Pilots Soar Above Snow, Frozen Dawgs

Game 16: Tuesday, March 13 5:00 PM | Gamecast | Box Score

(10-6) Washington - 1 | 8 | 2 | 7

(11-2) -----Portland - 4 | 5 | 0 | 7

W - McCallister (3-0) 5 IP | 4 H | 1 ER | 1 BB | 3 K | 11 GO (ground outs) | 0 FO (fly outs)

L - M. Acker (2-2) 1.1 IP | 2 H | 3 R | 1 ER | 2 BB | 1 K

For your viewing pleasure:

Weather report at first pitch: Partly cloudy, 38 felt like 29, Wind 16mph from S-SSW, 82% Humidity

Another cold night, another cold dish. The Dawgs just can't seem to hunt well when the mercury gets low, native or Californian. With snow on the ground Tuesday morning and another inch accumulated by 10 am, I wasn't sure if a game would be viable. It melted away by first pitch, between fits of hail, slush, wind, sun, clouds and rain. It was a typical March day in the Puget Sound.... I'm sure the Cali boys were thrown for a loop.

Snow (I found out long after the game) is what turned the 7th inning stretch into a half hour coffee break coinciding with dusk flipping over to dark. Who am I kidding, it was already dark. The UW campus was hit with a power outage just before game time killing the audio/video feed (to my displeasure), so I thought the lights were MIA or Winter was back. Twitter? Nothing; apocalypse in South Alaska.

Turns out the power was on (not to mention the invention of generators), only no one was home, it appears, to flip the switch. With that being said, this entire post is logical conjecture. All I have to go off this is the exact same Gamecast you can (I recommend) "watch"/replay, linked above. Thanks guys for dropping the ball; next time you're too cold to sit in a booth, let me know, I'm from WA. Analysis ho!

Starting Lineup:

CF Ray - CA

LF Meggs - IN

2B Pehl - WA

C Anselment - WA

DH Berry - CA

3B Lamb - WA

RF Camporeale - CO

1B Mitsui - WA

SS Forgione - WA
__________________

SP Acker - WA

RP Swift - CA

RP Cimber - WA

RP Wright - WA

All WA players are from the Purple side of the state. Redcoats know where they belong, thankfully... All kidding aside, every WA guy should know what playing in this weather feels like it. It's not fun; your hands sting every time you make contact at the plate while the wind freezes you stiff. You must have a high energy level combined with the will to drive through the weather. It's all mental, and a mental trick that all young people are good at, ignorability, is what will help you overcome it. Constantly staying in motion is about the most you can do physically; I wouldn't stop moving my arms when playing.

The weather won't stay this way for long, yet when you look at the fact that northern teams are playing 25-35% of their schedule in either horrible conditions or far away from home, while missing the postseason by a hair under southern teams with a few more wins...And everyone wonders why its so hard to get southern power to come north; they would only be hurting themselves.

Neither team performed well, with defense the deciding factor, once again, in a NW rivalry game at home. Washington is now 0-2 in Cascadia play in two eerily similar games: 5 pm start, weather, performance of defense / offense / starting pitching, 1 run scored, 4 and 5 given up, game lost because of one bad inning w/errors, only the bullpen looked good. I always want video to use for scouting, but this is not a game tape I would want to watch.

Washington is in the Pac-10 cellar again, and is only better than Utah in the current Pac-12(11) standings with Wazzu defeating #10 Cal State Fullerton Tuesday night 9-8 in 10 innings. Big win for them, big loss for us.

If the Dawgs want to sniff the postseason in '12 they better start getting in more work with the fungo. If the entire infield including pitchers is not fielding ground balls/bunts right now, they should be. I'm not the coach, don't take it that way. What I'm saying is that if the Dawgs eliminate the mental gaffs and physical errors in the infield Washington is mostly likely a 2-loss team only, maybe even better.

One cannot expect every facet of the team to perform perfectly at all times, but one does expect every facet to not perform below average consistently. Right now the scouting report on Washington should read: Just put the ball in play anywhere in the infield, throw tons of off-speed junk and don't make mistakes. The glaring red flag on our weaknesses? Many college teams have "it";our kryptonite.

Almost any team in Div-I can at least slap a pitch somewhere into the infield. Almost every D-I school has a crafty, low velocity starting pitcher with good endurance (because he throws "soft") that can throw junk and change speeds. If those change-up masters weren't crafty they would be playing D-II or JC ball.

From little league on up the hitters get separated from the gloves. You can always find great fielders, the trick is finding gloves that can hit. Washington has the bats; too many in fact, with not enough gloves. Offense slumps, and can be shut down by good pitching duels; the last 3 losses are proof of this. When your offense is rendered incapable, defense is next in line on the "most important thing to do right so we win" list.

