The Wild Things and Schaumburg Boomers entered Thursday night’s doubleheader at Consol Energy Park as the top two fielding teams in the Frontier League.
So, naturally, it was errors that played a major role in the second game between the usually sure-handed clubs.
Schaumburg scored an unearned run without the benefit of a hit in the top of the eighth inning to beat the Wild Things 4-3 and complete a sweep of the doubleheader.
The Boomers won the opening game – the completion of Wednesday night’s suspended contest – 1-0 on a ninth-inning home run by Justin Vasquez.
Tied 3-3 in the top of the eighth, Schaumburg’s Mark Nelson worked a leadoff walk against reliever Jonathan Kountis (0-2), the third Wild Things pitcher of the game. Cameron Scherrer then dropped down a sacrifice bunt that Kountis fielded cleanly, but his underhanded toss to second baseman Garrett Rau, who was covering first base, sailed over Rau’s head and went for a two-base error.
With runners on second and third, Kountis struck out Ryan McChesney and then worked the count to 1-2 on Mike Valadez. But the veteran Schaumburg catcher hit the next pitch to right field, just deep enough for Nelson to beat Stewart Ijames’ strong throw to home plate.
James Bierlein (2-1), the third of four Schaumburg pitchers, was the winner. Dexter Price pitched the bottom of the eighth for his sixth save of the year and second of the day.
Washington (16-8), which remains in the first place in the East Division, has lost two in a row for the first time since the opening series of the year.
The Wild Things trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth but got a break with a costly Schaumburg error.
After Carter Bell doubled and scored on John Brandmaier’s hit-and-run single – the rookie from Dowling University’s first professional hit – Yeurys Tejeda hit a grounder to Nelson at third base. Nelson’s throw to first base was wide and rolled down the right-field line, allowing Brandmaier to score the tying run.
Tejeda ended up at third base with one out on the error, but the Wild Things, as was the theme for the night, couldn’t get a clutch hit with a runner in scoring position as two groundouts left Tejeda at third.
Washington was 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position in the second game.
Washington’s initial run of the second game scored in the second inning, when Ijames and Bell hit consecutive singles, advanced on a balk by Schaumburg starter Danny Jimenez and Brandmaier lofted a sacrifice fly.
Washington starter Scott Dunn pitched five innings, giving up eight hits, one walk and three runs. Dunn did pitch his way out of several jams.
In the opening game, which was resumed in the bottom of the fifth inning, four Schaumburg pitchers combined on a two-hit shutout. Boomers starter Seth Webster threw four hitless innings Wednesday, and Hunter Ackerman tossed three more hitless frames when play resumed Thursday. Washington didn’t get its first hit in the game until irst baseman William Beckwith had a clean single through the right side of the infield with one out in the eighth off Hunter Hatfield.
While Schaumburg pitchers were throwing hitless innings, Washington’s were matching them with eight shutout frames. Zac Fuesser threw five shutout innings before play was suspended and Al Yevoli began Thursday with two solid innings of relief.
The Boomers won the game when the left-handed hitting Vasquez hit a solo homer to left field off Matt Purnell (1-1).
Washington’s Danny Poma had a one-out single on a chopper off home plate in the ninth, but he was caught stealing and a flyout ended the game.
Washington released pitcher Julio Perez and outfielder Marinio Guzman. Both players are natives of the Dominican Republic and began the season on the suspended list after arriving late for spring training. Perez was activated June 6 and pitched in one game (Sunday at Rockford), giving up two hits, two walks and three runs in 2/3 of an inning. Guzman was never added to the active roster. The Wild Things have 23 players on the active roster, one under the league limit. … The Wild Things and Boomers played 24 innings in the rain-plagued three-game series. None of the innings ended with a team leading by more than one run. … Washington begins a three-game series at home tonight against the Joliet Slammers.