Big bats help Marauders snap skid

jlembo@bradenton.comJuly 18, 2013 

BRADENTON -- In the throes of the longest losing streak in their brief history, the Bradenton Marauders weren't in a position to be choosy.

A win is a win, especially when you've lost nine straight.

That being said, the return of the Marauders' offense was a welcome sight Wednesday night, especially since it sparked a 9-3 win over the Clearwater Threshers in front of 824 fans at McKechnie Field.

How overdue were the Bradenton bats?

• The Marauders scored just 17 runs and were shut out three times during their losing streak.

• They have been blanked 15 times this season, already a franchise high.

• The last time they scored more than five runs in a game was June 28.

That all changed Wednesday, thanks in part to a spark from Bradenton's first three hitters -- Alen Hanson, Benji Gonzalez and Dan Gamache. The trio teamed for seven hits in 11 at-bats, with Hanson driving in three runs and stealing base, and Gamache slapping his 25th double, putting him two off the league lead.

"We were patient, and we got runners in scoring position, we'd take the pitch we want and drive him in," said Gonzalez, who had two hits. "We did all the little things to help us."

Gonzalez jolted the Marauders (33-60, 7-18 second half) to life in the first when he took advantage of the wet infield - rain delayed the game's start by 30 minutes - and dropped a bunt single down the third base line. He later scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Willy Garcia.

"He didn't expect to me bunt in the first inning," Gonzalez said of Threshers third baseman Matt Tolbert.

Bradenton showed some resiliency, as well, after Clearwater erased a 3-0 lead and evened the score in the fifth.

Gamache opened the bottom of the inning with a double and went to third on a single by Stetson Allie (1-for-3, two walks) before Garcia launched a three-run home run over the wall in left.

It was the 14th home run of the year for Garcia, who hit 18 last season in 122 games with low Single-A West Virginia.

"Those guys getting on,

they're fast and can get around the bases," said Gamache, who is hitting .277 this season and .338 at McKechnie. "It sets things up for me, Stetson, (Jose) Osuna and Willy to drive them in. Most importantly, though, is guys are swinging at good pitches."

The Marauders drew seven walks Wednesday, went 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position and salted the game away with a three-run seventh.

"Sometimes we get ahead and take our foot off the pedal. (Wednesday), we didn't do that," Gamache said. "We put them away."

It had been a long time since the Marauders shook hands and celebrated a victory, a drought that included Monday's 19-inning loss in Tampa.

That all changed Wednesday, however, and the Marauders are hoping to starts a brand-new streak.

"It's just fun when you win," Gamache said. "After the game, you kind of mess around, and when you reflect on a game, it's more fun to reflect on a game that you win instead of game that you lose -- as a team and individually."

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