Right-handed pitcher Tyler Hamer struck out five batters before giving up three runs on three hits in Derby’s 6-1 loss to Dodge City this past Sunday. Pitching has been a small highlight of the Twins’ rocky start this season.
It was the simple mistakes – a dropped ball here and a missed catch there – that helped Dodge City sweep the Derby Twins in a three-game series at Panther Stadium this past weekend.
Mental errors made one-run deficits bloom by three-and four-runs as the Twins spent most of the weekend trying to play catch-up.
“We just didn’t play good baseball,” Derby head coach Billy Hall said. “We have a snowball effect going on right now. Every little thing is costing us. You can’t win baseball if you don’t pitch and play defense. It’s not possible.”
The Twins entered this three-game series with back-to-back wins against Haysville and El Dorado on June 5 and 6, but Derby couldn’t carry the momentum against Dodge City.
Down 6-0 in the opening game of the series on Thursday, the Twins fought back with four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to close the gap. Dodge City added another run in the top of the ninth to make it 7-4. Derby added a run of its own in the bottom of the inning, but the comeback stalled at 7-5.
Jess Amedee pitched six innings in the loss and gave up three runs on three hits while striking out a trio of Dodge City batters.
The Twins found themselves in a hole too deep to crawl out of in their 11-7 loss in the second game on the series on June 9. Tied 3-3, Derby gave up six runs in the top of the fifth inning and two more in the sixth. Three runs in the final two innings cut Dodge City’s lead, but it was still several runs short of a Derby win.
Dodge City’s 6-1 victory on Sunday was within reach until the top of the ninth for the Twins.
Derby pitcher Jordan Goldsmith gave up a home run and a double to give Dodge City a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
After another Dodge City home run made it 3-0 in the third inning, Derby put up its first run on the scoreboard with an RBI by Ruben Marrero that scored Don Lambert.
Right-hander Tyler Hamer took over on the mound in the fifth inning, and held Dodge City scoreless until the Athletics went on a three-run spree to put the game out of reach in the top of the ninth.
Hamer gave up three hits and struck out five in 4-2/3 innings of work.
“I have no problem with the way our pitchers threw, but once again, we didn’t catch the ball when we needed to catch it and our pitchers ended up throwing extra pitches,” Hall said. “You have to have a certain type of confidence to play baseball. You can’t have doubt or hesitation.”
As a team, Derby has struggled at the plate so far this season.
“In the last few games we’ve had a lot of guys taking strikes and swings at balls,” Hall said. “When you do that you’re going to feel like you’re behind. We have to be more aggressive in the strike zone.”
One of Derby’s bright spots early in the season has been outfielder Jonathan Rodriquez, who helped provide some spark on defense and at the plate. Rodriquez is now sidelined indefinitely with a concussion after taking a pitch in the head against El Dorado on June 6.
“When you get hit in the head, and the brain does whatever it does, you can’t put a timetable on that,” Hall said. “That’s a day-by-day thing where you wait and see what the doctors say. When he says he feels good it probably means he’s a week or two away still.”
Derby entered Monday night’s game against El Dorado with a 2-6 record. The Twins had Tuesday off and play Haysville for the second time this season today (Wednesday). They play El Dorado again on Thursday before traveling to Liberal for a three-game series starting on Friday.
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