Desperate might not even be enough to describe Williamsport's offense, which is in the middle of another hitting slump.
The Cutters entered Friday's game on a dismal 1 for 20 slump with runners in scoring position. And Friday's contest didn't help those numbers as Williamsport finished 0 for 9, giving Jamestown a 5-0 win to open the two-game series.
The Cutters added to the their self-inflicted struggles in last night's game, posting one hit through the first eight innings. Chris Serritella, one of the team's two All-Star selections, finished with both hits, beating out an infield single in the second inning and driving his second hit through the infield to open the ninth.
Serritella, who entered the game in search of his first hit since the All-Star break, singled to leadoff the second inning. The Serritella single represented the Cutters' current offensive struggles perfectly. It came on a grounder back to the pitcher which bounced off the mound. His second at-bat resulted in one of the hardest hit balls of the night, but it was right to the center fielder.
It's was a trend that continued to haunt the Cutters as a good percentage of their batters were able to make good contact, but with most results finding fielders in position to make plays.
"We hit a lot of stuff right at people, but I thought (Jamestown starter Helpi) Reyes threw well, though," Williamsport manager Andy Tracy said. "He had some good stuff and we started chasing his slider."
Reyes, who is 2-5, tossed six solid innings, giving up the Serritella single and striking out five and walking two.
In an effort to spark the offense, the Cutters were extremely aggressive with their baserunning, converting all four stolen base attempts. But the momentum was short lived as opportunities quickly became stranded runners in scoring position.
"We were trying to get things going," Tracy said of the steals. "The pitcher's delivery took a little longer and we got four guys over. We left guys on the sacks early and couldn't get that big hit to get things going."
The lack of offense wasted a impressive outing by Josh Warner, who fanned five batters in six innings of work.
"Warner threw well," Tracy said. "He had one rough inning, but I thought he threw well. He competed. He threw a lot of strikes."
"My arm has been a little tender lately," Warner said. "After the All-Star break, though, my arm has seemed fresh. It felt good in the bullpen (Friday). I came into the game with a lot of confidence."
Warner was well on his way to six scoreless innings until his only mistake of the night, plunking Yefri Perez with two outs in the fifth inning. The ball struck Perez directly in the helmet, but he didn't seem bothered at all, quickly running down to first before a trainer could get on the field. The hit batter came after a single to open the inning and two quick outs to follow.
The Jammers pounced on the mistake as Michael Main and Cody Keefer connected with back-to-back singles. Main's hit drove Pedro Mendoza home from third. Keefer's single into right field did a little more damage, scoring both Perez and Main for a 3-0 Jammers lead.
"It was just a couple bad pitches I left up and couldn't get through the fifth inning," Warner said. "I was a little unlucky there, but I have a lot of confidence going into my next outing."
Although the one mistake proved to be costly, Tracy allowed Warner to come back for the sixth and was rewarded with a solid effort.
Warner worked a 3-2 count into a harmless flyout to center field before issuing his first walk.
In much the same fashion Warner battled back after the lead off single in the fifth, he shook the walk off to get the next two batters out. Warner's night ended with two hit batters, five hits and the three runs surrendered in the third.
"It was big, going five innings with three runs is a lot different than going six innings with three runs," Warner said. "I walked a guy in the sixth, but it was good. It was definitely a confidence booster to get back out there in the sixth and shut them down."
Along with Warner's outing, the Cutters defense was another bright spot for the team yesterday, especially after committing six errors through the first two games of the homestand. Williamsport didn't commit an error last night.
"The defense was solid tonight," Tracy said. "We didn't have a single error and turned a couple double plays tonight."