Monday 16 June 2003 – 21:27:30
June 15th Mariners 8 Panthers 10
Panthers 12 Mariners 8
It?s not easy writing on games after a day like Sunday. Not that there weren?t positives; it was a perfect day for baseball; warm, calm and eventually sunny. The field looked excellent and there was a barbeque where Phil?s veggie burgers tasted great; we even had an umpire. The pitching and fielding was satisfactory but two loses in a double-header where the Mariner offence never really came alive until the 7th inning of the second game was disappointing and at times frustrating. After last weeks fine performance against the league topping Hurricanes, particularly in game one, this team should have come out confident and firing on all cylinders. It didn?t happen.
Game one started in the second inning with the Mariners leading 7-5 following a protest in the original game scheduled back in April. While that lead was maintained for a time with Darragh Jones pitching respectably, his outing would certainly have resulted in victory had the batting order put a sequence of hits together. Several times the ball was hit well, but always seemed to end in the glove of a Panther; in the air to outfielders, on the ground to infielders. The offence seemed a bit one dimensional and it was no surprise that over the next five innings the Mariners were outscored 1-5 with that solitary run coming in on a sac bunt by Iain Duncan.
Unfortunately little changed in Game two, until it was too late. Iain Duncan?s pitching kept the score close until he tired in the latter stages and while the Panthers pulled slowly away initially, it was one big inning that made the difference in the score. But it was the home team scoring only 4 runs in the previous 6 innings and a few uncharacteristic errors that really cost the game. Down by 8 runs going into their last at bat, the Mariners did finally wake up as the sun came out and string together a fine sequence of hitting and running. Gareth Kelly hit up the middle and Iain Duncan had a bases clearing double, but unfortunately the 4 runs scored were just not enough to overhaul the deficit.
It was good however to see Ross Graham and Dan Silverlock start to put the ball in play, each getting hits and to see Daniel Hanlon?s name in the line-up and on the stats sheet with a pair of walks. But the team finished the day below .500 for the first time this season and that is a disappointment following several positive performances. It will take a pair of wins next week against the Tigers to get this team back to .500 before the season breaks, but if the Mariners can find their early season form they should be able to accomplish this task.