LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Bright blue skies and cool, comfortable summer weather are an invitation to enjoy a baseball game. The Aviators’ three-game home stand last week had perfect weather that drew thousands of fans to watch the team.
The club had a successful outing winning all three games, claiming the top spot in the Wabash River Division. The Aviators managed to win two matchups against Johnstown before defeating rival Danville to cap the undefeated home standings.
The driving force behind the Aviator‘s wins June 7-9 revolved around dominant pitching that trickled down from starting pitchers to relief pitchers. In the two matchups against the Johnstown Mill Rats, the pitching staff struck out a total of 26 batters in the two-game series. The first game against Johnstown. all four pitchers had multiple hits, with starting pitcher Nick Yager and relief pitcher Drew Switzer tied for the game with four strikeouts, each displaying the depth and skill of the Aviator pitching staff.
The dominating pitch continued in Game 2 against the Mill Rats with starting pitcher Gyeongju Kim slicing through the Mill Rats lineup, compiling nine strikeouts in five near-flawless innings. The pitching staff racked up 13 strikeouts for the second straight game as the Aviators pulled away to defeat Johnstown 9-3.
Kim’s performance showed a clinic on precisely pinpointing pitches in zones to produce strikeouts, whether they were ground strikeouts or strikeouts. Kim gave up three hits and a walk while on the mound as the volume of strikeouts demonstrated the control he had for his throws that kept the Mill Rats offense from getting into a rhythm .
An effective pitch came in the final game of three home games in a game against the Danville Dans as relief pitchers helped prevent runners reaching base to lead the team to another victoire. Starting pitcher Logan Danzeisen struggled, walking four and allowing two runs in his three and two-thirds innings with the game tied at two runs. Ryan Mintz came on as relief for Danzeisen and took control, allowing just two hits and striking out four batters as the Aviators won the game.
The pitching staff led the way to another win and racked up double-digit strikeouts, recording 12 among four pitchers who appeared in the game. Aviators pitchers kept the team in games when the offense struggled to get runners on base or score runs as the team struck out a total of 38 batters in the three games to residence. Airman starting pitcher Gyeongju Kim ranks in the top five in strikeouts in the Prospect League with 16 on the year, and Connor Fries is tied for first in saves with three this season in his four opportunities .
In six home games for the Aviators, the team’s ERA stands at 4.00 with a K/9 of 11.17. Comparing home and away stats shows that pitchers perform better at home versus playing on the road possessing higher ERA, K/9 and significantly more strikeouts at home than on the road. The home attendance record ranks in the top five in the conference and league and indicates how important the crowd plays and how it inspires the team to play better.
The key to the Aviators’ three wins was pitching as well as home crowd support. The showdown with Danville drew a season-high 1,542 spectators, and both clashes with Johnstown were well-attended, drawing nearly a thousand people after stormy weather. The two fed off each other, propelling the team to victory.