Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SOUTHERN LEAGUE NOTEBOOK; Surging Diamond Jaxx in League of Their Own

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SOUTHERN LEAGUE NOTEBOOK; Surging Diamond Jaxx in League of Their Own

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF ELLIOTT

By a quirk of the Southern League schedule, the Jacksonville Suns won't face the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx until late June.

That's good news for the Suns because West Tenn has emerged as the class of the league through the first half of the first 70-game schedule. The Diamond Jaxx have raced to a 30-11 mark (through Friday) in the North Division of the Southern League, and hold a four-game lead over Carolina.

If West Tenn was playing in the South Division, they would be eight games ahead of leader Montgomery and 11 ahead of the Suns.

Jacksonville won't play West Tenn until June 21-24, when the Suns play a four-game series in Jackson, Tenn. After that, they won't see the Diamond Jaxx again until Aug. 11-14 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

West Tenn has combined solid hitting, effective pitching and a sound defense to overwhelm the rest of the league. The Diamond Jaxx lead the league in batting (.302) and ERA (.318). The Diamond Jaxx have the league's leading hitter in Matt Murton (.407), No. 3 Felix Pie (.349), No. 4 Casey McGehee (.346) and No. 10 Brandon Sing (.322).

The Suns have only one hitter, Tydus Meadows -- whose .311 average ranks 16th -- among the league's top 30 in batting.

Diamond Jaxx manager Bobby Dickerson said the key to the team's success is his players realize that winning and individual accomplishments go together.

"Usually in a 24-man clubhouse, you'll have about half that are good teammates and half that don't get it," Dickerson told the Jackson Sun. "This year, we're fortunate that almost all of our guys are good teammates. I truly believe being a better teammate makes you more attractive as a prospect.

"The real test will come in about two months when a few guys are struggling. When it finally dawns on some of these guys that they're not going to have the season they hoped for, that's when things can kind of get rough. …

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