They call Wednesday Hump Day for a reason. Sometimes after a long weekend of more play than rest, getting through that third day in the work week can be the toughest, before the close proximity of the next weekend and potential rest picks up your spirits.
This Hump Day was more like a hill for the Pearl to climb. Their arms were weary and their bats dragged in a 6-0 loss to the California Warriors. After all, it was their 9th game in eight days and 17th game in their last 18 days. The Pearl were 11-5 in their last 16, entering Wednesdays clash, but were too worn down to continue their winning ways.
We are pretty well spent right now, Pearl manager Brant Cummings said. We had a game every day since last Wednesday with a doubleheader Sunday and played 17 innings on Saturday. That 17-inning game really took its toll on our pitching staff. It was necessary to use multiple guys to pitch today. Some were tired and some needed to get a little work in to be sharp for our three games this weekend.
The Pearl (17-11) used 6 pitchers in 9 innings with only two of them allowing an earned run. The problem was, Chris Scyphers gave up 4 of them in a nightmarish sixth inning. Scyphers
struggled to find his timing, entering the sixth with the Pearl trailing 1-0 on an unearned run in the third.
He walked the first batter he faced, gave up a 1-1-pitch single, hit the next batter on the first pitch and then walked in a run on 4 straight balls. With a little better luck, he might have battled out of the jam allowing just one more run, but his 0-2 pitch to Taylor Jones was grounded weakly up the middle just under the glove of Pearl second baseman Ozzy Braff for a two-run single. Scyphers rebounded, retiring the next three batters to get out of the inning, but the damage was done and the 5-0 lead would be too much for the Pearl to overcome this day.
It took the Pearl more than a little luck, but some great defensive plays to keep the damage from being worse than it was during the all-hands-on-deck pitching afternoon. Jared Gaspard charged a two-out single by Cody Snider in the fifth and threw a line drive to the plate to nail Steve Baker at the plate.
I always expect the ball to come to me at times like that, Gaspard said. I like to do my job out there. I dont always throw guys out, but I like to always make a strong throw.
Gaspard knew this assist took more than a strong throw, but an athletic, lunging catch up the line and a heady sag and tag by catcher Jimmy Hill.
That was amazing the way he snagged that ball then reached behind himself to tag the runner (as he attempted to slide under him), Gaspard said. We got that out thanks to him. If he doesnt do that, they score that run.
Gaspard remained focus despite the deficit, making a running over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track in the seventh.
Jared plays well in right field. Not only did he make that throw, but he ran down ball (in the seventh) that I thought was going over his head and couldve lead to a big inning.
The Pearl managed just five hits, stranding two runners in the second and third, but their best chance to score came in the fifth when Myles Babitt hit a triple to the wall, but with two outs he tried to stretch it to a homer and was nailed by a strong relay throw by Baker. Babitt and Braff both spanked two hits for the Pearl, who thankfully get two days off before hosting the Walnut Creek Crawdads for a doubleheader Saturday at noon and a third game Sunday at noon.