(ST. JOSEPH) It's been a good first week in St. Joseph for Mustangs outfielder Griffin Gordon.
One of the newest mustangs has found his comfort zone in his first homestand since joining the team last Wednesday. He's 8 for his last 11 plate appearances, smacking a team-high three RBI in Saturday's win over Sedalia.
"It's been fun, there's been a lot of fans out here and it's a great atmosphere to play in," he said. "I'm just trying to keep seeing the ball and swing at good pitches, I guess."
He's just part of a fresh tandem brought in to help fill the hole left by Major League Baseball draftees Michael Schulze and Grant Fink and the loss of Kyle Simpso to Alexandria.
Beatrice, Nebraska infielder Tandon Dorn is also getting acclamatied to his new teammates while splitting time with Northwest's Eric Swain at shortstop.
"He's helped me out a lot. He's taught me basically everything about our infield and our signs," Dorn said. "If I have a question, I go to him."
That's the nature of the summer ball beast: to go from a batting order full of familiar faces one week to a lineup card with unknown names the next.
It can have its growing pains.
"Especially with Grant and Michael, I'd seen them play the last few years in the MIAA, so I knew what I was getting," manager Matt Johnson said. "The other guys we get in, we're just looking at statistical numbers and going off what coaches tell us."
But with a 4-0 homestand already under their belts, Johnson feels his newest additions have come as advertised.
"So far, they've been right on. These guys have done a nice job for us, but it just takes a little bit of time to acclimate. When you pick up in the middle of June, some of these guys have been done for over a month. The timing and the rhythm can be just a little bit off."
"It's definitely a lot better competition," Dorn added. "I'm from a JUCO in Nebraska so getting used to better competition, getting to know the guys, it's been fun so far."