FARMINGTON — After suffering a tough one-run loss Tuesday night, the Rivercats bounced back with a thrashing of 4CB Wednesday, cruising to a 10-0 win at Ricketts Park.
4CB starting pitcher Kyle Thompson had trouble with his command from the start, walking three Rivercats in the first inning. The struggles continued for Thompson into the third inning, when he was pulled after walking the leadoff batter.
"I believe we had too much conditioning this week," 4CB coach Shawn Mike said. "The team has been doing a lot of conditioning on their own, and I don't think his (Thompson's) legs were there tonight. He wasn't pushing off the mound. But he's one of our leaders on the team, and we all respect him. We really just wanted to get him some time on the mound before the (City) Tournament."
When Thompson was pulled in the bottom of the third, he'd thrown 32 balls to just six strikes.
The switch on the mound didn't stop the bleeding, but it was mistakes in the field opposed to on the mound that spelled doom for 4CB. In the third inning, the Rivercats only recorded one hit, but scored four runs on five 4CB errors.
"I believe it's fatigue. We went down to Phoenix and played a tournament in 115-degree heat, and ever since then, the guys have really taken it upon themselves to do conditioning on their own. But we all know you need to take a couple of days to rest," Mike said. "But no excuses. We want to go out there and do the best we can, but right there at the end, it wasn't pretty."
Sbhowing patience at the plate isn't the approach the Rivercats normally employ.
"That's not really our philosophy, to stand up there and take walks, but it kind of presented itself," Rivercats coach Dwight Foster said. "We ask a lot of these kids, and to see them come out and push themselves for everything they're capable and being aggressive, that's what we want to see. Without pushing and being aggressive, we're not going to know how much we can get."
While the 4CB pitching and defense found trouble throughout the game, the Rivercat defense was nearly perfect. Starting pitcher Grant Bessey shut the 4CB bats down.
"What we ask of every pitcher is to throw strikes, and that's what he did," Foster said of Bessey. "He throws it just soft enough and with a good enough angle that if he gets it in the zone, he's going to be pretty successful."
Bessey threw ground ball pitch after ground ball pitch, and time and time again, the defense behind him converted the routine plays, never allowing more than one baserunner on in an inning.
"We want him to pitch to contact and throw a lot of strikes, because the less time we're out there, the better — and it's easier to play defense when you're not out there watching walk after walk," Foster said. "With him throwing strikes and the defense playing well, it was a good combination today."