London Rippers take a win
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
It’s almost fitting the London Rippers — the only Canadian team in the Frontier League — may have found their identity on Canada Day (July 1) in a 9-8 win over the Washington Wild Things at Labatt Park.
“We’re still figuring it out a little bit,” said Rippers’ Sunday hero Mark Samuelson about the look of the team. “It takes a little bit of time, but we’re figuring it out.”
The Rippers’ designated hitter crushed a ball down right field for a grand slam to carry London to victory, right before an eyebrow raising bunt from the team’s leading home run hitter, Joash Brodin, to load the bases.
The bunt was one of about a half-dozen from the Rippers Sunday and it’s something fans should expect to see more of from the team if it’s going to help pick up wins, said head coach David Martin.
“I’ve been forcing guys to bunt and bunt for hits,” he said. “Before a lot of guys would say, ‘Why are you taking the stick out of your three-hole hitter’s hands?’ Right now, these games are being lost by one-run or two runs.”
Almost half of the Rippers’ games (20 out of 41) this season have been within two runs.
Brodin wasn’t the only man to get on base using the infield strategy with Zach Larson and Stephen Cardullo— picking up an RBI— joining in on the small ball to get on base.
The Rippers’ have done well at the plate for most of the season, though.
The East Divsions’ fifth place team has a batting average of .265— good for third best in the seven-team conference. The Traverse City Bums have .266.
For that matter, runs haven’t really been much of an issue either. London is part of only a handful of teams in the league with more than 200 runs.
There just always seems to be something with the Rippers in every game, whether it’s the bats not being able to keep up with the pitching or vice versa.
In Saturday’s game the problem was the team’s defence, picking up five errors in the game—Rippers have only had that many or worse once this season—but London was fortunate enough the Wild Things bested them in that department with five mistakes.
“When you start giving a team extra outs every inning and allow them to take extra bases on us, it’s tough,” Martin said. “We need to get better, I think everyone recognizes that, a victory is a victory and we got a win.
Starting on the mound for the Rippers was Jamie Richmond— one of three Canadians on the active 24-man roster.
“It’s always good being a Canadian on Canada Day. One thing, I like is when they say I’m from Mississauga, Ont. before the game. It’s kind of cool and a little pump up,” Richmond said, completing eight innings of work and giving up nine hits for six runs, but only two of them earned.
The Rippers are tied with the Rockford Riverhawks in the league with giving up the most unearned runs at 54. The Normal Cornbelters are second with 47.
Adam Arnold, from St. Thomas, came in for relief in the final inning, but found trouble after giving up two runs—one earned. Tony Delmonico came in to record the last out.
“We have a good group of guys and we’re good in the locker room, we’re really gelling together and I think it’s really going to start to pick up in the second half of the season,” Richmond said.
The Rippers will be looking to sweep the Wild Things in the three-game series tomorrow (July 2) before hitting the road for the next three days to play Lake Erie Crushers. The team will then come back home for a series against Traverse City and then head to the All-Star Break starting July 9.
London has nine players on the all-star voting ballot including Richmond, Brodin, Aaron Glaum, Justino Cuevas, Jim Vahalik, David Francis, Sheng-An Kuo, Yohan Gonzalez and Matt Schimpf.
Which players get the all-star nod will announced July 4.
Find us on Facebook: London Community News