Better to lose now than in the first round of playoffs. That was the sentiment of the majority of the Warriors (20-2) coaching staff and players after a surprise 11-0 loss to the Jefferson Dragons (16-9) at George M. Steinbrenner field.
Controversy over the balls and strikes, starting in the five-run second inning for Jefferson, quickly gave the game an odd feel. The Warriors started star senior pitcher, Logan Lapace who threw 74 pitches and gave up six earned runs, 10 total, in his 2.2 innings of work.
“Their were definitely close pitchers inside and outside but they weren’t that close to the extent of what the teams were thinking” said home plate umpire, Ramon Rivera.
“It was not the umps (umpire) fault. It was my fault. But I promise you, I will do right in the playoffs for everything I did wrong tonight” said Lapace. Senior pitchers, Danny Rodriguez and Dominick Ficarrotta pitched the rest of the game and gave up one earned run. The staff walked five batters and allowed nine hits in five innings.
The Warriors go into the playoffs with their best season in history despite Thursday’s loss, having the most runs (207) in team history, the best pitching stats (109 strikeouts, 82 hits allowed, 37 runs, and 58 walks) in team history, and of course the most wins (20), as well as being the number one seed in their district and at the top of class 7A.
The problem was that none of those stats helped on Thursday night.
“We are gonna have to go back and work on the things that make us a good team. We didn’t show that tonight. Anytime you let a team score five runs in two (consecutive) innings is tough to come from behind. Anytime you have three errors in a game which is more than we have had in multiple games is tough to come from behind. We tip our caps to (Jonathon) Diaz, the pitcher for the Dragons, he threw outstanding and they played a great game and we didn’t, so we are going home early” said Head Coach John Crumbley.
The Warriors will go on to face the winner of tonight’s playoff match-up between Chamberlain and Freedom at Gaither in the district playoffs.
Evan Abramson/Staff Writer