The Auckland Tuatara are going streaking, but their time in the sun is not without a cloud.
After starting the season with just one win in eight games, the club had given themselves plenty of early work to do to revive their campaign.
They've done exactly that, turning their sophomore year in the Australian Baseball League around in a big way with seven straight wins seeing them sit atop the North-East division at the halfway point of the year.
In the process, the club has made history. Their round three and four series wins over Canberra and Brisbane were their first at home and away respectively. Now, they've dished out the first four-game series sweep of their short existence.
The Tuatara claimed a 4-0 series win over the Sydney Blue Sox at North Harbour Stadium this weekend, replacing the Blue Sox at the top of the division in the process.
However, in the fourth and final game of the series on Sunday, lead-off hitter Yonny Hernandez was taken to hospital after being hit on the head by a fastball in the second innings.
Hernandez, who joins the club from the Texas Rangers organisation, attempted to bunt the pitch, but instead took it on the side of his head. He was given stitches before being taken to North Shore Hospital for concussion tests.
The Auckland side, who improved their season record to 11-9, started the series with a 6-2 win on Thursday night as the hitters backed a strong outing on the mound from Philadelphia Phillies prospect Kyle Glogoski.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
It was a sign of things to come for the hosts, who claimed 5-2, 7-4 and 6-4 wins the remaining three fixtures.
There were plenty of positive signs throughout the weekend for the Tuatara as they head into the business end of the season, with the heart of the batting lineup doing plenty of damage while the pitching staff kept damage to a minimum.
Infielders Josh Morgan and Jared Walker continued to cause trouble for the opposing pitchers at the plate at No 3 and 4 in the batting order, while local battler Andrew Marck – the league leader in batting average – continued to put the ball in play almost at will.
However, the highlight of the series came in the second game of Saturday night's double-header, when outfielder Won-Seok Kim hit a three-run walk-off home run over the fence in right field to end the game.
The Tuatara are now 10-2 against teams in the North-East division, who they will meet again over the last three weeks of the season. For the next two weeks, they face opponents in the South-West division, with a series away to the Adelaide Giants next week before welcoming Geelong-Korea to Auckland in their first series of 2020.