The K-Scribe--Kinston Jack-Hammers Salem 15-2 for 6th straight win
Austin Adams won his fifth game, going five innings and giving up four hits, a walk and an unearned run, while striking out six. The offense provided more than enough firepower behind a Chun-Hsiu Chen two-run blast in the first, and a Kyle Bellows three-run blast in the fifth. Both homers came with two outs in the inning. The rest of the offense wasn't left behind, as every member of the starting line-up except for Justin Toole had at least one hit, and every starter scored at least one run in the fifteen run outburst.
Chen led the charge, going 3 for 5 with the homer, a double, two runs and three RBI. Speedsters Bo Greenwell and Donnie Webb each went 2 for 5. Greenwell rolled out two runs with a double, while Webb scored two runs, drove in two and stole a base.
Adams had help, as Tyler Sturdevant, Dave Roberts and Bryan Grening pitched four innings of three-hit baseball. Sturdevant went two innings, giving up two hits and striking out two. Dave Roberts got a bit unlucky after giving up a lead-off hit. Chun-Hsiu-Chen gave up a passed ball advancing the runner. Two ground-outs later, and an unearned run scored. Roberts would strike out Will Middlebrooks to end his one inning of work. Brian Grening closed out the game, giving up one walk while striking out two batters.
Adams has been nothing short of outstanding this season. While he can struggle with control at times, he has the stuff that could make him a top-of-the-rotation starter at some point. Adams was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 draft, and comes with a bunch of upside. While the Indians likely drafted Adams as a reliever, he has a mid-90's fastball that can top out in the upper 90's. If he can gain some stamina, it's concievable that he could become one of those special arms that management has been trying to acquire over the past two seasons. Without a doubt, he should figure into the future plans in some manner. Keep in mind that Adams wasn't turned into a pitcher until the 2009 season in college, and was drafted initially as a shortstop in the 27th round of the 2008 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. Now, he should figure into the rotation as the Indians make their final playoff push over the next eight games.
Kinston heads to Frederick for a four-game series against the pesky Frederick Keys. The Keys took the first-half title in the Northern Division, but find themselves in the basement during the second half. The K-Tribe then heads to Potomac for a four game set against the Nationals, the current first-place team in the Northern. After an off-day, the Nationals will be coming off a rough five-game set against the Salem Red Sox. In other words, the next few days are going to be interesting to say the least. Potomac holds a slim one-game lead, so make no mistakes, they'll be playing hard the rest of the way.
Kinston is playing their best ball of the season, and it couldn't be coming at a better time. Right now, they control their own destiny. If they keep winning, they'll be playing in the post-season, and they are currently only a game behind the first place Winston-Salem, who also are the first place champs (which is why Kinston gets in if they finish in second place in the second half). It should be a fun week-and-a-half stretch-run for the K-Tribe, who have put themselves squarely in control of their playoff destiny.
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