Bay Area center fielder Kenny Decelle has been considered the Crawdad killer for the last couple years, but it might be time to consider Walnut Creek center fielder Ryan Brome the Admiral killer.
Brome hit for the second cycle in Walnut Creek history and tied the franchise record with nine RBI. The Crawdad has gone 7-8 in the series against the Admirals and is the main reason why the Walnut Creek Crawdads (17-4-1, 11-4 CCL) have taken the series, defeating the Bay Area Admirals (10-14, 8-13 CCL) 18-7 at Solano College.
The most RBI the center fielder had in a game this summer was three against the West Coast Kings on June 17, so he tripled his run production to win Player of the Game honors. It is undeniable that Brome had his best game of the season, especially considering that his five hits against the Admirals was the most he has had in a game this season. It is not a surprise to see a performance like this from Brome because he has been in a rhythm lately.
“I finally started squaring up the ball a few days ago. That’s a good confidence booster. I’ve been swinging at good pitches. I’ve been on time and the barrel started to find some holes. I’m feeling good.”
Brome achieved the difficult part of the cycle with his RBI triple in the fourth and he already had four hits by the fifth inning with the single and double under his belt. The Crawdad hit a groundout in the seventh, but he got one more chance in the ninth. The center fielder only had one goal on his mind when he walked up to the plate.
“I was aware of it at my fifth at-bat,” Brome said. I was selling out for it. I had to. I was trying and sure enough, got it up there and it’s pretty sweet.”
Brome’s cycle was not the only notable storyline from Saturday’s game. Walnut Creek shortstop Jon Jon Gazdar had four hits in his last game with the Crawdads as he will be playing for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Baseball League for the rest of the summer. Gazdar was only with the Crawdads for nine days, but it is safe to say he made a profound impact on the squad.
“He [Gazdar] is awesome. He’s a great dude,” Brome said. “He is so solid defensively. Something people don’t value is a player that really understands how they play the game and he just uses his tools really well. That kid doesn’t strike out. He swings at good pitches. He’s always level through the zone. He’s always on time and he’s a really good add for the ‘Dads.”
The Crawdads are definitely going to miss Gazdar, but it also allows for other players to step up. Walnut Creek utility Griffin Harrison is a candidate for more at-bats in Gazdar’s absence and he made a compelling case on Saturday with three hits, which is the most hits he has had in a game this season.
Walnut Creek will look to sweep the Bay Area on Sunday at Monte Vista, but it is going to be difficult to top this performance. The Crawdads are second in the CCL North with postseason aspirations, but this game will still be one of the most memorable highlights of the season by the end of summer.