Hounds fall in extras 6-5

Vose strikes out eight in three innings

PASO ROBLES — The Atascadero Greyhound baseball team is off to a slow start in their first season under new head coach Joe Davis and have fallen to 0-4 in the early part of the season. The Hounds have been close in their last two games dropping both in extra innings. Early season defensive errors have hurt Atascadero but the biggest factor seems to be their inability to practice regularly due to the weather because they have pitched well.

“Well right now we are doing the best we can whether it be cages or in the gym,” Davis said. “You know the weather has been a big factor so to be able to just go out on the field and hit right now has been difficult. It is nice to move games such as Wednesday to Tuesday and try to fit something within the storm so that we can actually get some live hitting but I think everybody is in the same boat.”

Both the Greyhounds and the Paso Robles Bearcats came into Tuesday’s game off extra-inning play. Paso Robles pulled out a victory on some of the same spring training type errors that hurt them against the Hounds when St. Joseph allowed the winning run to come across on a wild pitch on Friday night.  

Tuesday’s game was sloppy at times as there were eight combined errors in the game with the Hounds having five of them. It wasn’t the number of errors that hurt Atascadero as much as it was when they occurred.

Wesley Cooper got his first start for Atascadero and gave up two runs on three hits over three innings.

“Wesley who got the start today got his two innings,” Davis said. “We haven’t seen him yet and like you said he is a late guy that came from basketball so we just wanted to see where he was at, kept his pitch count low and it is going well.”

Cooper got some run support early as the Hounds tallied a run in both the first and second innings thanks to some help from the Bearcats. Tyler Champan scored the Hounds’ first run after singling in the first and then going around the horn on a balk and two passed balls. The Hounds scored their second run without recording a hit as Frankie Fernandez got on after a dropped third strike. Fernandez then stole second base and scored from second on another passed ball.

The Bearcats tied the game in the bottom of the second thanks to an RBI double by Riley Swarthout and an RBI single by Kolby Gidcumb.

Junior Justin Vose, who is familiar with pitching in close games against the Bearcats after closing out Paso Robles in the final game of a sweep last year, followed Cooper out of the bullpen and pitched well. The lefty had his fastball and curveball working and had the Paso Robles hitters on their heels striking out all but one of the nine batters he faced. In his three innings of work, Vose gave up three scattered hits and three unearned runs.

“We pretty much pitch nine guys,” Davis said. “So I’m still trying to get a feel of who can do what. Vose is definitely one of the guys that is at the top of the list. You got to at least play some of these games and see other people and see what they can do but you got to play your starters so they can get some reps and some game speed stuff.”

Atascadero retook the lead in the top of the fifth only to surrender it back to the ’Cats in the home half of the inning and trailed 5-4 entering the sixth. Evyn Lade walked on four straight pitches to begin the sixth and advanced to second on yet another passed ball and was driven home on a clutch RBI single to right field by the Hounds clean-up man Gavin Martinez.

Lade entered the game in the sixth inning and pitched a fabulous closing effort not allowing a single hit or earned run in his three innings of work. Lade struck out six Bearcats but did walk four which eventually came back to hurt the Hounds when that base runner scored from second on an error to win the game in the ninth.

“Lade who came in here late, we have been looking at him as a closer type, throws hard,” Davis said. “If he can do that and hit spots throwing hard like that and mix in a little slurve here and there, wow, that’s a great way to get a closer and that is about it.”

The Hounds will try to get in two more games this week on Thursday against Morro Bay and Saturday against Salinas at home as they try to establish their team identity and their offense.

“Right now we are just trying to be a productive team,” Davis said following the game. “I don’t think we are somebody that is going to launch them all over the place so small ball, little things that count, hit and runs those sort of things and being a team that can manufacture runs is what we are trying to get to. Whether that is hitting all the time or whether it's bunting whether it's hit and running, just trying to compete when you’re at the plate.”


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