Normally, when a baseball team scores 10 runs in a blowout, the players can rest assured that their coaches will be happy with the offensive showing.
That was not the case for West End Babe Ruth players on Saturday.
Following a 10-0 romping of Frederick, Md., in the final game of pool play in the 14-year old Middle Atlantic Regional held at Logue Field, the team's coaching staff seemed less than enthused about the performance.
Sure, the team had just won its fourth game in three days and earned a No. 1 spot in elimination play Monday as Pool A?champion, but the West End coaches felt their group was capable of scoring way more than 10 runs. They let the team know that after the game.
"It feels real nice to win, but I have to say that I am a little disappointed in our level of play," West End manager George Lepley said. "I just felt like we didn't play our best game by any stretch of the imagination.
"We should have had a lot more runs,"?said Lepley.
West End won earlier Saturday, 4-3, over Paulino, N.Y., in a game rescheduled from a rainout last Wednesday. West End is off today until the semifinals on Monday evening.
Lepley, who has coached seven teams to the Babe Ruth World Series, feels that this team is among the strongest offensive units that he's mentored. That's why he holds them to such a high standard, especially when they are playing a team that he feels they should stack up against nicely.
"I understand that it is a little hard to play a team that you think you're better than and stay focused for seven innings," said Lepley. "But you have to stay focused for seven innings if you plan on making it to the World Series."
The game started off on a high note for West End, as it scored three first-inning runs with the help of three Maryland errors. Over the next four innings, the team kept that momentum rolling by adding six more runs to their totals, before going on a scoring hiatus for the fifth and sixth innings. In the seventh, they added one last run, when Nate Welch was walked home in a bases-loaded situation.
Overall, the team saw 8 players score at least a run, with two players posting multi-run games. They were also helped by great baserunning, as six players accounted for eight stolen bases.
The team's top plate performer was Caleb Joy, who reached base in all four of his trips to the batters box, going 1-for-1 with three walks. He also scored an important second-inning run.
Though Lepley felt his group could have done better in some aspects, he was thrilled with the four-hit shutout his defensive unit posted.
"I will say that I was very pleased with our defensive performance," Lepley said. "We pitched a really super game today."
Leading the way for the West End defense was starting pitcher Cody Shimp. Shimp did wonderfully during his time on the mound, allowing just one hit in four scoreless innings. Shimp made use of a good splitter and nice ball movement, to routinely force Maryland batters into ground outs. Of the 16 batters he faced, Shimp got eight to ground out and struck out four.
"That is pretty common for me, because I throw a lot of low pitches," Shimp said. "I was just trying to keep control of the ball and give us the win."
Lepley said that if his team can build on the great defensive game they had Saturday, it will be a huge tool in helping them get where he wants them to be.
"It's nice to find that third starter in Cody," said Lepley. "If we can get our pitching together and play our best defense and best offense, then we have a really good chance of reaching the World Series."
West End 322 100 1 - 10 9 0
Maryland 000 000 0 - 0 4 6
Cody Shimp (W); Mike Flowers (5); Caleb Joy (6); Owen Kiess (7) and Nate Welch. Kevin Schwenger; Robbie Cruz (3); Niko Ryave (4); Reed Wigfield (5); Niko Ryave (4); Brenden Johnson (7) and Daniel Summers.
Nate Welch 2-3, R; Hunter Webb 1B, SB, RBI; Owen Kiess 1B, 2 SB, 2 R; Ethen Stryker 1B, RBI, R; Tanner Esposito 1B, SAC, RBI, R; Tyler Mankey 1B, SB, R; Caleb Joy 1-1, 3W, SB, RBI, R; Sammy Newton 2B, SB, R. Zach Heffner 1-3, SB.
West End 4, Metro NY 3
West End 130 000 0 - 4
Metro NY 001 011 0 - 3
Maryland 5, Northern NJ 0
Maryland 001 100 0 - 5
Northern NJ 000 200 0 - 0
Delaware 14, Southern NJ?2
Delaware 040 19 - 14
Southern NJ 100 01 - 2