McGaheran shines in second season with Generals
June 28, 2010 at 1:28 a.m.
In his second season in Victoria, Brendan McGaheran said he's understanding the lay of the land better now.
But there's one thing he doesn't think he'll ever get used to.
"I don't think I'll ever get used to heat," he said. "I struggle with it a little bit, but eventually you drink enough Gatorade and deal with it."
The Nazareth, Pa., native and shortstop from Lehigh University has been mashing the ball at the top of the lineup for Victoria. He is near the top overall in four offensive categories, batting .369 heading into Monday's game against McKinney, good for second in the Texas Collegiate League.
He's also in the top five in the TCL in hits (24) and runs scored (15).
McGaheran said he's just trying to stay relaxed at the plate.
"I'm not getting too uptight and carrying the last at-bat into the next at-bat. I just came down here, and the whole intent was to play summer ball and have fun," he said.
Generals coach Chris Clemons said McGaheran's hitting has been a big part of the lineup, helping to set the table for those behind him.
"Bottom line is the kid can hit," he said. "He's a good athlete, he does a good job in the field. ... He's a huge part of this team, and where he goes, we go."
McGaheran has carved out a niche as the team's leadoff hitter, although he shifts in the field between second base and shortstop and occasionally designated hitter.
"Starting out the year, I had him in the middle of the order, but he led off a lot for us last year," Clemons said. "I think he's the guy who's going to be up there the bulk of the rest of the season."
The one thing Clemons said McGaheran has to work on is getting himself on base even when he's struggling at the plate.
"That's something that we have to work on in terms of when he has a bad game, he still needs to find ways to get on base," Clemons said. "He might go 0-for-4, but he needs to find a way to get a walk because he runs the bases so well. With him on base, it makes our lineup a bigger threat."
That isn't to say McGaheran doesn't get on base a lot. He is fifth in the TCL in on-base percentage at .462, making for a potent punch at the top of the lineup with Lawton Langford, who often bats second behind him and leads the team with an on-base percentage of .464.
It seems odd that someone from the middle of Pennsylvania and going to school 15 minutes from home would come more than 1,000 miles to play summer league. McGaheran said he and teammate Andy Russell were looking to escape Pennsylvania.
"We were looking to get out of Pennsylvania for summer league, and saw that they were having an expansion team here, so we figured we'd try it out," he said. "Luckily we got on the team, and we liked it enough to come back this year."
Generals overcome bad start to beat Marshals
Andy Russell seemed to be leading off every inning on Monday night at Riverside Stadium. The right fielder led off four times for the Generals.
And while his line was nothing noteworthy - 1-for-2 with three walks - the Generals put up all eight runs in their 9-5 win over the McKinney Marshals when he reached base to start the inning.
"I had a few good at bats, got a hit and a couple of walks," Russell said. "It's important to get the leadoff guy on because it puts pressure on the defense and it's hard for the pitcher to throw with a man on base."
The win puts the Generals in sole possession of first place, a half game up on idle Brazos Valley.
But from the outset of the game, it didn't look like a Victoria victory. Errors and miscues in the field allowed McKinney to jump out to a 3-0 lead, and set Coach Chris Clemons off.
He stormed out to the mound and sent his players a message.
"They know me well enough, and they expect me to come out there and get on them a little bit," Clemons said. "I had a few choice comments, and they responded to them."
The Generals rallied back, and overtook McKinney in the fourth inning, with five runs, which was highlighted by a two-RBI triple by Mark Hudson, who finished the night 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBIs.
"He's going to hit balls to the left-center field gap, right-center field gap," Clemons said. "He's as good a hitter as I've seen."