Free Passes Hurt Wilcox in 12-3 Loss to Palo Alto
By: Andrew Bensch
Credit the Chargers (3-5) for hanging in the game until the seventh inning, but 13 free passes by Wilcox pitchers was simply too much to overcome against Palo Alto (6-2). Starting pitcher Jairus Baddo left the mound after 3 and 1/3 innings with the score tied 3-3. Before the completion of the fourth inning though, a fourth run would come in, charged to Baddo on a bases loaded walk. While it wasn’t the senior’s sharpest performance on the mound, Baddo did keep his team in the game. Wilcox would allow a fifth run in the fifth and would trail just 5-3 going into the final frame. That’s where the game got away from the Chargers as the Vikings dropped a seven spot in the top of the seventh.
“It looked like it was just a matter of time [until Palo Alto would bust out], we’re just not playing very well,” commented Chargers Head Coach David Currie. “We’re young, maybe not baseball savvy. There’s no leadership, nobody really takes charge of anything out on the field.”
While the final score ended up in a lopsided defeat, the Charger’s third-inning, two-out rally temporarily gave them a 3-2 lead. Through 2 and 2/3 innings Wilcox had yet to have anyone reach base against Vikings starting pitcher Aron Ecoff. But with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the third Chargers center fielder and No. 9 batter David Hernandez lined a sharp single to left field. Baddo then followed with a bouncing ball up the middle that the Palo Alto shortstop was unable to handle, keeping the inning alive. That set the table for left-handed batting first-baseman Alexander Adame who crushed a pitch over the right-fielder’s head for a two-run double. Taiga Sato would add an RBI single later in the inning, knocking in Adame. In a flash, the Chargers had gone from mustering nothing against Ecoff, to leading the game 3-2.
“On Wednesday [also against Palo Alto] they were throwing me inside a lot, so I was just looking for an inside pitch,” remarked Adame on his two RBI double. “I loaded a little early, saw it, swung and just made good contact.”
“That was a big inning for us,” commented starting catcher Marlon Arce. “Very explosive inning. We needed that, electrified the whole dugout.”
While Baddo struggled a bit on the mound, he got his team through the first three innings allowing just two runs. After the Vikings scored twice in the top of the second and the Chargers went quietly in the bottom, Baddo pitched a relatively quick top of the third, allowing just one walk. A half-inning later and the Chargers were all of a sudden leading the game. Unfortunately for Wilcox fans, that was the last of the positives in this one.
Overall there was simply too many bouts of wildness from Wilcox pitchers. Three of Palo Alto’s first five runs were forced in. Two bases-loaded walks and a bases-loaded hit by pitch.
“Not throwing strikes, I don’t know how many [free passes] we had, feels like 10, way too many,” recalled Currie. “We actually hit the ball better today than what we had been. That was the one positive, but then the wheels completely came off which is discouraging. We just didn’t have it though. Even from the jump, we just didn’t seem to have the drive or push to be out here, to come out and compete.”
“We let it get away from us in that last inning,” added a frustrated Adame. “We played lazy, didn’t throw strikes and that’s the outcome.”