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The mistakes the Westbrook Senior Legion baseball team made last week weren't game changing, but when the bats have gone as quiet as they have for Post 103 recently, every error gets magnified.
Westbrook Post 103 hosted Zone III foe Madison last week at the Indian River Complex in Clinton. Both teams struggled out of the gates this summer, looking for a series win to gain momentum as the heart of the schedule approaches. Despite a solid outing from starting pitcher Sabastian Herrera, Post 103 was sloppy on the base paths and ineffective at the dish, losing 5-1.
"We are just not hitting; you saw we were just beating balls into the ground," said Westbrook Coach Wally Grigo. "I don't know how many balls we hit to shortstop today, a ton. When [leadoff man] Sam [Grigo] hits, we are better because it kind of gets things going. He is on base, he can steal bases, so when he is not getting on, it is tough."
Herrera pitched seven innings, allowing just two earned runs, but was still stuck with the loss-Westbrook's eighth of the season.
"Just the fastball was working, nothing else really," Herrera said.
Herrera was strong through the first three innings, allowing no hits and just two walks. However, in the third, Herrera walked Madison's leadoff man, who was bunted into scoring position and then came home after he bobbled a dribbler back to the mound, putting Madison up 1-0.
Post 103's (2-8) bats had a chance to carve out some runs in the second, putting runners on first and second with just one out, but Dan Thayer and Chris Dahl both grounded out, ending the inning and the threat.
"They are giving a great effort; we just have to hope we can turn things around," Grigo said. "Momentum is in the next day's pitching."
Herrera gave up two more runs in the fourth and four hits in the inning, extending the deficit to 3-0. With two outs in the home half of the fourth, Westbrook's Jack Finnegan roped a single to left field. Finnegan took a wide turn and was gunned out at first by the Madison catcher, who backed up the play and ended the inning.
"You don't see that very often," said Grigo.
Post 103 had another chance to put runs on the board in the fifth when Matt Camilleri and Thayer led off with singles. Camilleri, who was 2-for-2 with a walk, advanced to third on Thayer's hit, but wound up getting picked off third in a rundown for the inning's first out. Westbrook still had a runner in scoring position with only one down, but Dahl and Kevin Penkala both struck out to retire the side.
"We will definitely get this turned around and take the next couple games; we just need to hit," Herrera said.
Westbrook was 3-for-5 with runners in scoring position, but just could never find the big run-scoring hit it needed to break through.
"We are not hitting. We have guys who can swing the bat pretty well and it's just not happening right now," said Grigo. "Even Justin Beal, who is a great player, in his first at-bat, hit a rocket at the second baseman, who made a great diving stop. It was a great play, but that has been the story of his year, hitting the ball hard right at people."
Madison tacked on two more runs in the sixth and seventh to take a 5-0 lead heading into the final frame. In the seventh, the Westbrook bats showed signs of life, putting together a string of three hits, capped off by an RBI single from Thayer, who was 2-for-3. But in the end, the rally was too little, too late, sending Post 103 back to the drawing board, and more importantly, back to the batting cages.
"They are out here because they love to play baseball," Grigo said. "Our pitching is a little thin. We lost some guys, but we have to hit to be competitive."