From the desk of: GROWLINGS FROM BROOKLYN
NEWARK BEARS: Still Trying To Get A Piece Of
The Bears will end the season's first half against none other than the CanAm's first half clincher; Quebec Capitales in a three game series at The Den in Newark.
A hot start by the Bears this season turned into a tail spin which dropped them below .500 at times. They've been hovering around that mark ever since. Facing the League's first place club Thursday, the Newark Bears gained an inconsequential game on Quebec, and scratched their way to a game above .500 again.
The Bears tail-spin came on the heals of rising to second place with an 18-11 record. Since then they have gone 5-11 and currently sit in fifth place; and after tonight, drew within 10.5 games of Quebec.
In game one of this last first half series, Tim Raines Jr. and Daryle Ward both homered, supplying Bears' starter, Alex Smith, with all six runs he'd need tonight. They gave him an early 2-0 in the first when Tim Raines Jr. hit the Capitales' Matthew Rusch's seventh pitch of the inning out for his 8th home run, scoring Brandon Watson who singled to lead off the game.
In the sixth inning, Daryle Ward blasted a two run homer, scoring Tim Raines Jr., to give the Bears a 4-0 lead. The lead became 6-0 in the seventh when Daryle Ward drove in two more unearned runs with a single.
Starter, Alex Smith gave Coach Raines what this team has needed so desperately; a starting pitcher who can pitch into the late innings of a game. Thursday evening, Alex Smith gave his team 7.2 innings against the League's best team. He walked five batters to give the Capitales hope. But he surrendered only one hit. They scored twice off him, but only one run was earned.
The bullpen preserved the Bears' twenty-second victory of the season versus twenty-one losses.
Matt Fitton pitched 0.2 innings following Smith. He gave up three hits and allowed Quebec's third run of the game. But Mikey Mehlich was called on to close the game. After taking a tough loss Wednesday night against New York, he pitched the final 0.2 innings; no runs; no hits; no walks; one strikeout - earning him his seventh Save of the season.
Pittsfield sits 0.5 games ahead of Newark; in fourth place. The Bears with try and gain way against Quebec again tomorrow in game two of this series, while the Pittsfield Colonials will play at Rockland. Newark is 2.5 games behind third place Brockton.