The Bristol Blues (17-6) have turned around their fortune this season as the team currently sits atop of the Western Division in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Now, as the second half of the season kicks off, Manager Tim Binkoski said the Blues are aiming to solidify the division early on in case they need to rest before the playoffs.
He said as long as the team continues to play well and avoid any mid-season slumps, the Blues will be in good position heading toward the end of the regular season.
“I think the team has played well. They’ve competed in just about every game that we’ve had,” Binkoski said. “We have had some great starting, relief and backend pitching for the most part. We have had some great offensive days and some days where we had to fight for runs in order to come out on top, but it has been a collaborative effort from everyone on the team.”
The Blues got hot right out of the gate as Bristol began the season 12-2, with an eight game win-streak in the middle of June. They quickly returned to the rest of the pack, however, losing three of the their last six games and falling to second in the league behind the Vermont Mountaineers
The Valley Blue Sox are on the heels of the Blues in the division. In the five games that the two teams have played against each other, the Blue Sox are 3-2. However, after dropping three of the last four games for the Blue Sox, Valley is now 12-12 and sits five and a half games behind Bristol.
Binkoski said the Blues just fell short during their losses, however, when it comes to the division it is one “that could be won early on if the Blues can stay the course.”
“I think the key right now is to try to keep winning a handful of games and not fall into a low point,” he said. “We have to keep separating ourselves in the division so that way towards the end of the summer and those dog days in July if we have to surrender a couple games to maintain our health we’re able to do so and not have to fight all the way to the end.”
Binkoski said the success so far in the season can be attributed to the players buying into the process and trusting the staff to make decisions. He said it has also been from the standout play of players like A.J. Gaich, Chaz Myers, Griffin Arnone and Jay Harris.
“Basically, they just showed up day one wanting to play and we still have a group of guys that just want to play baseball,” he said.