Saints, Travelers set for big series

Safe to say, this is a big series for the top two teams in the standings of the Independent Baseball League.

The Tiffin Saints and Ohio Travelers sit tied in the standings with 9-7 marks. They open a four-game set at Peaceful Valley at 5:30 p.m. today.

With the season quickly approaching the halfway point, neither coach attempted to downplay the series’ importance.

“This series right here, the winner will probably finish on top of (the standings) for the season,” said Saints’ coach Ryan Parent. “If we split the series it will be a dogfight. As long as we play our game, we have the upperhand right now.”

Travelers coach Jay Zeiter said the games are crucial.

“If you go less than 2-2, you’re no longer in first place and you’re chasing,” he said.

Unfortunately for the Travelers, they are going into today’s game without their slugging third baseman.

Cory Willig, who has slugged five homers, was signed away by the San Angelo Colts of the United League.

The Colts, located in San Angelo, Texas, are managed by former Cleveland Indians’ skipper Doc Edwards.

Zeiter said he’s happy for Willig.

“He’s an all-out player,” Zeiter said. “When he walks, he runs to first. When he hits a home run, he runs around the bases.”

Zeiter also said that change is a constant.

“Every team’s roster could change,” he said.

Along those lines, the Saints brought in a some new players. Catcher John Perea is now with the team, as is pitcher Steve Chrzanowski.

As for today’s pitching matchup, it will be a rematch of the Saint’s home opener, with knuckleballer Justin Langhill starting for the Travelers and Blake Ware starting for Tiffin.

Langhill is 3-1, but his lone loss came to the Saints.

Ware is coming off a brilliant game against Adrian, where he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning.

Parent said offensively, his team hasn’t had a problem getting guys on base. It has had a little bit of a problem getting them home.

“We’re starting to get on a roll, starting to hit more,” Parent said.

The coach added the team will be fine as long as it doesn’t “leave a small army” on base.