THE Goldeyes' bats fell silent again Wednesday, leaving the second game of their home series against the Canaries to unravel on just one messy, early inning.
See, the Fish couldn't get much going, not even as starting pitcher Peter Gehle recovered from a three-hit, four-run second frame to all but lock down the next five innings. Oh, the batters had their chances against Canaries hurler Adam Champion -- a southpaw who was only 4-7 with an underwhelming 6.32 ERA coming into the game -- but they kept falling flat: a few almost-homers lacked for just a foot or two, a few runners stranded on base.
The Fish even out-hit the visitors, if only by a couple, batting out eight to the Canaries' six. But while one of those was timely, for the visitors -- a second-inning JP Ramirez grand slam -- for the Goldeyes, no single hit really was. Their only score came off a dash by outfielder Fehlandt Lentini, who singled to get on base, stole second and made it home on an Amos Ramon out.
On the plus side, the heckling crew was out in full force -- "You couldn't hit a beach ball," they cackled at Canaries catcher Kevin Dultz, who indeed went hitless in the game. The pain for the over 6,100 Fish fans in attendance was short, as the game sped by in only two hours and 18 minutes. Heck, it wasn't even dark when the game-ending fireworks began.
All the Canaries needed to win was a single play, and it came off the bat of left-fielder JP Ramirez, who knocked out that grand slam and added a single to go 2 for 3 with four RBI in the game.
Fish first baseman Ryan Scoma got on the bags every time he had a chance. He banged out three singles in three tries and coaxed a walk in the eighth -- but the solid effort went for naught when he was stranded on base three times.
THE Fish had no answer for the Canaries' one scoring blow, a second-inning grand slam that hung over the scoreboard for the rest of the game. The entire sequence of events went wrong, starting when starter Pete Gehle -- who otherwise pitched well, only giving up two other hits and striking out four across six other innings -- walked Canaries third baseman Jared Clark. Then the visitors' big-swingin' designated hitter Tim Pahuta singled, right-fielder Jake Taylor did too, and the bases were loaded up for Ramirez to blow it out.
THE seventh-inning sprint to second secured veteran Lentini's place in indie baseball history, as he took top spot in the all-time independent ball record for stolen bases at 331, tied with former Atlantic and Northeast leagues player Billy Hall. Lentini, 35, said Fish staff told him about the chance at a record just before the game.
"I don't know if it's a dubious achievement, just means I've been playing indie ball a long time," he said, adding a self-effacing chuckle. "Kind of like Crash Davis and Bull Durham, but it's nice. I've always been a base stealer and try really hard to get some bags, so I appreciate being there, but it sucks coming on a game that we lost."
ON THE HOOK
THE Fish wrap up their three-game homestand against the Canaries at noon today, then get ready to welcome the Trois-Rivieres Aigles for four.
-- Melissa Martin