The Jumbo Shrimp were able to win their second series – both coming at the Baseball Grounds – of the second-half slate. Jacksonville (11-9) won three games in the four-game set against the Biloxi Shuckers (9-11), with all three wins by one runs. The Jumbo Shrimp still stay atop the Southern League South Division. The Bold City squad has been one of the four hottest teams over the last week. But the schedule does not get easier because the Shrimp play a five-game series at the North-leading Chattanooga Lookouts (15-5).
Chattanooga has been the best team in the Southern League for the second half, and they won the North’s first-half title. Jacksonville and Chattanooga play from Thursday night to Monday afternoon. The Jumbo Shrimp are still trying for their first road series win of 2017.
- Jacksonville owner and chief executive officer Ken Babby won an award from Ernst & Young as Entrepreneur of the Year for 2017. Babby, in his second year of owning the Jacksonville club, is in his fifth season of Akron RubberDucks ownership. He was the regional winner for Northeast Ohio. Babby is eligible for the national award of Entrepreneur of the Year, which will be announced on Nov. 18. The awards program – in its 31st year – recognizes “excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.”
- The Jumbo Shrimp downed the Shuckers in the series opener, 1-0 with the winning run coming on an 11th-inning wild pitch. Jacksonville starter Trevor Richards threw seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts. He did not allow a Biloxi player to reach second base. Richards gave up three hits, a walk and hit a batter. With Sunday’s outing – his fourth as a Jumbo Shrimp, he lowered his Southern League ERA to 1.93. The Jumbo Shrimp auctioned off game-worn Ugly Christmas Sweater jerseys (pictured above) during Sunday’s ballgame.
- Monday was a homer-fest at the Baseball Grounds with both teams combining for six dingers. In Biloxi’s 8-4 victory, Shuckers right fielder Michael Choice had three of his team’s four home runs. Choice’s HR stat line: a solo shot in the 2nd inning; a two-run blast two innings later; and another solo to right field this time in the top of the 5th to give Biloxi an 8-1 lead. Jumbo Shrimp outfielders Austin Dean and John Norwood went yard for the home team. Dean, who finished 3 for 5, hit his first home run since April 8.
- After dropping Monday’s game to Biloxi 8-4, the Jumbo Shrimp pulled off Tuesday and Wednesday wins, 4-3 and 3-2. Much like Game One, Jacksonville had runners on base, John Norwood up to bat and won with a wild pitch. Braxton Lee continues to be a stellar Shrimp with his 3-for-4 stat line Tuesday including a lead-off double in the first inning. Shortstop Miguel Rojas – on rehab assignment – saw action in the game (and played 9 innings in the series finale) as he is healing from a right thumb fracture since May 9. Norwood was the hero Wednesday afternoon as he belted his 14th home run on a 3-0 pitch for the walk-off in the bottom of the 10th. Norwood now has 10 of his 14 homers at the Baseball Grounds including three accounting for walk-off wins.
- Jacksonville is back on the road for five games against the Chattanooga Lookouts (15-5). The Jumbo Shrimp have not faced the Lookouts since the second series of the season. In that Wednesday-to-Sunday set, Jacksonville won the first three games at the Baseball Grounds. They scored 16 of their 17 runs in the first three. The Lookouts – the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins – won the SL North with a 42-28 record, five games ahead of Jackson and Montgomery. Chattanooga and Pensacola tied for the best home record in the first half of Southern League action with 23-12 marks. Not surprisingly, the Lookouts and Blue Wahoos won the first-half divisions. The Jumbo Shrimp return home on Wednesday, July 19, against the Tennessee Smokies.