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Tourists look to pitching to improve second half of season

The South Atlantic League schedule gives teams who didn't play as well as they wanted in the first half of the season the chance to start over in the second half. That's what the Tourists are hoping to do, and it all starts with their pitching staff and their pitching coach. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

The Asheville Tourists are the second half of the season tonight at McCormick Field. While the first half of the season wasn't great for the team, they have a lot of optimism for the rest of the year.

The South Atlantic League schedule gives teams who didn't play as well as they wanted in the first half of the season the chance to start over in the second half. That's what the Tourists are hoping to do, and it all starts with their pitching staff and their pitching coach.

Pitching coach Ryan Kibler likes to keep things simple.

"I love being around the game and it's really nice working hard at something that doesn't really feel like a job, at least not yet," Kibler said.

His players appreciate his style.

"He's really hands-on. He knows what he's talking about," starting pitcher Brandon Gold said. "He knows the Rockies organization and their motto, playing in the organization. I think that helps, as well."

Kibler played for the Tourists in 2000. Now, he dedicates his time to help the young guys achieve their dreams.

"That's the payoff when I see one of these guys break into the big leagues and have their starting debut, that's when we throw a party," Kibler said. "That's our night, and that's the payoff."

Riley pint was the rockies first round pick in 2016. His work with kibler is starting to pay dividends.

"I think we're actually doing a really good job of doing what both of us want to do, and it's kind of carrying over into the game right now," Riley Pint, a 2016 Rockies 1st round pick, said.

Alejandro Requena pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in the All-Star game. Kibler has helped him develop a great game-day attitude.

"My mentality is to keep going like that -- help my team win a lot of games and help my teammates to keep going like that," Requena said.

"We need to set the tone for the second half, set a culture around here," Kibler said. "See what that does for us in the second half. We need to win some more ballgames. At the same time, these guys need to develop."

If the pitchers learn from and implement what Kibler is teaching, then the second half of the season could be very entertaining at McCormick Field.

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