Pat Kelly sat back in his chair last Monday night as he prepared for another post-game interview.
His Pensacola Blue Wahoos had just missed out on an opportunity to cap off a sweep of the Tennessee Smokies, falling 14-9 in a Southern League battle at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
But rest assured the Pensacola manager wasn’t reaching for a panic button.
Nights like this one happen in baseball, even for a good team, and he was encouraged by the way his team played overall in the series, particularly from an offensive standpoint.
The Blue Wahoos scored at least four runs in each of their five games against the Smokies and tallied a total of 47 hits, including 15 in a 10-7 victory.
“The big thing for me is the way we have been swinging the bats,” Kelly said. “Our pitching and defense has been pretty good all year. We don’t have to score a ton of runs with the way we pitch, but we’ve shown we are capable of doing it.”
It’s a good sign for a team hoping to contend for a Southern League championship in September. The Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds clinched a playoff berth by winning the first-half South Division title in June and is still in the hunt for the second-half crown as well.
Pitching will be a key to Pensacola’s push for the first league championship in franchise history. Starter Sal Romano has all the confidence in the world the starting rotation will deliver in the playoffs just as it has throughout most of the regular season.
Read more in the Aug. 25 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.