The Solanco baseball team (3-2) got good enough pitching but was left to lament a wasted opportunity to take the lead in the first inning of a 4-1 loss to visiting Warwick Monday, April 8.
After Mules starter Haydn Fox retired the Warriors in order to start the game, Solanco had runners on second and third with one out but could not score.
Tim Fetterman reached on a one-out infield hit and John Murray recorded hit on a similar looking dribbler between the pitcher and third base line. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch. But Warwick pitcher Jackson Davies fanned Mules cleanup hitter Mike May and Sam Buckwalter grounded out to the first baseman to end the threat.
"The guy we wanted up there," Solanco coach Tom Fish said. "He's our guy. Last two left-handed pitchers have really pitched us tough. They knew how to pitch. They hit their spots and they kept us off-balance. Mike was a little off-balance on that at bat. You face some of these tougher pitchers, they don't just throw, they know how to pitch. They kept us off-balance the whole game."
Beginning with the strikeout of May, Davies retired 12 consecutive Solanco batters. Fox was saddled with the loss despite a solid outing.
"Haydn was really good," Fish said. "He threw hard and his fastball was difficult to hit. It may not have looked like it, but [Warwick] is probably the best-hitting team in the league. Haydn really pitched a great game."
Warwick got on the board in the top of the third. Jeffrey Kline drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on Josh Farina's bloop double down the left field line. Kline scored when Colby Martin grounded out to the shortstop.
The Warriors tacked on a run in each of the last three innings. Farina walked with one out in the fifth and eventually scored on a two-out John Seibert double after a Solanco error enabled the inning to continue.
In the home half, the Mules had two runners on with one out after Seth Harnish drew a walk and Grady Unger had an infield hit. But Fox hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Brendan Martin was hit by a pitch to begin the top of the sixth and stole second. Collin Beech greeted reliever Cory Stively with an RBI opposite field double down the left field line to make it 3-0.
Solanco scored its lone run in the bottom of the sixth. Joel McGuire reached on an error. Two outs later, May singled through the hole to plate McGuire.
Grady Unger came on to pitch the seventh for Solanco and yielded a single to Colby Martin and RBI double to Dagen Young before getting the next three hitters with help from two nifty plays by the Mules' shortstop Buckwalter.
Seth Harnish walked with one out in the bottom of the seventh before Davies got the final two outs.
Fish says the Mules must find a way to handle quality left-handed pitching. "We've just got to keep working," he Fish. "With every kid, it's probably something different. Sometimes it's a confidence thing. Sometimes it's a fundamental flaw, getting our weight out in front of us or not taking away that outside pitch. We'll figure it out. We've got a veteran group here. We've had some good times and some tough times and we'll be fine. I'm confident we'll come back."