After scoring 10 runs in the first inning on Friday, High Desert could have called it a night offensively and coasted to victory. The Mavericks would have none of that, thanks to huge nights from several players.
Nathan Melendres went 6-for-8 with five runs scored and Patrick Kivlehan collected five hits and six RBIs to lead a 30-hit attack as Class A Advanced High Desert pounded Lancaster, 30-8, at Mavericks Stadium.
"I've never been a part of or seen anything like that," Kivlehan said. "It was one of those crazy games that happens every now and then. You enjoy it, but it's also a grind. I don't know, it was weird."
So, after taking a 10-1 in the bottom of the first, Kivlehan and Co. plated 10 more runs in the second.
"We all kind of joked around after the first inning. We said, 'Let's get 10 more,' and we happened to do it. It was pretty funny," said Kivlehan, adding there's "no real safe lead" at Mavericks Stadium.
The Mariners' California League affiliate added two runs in each of the next three innings before failing to score in the sixth and seventh. The Mavericks atoned by plating four in the eighth to bring their tally to a season-high 30 runs.
"Sometimes people get kind of out of it with such a big lead, but you have to focus yourself on playing the game hard every inning, not taking any at-bats for granted and making the very best of every swing you're taking," Melendres said. "And I feel like the whole group did that."
Melendres' night continued a second-half improvement. After batting .219 in the first half, the 23-year-old outfielder is hitting .298 since the All-Star break.
"Getting good pitches to hit early in the count has helped me. Getting my approach of hitting through baseballs and driving the ball to right-center has helped me," said Melendres, a 2011 17th-round Draft pick. "Getting a good pitch to hit and putting a good swing on it has been the key to me being able to hit better the last couple of months."
Kivlehan, the Mariners' No. 16 prospect, also has enjoyed his time in the California League, hitting .324 after batting .283 with Class A Clinton.
"I've just been comfortable at a the plate," he said after hitting his 10th Cal League homer and scoring four times. "I've been relaxing a little more, being around the guys. It's a good group of guys, so it's easy to get over a slump with such a good group of guys around. I'm actually enjoying it more here than I thought I would."
With the second game of the three-game series slated for Saturday, Melendres said the Mavericks better be ready to compete once again.
"I think you enjoy the win tonight and be thankful that we were able to do what we did," the University of Miami product said. "Tomorrow's another game. It doesn't matter how many runs you win by, it's just one win. Everyone has to stick to their routines and be ready to play another game tomorrow. I'm sure [the JetHawks] are going to want to put it right back at us, so we have to be ready."
Steven Proscia homered and drove in five runs, Steve Baron missed the cycle by a homer and picked up four RBIs, and Patrick Brady homered, scored five runs and drove in three.
Astros No. 8 prospect Delino DeShields had staked Lancaster to the lead with a leadoff homer in the top of the first. He added a single, drove in three runs and scored twice, while Andrew Aplin homered and had four RBIs for the JetHawks.
Brandon Simes is a contributor to MiLB.com.