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From the World Series to the wood bats

Josh Adams brings some big-time playoff experience to the GreyWolves lineup

THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Josh Adams has three doubles and a pair of home runs since joining the team midseason. The Gresham GreyWolves opened the second half of the West Coast League season on fire. They won seven of their first nine games of the half which included a series win over the best team in the league, the Victoria HarbourCats. A big reason for Gresham’s resurgence has been the presence of outfielder Josh Adams.

Adams was absent for most of the first half, but his truancy was excused. While the GreyWolves were navigating through an up-and-down opening month, Adams was helping UC Santa Barbara embrace the role of underdog. Adams’ Gauchos were the surprise of the NCAA baseball playoffs as they advanced all the way to the College World Series.

“It was just a wild experience,” Adams said. “I think we played in front of 26,000 people our first game in Omaha.”

Adams and the Gauchos won their first five games of the tournament. They topped Washington in the first game, then defeated Xavier in back-to-back contests to win the Nashville Regional. UC Santa Barbara swept Louisville in the best-of-three Super Regional to punch its ticket to the CWS.

In Omaha, the Gauchos dropped a 1-0 decision to Oklahoma State in their first game, then bounced back to beat Miami, 5-3. UC Barbara was eliminated by Arizona in a 3-0 loss.

Adams’ UC Barbara squad finished with an impressive 43-20 record. Adams played in 49 games, hitting four home runs while driving in 27 runs. He got used to winning a lot and he has brought that attitude to the GreyWolves.

After UC Santa Barbara’s Cinderella run came to an end, Adams joined the GreyWolves and saw his first action on Independence Day. Gresham was 10-15 prior to Adams’ arrival, but went 8-3 in their next 11 games after his GreyWolves debut.

“I don’t think I deserve anywhere close to all the credit, but I’d like to think I am helping,” Adams said. “These guys have welcomed me with open arms and I’m just trying to do my best for them.”

Gresham’s surge has certainly been the product of improvement in a number of areas, but Adams has contributed to that. However, his contributions did not reveal themselves immediately. He needed about a week to get his feet wet.

Adams had to make the switch from the aluminum bats of Division I baseball to the wood bats of the WCL. He went 4 for 18 in his first five games, then broke loose with a four-hit game against Wenatchee on July 10. That sparked a streak in which he had multiple hits in four of five games leading into the all-star break.

“It was a bit tough in the beginning. With a metal bat you can hit a ball off your hands and still get a base hit. You do that with a wood bat and you will shatter your bat. You will be out and you won’t have a bat,” Adams said. “It is all about reps. Once you get enough reps with wood you figure it out and it is a lot of fun.”

As Gresham fights to try and claim the South Division’s second-half playoff berth, Adams’ big-game experience could prove invaluable. He feels the GreyWolves have the right mindset to do some damage if they can reach the playoffs.

“I tried to bring some flavor and some fun when I got here,” Adams said. “We have been having a blast and we have been winning a lot. We are just having fun and enjoying the game. I think that will really help us.”