Walks, Timely Hitting Help RailCats Scratch Out Win Over Dogs
By Jack Ankony, Chicago Dogs
When K.C. Hobson hits it on the sweet spot, it’s clear that the ball is headed for the stands. In the seventh inning of the Dogs matchup with the Gary SouthShore RailCats on June 5, Hobson’s barrel connected for a no-doubt, two-run home run over the right field wall.
This was Hobson’s second home run of the night and fourth of the season to continue and eight-game hit streak. Although Hobson’s two long balls couldn’t erase a 10-5 loss to the RailCats, Hobson is locked in on his approach.
“It’s nice to hear the sound of the bat, and when you don’t feel it at all, you know you got it pretty good,” Hobson said. “There’s nothing like the feeling when you hit it good.”
Hobson said he has recently dialed down the effort level of his swing in order to focus more on putting the barrel on the ball. Instead of simply swinging hard, Hobson’s approach hinges on solid contact.
“I know if I barrel it, it’s going to go somewhere for a double,” Hobson said.
Hobson said he focuses on being quick to the ball and finding the sweet spot, but at times this approach might change slightly. His first home run came off a right-handed pitcher, while the RailCats made a change to a lefty for Hobson’s following at bat.
Digging in for a left-on-left matchup, Hobson said his approach changes because the angle of the pitch changes, but it is important to keep the same overall focus.
“When I just stick with my approach against lefties, I’m usually pretty good,” Hobson said. “When I get out of that is when things start to fall apart.”
While Hobson has stayed hot at the plate, things have started to turn in the wrong direction for the Dogs. After winning four games in a row, the Dogs have dropped three straight games to the RailCats.
Hobson said as a whole, the team has not played well, and errors have been part of the reason. In the last three losses, the Dogs have combined to make three errors. From Hobson’s perspective, every aspect of the game – pitching, hitting and defense – hasn’t been the standard to which he knows they are capable.
“All around we just haven’t been playing good baseball and sometimes that happens,” Hobson said. “We’ll come out tomorrow and change that.”
The Dogs will need a win on Sunday to avoid a series sweep against Gary SouthShore. Scott Firth will make his first start on the mound for the Dogs against David Griffin. For Hobson, game four of this series is all about competing.
“Just staying within myself and staying within ourselves as a team,” Hobson said. “Not trying to do too much, and just go out there and compete.”