake up whenever they come out in my room.

AF:  So when do you normally leave for the park?

DR:  I’m normally driving every day. So whenever the crew is ready, we’ll take off. We normally get here around 1:00-1:30 after we go grab some food, either Subway or The Habit.

AF:  What’s The Habit?

AH:  It’s like a burger joint.

DR:  And they’ve got awesome salads and quality food. We basically have the same routine every single day. We’ve done it for five months straight, eating the same food every day. Then we show up here around 1:00-1:30 and start getting on it. And then afterwards, we’re fortunate enough to eat here. And then we just head home and hang out for an hour or two and call it a night.

AF:  So when do you guys usually crash at night?

ALL: 12:30 or 1:00.

AF:  So not too many late-night video game sessions then?

AH:  We do movie night every once in a while.

DR:  He [Pinder] will pick out a great movie. He’s really into those scary movies. He picks out great movies.

AF:  So what was the best movie of the year?

Chad Pinder

Chad Pinder

CP:  What did you think the best one I picked was?

DR:  Maybe The Devil Inside. That one was awesome.

ALL:  Yeah!

MO:  Great ending!

AF:  Well that’s sounds pretty unanimous! So who’s the most responsible member of the household?

AH:  Probably Danny.

ALL:  Yeah.

AF:  So he’s the adult?

DR:  I’m a clean freak. My area and the kitchen always have to be clean or it bugs me. I’m not going to lie.

AF:  So you’re the OCD one?

DR:  I’m the OCD one, I’ll admit it. There’s got to be that guy in the house who keeps everything neat because if there’s not then it just turns into a pig sty.

AF:  Who’s the messiest person in the house?

AH:  I’m going to go ahead and nominate you [Pinder]…He just leaves food, shoes or there’s always a pair of shorts or something…

MO:  I’m not too far behind him though.

AF:  Who’s the craziest or most random person where you never know what to expect from them?

ALL:  Billy [McKinney]!

DR:  When he was with us, you never knew his next move…I think, living there now, it’s probably House.

AH:  I usually ride pretty solo…I usually go by myself. I’m a pitcher.

AF:  Not only are you a pitcher, you’re a closer! So you’re really on your own wavelength.

AH:  Yeah, I usually kind of do my own thing.

AF:  So if you all end up in Midland next year by any chance, would you consider reconstituting this arrangement?

DR:  No, probably not. I’ve lived with Olson for three years now. It’s kind of getting old.

AH:  I might go back to hanging out with pitchers.

DR:  No, I’m just kidding. I would live with these guys for sure.

ALL:  Yeah.

AH:  Honestly, we get along pretty well. We have fun together and enjoy hanging out with each other.

AF:  So there could be chapter two in Midland?

Austin House

Austin House

AH:  There probably is going to be chapter two…but we’ve got to get to Midland first!

AF:  Of course. Now you’re just wrapping up your season here and you’re going to the playoffs. Looking back, you’ve accomplished a lot as a team this year, but what do you take out of your time here this season?

AH:  We kind of expected to be a winning team. We’ve got a lot of good players. Not saying that we expected to get to the playoffs or anything, but we expected to win.

DR:  I think last year we had a winning tradition in Beloit, and it’s most of the same guys here, with a couple of major additions like Chad Pinder and some of the other guys. We had the same coaching staff and most of the same crew here, and we won last year and we expected to carry it on again this year.

AH:  I think we kind of had a chip on our shoulder too because I think we could have won the Midwest League. And coming into this league, we had the same kind of squad, so we want to win it.

AF:  So you feel like you’ve got a little something to prove this year.

AH:  Exactly.

AF:  So I guess you’re looking forward to getting into the postseason and trying to go all the way then.

DR:  Yeah, I feel like if you get there, you want to make the most out of it and win it all, and not get bounced in the first round or something.

AF:  Now it looks like three of you [Robertson, Olson, House] are going to be together out in the Arizona Fall League this year.

AH:  He [Pinder] is responsible. He’s going to school.

AF:  Where are you going to school?

CP:  Virginia Tech.

AF:  So back home – what’s your major?

CP:  Communication studies – so not really a major. [Laughter]

AF:  How much do you have left to do?

CP:  35 credits, so I’m going to do 15 this fall and then knock out the rest periodically.

