A perfect 10!
The Chattanooga Lookouts won their 10th consecutive game Tuesday night, opening a five-game homestand with a 4-0 blanking of Jacksonville before an announced crowd of 2,047 at AT&T Field.
The Lookouts were languishing in last place in the Southern League's North Division with a 14-25 record before this surge began, but they are now in a three-way tie for first with the Tennessee Smokies and first-half champion Huntsville.
"I don't think you can point to one thing as far as turning this thing around," Lookouts right fielder Scott Schebler said. "I just think we're playing better ball and have a couple of things going our way."
Chattanooga's 10-game winning streak is the longest since the team moved to AT&T Field before the 2000 season. The Southern League record for consecutive victories is 16, set by Montgomery in 1968.
Schebler was the star of Tuesday's show, hitting a two-run home run to right-center field in the first inning, a solo homer to right in the third inning and an inside-the-park homer in the fifth. The minor league player of the year last year in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization is enjoying a stout follow-up season with 24 homers.
Andres Santiago pitched five scoreless innings to pick up the win for the Lookouts, with newcomer Jeremy Kehrt throwing two innings of scoreless relief.
The Lookouts have shown notable improvement in all aspects, and their plate presence is formidable. Second baseman Darnell Sweeney, left fielder Bobby Coyle Jr., Schebler, third baseman Daniel Mayora, shortstop Corey Seager and first baseman O'Koyea Dickson comprise the top six spots in the lineup, and each entered Tuesday hitting at least .270.
Seager, a 20-year-old rated among the top 50 overall prospect in the minors, was promoted to the Lookouts on July 17 and is hitting .338.
"We've definitely grown together," Schebler said. "[Hitting coach] Shawn Wooten has definitely helped us through the early struggles, and his teachings are starting to show. We're getting the timely hits. We're getting them early, and our pitching staff has been outstanding. We get them the lead, and they keep it."
Said Sweeney: "We're in a comfort zone right now. We have that confidence to where we don't want to pass the buck to the next guy. You feel like you can handle the job."
When the Lookouts were 14-25, they also were 40-69 for the season. Manager Razor Shines has been preaching all season that his team was improving and to look how it would perform down the stretch run.
"It's not going to be an 'I told you so.' We just had some kids who had to develop," Shines said. "You send up Corey Seager, and all of a sudden there is some pressure off some people, and it is what it is. We're playing better baseball.
"Our lineup has got some length in it, and we're excited about that. It's weird to have a 20-year-old kid enter your lineup -- it's just the way he walks around and takes care of business that you know he's going to be pretty good one day."
Nick Struck (3-6, 6.27 ERA) is scheduled to start tonight's 7:15 game on the mound for the Lookouts, with Jay Rogers (6-4, 3.62) scheduled for the Suns.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...