LIMA — Lima rarely struggled to put runners on base. Finding a way to force those runners across the plate was a different story.
It’s been one of Post 96’s main points of concern of late, and it again was a contributing factor as Lima fell to Ottawa 5-1 on Friday. Colin Gossard took the loss for Lima.
“It’s been a problem for us the last week and a half,” Lima coach Doug Waddle said. “We’re in batting practice every day working on situational hitting, and the bottom line for us right now is that we have got to start executing with guys on base.”
Lima was able to draw first blood in the second inning, with Nick Watkins singling to lead off the frame and scoring two batters later on an RBI groundout by Cody Fullenkamp. Lima held that lead until Ottawa scored twice in the fifth inning, grabbing a lead that stuck the rest of the game.
Ottawa dealt its biggest blow, however, in the eighth inning. Post 96 pitcher Tanner Koverman walked two of the three batters he faced to begin the inning before he was relieved by Casey Mulcahy. Mulcahy gave up an RBI single, then allowed two more runs via a wild pitch and a balk.
Ottawa totaled one hit and five walks in the eighth inning, which it left with a 5-1 lead.
“We talk all the time about being aggressive on the bases,” Ottawa coach Todd Schimmoeller said. “We were aggressive early, and got a couple of breaks late in the game that were very important. I was very pleased with the way we took extra bases when we could, which certainly helped out in (the eighth inning).”
Waddle accepted the blame for a few of the little things that went against Lima on Friday.
“I’m not going to put (the eighth inning) on Casey (Mulcahy),” Waddle said. “That balk was one of the things we haven’t really discussed with our pitchers, so I’ll take that one. Then, there was the hit and run where we tried to get to third and ended up making the first out at third base, which you never want to do.”
Gossard got the loss for Lima, despite not allowing an earned run in his seven innings of work.
The two runs scored against Gossard in the fifth inning were scored because of a throwing error by Gossard to first, which allowed a runner to get into scoring position while the second run scored on a passed ball. Gossard allowed his two unearned runs on just four hits, striking out eight and walking four. He threw 102 pitches, 59 of which were strikes.
“His last three starts have been awesome,” Waddle said. “After we took him out in the seventh, I told our guys, ‘Let’s go win this one for someone who just pitched a great game.’ That’s the most frustrating thing for the whole team, getting a great pitching performance and not being able to back it up on offense.”
The winning pitcher for Ottawa was Clay Grubb, who pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run on six hits. Grubb struck out four, walked three, and hit one batter.
Lima’s Nick Watkins finished the game 2 for 3 with two infield singles, a walk and a run scored. Doug Sanders went 2 for 4 with a walk for Post 96.
Lima falls to 8-13 on the season.