Cohesion key ingredient to success during long grind of season
Its been a shaky start to the 2022 American Association season for the Winnipeg Goldeyes, but with more than 80 games left in a long campaign, theyre relying on a cohesive locker room to get over the hump.
The Fish broke a five-game losing streak in a doubleheader against the Cleburne Railroaders Wednesday night. Winnipeg is looking to reel in wins, following a 10–game road trip in as many days during which they secured only two victories.
A six-game homestand this week is a chance to hit the reset button and get back to .500.
You got to ride the wave. Theres gonna be peaks, theres gonna be valleys, we got to steady the ship, said Goldeyes pitcher Josh Lucas. That way, the waves just a little smoother than it is right now.
Spirits were high in the Goldeyes clubhouse despite heading into Wednesdays doubleheader with a 6-10 record this season.
Techno music blared through the speakers and the sounds of baseballs cracking off of wooden bats echoed through Shaw Park during batting practice. It was all business for the Fish, who were more focused on nailing the basics than the smell of mini-doughnuts cooking in a nearby kitchen.
For me, its just kind of all about buying into the everyday grind of just trying to play winning baseball, said infielder David Washington. I think the stuff in the game will take care of itself as we take care of things in-house and keep working hard.
I believe if this team keeps working hard the way they do, keeps pulling together the way they do, were gonna have good games coming, he added.
Washington is a newcomer to the Goldeyes after being acquired by the team in January. Hes in his 14th season of professional baseball and had six home runs and 12 RBI this season prior to Wednesdays doubleheader.
He didnt think the teams first road trip of the season went as planned, but said everyone spending so much time together lately will go a long way.
I think its the biggest thing about team sports, that camaraderie if you will, said Washington. You only get that through time and the grinding.
Goldeyes hitting coach Amos Ramon praised Washington for his veteran presence. He said Washington is the type of person players gravitate to because of his strong work ethic. Ramon added that as a player who put in a lot of work outside the lines during his own professional career, its important to have a player like Washington in the clubhouse.
Hes a professional in every aspect, said Ramon. The way he works before a game, the way he gets ready and prepares, its the reason why hes getting the numbers that he is right now.
Ramon is no stranger either to the grind of independent league baseball, playing professionally for 10 years and spending five seasons with the Fish.
Sometimes you need to remind yourself that it is a grind and therell be times where its really bad and theres gonna be times where its really good, he said. The way really good baseball teams excel… is when those bad times happen, getting out of it really fast.
Ramon likes where the team is, noting its offence is strong and defence has room for improvement.
I think we just need to overall play better defence, said Ramon. Things will be fine, we just need to learn how to… grind out and finish the ball game.
Lucas added its key for everyone to be on the same page, especially in a league where lots of player movement happens.
I think were really good. I think we need to pick it up on the field for sure, he said. I think we all… have to pull in the same direction, but relationship-wise the clubhouse is good.
Hes also looking forward to regaining momentum during the current homestand.
Anytime you get back home playing in front of your home fans, it gives you a little boost and you want to put on a show for them, said Lucas. Theres definitely extra motivation.