FLORENCE, S.C. – Michael Richardson’s three-run homer in the 10th inning of a June 21 game against Lexington County might have provided more than a walk-off celebration for the Florence RedWolves.
It also might have been the catalyst for a recent power surge that has seen them go from zero homers to nine in a span of 12 games.
“I would absolutely call that a spark,” first baseman/designated hitter Mitch Barrow said of Richardson’s blast. “We joked with Mike for a while calling him the big home run hitter on the team and we all had a lot of fun with that.
“But I think that was kind of motivation for everyone else to kind of start getting behind baseballs a little bit more. Everybody’s kind of hitting fastballs a little bit differently and taken better approaches.”
That approach has certainly worked for Barrow the last week or so. The junior out of Indiana State leads the team with four long balls – all of which came in a six-day span.
He hit two at Lexington County on June 25, another against Macon at Sparrow Stadium on June 29 and followed that with another dinger on June 30 at Holly Springs (N.C.).
“I was just seeing the ball really well,” Barrow said. “I was hunting pitches in certain counts with confidence that I knew what was coming. I was also (getting more) barrels (pitches) in counts that I was struggling with, like 0-2 counts.
“Having the confidence knowing that I can survive in any counts allowed me take more aggressive swings.”
It hasn’t just been Barrow, however. Miguel Soto also homered in the June 25 game at Lexington while J.T. Weber and Kenny Piper were part of a four-homer output against Holly Springs.
Piper wound up leaving the park twice that game.
“We all kind of took a while to get going,” Barrow said. “We all started finding barrels a little more consistently and once that happened it kind of took off. The home runs come with it.
“We’ve got guys that are hitting the ball the other way, and that’s a sign of a really good offensive approach.”
Part of the recent surge has been due in part to the RedWolves playing in more hitter-friendly parks, coach Ryan Vruggink said, but the overall upswing in the offense has been pleasing to see nonetheless.
“We kind of capitalized on some parks – Holly Springs, the ball really flies there,” Vruggink said. “It takes a big ball to get out of here (Sparrow Stadium), and we’re starting to hit some hard balls here. Kenny had a ball (against Wilson) I thought was going to go.
“But that’s good to see because those can really get a team going and provide a boost for the offense.”
It hasn’t just been home runs either as the RedWolves rank eighth in the Coastal Plain League with 67 extra-base hits including second in doubles with 50 and fourth in triples with eight.
Figueroa named an All-Star
Florence INF/OF Eldrige Figueroa was recently announced as one of four new players for the CPL All-Star game on July 8 in Savannah.
Figueroa is batting .278 with 11 RBI, 27 runs scored and 11 stolen bases in 25 games for the RedWolves this year.
Morehead City sets wins mark
Colby Johnson hit a walk-off three-run homer for the Morehead City against Peninsula on Wednesday to give the Marlins a 13-12 victory despite giving up eight runs in the top of the ninth inning.
More impressively, the win was the 14th in a row for Morehead to set a new CPL record for consecutive victories – surpassing the 2004 Edenton Steamers.