The Long Beach Armada entered the season with hopes that an experienced pitching staff would propel the team’s success in 2008. The Armada bats, however, proved to be the winning catalyst in the season-opening series in St. George.
The Armada (2-1) exploded into 2008 with a 14-run, 23-hit performance to kick off the season last Thursday against the Roadrunners at Bruce Hurst Field. The 14-3 opening-night win set the tone for the offensive production Armada fans can look forward to throughout this season. St. George (1-2) bounced back Friday night to hand the Armada their first loss of the year in a 6-9 defeat before the bats burst out again for a 13-3 win Saturday.
Centerfielder Steve Moss anchored the offense batting second in the lineup in Southwest Utah. Moss leads the GBL in home runs (3) and RBI (8) while being tied for the lead in hits (8) and extra-base hits (4) after the Armada’s first three games. Even though the season is still just beginning, three Sailors are in the top 10 in hitting in the GBL, including Moss (.533, 8-for-15), first baseman Norm Hutchins (.545, 6-for-11), and catcher David Parrish (.750, 6-for-8) who is tied for the league-lead.
As a team, the Armada is perhaps tops in the GBL with each team now one series into the 2008 season. Long Beach leads the league in runs (33) and hits (43) while ranking just behind Yuma in batting average at .358.
Lead-off man Cleatus Davidson’s triple and three doubles in the opening series put 2-3-4 hitters Moss, Ryan Lehr, and Tony Torcato in great position to drive in runs. Long Beach is batting a GBL-best .327 (16-for-49) with runners in scoring position with two homeruns and 26 RBI.
With so much production from the plate in the first three games, it’s easy to overlook three solid starts by the Armada pitching staff. Opening day starter Jerome Williams (1-0) allowed only two earned runs through five innings to earn the W for Long Beach. Williams, Nick Bierbrodt (0-1) and Ryan Claypool (1-0) each lasted at least five innings in their respective starts against St. George and amassed a total of seven strike outs to only three walks.
The bullpen was equally as efficient. Relievers Garrett Murdy, Justin Segal, Nick Cavanaugh, Dustin Gober, Andrew Layfield and Sean Buller allowed a combined two earned runs in 10 innings of relief work against the Roadrunners. Because of the offensive onslaught provided by the Armada hitters, the relievers were not eligible for saves in either Armada victory last weekend.
While early-season stats sometimes require a few more games to balance out, the Armada definitely started the season out the right way with two big victories in St. George. The fleet sets sail this week for a 2007 championships rematch against the Outlaws in Chico from May 30 to June 1. You can hear all the action live at www.longbeacharmada.com.