Lefties second baseman Roberto Nunez, right, playing against Springfield early this summer. The Embry-Riddle student and ballplayer is hitting .349 for the Lefties entering play Tuesday night. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Lefties second baseman Roberto Nunez, right, playing against Springfield early this summer. The Embry-Riddle student and ballplayer is hitting .349 for the Lefties entering play Tuesday night. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

PORT ANGELES LEFTIES: Lefties’ Nunez is soaring this season

Second in WCL in hits with legitimate shot at league batting title

PORT ANGELES — Roberto Nunez has been flying high for the Port Angeles Lefties all season.

And after his baseball career is over, he’d like to continue his flying career.

Nunez has been one of the biggest bright spots for the Lefties this year. He briefly led the league in batting average and is currently sitting sixth in the league at .349 heading into the final week of the season, one of the top averages ever put up by a Lefties’ regular player.

Nunez has a legitimate shot at leading the West Coast League in hits. He is sitting at 59 hits with the leader, Jake Tuskada of Ridgefield, at 62. With the top hitter of the league — Ben Parker of Walla Walla — sitting at .366, he’s got a valid shot at the league batting title, as well.

Nunez is excelling in all areas at the plate. His 27 RBIs lead the Lefties. His on-base percentage is .406 and his on-base plus slugging is .814. He had one game early in the season against Kamloops in which he hit 5-for-6 with a home run and five RBIs.

Lefties’ owner and coach Matt Acker said one of the things that has struck him about Nunez is his consistency, and the numbers back that up. Nunez has hits in 37 out of 45 of the games he’s played in. He had a 19-game hitting streak early in the season and followed that up with a stretch of 13 hits in 14 games. He had a seven-game stretch within that 19-game streak in which he hit 16-for-30 (.533).

“It’s not surprising to me” how well Nunez has done in the ultra-competitive WCL, Acker said.

“I just love playing in this competition. I thrive in baseball. I’m having the time of my life,” Nunez said. He’s from Salinas, Calif., and is attending Embry-Riddle, the No.1-aeronautical school in the country, at its Prescott, Ariz., campus. His dream is to someday become a fighter pilot.

“Playing every day, it’s something you have to get used to. This is the best competition I’ve ever faced,” Nunez said.

Nunez is also not surprised at his success, having batted .358 for Embry-Riddle two years ago and .362 last year. He also had 10 home runs and 64 RBIs with a slugging percentage of .602 in his first year at the school. He was consistent for Embry-Riddle, too, as he finished his 2022 season with a 15-game hitting streak.

Nunez said the biggest difference between the WCL and college baseball is the wooden bats. Despite his fantastic average, he only has two home runs compared to 10 he hit for Embry-Riddle in 2022 (though the top home run hitter in the WCL only has seven home runs). He said it’s changed his approach to hitting a bit.

He also said he isn’t hung up on his batting average. He said he’s not unhappy if he goes 0-for-4, if his outs are all hard outs with solid contact.

“I’m just trying to make hard contact regardless of the hits,” he said.

”I’m focusing more on line drives, hitting more to right-center,” he said. “I would gladly apply what I’ve learned here to spring ball [next year for Embry-Riddle].”

Nunez is in Edmonton, Alberta, for the Lefties’ final three-game road series before the team returns to Port Angeles Friday for its last homestand of the year. He said he had never been to Canada before joining the Lefties and has enjoyed the country. “It gave me a reason to go to Canada,” he said.

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