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  • JetHawks finding failure a teacher

    first_imgLANCASTER – What was a disastrous month – from a first-half title-contention standpoint – may have been a boon from a development standpoint. That’s according to manager Brett Butler, who believes that experiencing failure, as his team did in a 7-17 April, is an integral aspect of the development process. Although this is unlikely to resurrect their first-half title hopes, the JetHawks have made significant strides this month, going 10-10, highlighted by sweeping a three-game series over the weekend from a San Jose Giants team with the California League’s best record. The JetHawks (17-27) have the league’s worst record, despite fielding nine of the parent Arizona Diamondbacks’ top 30 organizational prospects. The Diamondbacks have Baseball America’s top-ranked minor-league system. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsThe team’s struggles are widely attributed to inexperience. For all their upside, the JetHawks’ top prospects, such as left-handed hitting outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, haven’t realized their potential competing in what is considered an older repeater league. The JetHawks had four players on last year’s team who were fourth-year Cal Leaguers. “You look at some of these guys that were exceptional at the league they were at, and there might not have been a whole of adjustments that had to be made,” Butler said. “They were just able to go out with their buddies in the backyard and go play.” The recent results suggest the JetHawks are starting to adjust. Butler cited the JetHawks’ ability to hit with two strikes – they had four two-strike hits, including two homers in Saturday’s 7-5 victory over San Jose as a key factor in their turnaround. Gonzalez, last season’s Midwest League MVP, has gotten hot, batting .333 in May to boost his average from .254 to .294. “Now you’re starting to get into a position where you have to make adjustments and adjustments to adjustments,” Butler said. “The further you go up the ladder, the more adjustments you’re going to have to make, and that’s what they’re having to do now.” Bruce back: JetHawks shortstop Derek Bruce suffered a gash over his right eye in infield practice Saturday when he was struck by a bad-hop grounder. The injury required stitches, but he was back in the lineup Sunday, going 1 for 4 in a 7-5 victory over San Jose. “Welcome to the Cal League,” Butler said. “The fields aren’t the best, but he’s a battler, and he’s a guy who’s going to give his best every day of the week, and that’s why he’s in there.” Fundraiser: The American Cancer Society’s Antelope Valley chapter will kick off its Relay for Life campaign at Thursday’s game against the Stockton Ports. Relay team captains and members will be represented at the game, and others interested can register or learn more about the relay – an overnight ACS fundraising event to be held Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at Antelope Valley College – from ACS officials. The pregame show will feature short video clips promoting the relay and a brief statement from Butler, a two-time cancer survivor. Antelope Valley resident Ashley Kritzer, a 12-year-old cancer survivor, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. “It’s a way to get (the ACS) involved and show our support for them,” JetHawks general manager Brad Seymour said. “It gives them an opportunity to put their information out there and educate our fans as to what they’re about.” Odds and ends: Reliever Kyle Bono announced his retirement while the JetHawks were in San Jose two week ago. He was replaced by reliever Jonatan Valverde. … Catcher Wilkin Castillo was assigned to Triple-A Tucson (Ariz.). Catching prospect Richard Mercado replaced him on the JetHawks roster. [email protected] (818) 713-3607160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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