MANKATO — For the last three seasons, the Mankato MoonDogs have taken great pride in their leadoff hiters.
Last season, Tim Arakawa was an all-star and had a .445 on-base percentage with 30 stolen bases and 56 runs scored. In 2012, the MoonDogs owned its best base stealer in Cody Ferrell. In his two years, he stole 51 bases and still holds the franchise record in most steals in a season with 32.
This season, Tyler Sullivan has become one of the fans’ favorites for his electrifying speed and ability to get on base. To go along with his Northwoods League-leading 11 steals the center fielder from Pacific University owns a .351 batting average with 11 walks and an on-base percentage of .463. He also has two triples, which is tied for the league lead.
“I just try to see pitches, work the pitcher, take good quality at bats and get on base and let the middle of the order bring you in,” Sullivan said after the MoonDogs’ 4-1 victory over the St. Cloud Rox on Wednesday at Franklin Rogers Park.
Sullivan started the series-winning game with a walk, and then tied then nabbed the first of two stolen bases on the night.
The MoonDogs loaded the bases, and designated hitter Spencer O’Neil came up big, hitting a three-run double to the fence in left-center field.
Left fielder Eric Schenck topped off the first inning with a double that brought in O’Neil.
Those four runs were all Mankato needed to extend their winning streak to four games. They had just five hits, and Dalton DeLeon was the most productive batter with a hit and two walks.
Over their streak, MoonDogs pitchers haven’t allowed more than five runs in a game, and the staff is currently second in the Northwoods League in earned runs given up with 38.