HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - If homeruns are what you like most about baseball, then Hickory is the place to be as the Hickory Crawdads are one of the best teams in the South Atlantic League at going deep.
As a team, they have hit 47 homeruns in 43 games which is second best in the league behind only Greensboro.
“We got a lot of gifted guys and they put in a lot of work both on the swing and in the weight room,” said Crawdads manager Matt Hagen. “Some of them are just blessed with some God given ability to hit the ball really hard.”
Their best homerun hitter was Sam Huff. Was because he got called up to the Down East Ducks in Advanced A Baseball. He had 15 homeruns in 30 games with Hickory and the 15 dingers still lead the league 2 weeks later.
Hickory still has 2 more guys in the top 10 in homers in Curtis Terry and Pedro Gonzalez. Terry is 4th in the SAL in homers with 9 and Gonzalez is tied for 5th with 7 round trippers.
A big reason for the power surge is experience. For a lot of these guys, this is their second season in Single A ball so they now have the patience to wait on the right pitch and jump all over it when they get it.
“Last year wasn’t a good year for me,” said Gonzalez. “I was playing with a lot of pressure trying to do more than what I should do. My plan now is to just have fun and everything will work out.”
Being able to hit with so much power certainly has raised the confidence of manager Matt Hagen heading into each and every game.
“We are never out of it,” said Hagen. “There are games when we are down 3 runs late in the game. If we can get a walk and a guy gets a base hit, the next guy has a chance to put us right back into the game with one swing. One through nine, this guy has a chance to put a ball over the fence.”
The Crawdads are 28-15 and start a 8 game home stand on Tuesday.