Pensacola manager Pat Kelly finally received the bobblehead that he said he had ordered in Spring Training four months ago and placed it there before the game against the Mobile BayBears.
Kelly knew VanMeter was the one person on the team with a bobblehead but said the do-everything player wouldn't come clean about it at first during a team meeting.
"It showed up today," Kelly said, smiling wide.
Kelly insisted that's what snapped his team's four game losing streak. Mobile won the first three games of the series, twice with ninth inning comebacks. But the Blue Wahoos took out their frustrations with a franchise-tying five home run game in front of 4,001 at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
Blue Wahoos third baseman Nick Senzel crushed two, right fielder Aristides Aquino knocked two and shortstop Blake Trahan even smacked one. Pensacola has nine homers in the past two games.
Senzel, the Cincinnati Reds top prospect, clobbered two homers in a game for the second time in three days against the Mobile BayBears and drove in Pensacola's first three runs Sunday.
Aquino, the Reds sixth best prospect, also crushed two homers for three RBIs and has three in two straight games. He has both a team-leading 15 home runs and 49 RBIs on the year.
Trahan, ranked as the 28th best prospect for the Reds, also popped one out, his second of the year, to left field in the sixth inning. His last homer came against Mobile on May 22.
Pensacola moved from the ninth most homers in the Southern League to seventh with 74.
Kelly was at a loss to explain the outburst of power from his team Saturday and Sunday.
"On my report last night, I started it from Coors Field South," Kelly said, referring to the Colorado Rockies stadium where homers happen all the time in the thin mountain air. "I have no idea but we haven't hit homers all year. But we do have guys who have power."
Senzel drilled a line drive over the left field fence in the first inning to put the Blue Wahoos ahead, 1-0. The No. 2 overall pick in 2016 by the Cincinnati Reds then singled with two on and one out in the third inning to drive in Pensacola center fielder Jonathan Reynoso, giving the Blue Wahoos a 2-1 lead.
Senzel then scorched his second homer of the game just left of dead center 400-feet away and did a fist pump as it cleared the wall, putting Pensacola on top, 3-1.
The 22-year-old now has four homers in three games against Mobile and five in his last 40 at-bats. Ranked the No. 11 prospect in the minor leagues, he has slammed nine homers in 47 games with Pensacola with 13 total including the four he clobbered with the High-A Daytona Tortugas in the first half of the season.
He's blistering Southern League pitching in August, going 20-48 for a .417 batting average and .451 on-base percentage. The University of Tennessee product has five homers, 13 RBIs, and three doubles this month. In the second half in Double-A, he is hitting .352 with 31 RBIs overall.
Aquino's solo blast traveled out of sight to left field in the seventh inning and gave the Blue Wahoos a 7-1 lead. Aquino then whipped a line drive over the left field wall in the eighth inning with second baseman Alberti Chavez on base increasing its lead to 11-2.
"Power is a big part of his game," said Kelly of Aquino, who led the Reds' farm system with 23 homers last year. "It's nice to see him breaking out."
Trahan said this game may spark a win streak for the Blue Wahoos, which had lost eight of its last nine games.
"It's good to see our offense come together," said Trahan, the best fielding shortstop in the Southern League. "Hopefully, this game starts us getting hot."
Mobile scored when first baseman Zach Houchins hit a sizzling grounder past Senzel in the third inning to drive in left fielder Brennon Lund to tie the game, 1-1. In the eighth inning, right fielder Zach Gibbons hit a solo homer to trail Pensacola, 7-2.
Pensacola pitcher Austin Ross made his second start after returning from the disabled list. He pitched three innings, gave up one run on five hits and struck out one. His ERA this season with the Blue Wahoos is a miniscule 1.56.
Pensacola, the first half champion, is 9-10 this season against Mobile, which is in first place in the second half. The final regular season game is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Monday.
The BayBears lead the Southern Division with a 26-23 record, while the Blue Wahoos are in fourth place at 22-27.
GAME NOTES The Pensacola Blue Wahoos play the final game of a five-game series with the Los Angeles Angels Double-A affiliate Mobile BayBears at 6:35 p.m. Monday. The BayBears are starting RHP Jesus Castillo (0-0, 9.64) against the Blue Wahoos RHP Jose Lopez (7-1, 2.43).
Because Pensacola scored five runs Sunday, all online orders from Papa John's are 50 percent off with the pass code WAHOOS.
The games are broadcast live on the Blue Wahoos flagship station 97.1 The Ticket. Listen for free at bluewahoos.com and by using the TuneIn Radio app on your mobile, desktop or home devices.
You can watch the home games live or tape delayed on Cox Sports Television Monday through Thursday on Channel 319. Friday, Saturday and Sunday games are broadcast live on BLAB-TV.
Third baseman Nick Senzel was 3-5 with two homers and three RBIs, recording his second two-homer game in his last three starts...Right fielder Aristides Aquino went 2-3 with two homers, three RBIs, scored three times and walked twice...Shortstop Blake Trahan was 1-4 with a solo homer and scored twice...Second baseman Josh VanMeter, who left the game in the seventh inning after hustling to first to beat out an infield grounder, was 2-4 with his 26th multi-hit game of the season.
Tickets to the 2017 playoffs are now on sale! Purchase tickets online at bluewahoos.com, visiting the Box Office or calling 850-934-8444. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the Southern League. Follow the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at BlueWahoos.com, facebook.com/PensacolaBlueWahoos and twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.