It is, as I am typing this, Tuesday, July 17, 2018. That means a lot of things, one being that my 34th birthday is only 10 days away and that the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League has reached its all-star break. Much like Major League Baseball, the “Mid-Summer Classic” doesn’t occur smack dab in the middle of the season but does symbolize the end of the first half of the season.
So, how exactly are the hometown Galion Graders shaping up in their fourth year as a franchise?
After an exciting 5-0 start to the season, Galion lost three of its next five games but were still sitting in decent position at 7-3 before disaster (of sorts) struck. In their next 10 games, the Graders went on a dismal losing streak and wrapped that stretch at 2-8, leading to a 9-11 record after 20 games. Thinking in blocks of 10 however, Galion began its turnaround and ended the first half at 16-14, just three games shy of tying the most wins in a season in franchise history with 11 games remaining this season; six are road games and five will be held at home at Heddleson Field in Heise Park.
With the background to the Graders’ “dog days of summer” touched upon, this is what the league is looking like as the playoffs draw near. Listed, in order, are: team name, record, winning percentage, games back (if applicable) and record in their last 10 games.
Lima Locos 20-11 .645 7-3
St. Clair Green Giants 21-12 .636 8-2
Saginaw Sugar Beets 18-14 .563 2.5 6-4
Irish Hills Leprechauns 15-16 .484 5 6-4
Muskegon Clippers 15-17 .469 5.5 5-5
Grand Lake Mariners 15-17 .469 5.5 3-7
Lake Erie Monarchs 14-17 .452 6 6-4
Barring any sort of crazy mix-up, the Locos and Green Giants are all but locks for two of the three available playoff spots in the Northern Division. The No. 1 seed gets a bye to the best of three series while the No. 2 and 3 seeds will participate in a play-in game on Tuesday, July 31 to determine whom will be fitted against the No. 1 seed. I would say that it’s a safe bet that Saginaw will take the three spot but in the game of baseball, one never truly knows.
Cincinnati Steam 23-9 .719 7-3
Southern Ohio Copperheads 22-9 .710 0.5 6-4
GALION GRADERS 16-14 .533 6 7-3
Hamilton Joes 15-17 .469 8 5-5
Richmond Jazz 11-21 .344 12 2-8
Xenia Scouts 9-23 .281 14 1-9
Licking County Settlers 7-24 .226 15.5 2-8
The Southern Division is similar to the Northern in the playoff picture. Cincinnati and Southern Ohio, again barring any wild finishes, seem to be locks at one and two, albeit not respectively. For the Graders, they are sitting in control of their own destiny with just those final 11 games remaining. In that stretch, all but two games will be played against teams in the Southern; two against Cincy, two against Southern Ohio, two against Hamilton and three against Licking County. Galion is set to close the season with their remaining two games against the Northern Division’s last place squad in the likes of the Monarchs. With the Joes just two games behind the Graders, their series at Hamilton on July 26 and 27 will be of the utmost importance in determining Galion’s playoff destination, or, worst case scenario, lack thereof. Note that Galion has not made the playoffs as a franchise.
With the records and possible playoff pictures set, here are a list of team leaders throughout several statistical categories. Another note: While the newcomers to the team; Eric Wentz, Matthew Detering, Austin Harper and Creek Miller, are making a big impact and playing important roles in the Graders’ playoff push, they will be omitted from team leaders.
Batting Average: Jacob Reimold- .363; Todd Sekowski- .333; Juan De La Cruz- .315; Vince Donato- .306 and Christopher Jordan- .301
Hits: De La Cruz- 34; Jordan- 31; Reimold and Sekowski- 29, apiece
Runs: Jordan- 22; Reimold- 21; Sekowski and De La Cruz- 18, apiece
Home Runs: De La Cruz and Reimold- 5, apiece; Sekowski and Austin Hathaway- 3, apiece.
Runs Batted In: De La Cruz- 26; Reimold- 23; Sekowski- 18 and Hathaway- 15
Team (GLSCL rank in parenthesis): 968 at bats (14th); 281 hits (9th); 171 runs (13th); 51 doubles (tied, 9th); 2 triples (tied, 11th); 22 home runs (5th); 149 RBI (tied, 11th); 402 total bases (9th); 119 walks (14th); 29 hit batters (14th); 201 strike outs (2nd fewest); 28 stolen bases (14th); .383 on-base percentage (5th); .415 slugging percentage (4th); .798 OPS (4th) and .290 batting average (5th)
Pitching Leaders and Defensive Statistics
Wins: Gaetan Sinisgalli and Mac Spears- 3, apiece; Nick Smith and Branden Schlick- 2, apiece
Saves: Spears- 3; Henry Martinez, Bailey Durocher and Clayton Cooper- 1, apiece
Strikeouts: Martinez- 33; Smith- 31; Sinisgalli- 24 and Schlick- 21
Earned Run Average: Schlick- 1.74; Spears- 1.77; Jordan- 3.00 and Smith- 3.48
Innings Pitched: Sinisgalli- 32⅔; Schlick and Smith- 31, apiece and Jose De La Cruz- 21⅔
Team (GLSCL rank in parenthesis): 242⅓ innings pitched (1st); 171 runs allowed (2nd); 134 earned runs (2nd); 251 hits (1st); 157 walks (10th); 44 wild pitches (11th); 32 hit batters (6th); 216 strikeouts (12th); 1,160 batters faced (1st); 2 complete games (tied, 2nd); 10 saves (2nd); 13 home runs allowed (2nd); .258 batting average against (3rd) and 4.98 earned run average (4th).
Team Defensive Statistics (GLSCL rank in parenthesis): .949 fielding percentage (tied, 12th); 718 putouts (14th); 238 assists (13th); 51 errors (tied, 7th) and 1,007 total chances (14th)
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