Meadows hitting with power lately
Tydus Meadows' towering home run Friday night left an impression on Calgary designated hitter Kyle Nichols. "What are you trying to do, hit something out there?" Nichols asked Meadows during batting practice before Saturday night's game at Newman...
Tydus Meadows' towering home run Friday night left an impression on Calgary designated hitter Kyle Nichols.
"What are you trying to do, hit something out there?" Nichols asked Meadows during batting practice before Saturday night's game at Newman Outdoor Field. "Glad to see you swinging it well."
"Hey, it could only get better," answered a smiling Meadows.
After joining the RedHawks at the start of the season, Meadows' bat was so quiet he was released. When outfielder Jon Weber was signed by the Texas Rangers organization, the Hawks brought Meadows back.
"A couple of weeks ago, Tydus told me he's got things figured out again," said RedHawks manager Doug Simunic. "He's a real student of the game. He's just got a good mind of hitting."
Meadows was hitting .152 when he was released June 1. Since re-signing with the team on June 5, he has hit .304.
Meadows, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-handed left fielder who resides in Evans, Ga., hit three home runs in one game July 18 against Edmonton. Including that game, he has hit eight home runs in his last 13 starts. His batting average, which reached a low of .230 earlier this season, has ballooned to .274. His slugging percentage is .474, and his on-base percentage is a team-high .409.
"He takes a lot of pitches," Simunic said. "He has the best eye that I've had on this team."
And in Friday night's 13-5 win over Calgary, Meadows hit one of the longest home runs this season at Newman Outdoor Field. His two-run, eighth-inning homer soared over the 408-foot sign in centerfield and was estimated to have traveled 440 feet.
"It's probably one of the longer ones that I have hit," said the 32-year-old Meadows, who has been playing minor league ball since 1998. "I've been playing for a long time. I know what to do in order to be successful."
In his third year as manager of the Calgary Vipers, former RedHawks player Mike Busch is discovering the luxury of being the Northern League's North Division first-half champion.
"Every manager in the league wants to win that first half," said Busch, who played with the RedHawks in 1999. "It gives you more leeway and a little more freedom to help get your team healthy."
For example, left-handed pitcher Jordy Alexander has been placed on the inactive list because of a sore elbow. With the Vipers guaranteed a playoff spot with the first-half title, Busch is hoping Alexander will get healthy in time for the postseason.
Winning a first-half title has also drawn a few more fans to Calgary's Foothills Stadium. Attendance has jumped from last year's average of 1,000 to 1,600.
"Winning that first-half title was just outstanding," said Busch. "I don't like to lose. I told our guys, 'Don't come out and go through the motions.' That's what I told them anyway."
With their 13-run outburst Friday night, the RedHawks topped their entire output in a three-game series against Schaumburg earlier this week. In those three games, the Hawks scored a total of 12 runs on 24 hits. ... The RedHawks' Richard Austin extended his hitting streak to nine games, and Mike Just stretched his hitting streak to seven games. ... When the RedHawks announced Barry Bonds had tied Major League Baseball's career home run record, the Newman Outdoor Field crowd of 4,425 booed.
- Next: Calgary at RedHawks, 1 p.m. today, Newman Outdoor Field
- Scheduled starters: Calgary: Jeff Groeger (3-1, 6.02 ERA);
RedHawks: RHP Dane Renkert (9-1, 3.35 ERA)
Readers can reach Forum reporter Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549