Nelson Prada could see his players dragging a bit following the end of batting practice Wednesday afternoon. Even after the first scheduled off-day of the season Tuesday, he could see his Williamsport team was tired.
And when the Crosscutters found themselves down four runs early in last night's game at Bowman Field, there wasn't a whole lot of fight left in the team. Williamsport dropped the opener of its three-game series with Hudson Valley, 7-3, last night, losing for the fifth time in seven games.
"I don't want to make any excuses, but a really hot day and we were here early working out. I saw the guys were a little tired," Prada said. "We'll come back (today) and swing the bat again and get stronger. Maybe we won't work quite as hard and cut down on the swings in BP and we'll see how it works."
Williamsport had just six hits last night, with two coming in the ninth inning on back-to-back doubles by Gabriel Lino (2 for 4, RBI, run) and Logan Pierce (2 for 4, RBI, run). Through the first seven innings, the Cutters made just four outs in the outfield and were held to a lot of soft contact.
A double play ended threats in both the third and sixth innings, and a two-out rally in the eighth ended with a lazy fly ball to left field. Williamsport scored just one run through the first eight innings, coming on the first of Lino's two doubles.
"I'm waiting for everything to click. One word we have to use on this level is inconsistency," Prada said. "Inconsistency means some guys are going to hit today and some guys are going to hit tomorrow. That's why it's hard for everyone to click at the same time."
The four-run deficit in the first four innings last night might as well have been 400. The first three Hudson Valley pitchers allowed just four hits through the first eight innings and it wasn't until Cory Jordan struggled with his command in the ninth that the Cutters mounted a rally.
Shane Martin was saddled with the loss for Williamsport, falling to 1-2 this year. Of the four runs he gave up in four innings, only three were earned thanks to an error by Zach Green in the second inning. The right-hander also gave up some hard-hit balls, including an RBI double to the wall in right o John Alexander in the second inning.
Martin got two outs on four pitches to start the fourth inning, but then gave up a double to Alexander after falling behind 2-0. He then walked James Harris and gave up an infield single to Ariel Soriano (3 for 5) to load the bases. Johnny Field singled to right field to drive in a pair of runs and move the Renegades' lead to 4-0. Martin allowed seven hits in his four innings, striking out two and walking one.
"He was up in the zone," Prada said. "He was missing pitches but not too far away. But when you're missing up in the zone, you get in trouble."
Mark Meadors allowed another run in the fifth when he relieved Martin. It came on a two-out RBI single from Alexander. Matt Soren, making his debut with the Cutters, allowed two runs and three hits in the sixth inning, getting just one out.
The Renegades also stole three bases against Soren. After getting the first out of the inning, Soren allowed three consecutive singles to Soriano, Field and Ty Young to push Hudson Valley's lead to 7-1. Field's and Young's run-scoring hits both came over a drawn-in infield.
Josh Warner closed out the inning without further damage and allowed just one baserunner in 2 2/3 innings.
"We're playing a good team," Prada said. "They did some things on the bases and put some pressure on the game. We were ready to play, but they attacked us early and got a couple runs and just took it right out of us."