Before the season started, Spokane manager Al Pedrique said he didn’t get into coaching to be like Fidel Castro.
But after an 0-4 start, Pedrique may be forgiven for any future cigar-chomping dictatorial outbursts.
Yakima’s 9-5 win against the Indians on Sunday at Seafirst Stadium completed the Bears’ four-game sweep. It also prompted Pedrique to talk about the basics of baseball, or in this case, his team’s lack of fundamental skills.
“We’re going to need a lot of work in the fundamentals of the game,” Pedrique said.
But take nothing away from Yakima. The Bears hit balls all over the place. Yet, when faced with opportunities to get back in the game, Spokane’s fundamental errors hurt its chances.
Spokane left fielder Tony Miranda ignited the Indians, but also put out his own fire.
A member of the College World Series champion CalState Fullerton Titans, Miranda went 3 for 5 to raise his season batting average to .400.
On the base paths, however, his overexuberance nullified potential scoring chances.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the third, Miranda got caught stealing second base with a 3-1 count on batter Joel Nations.
Nations eventually walked and went to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a Mark Quinn hit.
Had Miranda been on base, two runs most likely would have scored with only one out. As it turned out, the mental error left Spokane trailing 3-2.
“You can’t make too many mental mistakes,” Pedrique said. “We lack power and speed as a team, so we’ve got to be extra careful that we play the game smart.”
In the fifth, Nations got a hit after Miranda got his third straight single. However, when rounding third on Nations’ hit, Miranda took too big a turn, slipped and attempted to crawl back to the bag. But Yakima shortstop Mike Carpenter threw him out after getting the relay from right fielder Johnny Hilo.
Spokane’s carelessness on the basepaths came on a day when its pitchers could have used some help. Starter Justin Adam and his relief help were roughed up by Yakima.
The trio of Adam, Jesus Liz and Matt Saier gave up nine earned runs on 12 hits.
Pedrique, in his professional coaching debut, now faces the challenge of keeping his team upbeat.
Some solace may be found in the fact the Indians have lost by an average of only two runs a game
“Yes it is early, yes it is developmental baseball at a young age, but you’ve got to get the wins to keep the spirits up,” Pedrique said.
“Winning is a part of the development at this level. This is professional baseball, and they’re not used to playing everyday.
“Myself and the staff must make them understand that this is a day-in and day-out business. But right now, I just want to get the first win.”
Tonight’s game against Everett will mark the pro debut of Spokane native and Ferris High graduate Matt Sachse.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
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