Second week of Fall Ball nets improved play
Thursday October 18, 2001
Team Gray pounded team White 7-2 Tuesday in the second full week of fall practice.
Right fielder and leadoff man Clayton Bried led the attack with three singles, a double and four RBI. Bried capped the Gray scoring in the seventh inning with a single to left that drove in two runs.
Gray starter Joe Little allowed one earned run on three hits in four innings.
Team White pulled off a double-steal that led to its first run of the game in the bottom of the first.
Second baseman Moises Duran singled to left, and catcher Ken Riley followed with a single to right that moved Duran to second.
Two pitches later, Duran and Riley executed the double-steal, and Duran scored on the play when Gray catcher Chris Cunningham threw wildly into left field trying to throw him out at third.
Duran went two-for-three on the day with two doubles, and scored two runs. Starter Marc Kaiser pitched four innings and gave up three runs on six hits. Pitchers were limited to fastballs and changeups for the fourth-straight game.
Head coach Andy Lopez was impressed with both teams' improvement and intensity.
"We're getting better," he said. "The thing I'm most pleased about is that we are now playing hard on every pitch on both sides."
Before the game, coaches announced that each team must execute a steal, bunt, squeeze or a hit and run every inning. This rule ended up causing an unusual play for any baseball team.
Gray shortstop John Hardy - who went 2 for 4 with a triple and a run - became the third out on a suicide squeeze, a play rarely called with two outs.
After Cunningham tripled to right, Hardy tried the squeeze bunt, but Kaiser easily fielded the attempt and completed the final out of the inning at first.
Pitcher and third base coach Tony Sulser was forced to call the play since the team hadn't executed any of Lopez's mandated plays.
Hardy understands what mindset Lopez's staff wants the team to have even though the inning ended.
"Coach is putting in our heads that a good team that plays hard is tough to beat," he said.
Forty-five walk-ons tried out for the fall team after Monday practice. Only three players made the team, who were, said assistant coach Mark Wasikowski, "far and away better" than the rest of the group.
All three are outfielders and will work out with the team for the duration of the fall intersquad scrimmages.
"They were the only three guys that had the ability to play at a division one level," Wasikowski said.
Left fielder Mike Wilcox made his debut for Team Gray and went hitless in two at bats. The others joined the team Wednesday.
Wasikowski said the players bring more to the team than solid play.
"We want to create competition on the field and want to increase the level of competition," he said.
"Each player wants to get better, but we as a team treat them as the same as all of us," Hardy said.