The message in Mandan this summer is to control what you can control. After an up and down start to the season the A’s have won 15 of their last 20 games, but they know that won’t be enough to bring home a trophy.
“Best thing in our scenario is we control our own destiny, so you know if we’re going to stumble here or there that’s on us,” Head Coach Rob Bird Horse said. “So we put all the pressure on the guys, hold them a little more accountable at this point in the season, and I think they’ve responded pretty well.”
Even with their hot streak the A’s are still fifth in the west standings, but a change in mentality is helping them focus on the game at hand.
“We honestly don’t talk about it that much, it’s kind of surprising,” first baseman Seth Gerhardt said. “Usually that’s what we’re big into like, ‘We’re going to win it all.’ That really doesn’t get mentioned. I think that’s one of the reasons we do too well. We’re not in our heads, we just do what we do.”
The A’s biggest emphasis has been on defense, an area where they struggled early in the season, and have since turned it around, shutting out their opponents in 26 of the last 28 innings played.
“If we pitch, we throw strikes, we’re pretty much unstoppable,” infielder McCoy Keller said. “We struggled right away throwing strikes, now everybody’s starting to throw good and everything is clicking in together.”
Things are clicking on offense too for a team that has scored double digits in 12 of their 18 wins on the season.
“The biggest thing is having an approach at the plate,” Bird Horse explained. “Knowing the situation you’re in, what type of pitch you want to see, what type of pitch you want to hit. Again, just having a very good approach at the plate contributes to those hits and those runs.”
Runs mean wins, and right now both are coming easy for the A’s. And with a consistent approach, the rest of the season is in their control.
The A’s open their mid-season tournament at home on Saturday against the Bismarck Capitals.