Most Viewed Stories
Fast start fades fast for Scorpions
The season started promising for the Yuma Scorpions when leadoff hitter Javier Herrera launched the third pitch he saw over the left field fence.
But it turned out to be the high point instead of a launching pad.
The Scorps scored three in the first but struggled offensively the rest of the game in an 8-5 loss to defending Golden Baseball League champion Calgary on Wednesday at Desert Sun Stadium.
After Herrera's blast, Alex Prieto walked and Lee Cruz doubled. Timothy Rodriguez - who took the field in right by making backflips across the infield - grounded out to score Prieto, then Santo DeLeon singled home Cruz.
But things fell apart after starter Bill Pulsipher left with a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth. Three runs scored after he gave way to reliever Matt Stone, two of which were charged to Pulsipher, and the game was tied heading into the seventh.
Scorpion reliever Adam Kramer was tagged for five runs in one-plus innings. Jorge Mejia hit a two-run home run in the seventh, and Drew Miller launched a three-run shot to right field in the eighth that was so far over the wall, Rodriguez could only turn around and stare. The moon shot put the Vipers up 8-3.
Scorpion coach Darryl Brinkley said Kramer (0-1) was supposed to pitch around Mejia and Miller - both of whom played for Calgary last year and each hit over .340 and combined for 17 home runs.
"He had no business throwing those guys a strike," Brinkley said. "He got too much of the plate. Hopefully he'll realize what he did or he'll make an adjustment. If you don't, it wont be a long season, you know what I mean? You have to learn from your mistakes, and you have to not repeat mistakes."
Pulsipher cruised early, retiring the first four batters and not allowing a hit until the fourth. He let two runners on in each the fourth and fifth, but pitched out of trouble both times. But after he let the first two reach in the sixth, Brinkley lifted him for Stone. Julio Ramirez, the first batter Stone faced, ripped a double past third baseman DeLeon just inside the line, scoring both runs. Ramirez scored the tying run on a single by Drew Miller.
"Bill pitched real good for his first outing, throwing five innings," Brinkley said of the former major leaguer. "It wasn't a hard choice at all (to take him out). He was tired. He should have come out. The other guys have to do their job."
Adam Moreno relived Kramer and retired the side in the eighth after Miller's bomb, then Cibney Bello pitched a scoreless ninth.
After the fast Yuma start, the Scorpions couldn't score anything else off Calgary starter Joe Sergent, who was 7-3 with a 3.88 ERA last year for the Vipers.
"I know that pitcher. He might struggle at the beginning but he bears down," said Brinkley, who was a player-coach with Edmonton last year. "We didn't keep the gas pedal on the floor."
Yuma added a run in the eighth when Herrera hit a slow grounder to second baseman Mejia, who had the ball go right off his glove. It was ruled a hit, giving him his second RBI in a 3-for-4 showing.
The Scorpions added one more run in the ninth, when Johny Celis fouled out to left, scoring Rodriguez, who reached on a single. They outhit the Vipers 12-10, but left 11 on base. Only Prieto went hitless among the Scorpion position players, but walked twice.
Berek Fasking (1-0) got the win in relief for the Vipers, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless, one-hit innings. The teams play the second of the four-game series at 6:30 p.m. today.