The Dawgs have committed:

  • 8 errors over the past four games (2, 3, 1 & 2) going back to March 9th, game one vs. Cal Poly

  • 2 by Acker, 2x Lamb, 1x Mitsui, 1x Afenir, 1x Santy & 1x Forgione

  • all errors in the infield, directly causing losses

  • postseason suicide if this continues

  • Coach Meggs to the hospital if he needs to blow his top for the Dawgs to get fired up

Washington should have almost twice as many errors in the last four games. Many "hits" were actually Dawg errors that happened to be scored as hits for the benefit of opponent batting averages. While this takes an "E" off a players record, it kills the pitchers' stats, not to mention the extra damage from extended innings that should never have been.

When a team can't play defense, they will have a very, very hard time winning baseball games. Just ask Cal State Northridge, who played horrible defense en route to the Dawgs blowing them out in 7 innings. Pitching and defense wins the World Series, especially with the new bats. I can only dream about what this lineup could do with the old standards in their hands...

Speaking of offense: can you guys please get off the roller coaster? We're too old out here in the stands for too much more of this inconsistency. Save that for the rest of your college experience. I get enough white hair from my children, and they're 4months-13 years; I'm sure your parents have enough already.

Even though the Dawgs had 8 hits, 3 more than Portland, they lost by 4 runs. I can't define "shooting oneself in the foot" any better. The only multi-hit inning, the 5th, resulted in the only run of the night. Everything they remembered to change/do Sunday? Uh, what was that again? This team has two sides: offensive explosion and wet noodle; the latter showed up for Portland.

Portland is 11-2 now, and I'm sure they are a good team. I just expected the Dawgs to do better the second time around at home against a regional opponent. These are supposed to be games you can count on for wins; whatever it was that caused the football and basketball squads to do the same this year has been passed on to the baseball team.

Game 16 Recap

Mac Acker came out stiff as a log with an error in the 1st and 2nd innings, retiring the first three somewhat easily then going down in flames by his own doing in the 2nd. I don't know how or the situation (the official recap doesn't even say who committed the error in the 2nd inning, let alone what happened or even mention the 1st inning.. everyone-gets-a-trophy-journalism at its finest), all I can assume is that Mac just wasn't warmed up yet. After he the loaded the bases with a balk and a walk, the next batter hit a 2 RBI single through the left side for the eventual game winning run, in the top of the 2nd. Portland added an insurance run with a sac-fly to make it 3-0 before Swift could stop the bleeding.

The Dawgpen only gave up 1 unearned run on 3 hits in 7.2 IP. Another stellar outing from them wasted by the bats being shut down themselves. Why is that we cannot have a great pitching performance without the opposition having one as well? Pitching duels and barn burners, have they all been so far.

Something of note: Pilot catcher Cornish either needs a new glove or has really weak hands; he dropped what seemed like a dozen third strikes that he had to toss down to 1B for the out.

Berry lead the 2nd off with a double and Lamb walked. Campo struck out looking and Mitsui grounded into a double play for his first failed chance w/RISP and 2 outs. Those 2 outs + the next 5 batters = 7 Dawgs in a row shut down. That's OK, Portland was shut down offensively until the 9th, so I will talk about the pitchers again there.

Berry again, a single up the middle with 2 outs in the 4th.. Lamb grounded to SS to end that hope.

Campo lead the 5th off with a double to center and was advanced to third on a Mitsui ground ball to 1B. Forgione then grounded out to 3B; I'm assuming it was a slow, rolling chopper that gave Campo enough time to score. 3-1 Pilots.

Ray singled up the middle and Meggs dropped a bunt or hit a chopper down the 3B line for a singe to put two runners on base, but Pehl struck out.

Three up, three down in the 6th, 7th and 8th. I cannot say 9 in a row, for it was 7 until Joe Meggs walked and Pehl grounded into a double play to end the 8th.

Top of the 9th and the Pilots add the finishing touch on a forgettable game, with 2 outs no less. After Wright intentionally walked Lenahan he threw his second wild pitch, putting runners at 2B & 3B. The next one was scored a passed ball, scoring the fourth and final Pilot run, unearned all the way, they didn't get a hit the entire inning. Talk about giving it away...

Lamb and Campo combined to put runners on first and second, the tying run at the plate, but it was too late with 2 outs already on two fly balls to LF and CF. Mitsui was up now with some redemption on his mind: he was 0-3, 0-2 w/RISP at the time and had not hit a ball out of the infield all night. Give Trevor credit for swinging to the end the game, but going 0-3 w/RISP is not going to help your lowly batting average rise or earn some trust in the dugout.

This is a young team, and growing pains are going to need to be expected. Patience is the lesson from this game, patience.

Go Dawgs!

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