Losing five consecutive series is often followed by a burial in Southern League baseball, but not for the Chattanooga Lookouts.
The Lookouts dropped each of the five-game sets three games to two, and they have bounced back by taking three of five in Mobile and posting a 6-3 win over Huntsville in Thursday night's series opener at AT&T Field. So despite the slow burn that transpired from mid April to last week, Chattanooga is 19-22 and only five games out of first place in the North Division.
"We've only won two series so far, but the good thing that we've done is that we've been able to stop the opposition from taking that fourth win," Lookouts manager Carlos Subero said. "I think that has been huge, and I think that shows character. You can easily let up being down three games to one, but we've made them all three to two, and if you see the result of that fifth game that we win, it's usually by a lot.
"Once this team comes together, I think we've got a legitimate chance of coming up and making up some ground and finishing up strong."
Starting pitcher Aaron Miller had a balanced night in Chattanooga's latest triumph. Miller tripled to center with two out in the second inning, scoring Rafael Ynoa and Griff Erickson to put the Lookouts up 3-0, and he allowed two runs over five innings for the pitching win.
The Lookouts are celebrating not only their improving play but the status of their alumni as well. Two members of last year's team, Elian Herrera and outfielder Scott Van Slyke, began this season in Triple-A Albuquerque but were promoted within the last week to Los Angeles.
Herrera hit .278 in 116 games with the Lookouts last season with 17 doubles and 35 RBIs, while Van Slyke won the Southern League batting title with a .348 average and had 45 doubles, 20 home runs and 92 RBIs. Herrera is 27 years old; Van Slyke turns 26 in July.
"I love those guys," Erickson said. "I've been with them a long time, and to see them get up there is like it's almost happened to me. It could not have happened to two better guys and teammates."
Said Subero: "Those are the fruits of great patience in our system."