Home runs are nice but Moline baseball coach Craig Schimmel is more about getting base hits. So, after a chat with his team a couple of weeks ago, the Maroons took his words to heart.
Moline is hitting on all cylinders now and showed that on Wednesday with a 15-hit onslaught in a 12-0 Western Big 6 Conference win over United Township. Game 2 of the split-days doubleheader will be played today at 4:30 at UTHS.
Getting hits out of eight of the nine spots in the lineup, Moline (11-2, 3-0 in the WB6) scored early and often.
"Earlier in the season we had a lot of guys who were trying to do too much at the plate, and we were seeing a lot of swings for home runs," Schimmel said. "We had a little talk after the Boylan game, and the last two weeks I'm seeing a better approach where we are putting the ball in play instead of trying to put it out of the park. We brought the boomsticks (Wednesday)."
And it is not like the Maroons aren't hitting for power during their recent surge. They had four doubles and a home run on Wednesday and had five doubles, a triple and four home runs in a sweep of Quincy on Saturday.
Two of the leaders of the offensive attack have been center fielder Nick Drobushevich and left fielder Eric Maffie. They continued their tear in the rout.
Drobushevich was 4-4 with a double, a home run and two RBIs. Maffie added a pair of singles and three runs batted in. In three Western Big Six games, that duo is now 16-23 with two doubles, four home runs and 20 RBIs. As a team, Moline is batting .452 (42-93) with 40 runs, nine doubles, a triple, five home runs and 35 RBIs.
"At the start of the year, I was on going for big hits and home runs," Drobushevich said. "That is a terrible approach. Now, I'm using the whole field and getting more things to happen.
"I actually started the day the right way with a bunt single in the first inning. Then, I hit the ball up the middle, drove a double to right and just took a nice easy swing on the home run. It is all about confidence."
That's something the Maroons have in every facet right now. Ben Monroe needed just 52 pitches to get the five-inning, two-hit shutout.
"The biggest thing was Ben didn't walk anyone," Schimmel said. "We didn't have our two starters from Saturday at Quincy available, so it was big that Ben threw so well.
"A big thing about our pitchers is they throw strikes because they know the defense is there to help them out."
UT coach Mike Meyers saw his team fall to 1-9, 0-1 in the Big Six, but he's looking at more than the win-loss column.
"Right now, our focus is keeping our kids focused and excited about playing the game," Meyers said. "We want to keep working on the little things and know, if we do those right, the wins will come."
Sam Monroe, Dan Anderson and Drew Parks all had two hits for Moline.