Two double plays turn momentum in Bowie’s favor
The ebb and flow of a game can turn at any moment. Take for example, Thursday’s matinee against the Bowie Baysox.
Harrisburg starter Derek Eitel set the Baysox lineup down in order in the top of the first inning giving the Senators a chance to get on the board first. On the first pitch of the bottom half of the inning, Alec Keller lined a single up the middle.
Mario Lisson followed with a patient at-bat that was rewarded as he fell behind 0-2 in the count before he watched four straight balls from Bowie starter Tanner Scott. The Baysox southpaw is known for his wildness as evident by his 16 walks in 21 innings entering play on Thursday.
So when Scott couldn’t find the plate for the first three pitches to Drew Ward, the Senators appeared to be on the verge of breaking the game open early or at the very least pushing a few runs across with their best hitter, Neftali Soto, on deck.
Instead, Scott worked back to a full count against Ward and then induced the Senators third baseman to turn the ball over into a 4-6-3 double play. With Keller still in scoring position at third, Soto struck out and the once promising rally fizzled to a goose egg on the scoreboard.
Bowie kept their new found momentum going against Eitel in the next half inning as they loaded the bases on a double and two walks. Unlike Harrisburg, the Bayosx were able to cash in as Erick Salcedo turned on an Eitel offering and deposited it in the Senators bullpen for a grand slam and four-run advantage.
In a matter of minutes, the Senators went from envisioning putting up a crooked number to a 4-0 hole. The wind that was knocked out of their sails on the Ward groundout stopped blowing altogether after Spencer Kieboom grounded into an inning-ending, bases loaded double play in the third inning.
Even though there was still six innings to play, for all intents and purposes the game was over.
“It just got away from us,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “When you lose your starter in the second inning, you’re just trying to do whatever you can to piece it together so it doesn’t affect the next two days.”
A day after recording his first three-hit game for the Senators, Yadiel Hernandez did it again on Thursday going 3-for-4 with a home run. The two games have raised his batting average 40 points to .252 on the season.
“I think he’s getting more comfortable,” LeCroy said. “The weather is better. He’s not used to playing in the cold.”
The adjustment for Hernandez has been tough at times on a number of fronts. He still speaks limited English and is getting used to how the strike zone is called in America.
“I really think he’s done a good job,” hitting coach Brian Rupp said. “Sometimes the hitters have a better idea than the umpires do. I think he’s one of those guys.”
“He’s working on his swing and his path is getting better. He’s able to use the pull side of the field a little bit more where the beginning of the year he really didn’t have a chance on that side. He’s putting the time and effort in and it’s starting to show.”
Eitel was yanked in the second inning after he reached 38 pitches in the frame becoming the second Senators pitcher this season to reach the Nationals’ 40-pitch limit…Lisson reached base three times with a double and two walks…Derek Self threw another three innings of relief without allowing a run bringing his current scoreless streak to 10.1 innings over five games.