Many prognosticators have projected Rockville to win their division in a runaway. Rockville's not quite so optimistic, but if their first two weeks are any indication, they're still the frontrunners they hope they are. The Pikemen are 7-3 at the halfway point in April, and so far the team is running on almost cylinders.
"We're happy with where we are right now and what we've done so far," said Pikemen manager Chet Rouse. "It's never easy maintaining success from year to year but so far, so good."
The Pikemen have started the year with a phenomenal effort on the mound, putting up a team ERA of 2.80 thus far in the young year and allowing just 30 runs in the ten games. While this is not sustainable, the Pikemen are first in strikeouts and their bullpen has been outstanding so far this season, reversing a trend from last year when they were just average. The offense sputtered a little bit against Carson Stoller and Antonio Cruz in the last sim, but overall the team production has been good, ranking fourth so far.
"First in pitching and fourth in hitting should get us to the playoffs," said staff ace Arthur Dempster. "That's the sort of thing that definitely makes a winning team."
The fact that the team is seventh in offense with several Pikemen struggling is a very promising note. Francisco Flores is hitting .225 so far and Manuel Marino a ghastly .167 on the year. Chip Puckett and Mario Guerrer are also off their numbers. Fortunately, picking up the slack offensively are third baseman Larry Blake, outfielders Yi-ke Zang and Jin-Song Xuan, and rookie Felix Delvalle, a surprise Opening Day starter at second base.
"I guess maybe I took it a little personally when I read in the media guide I was a disappointment this year," said Blake, who was the Johnson League's Player of the Week in the first week of the year. "We're such a talented team that we pick each other up and make sure we succeed even when not everyone's doing what they usually do."
Lorenzo Palacios also has five homers and ten RBI in 10 games, and may be on his way to a career best year so far, but others will surely have to pick up the slack if Rockville is to keep their division lead. Not helping the Pikemen is the fact that their division has been outstanding in the young season: no team in the JL Atlantic is below .500 in their first ten games.
"Well, obviously, we've got some good teams here," said Rouse. "We always expect the JL Atlantic to be competitive. We had an all-Atlantic final last year and three playoff teams, right? That's the sort of thing we expect from the Atlantic."
GM: Aaron Weiner