Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Goldeyes swinging like rusty gates

Can't buy a hit, swept by RedHawks

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Maybe the home cooking just isn't sitting right, or maybe there's something about the open road that loosens up the arms.

Or, more likely, it's just the normal roller coaster of a season cruised into a low. Anyway, all that matters is Sunday afternoon the Goldeyes lost the third and final game of their home series against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. Yeah, they got swept by the divisional rivals, posting an 11-1 flop and a tight 4-3 loss in Saturday's double-header, following up with a 4-3 Sunday heartbreaker.

The Fish came home just a week ago, after going a robust 8-2 on their season-opening roadie. They rolled through Grand Prairie and Amarillo, and split four tilts with the Lincoln Saltdogs. But at Shaw Park, they struggled. They won their first two against the Laredo Lemurs, then lost four in a row to close out the week at home.

'You gotta score runs. If you're gonna stay consistent, and have a chance to get on good streaks, you gotta score runs'

-- Goldeyes manager Rick Forney

If every part of the Goldeyes' game was firing in the first tenth of the season, the string of losses fell on many stumbles. There were some messy innings from the mound. But mostly, in the three-game series against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, the offence just didn't come.

"You gotta score runs," manager Rick Forney said bluntly. "If you're gonna stay consistent, and have a chance to get on good streaks, you gotta score runs. We just didn't score enough good runs this series."

To be sure, there were some bright spots. Infielder Casey Haerther walloped out some beauties over the series, including the solo home run in the sixth inning of Sunday's game that put the Goldeyes up by one. Veteran outfielder Fehlandt Lentini came out strong in Sunday's game, hauling down drives that could have broken the game open.

But all that gets washed away, when the wins don't come. "That last at-bat ruined the day for myself," Lentini said, after the Goldeyes missed a chance to tie or win Sunday's game after a ball he hit was used to notch a third out. "I had a chance to do something, but couldn't put something together. It's a tough loss."

Well, it's over now, and now it's time for the Fish to hit the road, hoping to get some of the mojo back that carried them to a record-breaking start. Tonight, they'll play the first of four in Sioux Falls, then wrap up with three in Fargo before coming back to host the Wichita Wingnuts on June 10.

So the question: with all the success in other parks and the stumbles at home, is it just that this team likes the road? "Well, I don't know how much we LIKED it," Lentini said with a chuckle, remembering that 16-day marathon. "It just worked out in a positive way. Hopefully we can keep that going."

When the Fish return to Winnipeg next Monday, they will come back a different roster by one, at least.

In the next couple of days, Forney will need to pull the trigger on one long-percolating decision. He moved pitcher Peter Gehle to the disabled list last week to get the Fish roster down to the maximum of 22 allowed through the American Association season, but Gehle is slated to start Tuesday's game against the Sioux Falls Canaries. When he does, someone else will have to come off.

Earlier this season, Forney indicated the last cut would likely be a position player, joking that he wasn't smart enough to find at-bats for all 11 on the roster.

He wasn't tipping his hand Sunday. "I don't know yet, we'll see," he said. "Stay tuned."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 3, 2013 D4

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