One, two, lets go
When the Wellington Heat opened Wednesdays losers bracket game with two straight groundouts to first, manager Rick Twyman wasnt exasperated.
Truth is, the Heats offense tends to improve with two outs. The Heat beat the San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Blues 8-2, scoring all eight runs with two outs.
Theyve done it the whole summer, Twyman said. Honestly, what (irks me) is we dont normally score with runners in scoring position with less than two outs. We do it the hard way.
Robbie Rea earned a walk with two outs in the first inning, then Tony Piazza singled to center. Nick Billinger singled to center, driving in Rea.
Kirk Rocha hit a grounder that went up the arm of third baseman Jimmy Allen and into left field. Piazza didnt hesitate, scoring from second base.
The Heats penchant for running and taking extra bases wasnt because it didnt respect the outfielders arms. Thats just how the Heat play.
We run no matter what, Twyman said. Well take the extra bases. This is an extremely fast team. Thats part of our ballgame. We put pressure on people. Were going to run. Weve done it for 60 games or whatever it is. Were not going to stop.
Rea, a third baseman, agreed.
We try to use (our speed) to our advantage as much as we can, he said. Whenever we can use it, we try to exploit it.
The Heats TC Mark hit a fly to center, but Cody Jones dive wasnt in time and both Billinger and Rocha scored for a 4-0 lead.
There was more of the same in the eighth when Piazza led off with a triple to the right corner. After a groundout and a strikeout, it looked as though the Heat would leave him stranded.
No need to fear, though.
Wellington scored four runs off three hits and two walks, all with two outs.
Its definitely a buzzkill when that happens, Rea said of Piazza possibly being left at third. But you trust everyone in the lineup. You know someone else will pick you up.
Sure enough, Mark singled in Piazza, Aaron Siple got an RBI on a walk, and Nick Thimesch knocked in two with a single to right.
Were a big team for that, Wellington pitcher Derek Fischer said of his teams scoring with two outs. We seem to string them together when we have to. Its been working for us. Even though (Twyman) doesnt like it, well keep it going.
Fischer appreciated the four-run first the Heat set him up with. Fischer, who was on four days rest, responded with seven innings in which he allowed seven hits and two earned runs.
He relied heavily on his fastball and first-pitch strikes.
Thats what I tried to focus on, especially with coming back on short rest, he said. I want to work ahead of each hitter, and when I do that, it opens up me being able to throw other pitches.
• After three games, the El Dorado Broncos led the NBC with a .298 batting average. The Santa Barbara Foresters were second at .289.
• Santa Barbara shutout its first three opponents, while the Hays Larks had the next-best ERA after three games, with a 1.00, only allowing five runs.
• Hays Aaron Cornell was second in the NBC with a .556 batting average after three games. El Dorados Johnny Coen had a .538 average.
Wednesdays box scores
Wellington 8, San Luis Obispo 2
|Wellington||400||000||040||||8 11 1|
|San Luis Obispo||100||000||100||||2 8 0|
W Fischer. L Lynch.
El Dorado 1, Hays 0
|Hays||000||000||000||||0 1 0|
|El Dorado||100||000||00x||||1 4 0|
W Cotton. L Vance. S Schuermann.
Santa Barbara 3, Clarinda 0
|Atwood rf||4||0||2||1||Francia lf||3||0||1||0|
|Mattlage 2b||3||1||1||0||Poindexter cf||4||0||0||0|
|Lechich cf||3||1||1||1||Trahan ss||2||0||0||0|
|OHearn 1b||4||0||1||0||Britt 1b||3||0||0||0|
|Hoelscher 3b||4||0||0||1||Cormier rf||4||0||1||0|
|Felts c||4||0||1||0||Long 3b||4||0||1||0|
|Epperson dh||4||1||1||0||Thurman dh||3||0||1||0|
|Jones ss||4||0||0||0||Ascherl c||3||0||0||0|
|Darby lf||3||0||0||0||Raley 2b||2||0||0||0|
DP Santa Barbara 2. LOB Santa Barbara 5, Clarinda 6. SB Atwood (2), Mattlage (2), Hoelscher, Francia (3), Raley. CS Trahan.
UmpiresHome, Charlie Clemons; first, Mike Lentz; second, Mark Wagers.