Tuesday’s night’s Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs clash between the Napa Silverados and Martinez Clippers was a tale of two first-year teams going in opposite directions.
The home-standing Silverados won their sixth straight in convincing fashion, 17-6, moving to within one game of the league-leading Vallejo Admirals, while the last-place Clippers (1-10) dropped their sixth in a row.
After the game, Silverados manager Tito Fuentes Jr. was understandably upbeat about what he saw.
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “You go into something like this with a new team, you put pieces together and there’s always this doubt: ‘Did I pick the right guys, did I make the right cuts?’ Then you have a game like this and you realize you’re doing alright.
“We have great team chemistry, and we’re having fun. I’m still tinkering with the line-up. It keeps me from getting bored or complacent, which is when bad things can happen.”
Fuentes noted that he tells the team to play the same way regardless of the score or the opponent.
“No matter who we’re playing, we tell the team we’re going to play nine hard innings every game, no matter the outcome,” he said. “I told them from the beginning, ‘We’re not going to get cheated.’”
Unlike most managers, he gives all of his players the green light on 3-0 counts in most situations.
“I approach the game differently because I want to keep my players aggressive,” he said. “I have a different philosophy and it shows.”
And lately, no one could argue with the results.
After spotting Martinez a one-run lead in the first inning, the Silverados (7-4) came out swinging in the second. Led by Jordan Anderson’s three-run blast over the left-field wall, Napa took a 4-1 lead. It was pretty much cruise control the rest of the way in the lengthy, three-and-a-half-hour game.
Another highlight for Napa, and a bit of a baseball oddity, were the pair of run-scoring hits by Nicco Toni in the third inning. The burly catcher led off the frame with a blistering solo drive over the left-field fence. Later in the inning, he came to bat again and hit a two-run single to give the Silverados an insurmountable 11-3 lead.
“I’ve never had RBIs in two separate at bats in the same inning before tonight. That was a first for me,” smiled Toni after the game. “We’re all swinging the bats well right now and I think it’s infectious.”
Napa was far from through, as it would pile on six more runs before the contest mercifully ended. DeAndre Asbury-Heath pounded a solo shot out of the park in the fifth for the Silverados’ third round-tripper of the contest.
DeVonte Glenn got the win in relief of starter Jackson Berumen. Glenn had scored the winning run as a pinch runner in Napa’s wild 13-12 win over San Rafael on Sunday.
The Silverados have another home game against Martinez at 6 p.m. Wednesday, and Fuentes plans to have his team ready to play.
“We’ve done this before, beat up on teams, and then come back a little flat the next day,” he said, “so I want to see us bounce back tomorrow and do the right things and get us ready for what I think is going to be a good series against Vallejo (Thursday and Friday at Vallejo’s Wilson Park). We’re loose, having fun and playing well right now.”