For the 2nd time in 4 years, the Frederick Keys will be playing post-season ball. Typically, you don’t celebrate division titles in June but in Single A, the season is split in 2 sections and the top teams from the 1st half qualify as well as the top teams from the latter half of the season. All that to say, the Keys are currently 37-26 and have clinched the North Division for the 1st half of the season.
Going into the season, all of my attention was on Bowie and Norfolk. Norfolk had Arrieta and Tillman starting with Bell and Snyder providing offensive punch. Bowie had the reigning Carolina League MVP, Best Pitcher, and Best Hitter. I had no idea what to expect out of Frederick.
The Tides are 8 games under .500 and are struggling to hit the ball. The Baysox are faring a bit better with with a 32-30 record, but they are still 8 games being the division leader. The Keys have been sparked by Xavier Avery, LJ Hoes, Ronnie Welty, and Joe Mahoney on offense, and Rick Zagone, Nate Nery, and Ryan O’Shea have provided enough consistency in the starting rotation to lead the Keys to this title.
Look for this team to continue to progress in the 2nd half. The Keys now have Ryan Berry from Delmarva in the rotation and he in showing some promise with a 2.37 ERA over his 1st 4 starts. Billy Rowell has shown flashed of brilliance for the 1st time in a couple of years. Hopefully, he can get his average back up to the .300 and continue to show the talent that sparked the O’s to draft him in the 1st Round (there is always wishful thinking).