Athletes of the Week: Jackalopes Hitters

Published: Jul. 12, 2023 at 11:39 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Grand Junction Jackalopes hitters have been hotter than the weather recently.

The team currently leads the Pioneer League in batting average, runs batted in, hits, slugging percentage, and home runs.

For an example of the team’s hitting prowess, look no further than the last two games they have played, where the team combined for ten home runs and 39 nine runs in two wins over the Northern Colorado Owlz.

“Offensively, we’ve had a very, very good group of guys all season long. Pretty sure we lead a lot of the league’s offensive categories, but the power surge here of late it’s just kind of getting back to the having fun with it and stuff and not really pressing for hits,” Catcher Tyler Sandoval said.

“Honestly, I feel like just the team just as a whole we’ve been helping each other out in the cages or BP and just seeing different like approaches from each guy. If like, if Joe Johnson is hitting, I’m a left-handed hitter so I’m going to watch how they pitch Joe Johnson,” Outfielder Anthony Ray said, “So when I go up there, I’m more prepared same thing if Jake Cruce hitting or like other guys other left-handed hitters and I think the same thing for righties, they look for the other righties see how the opposing team is pitching them.”

Sandoval, a Western Slope native has had years of experience hitting at Suplizio Field, playing his college ball at Colorado Mesa, and before that he was a Delta Panther.

“It’s definitely helped play college ball here. So I got to see the ball fly during college and then I’ve been here for two and a half seasons. So being familiar with the park definitely does help. But when it comes to my offensive approach and performance, it’s mostly just about sticking to my personal strengths and letting the field play,” Sandoval said.

As for Ray, this is his first season with the Jackalopes, but he says he’s already taking a liking to the hitter friendly field.

Honestly last night when I hit the home run, I hit it, and I was like no way that’s getting out, I just saw I keep blowing out and I was like wow. Honestly this field, is like the batter’s eye and everything you just see the ball really well here. I love the field honestly, I always tell the guys like this is my favorite field because I hit two home runs here so far,” Ray said.

The hot handed hitting continued in the team’s last game against the Northern Colorado Owlz, where the Jackalopes crushed five home runs, en route to a 22-7 victory.