By DAN GOLDMAN
With the Summerville High School baseball team mired in a six-game losing streak and the season on the verge of becoming a runaway train wreck, the Bears needed somebody to steer the team back on course when they hosted Riverbank last Thursday.
That somebody was senior Travis Ford, The Union Democrat's Athlete of the Week, who continued his impressive season on the mound and at the plate by pitching a complete-game victory over the Bruins and adding a three-run home run for good measure as the Bears' snapped their skid with a 9-3 victory.
Although the win was just the first of the season for Ford (against four losses) a quick look at his statistics show that his record is hardly indicative of how well he has pitched. Armed with a varied repertoire (fastball, curveball, changeup, cut fastball, sinker), Ford leads the team in earned run average (1.91), innings pitched (25.2) and strikeouts (30).
"Travis just goes out the mound and does what he has to do," Summerville baseball coach Donnie Wright said. "He's done a lot of hard work and has become one of the top pitchers in our league. The coaches definitely know who he is."
Ford's numbers are hardly surprising considering he has been an honorable mention all-Mother Lode League pitcher the past two seasons. Ford's contributions at the plate, however, have been a pleasant surprise.
Penciled in as the sixth hitter in Summerville's batting order at the beginning of the season, Ford was one of the few Bears who caught fire at the plate early, and after being moved up to the three-hole in the lineup, has continued his strong hitting into the early portion of the MLL schedule.
In fact, heading into tomorrow's showdown with Bret Harte in Angels Camp, Ford is not only the Bears top pitcher, he's also their top hitter, leading the team in batting average (.400), hits (12), home runs (1, tied with Ryan Drewery) and runs batted in (8).