Red-hot Bombers cool off in loss to MinersJune 22, 2018
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — We have all dealt with situations that resulted in a letdown, setback or otherwise disappointing outcome that fell short of initial expectations. In fact, those who have lived, breathed and otherwise operated around the sport of baseball for any significant amount of time have a saying to help them process the times when things don’t go their way.
“Baseball is a game of failure,” said Dubois County Bombers head coach Andy Lasher following the Bombers 5-2 loss to Madisonville on Thursday night at League Stadium. “In baseball, the best players of all time are getting out 70 percent of the time. You have to learn to deal with it.”
The lesson is not as harsh as it may initially sound, but it can be a concept that takes some time to grow its roots in the wake of losses such as this. The Bombers had come into Thursday’s game on a three-game win streak where the team was putting up a little over 11 runs per game.
But as the pendulum swings one way, so must it return the other way; the Bombers suffered six strikeouts on the night and managed to dig up two runs for their offense. While they did put together eight hits, the Bombers were not able to leverage those to threaten the Miners. A lot of their contact simply fed into easy defensive plays for Madisonville.
Bombers third baseman Payton Mattingly, who went 0-for-4 from the batter’s box with a strikeout, said that there are days when the game just doesn’t go your way.
“That’s just baseball,” he said. “It’s tough sometimes to come out here. You hit the ball square at people. Guys make tough pitches, and it just happens like that sometimes.”
The lack of good at-bats was a shared struggle between both teams at last night’s game, as Dubois County and Madisonville combined for just three hits in the first five innings of action. The Miners were finally able to break the goose egg-draw when first baseman Hunter Mercer connected with Bombers starter Reece Kleinhelter for a double, which scored left fielder Corey Kelly.
The Miners put up another run later in the sixth inning when second baseman Devin Davenport was plunked with the bases loaded, which sent in Mercer. But the Bombers were able to get one back when shortstop Nick Gonzalez hit his second double of the evening (he finished 3-for-four from the plate) to drive in right fielder Sam Mudd.
The Miners put up two more runs in the top of the seventh inning with the help of a Mercer double which drove in Kelly and right fielder Cole Antle for the 4-1 lead.
Bombers first baseman Tanner Craig was able to steal home plate on a passed ball to close the margin a bit, but third baseman Sean Kearney put the final stamp on the game with a single in the top of the ninth inning to score Kelly and hold off the Bombers.
Lasher, who had just celebrated his 100th career win as a coach, was not too put-off by the loss. In his estimation, it was a simple matter of probability based on the hot offensive streak the team was playing with in the games prior and he believes they will heat up again soon.
“It’s the one thing we’ve hung our hat on all summer,” he said. “We’ve swung the bats well, but in baseball nothing is going to happen the same every day. You knew at some point or another it’s going to cool off. It’ll get hot again.”
Mattingly echoed the coach’s sentiment, and added that it’s important for the guys on the team to trust in their preparation and let this game just fade into the past.
“You just have to let it slide off your back, it isn’t always easy,” he said. “Go to sleep, come back, get some early work in and hope the pendulum swings the other way. You’re going to compete every pitch. You can’t go up there and be defensive the entire at-bat. You have to go up there and grind a little bit.”
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