WAILUKU - Things started well enough - twice - for Na Koa Ikaika Maui on Sunday before it all went wrong quickly both times.
Maui was swept by the Edmonton Capitals, 3-2 and 8-1, and now needs a miracle to make the North American Baseball League playoffs. Na Koa (28-39) trails Edmonton (41-27) by 12 1/2 games for the last playoff spot in the North Division with 29 games left to play.
Edmonton leads this nine-game series 5-2. A crowd of 478 at Maehara Stadium watched Maui lose for the 13th time in 15 games.
Maui manager Garry Templeton shook his head for what seemed like the 100th time this season, pointing to a grounder to first baseman Stephen Pearson that was scored a hit by Brent Metheny. It plated two runs to give Edmonton a 2-1 lead and started an eight-run sixth inning in the second game.
"It is really disappointing, I mean, that second game I really thought that we were playing good ball and then that one ground ball to the first baseman, which he should have had," Templeton said. "They gave the guy a hit, but it was clearly an error. You could see it from here because he never moved, never got himself down on the ball and it ends up breaking open an inning just like it did in the first game.
"I don't know what it is - it is just that one inning that kills us and it is really disappointing to me that it happens like that."
|Rio Grande Valley||40||28||.588||3|
Calgary 2, Lake County 1, 1st game
Calgary at Lake County, 2nd game, ppd.
Yuma 9, Chico 3, 1st game
Edmonton 3, Maui 2, 1st game
Chico 6, Yuma 0, 2nd game
Edmonton 8, Maui 1, 2nd game
Today's Games (HST)
Calgary at Lake County, 2 p.m.
Rio Grande Valley at San Angelo, 2:05 p.m.
Edinburg at McAllen, 2:05 p.m.
Yuma at Chico, 4:05 p.m.
Edmonton at Maui, 6:35 p.m.
Templeton didn't mince words, saying that changes may be coming.
"I can accept us just getting flat beat, but it is just that one inning just does us in," he said. "You never give up hope. I've never gave up this early. I play until the end, so for me, it is all the way out. But the players? I don't know because a lot of players have different attitudes about things.
"I told them, 'When you play for me you go out there and you play hard every day and you play it out to the end.' So, we'll see. I will have to wait and see where we are at the end of this series and, you know, maybe I will give some young kids a shot because it is just killing me that we make mistakes every day in one inning and then it just escalates."
The first game was scoreless through five innings, as Maui failed to take advantage of three doubles, each in different innings.
Maui pitcher Dan Delucia cruised through the first five innings, allowing one hit and retiring 15 of the 17 batters he faced.
Edmonton finally broke through in the sixth, however, when pitcher Rory Shortell led off with a single to left, was sacrificed to second and scored on Matt Rogelstad's single to left. Rogelstad advanced to third on an error by Maui left fielder Justin Jacobs after a single by Todd Linden, and Rogelstad made it 2-0 on a sacrifice fly to center.
Delucia (1-5) was stuck with the loss despite giving up just two runs, one earned, on four hits. He struck out two and walked none.
In the second game, Maui took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI single by Gered Mochizuki and held the slim margin until the roof caved in in the sixth. After Metheny gave the Caps the lead, catcher J.D. Closser had a two-run triple. Then Tom Collaro and Steve Brown each smacked impressive two-run homers.
Collaro's cleared the ironwood pine trees beyond the left-field fence and Brown's went out to straight center, the first home run of the season to dead center field.
Team vice president Bob Elder said after the second game Saturday that Eri Yoshida, the 19-year-old female knuckleball pitcher from Japan, will start on the mound Tuesday. She was acquired last week in a trade, but has been out with a non-baseball-related foot injury. In his interview, Templeton said that Yoshida was too sore to throw on Sunday.
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Rory Shortell, David Davidson (7) and Lou Santangelo; Dan Delucia, Clayton Uyechi (7) and Matt Kavanaugh. W-Shortell, 9-3. L-Delucia, 1-5. Sv-Davidson, 2. 2B-E, Tom Collaro; M, Gered Mochizuki 2, Stephen Pearson. HR-M, J.J. Sherrill.
Leading hitters-E, Matt Rogelstad 2-3, RBI, run; Shortell 2-3, RBI, run.
Chad Blackwell, Brandon Villafuerte (6), Mike Hrynio (7) and J.D. Closser; Nick Renault, Roman Martinez (6), Bryan Herrera (6) and Jowen Murray-Thornton. W-Blackwell, 3-0. L-Renault, 1-3. 3B-E, Closser. HR-E, Tom Collaro, Steve Brown.
Leading hitters-E, Matt Rogelstad 2-3, run; Closser 2-3, 2 RBIs, run.