06/30/2010 4:48 PM
Article By: Sam MonroeSOUTH YARMOUTH ---- As the weather heats up on Cape Cod, the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox have followed suit, winning six of eight games to improve to 9-5 on the season. They won five straight last week, out-scoring opponents, 28-15.
“We are swinging the bats better, with a lot of clutch two-out hitting,” Jordan Ribera (Fresno State) said. “Our pitching staff has been phenomenal as well.”
Not only are the Red Sox heating up on the field, they are also starting to get used to each other as teammates.
“Everybody is finally coming together,” Ribera said. “We’re all a lot more comfortable with each other.”
The Red Sox are still missing four players who are playing college ball, and they’ll likely lose two others to Team USA. They feature eight sets of college teammates on the roster. Several schools (Boston College, Fresno State, Florida) have a trio of teammates playing together for the summer.
“It’s nice for a guy to come up and have a buddy here,” field manager Scott Pickler said. “If they didn’t have buddies here, it would take them a week to make friends.”
“We all get along great,” said Caleb Ramsey (Houston), who is joined on the Cape by pitcher and college teammate Michael Goodnight. “It has been awesome. We have no trouble with anybody.
“We have a good time on and off the field,” he said, as teammate Dusty Robinson (Fresno State) walked by and placed a cold ice pack on Ramsey’s back with a grin.
“It’s fun, real laid-back and relaxed,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey is also adjusting well to the wood bat league. He leads the team with nine RBI, one ahead of Matt Jensen (Cal-Poly). He also leads with 11 stolen bases.
“It’s tough the first couple of weeks,” he said. “You have to change your swing a little and make sure you’re barreling everything up. After a couple weeks you start to get the feel of it.”
Ribera, the nation’s leading home run hitter this spring at Fresno, is swinging the bat better. He belted his first homer of the season last week in a 9-4 win over Brewster.
“He had a good day. He made some key adjustments at the plate,” Pickler said.
“It is a struggle for all hitters at the beginning of the year going from metal to wood,” Ribera said. “It exposes your weaknesses and gives you stuff to work on. Hopefully, by the end of the season you can establish that you’re a pretty good hitter.”
“Usually the pitching dominates the first couple of weeks,” Pickler said.
The Red Sox got a boost this week with the arrival of Douglas Baxendale (Arkansas). In three relief appearances, he has allowed two hits, struck out one and earned a save in 3.2 innings.
“I’m real excited to be here and meet my new teammates,” he said last week, just minutes after getting to the park to watch the final few innings of a 4-1 win over the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
Also new to the team is catcher Ben McMahan (Florida), who will be getting a lot of playing time behind the plate.
“He didn’t catch a lot at Florida, so it will be a transition for him,” Pickler said.
McMahan got into the swing of things by crushing a home run in his third game, propelling the Red Sox to an 11-4 win over the Falmouth Commodores.
But Pickler isn’t reading too much into his club’s current hot streak.
“That’s the way this league goes,” the 13-year veteran field manager said. “You get hot for a while, then you get cold for a while. So we will have to see what happens.”