There’s not much that gets to Quincy Gems managar Rick Fraire. Whether it’s a blowout win, blowout loss, walk-off win or a heart-breaking loss, the Gems skipper is evenkeel.
His team is taking the same approach.
Quincy raced out of the gates to the tune of a 4-0 record and was the last Prospect League to lose a game. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride since the beginning, which has seen a 4-game skid, and another four-game winning streak.
In the latest stretch, the Gems dropped a home-and-home series with Interstate 72 rival, Springfield before bouncing back by sweeping a double header from the Terre Haute Rex on Monday.
Wednesday’s game with Hannibal was postponed due to storms moving through the area.
Heading into Thursday’s game with Springfield, the Gems are 11-8 on the season and sit just a half a game out of first place in the West Division.
“We are right where we need to be,” Fraire mentioned Thursday morning. “We have gone out each and every game and the boys have gave it their all. They continue to go out there play hard and respect the game. As a coach that is all you can ask. We just need to do the little things and the rest will take care of itself.
“We still have two-thirds of the season to go, but we are right there in a position to compete for the postseason.”
The field boss also had a message to anyone who may have a double about their on the field abilities.
“Don’t count us out,” he said.
For the second straight week, a Gems player was recognized by the Prospect League. On Wednesday, Francisco Rodriguez was named the (offensive) Player of the Week.
The Tarelton State University product batted .500 in seven games with 10 runs scored.
“Franky has been doing an outstanding job all year,” Fraire said of his table setter at the top of the Gems lineup. “I think he is seeing the ball better every game and he has been hot lately. He’s been getting on base from the lead-off position and is the key to our success.
“But most importantly he is a high character young man.”
For the season, Rodriguez is second in the league in batting with a .409 average. He has also scored 17 runs, drivin in 11 and stolen nine bases.
Before the Gems took the field against the Hannibal Hoots last week, at Clemens Field, the team signed 2018 Quincy Notre Dame grad Nick Wellman. The right-handed pitcher, who allowed just one earned run on the mound for the Raiders this spring, made his summer debut the same night. He did not experience the same kind of domination as he did against high school hitters. Wellman allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning in the Gems win over the Hoots.
Through three appearances, Wellman sports a 10.80 ERA in 3.1 innings pitched with four punchouts.
Riley Pittman was also signed before the start of the Hoots game on June 14. The University of Arkansas-Little Rock product collected two hits in his debut with an RBI. He followed his debut up with another 2-hit, 4-RBI performance the next night.
Through six games, Pittman is batting .308 with seven RBI.
Wednesday night’s rainout against Hannibal will be made up as part of a double header on July 4th at Clemens Field...Blake Adams, who saw his averager go from under .200 to over .300 in a span of two weeks, has signed a pro contract in Canada. Adams finished his brief stint with the Gems batting .308 with 3 HR and 13 RBI...Starting with Thursday’s home game, the Gems and Sliders play for three straight games. The Sliders lead the season series, 3-1 and have won three straight, in the series, after a 14-2 shellacking in the season opener...Despite a .239 average, Cody Birdsong leads the team with 14 RBI...In a double-header against the Rex, Jordan Bock made his Gems debut with 5.1 of scoreless innings pitched. Bock pitched three innings in the first game and 2.1 in the second game.