The McPherson Pipeliners continued with their slump as they lose their sixth consecutive game to the Park City Rangers 11-1 at home on Friday night.
The pitching game remains a weak point during the game. Austin Warfel returned on the mound for the Pipeliners. It was a shaky start after giving up two runs and walking three batters in the top of the first. Giving up 10 walks from the pitching staff, along with 11 runs and 12 hits played a factor in not only Friday's loss to the Rangers, but all summer long as well.
"Walks has been a thing all year," head coach Caleb Hartman said after the game. "We'll have a guy that would come in and close out, and then our reliefs suck. Then we got the starters that suck, but are reliefs will do well. It just never blend in together. We had some spurts, but pitching is pitching. Either you got it or you don't. Right now we don't have it."
The Pipeliners remained scoreless and the Rangers kept scoring runs. In the top of the third, Rangers hit a solo home run to have the Pipeliners trail 3-0. Warfel lasted three 1/3 innings. He was replaced by Central Christian College player Landon Stevens, making his debut on the mound as the reliever. However, it wasn't as welcoming despite playing at the Light Capital Stadium for three years. While Stevens was on the mound, the Rangers was on the attack as they scored six more runs in the top of the fourth. Five straight batters reached on base.
After four scoreless innings, the Pipeliners scored their only run off an RBI single by Luke Quick that would send Cody Carpenter home after he hit a single in the bottom fifth.First half of the season, the Pipeliners would average 10 hits a night, but lack of depth and inconsistencies has caught up with the McPherson since their last meet with the Rangers on July 2.
"We relied heavily on the RBI guys," Hartman said. "We now have to rely on our small ball with us losing our key guys. We lost the P's (Clayton and Alex Peterson) and (Lance) Russell. (Cody) Starkel and (Marcus) McDaniels have gone in a slump. Those are our top RBI guys right there. You don't have three of them, and two of them are not producing. It's just rough."
In the top of the six, the Rangers hit a two-run homer to cause more bleeding, and the game lasted in the top of the seventh due to the run rule. The Pipeliners now fall to 7-15 in their league. With little time to rest, the Pipeliners will be back at the Light Capital Diamond on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's game will be against the Clearwater Outlaws and Sunday's game the Valley Center Mud Daubers will be in town. Both games start at 7 p.m. Hartman remains positive with 11 more games left, and hoping his Pipeliners can create a spark sooner rather than later.
"We got a bunch of games left. 11 more games of the regular season," Hartman said. "We've gone on a terrible downhill slide, but baseball is baseball. You never know what can happen."
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports