Great Lakes League: McCambridge-Riddell Top Hitters & The Monarchs Pitching Staff
In his last 32 at bats, Licking County Settler’s outfielder John McCambridge has earned the title of the leagues Player of the Week. During that time McCambridge has gone 17 for 32 (.531), with 3 doubles, and 5 stolen bases. As of now, McCambridge is leading the league with a .508 batting average after 63 total at bats. His on base percentage is .575 and his slugging percentage is .619. He’s a 6’2 junior who spent last spring at Xavier University where he hit .307, and stole a team leading 25 bases. McCambridge is a top of the order hitter with speed and some pop in his bat. Even though he’s not knocking them out of the park as a Licking County Settler (0HR’s), at Xavier he slammed 6 four base dingers and accumulated 33 RBI’s. McCambridge helped Xavier to a 2 nd place finish in the Atlantic 10 Conference, but they lost to St. Louis and Charlotte in the tournament.
Behind McCambridge in the leagues top hitters is outfielder Justin Riddell. Riddell is playing for the Lexington Hustlers this summer and is legitimizing his success this past spring at the University of Cincinnati. Riddell is hitting .456 for the Hustlers after 57 at bats. He has 2 homeruns, and is amongst the top run producers in the Great Lakes league with 15 RBI’s. Riddell’s slugging percentage is far greater than anyone in the league (.719), and slowly his on base percentage has grown to a respectable .516. At Cincinnati this spring Riddell has led the team with a .313 batting average in 176 at bats, and once again led his team with a slugging percentage of .517. He stands at 6’0 210lbs, and the power may not be extreme, but he did hit 8 homeruns. The plate discipline may be a factor at this point for him. Riddell only walked 5 times but had 39 strike outs in Cincinnati, and this summer he seems to be working out that issue and has posted 7 walks and 7 punches. He’s a middle of the lineup hitter (4 th or 5 th) and has hit the ball well in that position. Riddell and Cincinnati finished with a 13-14 record and lost their two Big East Tournament games to Connecticut and Pittsburg.
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The Lake Erie Monarchs are in 5th place in the Great Lakes League, but have the 2nd best team pitching ERA (2.89) only fractions behind the leader Hamilton Joes (2.86). There two pitchers on the Monarchs roster that contribute to that outstanding and glowing picture of captured innings. The 6’2 sophomore Eric Vaughan is not the powerful arm that many people attribute to strikeouts, but in his 20.2 innings so far this summer, he’s accumulated a record of 3-0, 1.31, with a complete game shutout, and 13 strikeouts. He was a powerhouse at Owens Community College where he pitched 56 innings and posted a record of 8-0, 3.21, and 35 strikeouts. If Vaughan can keep lower the count of hits against him, even if just by 1 or 2 per game, there will be much more success from this sophomore’s arm. I’m still not sure where Vaughan will be playing in the spring of 2011, but right now as a Monarch, teams will struggle to score off Eric Vaughan.
Another Monarch pitcher learning to reign over hitters with the kingship of precision pitching is freshman Mike McKinley. So far this summer in his 14 innings, his record of 2-0, 1.26, and 12 strikeouts are secondary to how oppressive he’s been to hitters and their batting average against him (.146). His stint has been brief so far, but as the summer proceeds, McKinley will surely continue to sport the crown of Monarch pitching as he goes after hitters with confidence. This past spring, he pitched for the University of Indiana, and as a freshman, he learned the nuances of pitching a game at a time. In only 18 appearances, McKinley collected 31 innings of work and finished with a record of 2-3, 8.13, 21 walk, and 23 strikeouts. There was too much hitting going on against him (.326), but if this summer is an indication of what McKinley can do, then as a senior at Indiana we can expect him to improve in a tough Big Ten Conference.
By Adrian Nevarez
DFN Sports Staff Writer