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Pump Jacks look to keep up momentum

By Jack Stallard
July 1, 2013 at 11 p.m.

For the East Texas Pump Jacks, the final two games of the first half of the Texas Collegiate League season are all about momentum and positioning.

The Pump Jacks (13-15), riding a three-game winning streak, will host the Victoria Generals (17-11) tonight and Wednesday in 7:05 p.m. contests at Driller Park in Kilgore. The two games will close out the first half of TCL play. East Texas will play at The Woodlands on Thursday and Friday and at the Texas Marshals on Saturday and Sunday to open the second half of the season.

After an off day next Monday, the Pump Jacks will host the TCL All-Star Game on July 9 at Driller Park.

East Texas head coach Mark Kertenian said he isn't putting extra pressure on his team in the final homestand of the first half.

"To be honest, we'll approach it the same way we do every game," Kertenian said. "They are all important games, especially now with postseason implications on the line, but the players know that and they know they just need to keep playing hard."

East Texas has won three in a row and seven of 10 heading into tonight's contest. The Pump Jacks are 1-3 this season against Victoria, which has won two in a row but is 4-6 in its last 10 games.

The Pump Jacks have already played seven one-run games this season, going 3-4 in those games, and have played in five extra-inning contests with a 3-2 record in those outings.

"We've played a lot of close games, and it just shows that the guys are out there grinding hard. That's not going to change," Kertenian said.

Former Pine Tree standout Brett McAfee joined the team last week, and Kertenian said two more players joined the team on Sunday. The full roster, Kertenian said, should help on defense especially and in turn he hopes that helps the Pump Jacks become a team less prone to peaks and valleys.

The Pump Jacks have winning streaks of four (twice) and three games this season to go along with losing skids of five, four and three games. In the past 10 games, East Texas has made a total of nine errors in the seven wins while booting 12 chances in the three losses.

"Our defense has kept us streaking both ways," Kertenian said. "Errors are going to happen, but they will happen at a higher rate when good players are pushed to the brink day after day. We've played hard and overcome a lot of errors, but with everyone in place now it'll help to be able to keep guys fresh."

NOTES: Five Pump Jacks - Brooks Marlow, Garrett McMullen, Matthew Dickey, Joey Armstrong and Wes Edrington - have played in at least 25 of the team's 30 games this season. McMullen has played in a team-leading 27 games ... Marlow leads the TCL with a .371 batting average. He also has six doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs ... McMullen is hitting .337 with eight doubles and 12 RBIs ... Dickey is a .310 hitter with nine RBIs and 13 stolen bases ... Armstrong has a .304 average and 18 RBIs ... Mitch Meyer leads the team with three home runs and is hitting .429 with 10 RBIs in 10 games ... Two Pump Jacks pitchers (Nick Rossetta and Don Sullivan) have two wins apiece. The other nine victories are spread out over nine pitchers, including one who is no longer with the team ... After the All-Star Game, the Pump Jacks will play eight of 12 games at home, including a season-long six-game homestand that will run from July 18-24 with an off day on July 22.

Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports.



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