AF:  So are the rest of you looking forward to going to the AFL?

DR:  Yes, definitely. It’s an honor for sure. I think it’ll be fun. It’s just the next step of the process.

Matt Olson

Matt Olson

MO:  Seeing the competition, we probably haven’t faced half of those teams just because they’re on the east coast, so it’ll be good to see what all’s out there. And like he said, it’s an honor to be included.

AF:  Yeah, you’ll definitely be seeing a lot of talent out there you haven’t seen before. And you’ll also be seeing your old friend Addison Russell since he’ll actually be on the same team with you guys. I guess you must be looking forward to that.

DR:  Of course.

AF:  You’ve still got your place out in Arizona, right?

DR:  Yeah, it’s up to him if he wants to stay with us again or not.

AF:  Individually, you’ve each had really strong seasons this year. Starting with you Chad, you got off to a great start. You’ve had a few injuries, but you’ve still been out there most of the year and have had a really solid season while learning a new position at second base. What do you feel you’ve been able to accomplish this year?

CP:  I think the big thing was defense at second base. When I was first over there, I was like a fish out of water. I was really uncomfortable and making a lot of errors. And then I worked hard and it started to get better throughout the season. So I feel like that’s the main thing that I’ve gotten out of this year.

AF:  Austin, you’ve really been coming on strong in the second half, and your strikeout numbers have really been on the rise. Is there anything that’s been clicking here for you later in the season?

AH:  Just trying to be consistent every outing. I think in the first half, I was throwing well. Some of the results just weren’t where I wanted them to be, but that’s a part of the game.

AF:  Well, eventually it all evens out!

AH:  Yeah, it’s a full season.

AF:  Matt, you’ve had a great season, but you’ve really had an exceptional second half, hitting lots of home runs and walking a lot. Is there anything in particular you’ve learned or adapted to over the course of the season?

MO:  Yeah, I think just the experience of getting more at-bats under your belt, and just sticking to a plan up there. And obviously as the season goes on, you get more at-bats and you become more comfortable up there. I wouldn’t say there’s been any specific adjustments.

AF:  And what about you, Daniel? It’s late in the season, you’ve been out there grinding every day, and still you’re hitting as well as you have all season right now, so something must be clicking for you.

DR:  I just think it’s preparation and staying with the routine, getting the work in and just trying to stay within myself at the plate and trying to control the zone. Getting down to later in the season, you’ve got to stay mentally strong, and how you prepare is what will help you finish strong. Like Olson said, there’s no major adjustment that I’ve made. It’s just staying with the routine, and the more at-bats you get, the better you’re going to get. And it’s been a fun year.

AF:  As you look back on the season, were there any particularly memorable moments or highlights that stand out in your mind?

DR:  Last night, clinching the second half, especially beating a team that won the first half and dominated us in the first half. So to do it against them was pretty fun. You get into the playoffs and it’s a fresh start and anything can happen…One thing that sticks out in my mind, we didn’t win this game, but we were down 11-3 against San Jose a couple of weeks ago and scored seven runs in the bottom of the ninth, and that was probably one of the most exciting games I’ve been a part of in a while. We didn’t come out on top in that game, but we sure felt like we won with the display we put on in the bottom on the ninth – and those are games you like to play.

AF:  So did that help infuse you with a little extra confidence coming down the stretch, like you could come back in any situation?

AH:  Yeah, we’ve done it like five or six times.

MO:  We did at Visalia two weeks ago!

DR:  The other day in Rancho Cucamonga, we were down 2-0 in the top of the ninth and we put a couple of runs together and Ryan Gorton comes up with a big hit and the next thing you know we’re on top 3-2.

MO:  And Josh Reddick hitting that game-tying bomb for us!

AH:  It happens all the time! In the eighth inning, we’ll be down by four or something, and I know somehow we’ll pull it off. Who knows how? But we always do! We just battle until the very end.

AF:  So how did you guys celebrate when you clinched your playoff berth?

AH:  Just hung out with the teammates and enjoyed their company. That’s what’s good about our team. We have a real good clubhouse. It makes it easy to come to work when you enjoy your teammates, so we always have fun.

AF:  Well, I guess for you, it’s just like being at home!

ALL:  Yeah!

 

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