Weather slowed down the Ocean State Waves this week, with one game suspended and another postponed.
But that’s about the only thing that can stop them these days.
The Waves carried a six-game win streak into Wednesday’s game at Danbury, by far the best stretch of the season for a team that scuffled through the first half of the summer. Once 11 games under .500, the Waves are now five games below the even mark, with time still left to make a postseason push. As of Tuesday’s games, the Waves were three games out of a playoff spot with 11 games remaining.
“I think everybody’s started to settle in. And most importantly, I think we started to mesh together as a team,” outfielder Joe Simone said. “We’re having a blast together, both on and off the field, just fooling around and hanging out all the time. In my opinion, that’s really important. Now we’re just out here having fun, doing our thing and playing our game the right way. Good things happen, as you can see.”
The streak began with a win over New Bedford July 13 and continued last week with a highlight-reel victory over Mystic, featuring an eighth-inning grand slam by Garrett Hodges.
The Waves followed that with a 5-1 victory over Newport in the Pell Bridge Series last Wednesday, then beat North Adams 6-1 on Friday and Keene 6-5 on Saturday before the weather adventures set in.
Trevor Pittman, Peyton Deats and Monty Horn combined on a gem in the win over Newport. Pittman went four shutout innings, Deats allowed one run in three innings and Horn went two scoreless to finish off the win. John Cristino homered, while Hodges and Elijah Dunham had two hits each.
Back at Old Mountain Field on Saturday, the Waves got an even better pitching performance. Zach Schultz of Kent State allowed one hit and struck out three in seven scoreless innings. Kyle O’Neill and Corey Sawyer closed it out.
Schultz, like many of the team’s pitchers, had a rough start to the summer. He came into Friday’s game with a 7.47 ERA but turned things around in a big way.
“Being on a four game winning streak, just wanted to come out and give the team a good start, see if we could push the win streak to five. Luckily, we were able to do that,” Schultz said. “The mindset is always the same – try to fill up the strike zone. Unfortunately, in a couple of outings previous to this, I wasn’t able to do that. But tonight, I was, with all four pitches.”
Dunham backed Schultz with two home runs, part of a 3-for-4, three RBI night. Simone also had three hits, continuing a hot streak that has matched his team’s. Simone is riding a nine-game hit streak that has raised his batting average from .246 to .364.
“I love playing baseball and I love winning,” Simone said. “We were struggling in the first half of the season. Now we’re enjoying ourselves and playing the game the right away. Everybody brings something to the table and we’re having a lot of fun.”
On Saturday in New Hampshire, the Waves built a 6-1 lead then held off a Swamp Bats rally to keep the win streak going. Simone went 4-for-5 and Casey Dana had two hits. Dunham, Xavier Vargas and Dillon Morton drove in one run each.
URI’s Nick Robinson pitched four shutout innings and college teammate Jake Walker earned the win. Keene scored four runs in the eighth inning off Deats, but Deats buckled down to end the inning with a pair of strikeouts. C.J. McKennitt worked around a bit of trouble in the ninth to finish the win.