Silent bats cost Tigers four games

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Mountain Home Tigers continued their struggle at the plate last week, collecting only 15 hits in four games as their losing skid reached seven.

Borah Lions 13

Mountain Home 2

Six Mountain Home errors, five walks and four hit batters along with eight hits helped the Borah Lions down the Mountain Home Tigers 13-2 in a game called after five innings by the 10-run rule last Tuesday in Mountain Home.

An RBI single by Brett Yong in the bottom of the first -- Mountain Home's only hit in the game -- scored the Tigers' first run to tie the game at 1-1.

After Borah scored four runs in the second, Mountain Home scored their only other run in the bottom half of the inning off four walks by Borah starter Jon Jensen, with Aaron Swartz' bases-loaded walk scoring Joe Poseley, who had led off the inning with a walk.

"I thought we'd come out here a little bit more excited to play," said Tiger baseball coach Travis DeVore after the game. "We're at that point of the season where some guys just have not figured it out what it takes to play at this level, and they just don't play at the same intensity as other guys in the team are doing, and certainly our opponents are doing, and it's hurting us right now.

"I take full responsibility for that, to be honest. I'm the one that does the lineup card and trying to mix up the lineup and give other guys playing time, and we're just at that stage right now where I guess we've got to stick with the kids that are being positive and kind of work though some of this.

"We're definitely not the only team losing right now, we're not the only team that's been on a losing streak, but it just hurts when you realize you're beating yourselves every time you go out there."

Brian Fields suffered the loss, replaced on the mound after facing two batters in the fourth. He struck out three, walked three and hit four batters. Brett Young pitched two innings of relief, striking out one and walking two.

Caldwell 6

Mountain Home 5

A four-run sixth made it close, but the Mountain Home Tigers dropped their fifth straight game Thursday at Caldwell, losing to the Cougars, 6-5.

Brett Young doubled in Mountain Home's first run in the top of the first, but the Cougars built up a 6-1 lead until the Tigers battled back in the sixth. Chase Bitterman had a bases-loaded triple to score three runs, and Brian Fields singled in Bitterman, as the Tigers scored four times in the sixth to make it 6-5, Caldwell.

The Tigers had two on in the top of the seventh, but failed to score, and Caldwell prevailed for the win.

"It seems like every time we're out here, it's a different piece of our game that we have to work on," said Coach DeVore in radio comments after the game. "Today, Hobby (Michael Hobgood) didn't have his best stuff, but our hitters couldn't account for much at the plate early to help him out, because he certainly pitched well enough to still get a victory if our hitters could have come up with some key hits earlier in the game. We stranded a lot of runners.

"There were a lot of frustrating things today. There was a balk call that didn't get called that absolutely killed us, because (Brett) Grodi struck out on it. The umpire admitted he saw it, but he didn't call it, and Grodi strikes out and that cost us a run early in the game, and you see the score, 6-5."

Brian Fields and Brett Young both had two hits and an RBI, Fields, a double, Young, a triple. Chris Rau had two hits, and Chase Bitterman had a triple and three RBIs.

Michael Hobgood fell to 4-2, going five innings, striking out seven, walking four and hitting three batters. Brett Young pitched a scoreless sixth inning for the Tigers.

Caldwell 3

Mountain Home 0

The Cougars made it a series sweep, taking advantage of Mountain Home miscues to score three runs Friday to down the Tigers 3-0.

The game featured a great pitching duel between Mountain Home's Michael DesPres and Caldwell's Brad Hahn. DesPres limited the Cougars to just six hits and struck out eight batters, walked two and hit one. Hahn gave up just three hits while striking out six and walking five.

"Right now, we're pressing, we're struggling," said Coach DeVore after the game. "I told the guys at lunch today, it's going to come down to which team executes, and the ironic thing is neither one of us executed. They tried to do all kinds of things today and nothing worked out. We tried to do all kinds of things and we got thrown out on hit-and-runs and stuff.

"This is one of the teams we're going to have to beat at district if we're going to give ourselves a chance to go to state. Right now, our main focus is not our record, it's getting better and staying positive, and it's kind of rough to stay positive because we're in a kind of slide right now. It's going to be a test in character for all of us, because there's not a person on this team, coaches included, that's not feeling a little bit sorry for themselves, but we'll get it done!"

Hillcrest Knights 10

Mountain Home 2

The Hillcrest Knights scored five runs in the seventh inning to down the Tigers 10-2 Saturday in a non-conference game played at Wood River High School in Hailey.

The Knights scored two in the first and three in the second, but Tiger starter Brian Fields shut Hillcrest down the next three innings. Brett Young had a scoreless sixth, but the Knights bats managed to find some holes to scoot through some hits and score five runs in the seventh.

"It really wasn't that bad of a game," said Coach DeVore. "You take away that seventh inning and it was a real close ball game. We've got to take this next week and focus on hitting."

Jacob Hiler had an RBI single for the Tigers. Brett Young, Brett Grodi, Chris Rau and Michael DesPres also had hits.

The Tigers have their conference series with Vallivue this week, hosting the Falcons on Thursday, and traveling to Vallivue on Friday. Both games start at 5 p.m.

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