It is appropriate that when Trapper second baseman Kelly Zane puts on his best grin - he did that a lot Wednesday night - he looks like actor Tom Cruise. Zane shoots down enemy fastballs like he's been through Top Gun school twice.
The Pioneer League's leading hitter the past couple of weeks, Zane did nothing to hurt his reputation as the Trappers returned home to Derks Field Wednesday night.Zane was 5 for 5, driving in four runs, three in the first inning with a homer and RBI single as the Trappers sent 13 men to the plate and eight across it, and he led the semi-streaking Salt Lakers to a 23-hit 19-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Blue Jays.
It was the biggest single-team output of runs in a Trapper game since Helena defeated them 23-6 on Aug. 19, 1986.
It kicked off a seven-game home-stand that continues Thursday night in Derks with unbeaten Fred Riscen (3-0) on the mound for Manager Barry Moss. Terence Glover upped his record to 5-0, thanks to his teammates' hitting fit against six Blue Jay pitchers, including starter Deningo Placeres, who came in with a team-leading ERA of 2.65.
Glover threw six innings of six-hit ball, allowing one run in the fourth and one in the fifth when he had leads of 12-1 and 16-2.
The Trappers have now won three in a row and 11 of their last 13. In the last three games, they've outscored opponents 30-6. In their last seven games, they've had 94 hits - a 13.4 average. Their record is 20-10.
Trapper designated hitter Mando Verdugo also went 5 for 5 - for the first time in his career. "I've been 4 for 4 and 4 for 5," said Verdugo, who added that he'd been chiding Zane as the two attempted their fifth hits of the night. "I was just trying to keep up with him; I knew I'd never done it," Verdugo said.
Verdugo, tied with teammate Greg Ehmig the past week for the league lead in homers with nine each, deferred to Zane in the quality of hits Wednesday. "I hit the ball hard one time," he said.
Zane, however, stung the ball, particularly on the homer, his second of the season.
"It was a shot," said Moss.
Zane didn't know for sure. He said teammates told him he hit it hard. "I didn't get a chance to see it. I was too busy running," he said. No home run trot for Zane. "I'm not real confident on those yet," he said.
Despite getting on base six times - he walked in the fifth inning - and elevating his batting average to .441, Zane scored only on his homer. He was thrown out on the basepaths four times, twice on forceouts at second, once at home and once at third.
Ehmig, who had three hits and a walk, scored all four times he was on base, and Pat Waid and Rick Hurni scored three runs each. Each of the three had three hits, and Hurni also drove in three runs, walked once and got hit by a pitch.
The first inning was all the Trappers needed, though the game dragged on for 3 1/2 hours. Everybody in the Trapper lineup except Verdugo, forced out at third base, scored the first time he batted. The eight runs came on six hits, three walks and a hit batsman.
The 3-27 Jays, who average nearly three errors a game, didn't make one until the seventh inning, and neither of their errors led to Trapper runs.
"They're not that bad," Moss said. "They've played five one-run games this week." He recalled the Trappers winning only 4-1 and 3-2 in Medicine Hat last week. They also won 15-5 and 11-5 there during the four-game stand in Canada.
"We hit the ball well, and that's tough to beat," Moss said. "Everyone is starting to come around, and we're getting more hitting through the lineup, top to bottom, to keep it going." He noted that several Trappers were out of baseball for nearly a year, and it's taken them a while to adjust.
TRAPPER NOTES - Player personnel executive Van Schley reports that, because of visa problems, the two Japanese pitchers from the Kintetsu Buffaloes will not join the team this season.