The hottest bats on the Bowie Baysox so far belong to Napoleon Calzado and Joey Hammond.
Calzado hit safely in each of the first nine games, and Hammond had been hitting better than .500 to lead the Class AA Eastern League until he went 0 for 3 in a 7-0 victory over Erie yesterday. His average "dropped" to .455.
"They've come up with some big hits for us," Baysox Manager Dave Trembley said before a game Wednesday -- and his words proved prophetic, as Hammond doubled home the winning run in an 11-inning, 4-3 victory over Erie.
A third baseman, Calzado is hitting .357, continuing his good pace from the second half of last season. Calzado said it is a product of moving from the bottom of the lineup to the No. 2 slot.
"Calzado has hit the ball hard twice just about every game," Trembley said. "He's hitting a lot of balls center-to-right, which means he's laying off the bad breaking balls. That was a bit of an Achilles' heel for him in the past, from what I understand. He's feeling a lot more comfortable this season."
Hammond has shown similar patience; he also leads the league in on-base percentage with .568.
"It's great to be off to such a good start," Hammond said. "Some balls have really fallen in for me so far."
The Baysox are undefeated in close games this season, winning four games by one run and another by two. That has been a major reason why Bowie (7-4) has taken over first place in the Southern Division for the first time since May 25, 2000.
"We haven't been giving up or giving in," Trembley said. "Both of those things are very easy to do. We have accepted the challenge and done very well."
Trembley said shortstop Ed Rogers, who played in five games for the Baltimore Orioles during a September call-up last season, likely would return by the end of the month.