Swept at All Pro: Despite good pitching, Avon Eagles lose doubleheader

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon’s Scott Barnum delivers a pitch in the top of the sixth inning against Warren Howland at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon on Saturday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon's Matt Wentz delivers a pitch in the top of the fourth inning Saturday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon’s Bradford Dill flies out in the bottom of the fifth inning Saturday.

MORNING JOURNAL/SAM GREENE Avon’s Scott Barnum delivers a pitch in the top of the sixth inning Saturday.

AVON — Saturday’s doubleheader at All Pro Freight Stadium was a rough afternoon for the Avon Eagles, as their offense struggled in a 4-1 loss to Warren Howland, the Eagles’ second loss of the day after losing the opener, 3-1, to Massillon Jackson.

The Eagles mustered just five hits and gave up three extra base hits against the Tigers as they fell behind and didn’t have enough firepower to catch up in the second game.

“It’s more of the same, pretty much what we’ve been going through the last couple of weeks,” Avon coach Frank DeSmit said. “We’re not doing all the little things we need to do to win, and that’s why we’re not winning.”

Starter Matt Wentz gave up an RBI double to Howland’s John-Mark Weisman in the third inning, and allowed an RBI triple by Tyler Spain and an RBI on a perfectly-executed squeeze play by Ryan Fleming in the fourth which put Avon in a 3-0 deficit. Weisman led the Howland offense, going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.

Shaun Traine led off the bottom of the fourth with a triple to right field, and scored on a wild pitch for Avon’s (3-6) only run of the game. Howland (6-2) added one more in the seventh for the game’s final run.

“They didn’t have a lot of hits, but they had enough to capitalize,” DeSmit said. “It’s something we’ve got to start doing. We’re not the ones capitalizing on little things right now.”

Howland’s combination of Kyle Watson, Kurtis Kuszmahl and Fleming kept the Eagles’ lineup in check as Avon failed to string multiple hits together and make the play that could have given them momentum.

“First-pitch strikes were the key,” Howland coach Sean Price said. “We threw first-pitch strikes to almost every batter. Once you get first-pitch strikes, you command the count. It makes the hitters hit your pitcher’s pitch.”

For DeSmit and the Eagles, the issue was failing to be proficient at small things like base-running and fielding assignments such as on Fleming’s squeeze play that cost them.

“We are a couple of good plays away from being 7-2,” DeSmit said. “I think I could say the same thing about a couple of our wins. It’s been that kind of a year. We’ve had a lot of close games which is good because we’re playing some good teams. But right now, we’re just not finding a way to win, and that’s going to be when this team figures out exactly what it wants to be.

“We’ve just got to figure out what our personality is and right now, until we can start winning some of these close games that we’re losing, we’re just going to have to fight.”

Traine went 2-for-3 in the loss for Avon.

In the first game against Massillon Jackson, Avon carried a 1-0 lead into the top of the seventh before Jonny Morales loaded the bases and Kyle Mottice hit a bases-loaded triple to give the Polar Bears a 3-1 win.

Both teams were scoreless through five innings, but Avon got on the board in the bottom of the sixth.

The Eagles hope to bounce back on Monday when it resumes West Shore Conference play at Elyria Catholic.

@Bielik_Tim

Last Updated: 4/13/2013 11:28:19 PM EST

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