by Eric Oslund
The Zimmerman Thunder baseball team finally seemed to have everything figured out, winning three games in a row after a 0-5 start. Then they got fortunate on May 2, getting to host Foley instead of traveling on the road like it was originally planned – all three of their wins came at home.
Things would not go as planned for the Thunder, though, as they quickly found themselves trailing 6-0 after the first two innings.
“Kind of had a bad start. First two innings, they scored six runs on us. Had an error in the first inning that just crushed us, I think,” head coach Chris Riley said. “Our starter only went through two innings today, had those six runs through the first two innings, so that put us in a hole right away. I guess the middle innings we played even or better ball than them, but giving those six runs right away is hard to overcome.”
In their two games before their matchup against Foley, the Thunder played error-free baseball. Recording 21 straight outs against More on April 24, and against Milaca on April 28, so that error in the first inning, and the one’s to follow it really seemed to change the pace of the game.
Another things that the errors do is cause a pitcher’s pitch count to climb quickly, and with the new rules in place, it usually means a shorter outing. The Thunder’s starting pitcher Ryan Acker only lasted two innings, and then they had to play around with some things because they still needed pitchers for their games on Friday and Saturday.
First, they threw in Jeg Schottenbauer to start the third inning, and he lasted for 3 1/3 innings. Riley said he would have liked for him to go longer, but his arm just wasn’t used to pitching for that long.
“Jeg Schottenbauer had been in there for, he was in the 40-pitch mark and had only pitched maybe another time this year for a game, so I think he was getting towards the top of his pitch count for arm strength,” the head coach explained.
After Schottenbauer, it was Ethan Swirtz who took the mound, and he was able to finish up the final 1 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run, and striking out three batters, which is something the coaches liked to see since it was his first time pitching on varsity this season.
Another bright spot for the Thunder in this game was their bats. They recorded 10 hits as a team, with Tre Wilkins going 2-for-3 with a walk, Derek McMahon going 2-for-3 with a walk, Brody Wibeto going 2-for-4, Mac Nelson going 1-for-2 with a walk, and Acker going 2-for-4 with a home run, his third of the season.
Unfortunately, even with the good hitting, the Thunder were unable to keep their winning streak alive as they fell to Foley 11-6.
“You’ve got to move on and get better the next day,” Riley said. “We’ll go in tomorrow and get some kinks worked out with the fielding and communication. We did get 10 hits, but we also struck out nine times, I think. So it seemed like we were either hitting it or we were striking out. None of those factors of just putting it in play, where I think we need to get a little better at that too.”