07/06/2016 4:00 PM
Pasadena, CA --- In a game which included great offensive outings by both teams, the Sentinels fell to the San Diego Force 12-8 last night at Brookside Park.
The winning pitcher for the Force was Elijah Christianson and Keaton Leach is credited with the loss.
In the top of the first inning, the Force were able to score two runs on a two run blast to deep center field by Zaharion. In the next inning, Baeckel hit a two-run home run and, again, there was a home run with runners on base in the sixth inning.
The Sentinels offense showed it could be lively as it allowed three runs to score, although the bottom of the order could not contribute to the team’s offense by making three non-productive outs.
Manager Chevrier believes that his team suffered a major setback that had long-term consequences.
“It really hurt us early in the game when we fell behind by two runs. Then we were able to tie the game and have bases loaded with no outs. We really need to dig deep and open it up a little bit more. We felt like we could have scored two or three more and put us up six to two,” said Chevrier.
Dylan Vilaros was overall effective against the Sentinels line-up, pitching three scoreless innings after first getting into trouble in the first inning. Sentinels' starting pitcher Keaton Leach looked like he became a new pitcher altogether when he retired the side in the third inning, including a strikeout to Zaharion who had cost him dearly earlier in the game.
In the fifth inning, the Force’s approach to manufacturing runs mirrored the Sentinels’ approach in the first inning, managing to produce four hits. In the latter half of the inning, Vilaros struggled with the middle of the order, allowing a run on an extra base hit by McEvoy and McKinnon. The score was 7-5 Force.
As the game appeared to be within reach for the Sentinels, relief pitching was not adequate on a cool night with a slight breeze. Sentinels relief pitching would allow five runs of of six hits including a two run home run by Deroche over the fifth and sixth innings. It seemed as though the Sentinels would settle down and the scoring would come to an end, but the Sentinels were not able to stop the bottom of the order from driving in runs. Baeckel hit an RBI triple and Wiedener drove in a run on a base hit. Wiggins who pinch hit for Oshiro singled and allowed the Force to bring their tenth batter to the plate during that inning.
Manager Chevrier observed that his team did not exhibit that it could outperform the hot-hitting Force.
“Offensively, they did a really good job of getting fastballs in hitter’s counts and doing damage to pitches that were up around the belt. This is why it was possible for them to hit three balls out of the park and consistently drive the ball to the gap,” said Chevrier.
With the score 12-5 Force in the top of the sixth inning, the Sentinels looked as though they could start to make a comeback. They showed patience with Perez drawing a lead-off walk and consecutive walks by McEvoy and McKinnon allowing Perez to score after Elijah Christianson walked Martinez, making the score 12-6. The Sentinels would draw nearer with a score of 12-8.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, two base hits followed and the Sentinels had one out, when Martinez grounded into a double play to end the inning and a chance at tying the game.
Manager Chevrier is committed to the Sentinels’ style of offense that contrasts to the Force’s and does not involve sheer might.
“As much as we would love to do those things, our personnel has not shown that it can consistently pound a baseball. We have to be sneakier in our approach with the hit and run and double steal to put some pressure on the defense. This will then require that our guys get some singles up the middle of the field, and eventually after putting together five to six at-bats, someone is bound to drive in a run. I’m not saying we’re not capable of doing it, but we just haven’t consistently done that. That is definitely our modus operendi of using the barrel of the bat to hit hard ground balls. If we’re able to drive it to the gaps that’s a bonus.”