This week was both a good and bad week for the 66ers. We beat some quality teams in some tight ballgames, but we didn’t have enough time to be able to make the comeback to first place in our division. After sweeping Lake Elsinore at home—and costing them a shot at the division title in the process—we traveled on the long seven-hour drive to Stockton.
The long trips are difficult on occasion because it’s tough to sit on a cramped bus with air conditioning that has a mind of its own, and then expect to play like a big leaguer that night. After playing a 16-inning game to close the home stand, we left out of San Bernardino at 6AM and arrived into Stockton a little after one in the afternoon. At 3PM we were at the field getting ready for the game at 7PM. Stockton is a very good team, so we wanted to make sure we were ready to play at a high level. We tried to improve morale by telling jokes and having fun in the clubhouse, and it worked to some extent. No matter how tired you are from whatever bus rides or late nights you’ve had to endure, once you step onto the field you wake up very quickly.
The feeling of walking into a stadium with a large crowd watching your every move is great. It calls for a sense of urgency to which most good athletes can arise. Stepping into the batter’s box facing a 94mph fastball will heighten your senses as well, whether you want it to or not. We played well here in Stockton, however we didn’t come out on top of every game like we had hoped we would.
Some bad calls here and there, a tough play or a bad bounce the other way and we might have changed the momentum and won all three games instead of just one. The start of the second half begins on the 16th and our hopes are high for the rest of the year. We are playing much better baseball right now then we did in the beginning of the season. Our big hitters are stepping up and getting key hits in big situations and our pitching has been great, winning some close ball games 2-1 and even some shutouts. The second half of the 66ers season should be more successful than the first, so we’re all excited to see how it turns out.
Tommy Giles plays for the Inland Empire 66ers—the advanced-A affiliate for the Los Angeles Dodgers.