Pittsburg, CA – The Vallejo Admirals (4-6) offense continued to scuffle on Friday night, falling to the Pittsburg Diamonds (4-6), 4-2, at City Park.
The Admirals simply couldn’t get anything going against Diamonds starter James Trebus, who got the victory after tossing seven innings while striking out nine, and allowing just one run on four hits and one walk.
Pittsburg jumped out in front of Vallejo early, scoring runs in the second, third, and fourth innings. In another unfortunate trend, it was miscues by the Admirals defense that got the Diamonds rolling.
In the second inning, Pittsburg’s Brandon Williams reached safely when his ground ball was mishandled by shortstop Glenn Walker. He eventually came around to score on a sac fly from Aaron Brill. Rich Mejia quickly plated another with an RBI single, driving in Leo Rodriguez to hand the Diamonds the early 2-0 advantage.
They tacked on another run in the third, when right fielder Nash Hutter sent a deep fly ball to left field that bounced on top of the wall and out of the park for a solo home run.
Finally, in the fourth inning, Pittsburg scratched their fourth run across. The first two hitters of the inning reached on a single and hit by pitch, before center fielder Tim Battle roped an RBI single that just got under Josh Wong’s glove at third base.
Allowing hits to the first two Diamonds hitters in the fifth chased Vallejo starter Demetrius Banks from the game.
“He went out there and he battled,” said manager Garry Templeton II on his starter. “I don’t think he had complete control of his fastball today, but he did show a little more velocity on it. It’s only his second start, and he’s on more rest than he’s used to, so it’s just about getting used to having that sixth day of rest.”
In support of Banks, the Admirals only managed three hits through the first five frames. Their first run came in the sixth, which oddly enough was scored without a hit in the inning. Less surprisingly, it was the legs of center fielder Darian Sandford that got the job done.
He led off with a four-pitch walk. After several pick off attempts, one finally got away from Trebus, who threw wide of his first baseman, allowing Sandford to advance to second. Sandford then stole his league leading 16th base of the year, and promptly scored from third on a wild pitch.
PJ Phillips tried to keep it interesting, adding the Admirals second run with an RBI double in the eighth. On the night, Phillips had two of the Admirals five hits, bringing his average up to an impressive .410, tops in the Pacific Association.
That’s all that Vallejo could muster, however, after going down in order in the ninth inning.
“Guys have to come in more focused,” said Templeton on his squad’s offensive woes. “They’re not seeing anything they haven’t seen before. For some of them they’re feeling the pressure, because we are losing, and statistically some of them aren’t doing so well. When that happens, changes are in the near future. I think that some of the guys feel that, and it’s effecting their play.”
While it certainly wasn’t at fault for the loss, inconsistent calls from the home plate umpire did the Admirals no favors. Both sides seemed to take issue with several calls on the night, made most apparent by Vallejo’s Michael Cerda being thrown out of the game after being called out on strikes in the fourth inning.
Templeton, however, was quick to toss the possible excuse for the performance aside.
“You have to play. The bottom line is that you have to go out there and perform. You have to play defense, you have to pitch, and you have to hit. It doesn’t matter what calls the umpire makes, you have to come out and perform.”
The Admirals will now look to put this one behind them. Game two of this series gets underway tonight at 5:00 PM, with Vallejo’s ace David Dinelli toeing the rubber