WAILUKU - Maybe this is all that is left for Na Koa Ikaika Maui.
Eri Yoshida, the 19-year-old female knuckleball pitcher from Japan known as the "Knuckle Princess," is scheduled to start on the mound for Na Koa tonight. The 5-foot-1, 115-pounder brings an 0-4 record and a 12.04 ERA in nine career starts in the Golden Baseball League and its follower, the North American Baseball League, over the last two seasons.
She allowed two earned runs in a two-inning no-decision in an 8-4 win over Maui on July 22 when she pitched for Chico. She walked five of 15 batters she faced, but Maui traded for her six days later.
She'll try to stop Maui's four-game losing streak after Na Koa lost for the 14th time in 16 games Monday, 7-1 in front of 502 fans at Maehara Stadium. Maui is now 13 1/2 games behind the Capitals for the last playoff spot in the NAL North Division with 28 to play.
With one game left in this nine-game series, Edmonton has a 6-2 advantage.
Emotions boiled over for at least one Na Koa player after the game as relief pitcher David Dinelli had to be restrained by teammates in a heated argument with third-base umpire Stephen Cramer over what Dinelli thought should have been a balk call late in the game.
|Rio Grande Valley||41||28||.594||2|
Calgary at Lake County (2), ppd., rain
Rio Grande Valley 8, San Angelo 1
Edinburg 7, McAllen 4
Chico def. Yuma, forfeit
Edmonton 7, Maui 1
Today's Games (HST)
Edinburg at McAllen, 2:05 p.m.
Rio Grande Valley at San Angelo, 2:05 p.m.
Yuma at Chico, 4:05 p.m.
Edmonton at Maui, 6:35 p.m.
"It just seems like it is working out the same," Maui manager Garry Templeton said. "I am probably going to have to let somebody go tomorrow because there are certain things I just can't watch no more. Even though it is coming down to the end of the season I just can't watch no more of it."
Templeton said a balk should have been called.
"(Dinelli) told him the guy was balking, which the guy was, and they didn't call it, and (Cramer) said the 'score was 7-1, I'm not going to call a balk,' " Templeton said. "They are supposed to call a balk. If he's balking, he's balking."
Frustration is clearly getting to Na Koa at this point.
"I have been frustrated for quite a while," Templeton said. "Because you know this team, they show at times that they can play with just about anybody and then all of a sudden we come out and for three or four games - you have seen it - the life just gets out of them. I don't know if they have run out of gas already or what it is, but it is just frustrating. When it gets like that then it is time to move some people and bring in some young kids."
Tonight, however, there is Yoshida for fans to watch. She has not pitched yet on Maui because of a sore foot.
"Her ankle is still bothering her," Templeton said. "But we'll see. We will just take it from there. She says it still hurts, so, I will talk to her tonight when we go in and we will see where she is at, but I guess she says she is ready to go."
After winning two games in a row to snap a franchise-record 10-game losing streak, Maui has been outscored 23-7 in its current four-game slide. Maui is now 21-22 at Maehara Stadium, where it was 38-12 last season.
Questions still remain about whether the Lake County Fielders will get on a plane today to come to Maui for the final home series that is scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday. Na Koa officials were wondering aloud Monday night about Lake County after the Chicago Tribune ran a story on Saturday that the Fielders were possibly days away from disbanding over a stadium dispute between the team and the city of Zion, Ill.
"I haven't heard anything on Lake County," Templeton said.
It didn't take long for Maui to trail in a home game for the 39th time in 43 outings as Jamie McGraw walked to lead off Monday's game, took second on a wild pitch and scored one out later on a single by Todd Linden. It quickly got worse as Lou Santangelo smacked a two-run homer to left that made it 3-0 before Maui batted.
A solo homer by Linden made it 4-0 in the third and an RBI double by pitcher Dallas Buck pushed the Edmonton lead to 5-0 in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Maui got runners as far as third base just twice in first six innings of the game.
Relief pitcher Rusty Jones provided the lone offensive spark for Maui with an RBI triple to the right-field corner to make it 5-1 in the seventh.
Jones is now hitting 5-for-8 on the season and has two homers and five RBIs.
Edmonton added its final two runs in the ninth on a two-run error by Jose Sanchez at third base.
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dallas Buck, David Davidson (7), J.J. Whetsel (9) and Lou Santangelo; Kris Honel, Rusty Jones (7), David Dinelli (9) and Matt Kavanaugh. W-Buck, 2-0. L-Honel, 0-4. 2B-E, Enrique Cruz, Buck. 3B-M, Jones. HR-E, Santangelo, Todd Linden.
Leading hitters-E, Linden 3-4, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Cruz 2-4, run; Buck 2-3, RBI.