The NCMC Pirates dropped the home opener to St. Louis Community College 5-0 on Saturday. The Pirates could only muster 5 hits in the contest against a tough lefty.
"Kylan Easley threw the ball extremely well for us to keep us in the game," commented Coach Donnie Hillerman. Easley gave up 5 runs, 4 earned, over 6 innings pitched. Lucas Hampton pitched a scoreless 7th inning.
Offensively, Enrique Madera and Connor Quick went 2-3 but that was basically the extent of the offense. The team struck out 12 times in the game. "On a day when the wind was blowing out as hard as it was, we have to get the ball in play more. Given the conditions, we have to know that runs will be scored," remarked assistant coach Tyler Hudlow.
In game two, both offenses came alive with St. Louis besting the Pirates 18-13. The Archers jumped out to an 8-1 lead after 2 innings and were able to hold on from there despite a valiant comeback attempt by the Pirates.
Wade Phillips gave up 8 runs, 3 earned, over 1.2 innings of work. Angel Reyes came in and provided 4.1 strong innings while striking out 6. "Angel came into a tough situation and pitched with a lot of grit. Balls were really flying but he was able to minimize the damage and let us get back into the game," commented assistant coach Ryan Suttenfield. When Reyes exited, the Pirates had cut the lead to 12-10.
The big turning point in the game came in the top of the 8th inning. The Archers lead was still 2 runs at 14-12 but the Pirates had the momentum. St. Louis loaded the bases with 1 out when Coach Hillerman called on Wyatt Thomas to get the Pirates out of the jam. With 2 strikes on the batter, Thomas threw a nice fastball right at the knees which easily could have been strike 3. Instead, it was called a ball and the hitter ended up hitting a grand slam in the at-bat. "I don't get fired up about bad calls very often but that was a game changer. It's disappointing for a player that puts in so much hard work and isn't allowed to reap the reward," remarked Suttenfield of the pivotal call. That homer, which tallied the final Archer runs, was too much to overcome.
"We stranded a lot of runners on base and didn't make the defensive plays we needed to win the game. Fortunately, we get another shot at them tomorrow on the road," stated Hillerman.
With the loss, the Pirates overall record is now 5-5 and they are 4-2 in region play.