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Sunday Sports: Watertown Rapids look to rebound in 2nd half of season

Published: Jul. 4, 2021 at 10:23 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The first half of the 2021 PGCBL season wrapped up for the Rapids on Wednesday and it was a finish that the team would like to forget.

Watertown ended the month of June riding a 6 game losing streak and a 6-12 record, which put them at the bottom of the Central division standings.

”We’ve got a good group of guys. We’re definitely on a stretch of not doing as well right now, but we’re definitely hopeful that we’re gonna come around and we’re getting more guys. Hopefully looking to bring a couple new arms in. We’ve definitely been plagued with some injuries but we think we can make a good turnaround,” said John Boland, the Rapids Assistant Coach.

The Rapids haven’t had a problem scoring runs. In 18 games in June, the Rapids pushed 104 runs across the plate, averaging almost 6 runs a game.

On the hill, it was another story, with Watertown surrendering 131 runs in 18 contests, 104 of those earned, averaging out to opponents scoring a little over 7 runs a contest.

”We’ve been hitting the ball really well, so hopefully we can continue doing that. Just gotta kind of clean it up on the pitching side, hopefully get a few new arms. We’ve been kind of beat up. A lot of games consecutively has been tough. You know, we got lucky with an off day yesterday, but you know, I think the next month we have plenty of off days to rest, recover and get back out there,” said Boland.

The main objective for the Rapids and their coaches is to keep the players on their roster sharp and ready for their fall college baseball seasons, which presents some limitations to the staff.

”The athletes health and getting them ready for the fall is more important to us than the wins. The wins will come hopefully and we just gotta keep trying to keep guys healthy. I think the health of the players is more important than the wins right now,” said Boland.

Boland also says the Rapids are limited as to how they can utilize their pitching staff, with players colleges putting set numbers on how many innings, pitches and games pitchers are allowed.

”It definitely does. It definitely kind of- We have our hands tied behind our back a little bit with innings limits, pitch count limits. Again, we just gotta pick up some numbers, hopefully get a couple of pitchers to sign and come in for the rest of the summer and again, these consecutive off days of having a couple days rest will be huge going forward,” said Boland.

If the Rapids can right the ship over the next week, there’s still time to make a run at a post season berth with all but one of their remaining games against Utica, Auburn and Mohawk Valley, teams they have to leapfrog in the Central Division standings.

We’re just 11 days away from the start of the 2021 Farmers Insurance Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River in Waddington, where some of the best anglers in the world will gather for the final stop of the season on the series.

Waddington and the St. Lawrence has been one of the favorite stops of the tour, not only for the fishing, but for the fans that come by the thousands to enjoy the festivities over the 4 days of fishing.

B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin says while there may be some limitations from years past with for fans in attendance, he expects record numbers to show up after being kept away in 2020 due to COVID and the tournament moving to Clayton.

”We do usually have a very big crowds. I think they cut back some on the activities and the number of concerts that we’ll be having and that sort of thing. You know the festival like atmosphere is still going to be there. Eric Lopez and our folks have been working with the people in Waddington. Think we’ll have a great event and still plenty for everybody to do. Of course families and everyone to come on out. Everybody will be glad to get out,” said Akin.

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