MOOSIC — RailRiders starting pitcher Chance Adams is beginniing to show signs of the dominance he displayed last season when he took the International League by storm.
The 23-year-old right-hander has taken steps recently to regain the form he displayed in early 2017 by strengthening command of his secondary pitches.
He showed glimpses of his old self Friday night against the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Adams’ secondary pitches — especially his slider — were dynamic and mixed nicely with his fastball that hovered around 92 mph. In fact, his first two strikeouts of the night came on 87 mph sliders that completely fooled the Pawtucket batters.
“I just felt confident with my stuff. Slider’s getting back. It’s good,” Adams said after picking up his third win of the season Friday night. “I’ve been working on trying to get it back to where it was, so it’s been better.”
Wilkin Castillo hasn’t caught much of Adams since last year, being added to the RailRiders roster on May 25, but what he saw Friday was impressive.
“Really good slider. He had a good curveball and he had a good changeup too,” Castillo said. “We didn’t use many changeups because we (faced) a lot of righties, and then the curveball was pretty good. He had good fastball command too.”
Zehner adds spark
After starting the season with the RailRiders, outfielder Zack Zehner was transferred down to Double-A Trenton on May 23 to clear room for reliever Giovanny Gallegos and an incoming Billy McKinney, who was added to the roster a day later.
It was down in Trenton where Zehner was able to build confidence, batting .275 with six doubles, three triples, three home runs and 18 RBI in 21 games with the Thunder. He has shown that renewed confidence since his return to Moosic.
Zehner is batting .344 with seven doubles, a home run and three RBI in 10 games since his June 19 promotion.
“Zehner’s been really good for us. Yesterday, two hits. Then tonight, two hits,” RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell said on Friday. “He’s just keeps on coming up with big hits, starting an inning for us, you know? He’s done a great job too.”
RailRiders in 3rd place
It took a while, but the RailRiders finally got back to .500 Friday night, something they hadn’t done since May 17. In fact, they were 0-5 in their attempts to get back to .500 prior to Friday’s 7-4 victory.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is 12-6 in its last 18 games and has moved into third place in the International League North Division standings heading into Saturday night’s game against the Red Sox.
“It just kind of goes to what I was saying (in the past), we have a really talented team and it was only a matter of time before we would click,” RailRiders shortstop Tyler Wade said.
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle