Close, but no wins for sluggers
April 27, 2011 - It was a week full of heartache for the Wildcat varsity sluggers as they let two games slip away that would have been victories.
In their first game of the week against Lake Orion on Thursday, April 21, Oxford took a 5-0 lead after the second inning, only to lose 7-5 in extra innings on a walk-off home run.
"It's kind of karma," varsity baseball coach Jeff Willis said. "We beat them last year in an extra inning game in a walk-off home run, and they returned the favor."
According to Willis, it was the fourth and fifth innings that spelled doom for the Wildcats.
Oxford gave up five runs in those two innings and couldn't capitalize on numerous chances with runners in scoring position.
"I told the kids that it was one of those games that we were in a position to win, and that is my job as a coach," Willis said.
After giving up four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Oxford was able to put their leadoff runner on second to start the sixth inning, but couldn't get him home. In the seventh, they loaded the bases with no one out, but couldn't get a clutch hit to drive in some runs.
Willis said senior Clayton Spiker threw a great game for Oxford. Junior Kyle Hartwick smacked a three-run homer with two outs in the second inning to put Oxford up 5-0.
It was the same story in Oxford's 7-4 loss to Stoney Creek on Monday, April 25.
The Wildcats loaded the bases twice in the second inning and once in the third and fourth inning, but only managed to push across four runs, all of which came in the second inning.
"Considering the weather and the way it has been for us in the spring, we are playing pretty decent baseball," Willis said. "It is hard to find your rhythm and everything like that when you have the elements just beating on you the whole time you are there."
Senior Keith Paslean started the game for the Wildcats. He started off slow, giving up two runs in the first inning, but pulled it together and didn't give up another run until the fifth inning.
"We had a chance to win that one, but it's like I tell the kids, we are only four games in and we have at least 24 more to go, we just have to stay focused on what we are trying to do."
With the losses, the Wildcats fall to 0-4 on the young season.
The Wildcats game against Lapeer East on Tuesday was postponed due to the weather.
Oxford will play again when they travel to Troy Athens on Wednesday, April 27 and play at home against Rochester on Friday, April 29.
The game against Rochester is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start, weather permitting.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.