Friday, July 08, 2005 | The Surf Dawgs closed out the month of June with a quick series against the Chico Outlaws and a long series against the Mesa Miners, facing the Arizona division leaders for the first time this season. Playing three games in two days with the Outlaws was a challenge to the fitness of the club, but right fielder Seth Pietsch helped his team win the series opener 3-2 by going 4-for-5 and driving in the winning run in the 11th inning.

The Dawgs’ reward for their extra-inning win was a double header the following day. Solid pitching helped them sweep the series with Donovan Graves throwing a 7-5 victory. Teammate Adam Johnson followed Graves’ lead by bringing a 2-0 victory home in the second game of the night. Finding no rest for the weary, the Dawgs then faced a four-game series against the Mesa Miners. The Miners brought in a record of 21-11, the closet to the Dawgs own record.

Despite Pietsch’s fifth home run of the season, the team fell in the series opener 3-4. The team bounced back in the next game winning 5-4 behind a Rickey Henderson lead-off home run, a home run by left fielder Chris Goodwin and three innings of shut-out pitching by reliever Kevin Cassidy. The tug-of-war battle between division leaders continued into the third game of the series, which the team dropped 4-5. The Dawgs came back to split the series with a 12-1 dismantling of the Miners. Starter Jeff Blitstein’s solid seven innings – giving up three hits and one run – set the table for third baseman Nick Guerra’s 2-4 day at the plate with a homerun and 3 RBIs. Scott Goodman also went 2-4 with two RBIs and first baseman Matt Wheatlands went 2-4 with 4 RBIs.

The series sweep kept the Dawgs firmly in first place in the California Division behind a 25-12 record. The team is also leading the league in several categories, including pitching with a team ERA of .366. “It makes you feel pretty good,” says pitching coach, Larry Owens. “It’s more of a credit to Terry (Kennedy) for signing good kids, doing a good job of finding guys who could, more than anything, throw the ball over the plate, which teams aren’t doing as well as we are.”

Offensively, Rickey Henderson is leading the league in on-base percentage with a .512, and Scott Goodman is second in the league for extra base hits with 19. A two-year veteran, Goodman has become one of the Dawgs’ strongest players. Currently hitting .352 with a .576 slugging percentage, his timely hitting has helped the team come from behind to win several games. Goodman sees the leadership provided by Terry Kennedy as a key to the team’s success. “I’ve had good managers in the past, but I’ve never seen someone whose all around knowledge of the game is just so great,” said Goodman. “His on-the-field managing skills are just second to none and just the way he handles the club on and off the field are just top notch. I really enjoy playing for him.”

After playing two years in the independent Northeast League, Goodman is also enjoying the chance to play close to family and friends in San Luis Obispo where he lives in the off-season and is getting married in October.

With the team solidly in first place and leading the league in several categories, Goodman looks forward to the second month of the season confident that the solid foundation that has gotten the team to a 25-12 record will carry them through the rest of the season. “I think that goes back to the manager,” says Goodman. “I don’t foresee us (not winning) with Terry as our skipper. I think we all work hard, we all get here early, get our work done. We genuinely enjoy playing baseball. I’m sure we’ll have a few slumps, a few losing streaks, no doubt during the season. But, I think the effort level will be there.”

Tami Rapozo, is a San Diego native who has written for several local publications. In 2001, she wrote Keepers of the Faith, a book on the San Diego Padres and their booster club, the Madres.

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