The Wild Things couldn’t lose at home during July.
This month, it seems as if Washington couldn’t find a way to win at home if Abner Doubleday personally provided the Wild Things with the script.
Washington was swept in a doubleheader Saturday night by the Florence Y’alls, 6-0 and 2-1.
The sweep moved Florence into a tie for first place in the West Division with Evansville. The Wild Things, meanwhile, slipped to 2½ games behind first-place Sussex County in the Northeast Division. The Miners split a doubleheader at Tri-City and gained a game in the standings on Washington.
The losses were third and fourth in a row at home for the Wild Things, who were 12-2 here in July.
“We’re cold right now,” Washington manager Tom Vaeth said. “We’re not doing the little things, we’re not executing, we’re not doing the things that a first-place team should do.”
On this night, Washington wasn’t scoring or capitalizing on its few chances. The Wild Things scored one run over the 14 innings and didn’t even have an RBI. Their only run scored on a wild pitch. Washington has been held to one run over its last 20 innings at home.
The lone bright spot for the offense was infielder Scotty Dubrule, who went 2-for-3 in both games and scored his team's only run.
Dubrule led off the bottom of the first inning in the opener by slicing a double into the left-field corner against Florence starter Jonathan Tripp (6-1), who threw a three-hit shutout. Dubrule was bunted to third base by Cam Phelts but stranded there after a strikeout and flyout.
That set the tone for the night.
“We’re not getting the leadoff guy on base,” Vaeth said. “When we do, we’re not getting a bunt down or advancing the baserunner. … We’re not good offensively.”
Florence won the opener by scoring three times in the third off Washington starter Keven Pimentel (6-6) and tacking on two in the fourth and one in the fifth. The Y’alls’ Chad Sedio hit a pair of home runs, his 10th and 11th of the season, and drove in three runs.
In the nightcap, Washington scored its lone run in the first but squandered a golden opportunity for a big inning.
Dubrule and Tristan Peterson started the inning with singles and Bralin Jackson walked to load the bases with no outs. Florence starter Kevin Hahn then threw a wild pitch, which allowed Dubrule to race home from third base to score on a close play at the plate.
However, after Grant Heyman fouled out Hector Roa hit a ground ball to Sedio at third base and he fired home to retire Peterson, who was running on contact. A popout ended the threat.
“We had a chance in the first inning and didn’t execute,” Vaeth said. “We were fortunate they bounced one at the plate or we wouldn’t have scored at all. That sums up the whole night. … We’re not hot at all.”
Washington also had a runner thrown out at home plate in the second inning. Second baseman Tyler Reis, a former Waynesburg University player who was signed by Washington between games of the doubleheader, hit a two-out single and moved up when Dubrule walked. Peterson then laced a single to right field, but Florence’s Rodney Tennie field the ball and easily threw out Reis.
Florence took a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Alex Boshers (1-2), who started and pitched 4 1/3 innings, walked Harrison DiNicola and Tennie moved him up with a bunt. Connor Crane, the No. 9 hitter in the Y’alls lineup, blooped a single to center field that left runners on the corners. Axel Johnson walked to load the bases and that was all for Boshers, who was replaced by hard-throwing Dan Kubiuk.
Luis Pintor then hit a two-run single to left field, giving Florence the lead.
Florence had only two hits in the pivotal inning, but four of the Y’alls’ batters who fell behind in the count, either 0-2 or 1-2, ended up reaching base. They also had the sacrifice by Tennie.
“They’ve been doing that all year,” Vaeth said of the Y’alls. “That’s why their record (43-27) is what it is. They battle you. They don’t give up at-bats. When they fall behind in the count, they don’t try to hit home runs. They try to put the bat on the ball and spoil good pitches.”
Hahn and relievers Edgar Martinez (5-2) and Joe Dougherty combined on a seven-hitter. Martinez worked out a jam in the sixth, when he yielded no-out singles to Roa and Andrew Czech. Joe Campagna tried to move up the runners with a bunt but popped out to first base. Cody Young then hit a hard grounder to second base that turned into an inning-ending double play.
Washington shortstop Nick Ward sat out both games because of a back injury suffered while lifting weights. … Closer Zach Strecker pitched a scoreless seventh inning in the nightcap. After retiring the first batter of the inning, Strecker was visited on the mound by Vaeth and trainer Rylee Shimmin, who checked him for an arm injury. Strecker remained in the game. “Injuries are a big part of it, but at this time of year you have to battle through things. You can’t use them as an excuse. You have to find a way to overcome setbacks,” Vaeth said. … Reis, who played in nine games this year for New Jersey, is the third former Waynesburg player to be signed by the Wild Things. The others were pitchers Eric Holt (2004) and Justin Schrader (2006).