Grays beat Spirit 6-1 in 10 innings; Robinson with the L
The Spirit squandered an excellent pitching performance by Bryan Morse tonight on opening day at Fraser Field, as the traveling Grays exploded for five runs in the tenth inning to win 6-1. North Shore's bats were kept quiet all day, first by starter Beau Danemiller, and then by left handed submariner Tony O'Donnell, who shut down the Spirit in the 9th and 10th to earn the win. Dennis Robinson struggled greatly in the tenth inning to pick up the loss.
Robinson was a victim of some bad luck to start the 10th. Josh Colafamenia led it off with a Baltimore chop toward third base and picked up the infield hit. Then, Tyrone Pendegrass laid down a perfect bunt between the first and second basemen to leg out an infield hit of his own. A sac bunt by Gavin Monjaras set up runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out.After an intentional walk to Mayke Cabrera, Robinson plunked Ryan Baker with a 3-1 fastball, allowing the 2nd Grays run to score. Then, Spirit reject Chad Gabriel laced a single to center which made it 3-1 Grays.
Next came the most entertaining part of the game: Donny Langdon came in to pitch for the Spirit and struck out Grays OF Sean Gamble, but Gamble was livid, claiming that the ball hit him in the hands (true) and that he did not swing (not true). He was summarily ejected the game and tossed his helmet in the direction of home plate ump Don January, then proceeded to be a human rain delay, taking about 50 years to make the "Jimmy Hurst Memorial Walk of Shame" out to the clubhouse.
The Grays broke it open when JB Tucker ripped a bases-clearing double with 2 outs off of Donny Langdon to make it 6-1. The Spirit went down quietly in the bottom of the inning to drop to 3-2 on the young season.
The Spirit fell behind early as Bryan Morse was victimized by poor defense. The Spirit made three errors in the first 1 2/3 innings of the game - including two by Ricardo Cordova. In the 2nd inning, a wild pitch by Bryan Morse scored JB Tucker to give the Grays the 1-0 lead.
North Shore got the run back in the 4th. Ricardo Cordova smashed a leadoff double, then was moved to 3rd on a groundout by BJ Weed. Darren Blakely was then hit by a pitch. With 1 out, Carlos Rodriguez chopped the ball to the shortstop, who flipped it to 2nd base to try to start the DP but Blakely went in very hard, spiking him in the leg, forcing the ball free, and allowing the run to score. The Spirit could not capitalize on the opportunity however, as Brad Rea popped out to end the inning.
The Spirit never really threatened after that, going down very quietly to some excellent Grays pitching. The defense settled down and played a solid game the rest of the way but there was no offense to be found. Bryan Morse came out of the game after the 6th (6 IP 3 H 1 ER). Derek Drage and Kevin Fitzgerald pitched well after that, getting the game through the 9th until Robinson's meltdown in the 10th.
Well, this was a pretty poor performance by the defense early on. There were a few very ugly errors. But all in all, despite the fact that it's embarassing to lose to the Grays, there's nothing really to complain about --- the Grays had good pitching tonight, plain and simple. We know from track record that the Spirit have at least a decent line up and at best a good one -- but they were shut down. 'Nuff said.
Robinson's struggles were troubling, however --- that's his 2nd consecutive poor outing, and to hit someone with a pitch with the bases loaded in extra innings is not very encouraging. But it's way too early in the season to write him off, especially since he was so dominant last year.It was great to see Fitzgerald back to his old dominating self. In fact, he had such a low pitch count, I wondered by he didn't come back out for the 11th... but then, we do want to use him at some point tomorrow, so that was probably a good move.
I found it odd that Vic went to Langdon with the bases loaded in the 10th and not Jamie Baker -- he hasn't shown much faith in Baker so far this year, I think he's only pitched once (?). Interesting, because the guy was money last year. Maybe this was Vic saying "whatever, why burn a good arm we need tomorrow when the Grays pitching is shutting us down"? Either way, interesting choice.
The Umps did a very good job tonight (for once). We complain when they suck, so we might as well give them props when they do well. I'm not sure it was necessary to toss Gamble, but since he appears to be a psychopath, he probably said a few not-nice words leading up to his ejection. Also, that was great entertainment, so I thank the ump for it.
My main complaints tonight were off-the-field.
It's good to see that the Spirit Press Box Mickey Mouse Operation is still going strong --- I proposed last year that we should keep a running tally of how often the scoreboard guy/gal butchers the scoreboard to the point where they need to reset it and start over, and so far the count is at "2" --- 2 games at home, 2 times they had to re-set it from screwing it up. Eric should do it, he never makes mistakes.
Also, the official scorer is incompetent and is probably the same person who runs the scoreboard. He called an error on Brad Rea when he dropped a ball in an attempt to finish a double play, after one out was already recorded. You can't assume a double play. Grrr. I'm sure it was fixed, but it was pretty embarassing that it was put up there to begin with.
In addition, the new PA announcer is terrrrrrrrrrrible..........get Spike to do it, ask Eric to do it, hell, get back Don Boyle... but puhleeeeeeeeeeeeeze get this 1510 the Zone Reject out of the press box. NOBODY that I talked to had a favorable opinion of him. His overly-aggressive-macho-voice-thing is really obnoxious-- he sounds like a crappy DJ at a prom or something. We've avoided that kind of foolishness in the past in favor of professionalism. It sounds especially dumb when they're having, say, the watermelon eating contest, and he screams in a full masculine roar, "COME ON, EAT THE WATERMELON ALEXANDRIA, EAT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Plus, when trying to rally the (pathetic) crowd, he said "put your rally caps on!!!" when it was a 1-1 tie game. In pre game, he called Vic "Rick Davilla" and pronounced Joey SY-ak's name as Joey "See-ack." Doesn't he go over this stuff before the game? When Kevin Fitzgerald came in he was introduced as "#40...... (really long pause).... Kevin Fitzgerald." Smoooth.
The crowd was "2,519" tonight, an inflated number to be sure, and even if it was 2,519, if we can't get 3,000 for opening night, there's no way we're averaging 3,000 for the season. Also, typical crap atmosphere, although I've come to expect that so it doesn't really bother me anymore.
I don't wanna sound like I'm complaining too much though --- it was great to be back and I had a good time watching tonight's game, even if the Spirit did have somewhat of a stinker.
GRY 0 1 0 - 0 0 0 - 0 0 0 - 5 --- 6
NSS 0 0 0 - 1 0 0 - 0 0 0 - 0 --- 1
Win: O'Connell (1-0)
Loss: Robinson (0-1)
Morse: 6 IP, 1 ER
Drage: 2 IP, 0 ER
Fitzgerald: 1 IP, 0 ER
Robinson: 1/3 IP, 5 ER, LOSS
Langdon: 2/3 IP, 0 ER, allowed 3 inherited runs to score
Carlos Rodriguez (1)
Spiritfans.Blogspot.Com Player of the Game:
Bryan Morse (1)
Ryan Bicondoa was seen tonight coaching first base for the Spirit in his #31 uni with "Bicondoa" on the back................................ looks like it's official.
A little bird told me that Brockton could have had his rights, but they failed to tend him an offer in time. CELTICS!