Losing teams like to think that it’s luck that puts them on the wrong side of a one-run loss. Winning teams know it’s that they did more of the little things right.
The P-Nats have been on that wrong side far more often than not, as they lost 3-2 to the Hillcats on Friday night – the 22nd one-run loss this season (vs. ten wins by that margin).
After giving up a run in the 3rd—the second and third with two outs of out eight total by Lynchburg—Potomac demonstrated this “little things” concept three times in the 5th.
A leadoff single could have been erased on a grounder to second, but Bryan Mejia dropped the ball and could only get the one out at first, allowing the lead runner to move into scoring position. That was the first little thing.
The second and third little thing came on the same play, two batters later with two outs. A single to center gave Victor Robles a chance to show off his arm, but he missed both the cutoff man and the plate while catcher Jakson Reetz merely moved to the right and not forward towards the ball, perhaps with the vain hope of being able to get the tag on a runner who was off on contact.
The two things combined enabled another runner to move into scoring position, and you’ve probably already guessed what happened next: another two-out single that led to another run. Combined, the three things led to at least one extra run and possibly two, had the dropped grounder been converted into a double play.
Down 3-0 instead of 2-0 or 1-0, Potomac made it close with two runs in the 6th and threatened again in the 8th after a Robles leadoff double and birthday boy (24) Jack Sundberg’s sacrifice but couldn’t push across the equalizer.
The loss went to Austen Williams, who gave up all three runs on eight hits and a walk over five innings. Ronald Pena, R.C. Orlan, and Dakota Bacus combined on four scoreless innings of relief to keep things close.
Game Three of the four-game series is tonight, with southpaw Taylor Guilbeau (2-2, 3.79) facing off against northpaw Brock Hartson (4-4, 3.23).