BRISTOL - The Bristol Blues are out a 9-4 start that has them second in the Futureâ€™s League.
The pitching has been he biggest sources of success for Bristol, but the offense has come in clutch at times and second baseman Ian Ostberg has been at the center of it.
Bristol manager Ronnie Palmer admitted that the team did not have a set leadoff hitter going into the season. But he threw Ostberg in there and has kept him there since.
â€śIanâ€™s been huge for us this year,â€ť Palmer said. â€śHis athleticism makes him a perfect leadoff hitter because he puts pressure on other teams and forces them to make mistakes.â€ť
The sophomore at Quinnipiac relishes the opportunity to lead off and knows that itâ€™s his responsibility to get the offense going, no matter how heâ€™s playing or what the situation is.
â€śBeing the leadoff guy is all about being the spark of the offense,â€ť Ostberg said. â€śTaking bags when you can. Putting up good at-bats. Itâ€™s not all about the results. Like [Tuesday] I started 0-for-2, but I knew I couldnâ€™t let that affect me going into my third at-bat. You just have to trust yourself and stick to your approach.â€ť
Ostberg has excelled at the top of the lineup for the Blues. He is in the top-10 in the Futureâ€™s League in hits, runs, stolen bases, walks and on-base percentage. For Ostberg, his mindset is about getting his job done and knowing the guys behind him will do the same. He is also one of just three Blues hitters batting above .300 this season.
â€śHonestly, Iâ€™m just trying to do whatever I can to get on base, whether it be a walk or hit ir even an error,â€ť Ostberg said. â€śI trust the hitters behind me to move me around to score and theyâ€™re done it time and time again this year. So itâ€™s a lot of fun being the leadoff hitter for this team.â€ť
Ostbergâ€™s impact was evident in Tuesdayâ€™s come-from-behind win over the Worcester Bravehearts. The second baseman went 1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, an RBI-single and a stolen base. His stolen base helped the team manufacture a run in the first inning, while the RBI capped off a four-run rally for the Blues to take a lead they never relinquished.
Palmer knows Ostbergâ€™s impact on all facets of the game and has no plans to make any changes as long as Ostberg keeps playing this well.
â€śHeâ€™s done really everything we have needed him to do so far,â€ť Palmer said. â€śHe get on base. He steals bases. Heâ€™s been clutch in moving runners over and driving them in. Heâ€™s definitely earned that leadoff spot and it looks like he will be there until the end of the summer.â€ť
Tyler Roaix can be reached at email@example.com