’Hounds stumble from gate with shaky defensive play

’Hounds stumble from gate with shaky defensive play
’Hounds stumble from gate with shaky defensive play

Union City’s Jud Stoltz delivers a pitch to the plate during the Greyhounds’ 4-2 victory Saturday evening.
Jonathan Estes is hoping his Union City Greyhounds will learn from the error(s) of their ways. The Greyhounds were charged with 13 errors while dropping two-of-three games in a season-opening Kitty League series against Tradewater over the weekend at Elam Stadium. UC’s only victory was a 4-2 win on Saturday night and was sandwiched around ugly losses of 11-4 on Friday and 13-7 on Sunday during which the ‘Hounds committed 10 errors in the two games combined. Particularly ugly was a six-error debacle in the locals’ season opener. In its only win, Union City had to overcome another costly fielding blunder that allowed the Pirates’ only two runs to score. Estes, in his first season at the Greyhound helm, expects his team’s quality of play to improve as the season progress. “I think we’re still in a little bit of a feeling out process with everybody learning about each other and what everybody can do,” the Union City skipper said after Saturday’s victory. “We bounced back tonight after not playing very well on Friday and overcame another error that gave them their only two runs tonight by taking advantage of one of their mistakes. “We didn’t execute when we had a couple of chances to score early, but I think that’s something that’s going to improve the more we play and the more comfortable guys get with each other, their roles and what I expect of them.” Tied at 2 in the bottom of the eighth, Ace Williams smacked a two-run double over the head of Tradewater leftfielder Bo Bell to drive in Ryan O’Gara and Trey Horn. O’Gara had singled to begin the inning, and the Greyhounds were then finally on the receiving end of a defensive lapse when Pirate shortstop Michael Finigan booted a potential double-play grounder that allowed Horn to reach. After Jon Ivie failed to sacrifice and move the runners over, Williams delivered with a clutch two-bagger after fighting off a couple of two-strike pitches. Williams, who plays collegiately for Estes at Harris-Stowe (Mo.) State University, drove in three of the Greyhounds’ four runs on the night. “I was real pleased with Ace’s at-bat in that situation,” added Estes, whose team will host Farmington in a two-game series starting tonight. “I know exactly what he can do, and he really battled, especially spoiling when he fouled off those two-strike pitches.” Brad Lawrence was lights-out in a relief role over the last two innings for the victors, fanning all six batters he faced to pick up the pitching victory. Jud Stoltz was solid over the first seven frames, giving up just two hits and no earned runs while fanning four and walking five. “I really didn’t see that kind of stuff from Lawrence in the two bullpen sessions he threw before tonight,” Estes claimed. “He was obviously impressive. I thought Jud (Stoltz) was, too.” O’Gara and Horn each had two base knocks to pace Union City’s seven-hit attack. Tradewater got its only two runs in the fifth, that scoring set up when Ivie dropped a routine fly ball to short leftfield with two outs that kept an inning alive. FRIDAY Tradewater 11, Union City 4 The Pirates scored four times in the fifth to snap a 3-all deadlock, then tacked on four more tallies in the sixth, and six different Greyhounds were charged with either fielding or throwing misplays. Four separate Tradewater players had two hits apiece and Finigan drove in three runs for the visitors. Luke Putnam and O’Gara both went 2-for-5 for the ‘Hounds and Ivie recorded a pair of ribbies. Justin DeVoe was charged with the pitching loss after giving up seven runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings. Patrick Schatz was touched for four runs in one inning of relief before Miles Scribner shined with three shutout frames to finish up. SUNDAY Tradewater 13, Union City 7 Tradewater scored in six of its nine at-bats against a quartet of Greyhound hurlers, including four unearned runs. Nathan Wright went 5-for-5 with four runs scored, and Logan Bawcom had three hits in six trips with three runs and two RBI to lead the onslaught. Matt Phillips drove in four of UC’s runs with a pair of hits, while Luke Putnam scored three times. Williams went 2-for-4. Chris Walls, the ‘Hounds’ starter, was tagged with the pitching loss. Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

Leave a Comment