PBF offense can’t find its stride

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MONROE — Prospect-Beacon Falls American Legion Posts 194-25 took a lead late into Tuesday’s game at Monroe, but surrendered a pair of unearned runs in the fifth to waste a solid outing by Kyle Georgia and lose another close decision, 3-2.

PBF led, 2-1, entering the bottom of the fifth, but Monroe’s first two batters reached, on a walk and an error on a sacrifice bunt, to set up a first-and-third situation with no outs. After the second runner stole second to put himself in scoring position, Georgia induced a groundout to second for the first out.

First baseman Ryan McKay then threw behind the runner at second, who had strayed too far toward third, allowing the runner at third to hurry home to tie the game at two.

“McKay has got to run at the runner and let him make a move,” PBF head coach Jim Augelli said. “The worst thing we want there is to have them end up back where they started, and the best is to get an out at the plate. He let them dictate the situation, but we talked to him about it after and he understands.”

Later in the inning, with a runner on third and one out, Monroe took the lead on a sacrifice fly to center, just deep enough for the runner to avoid the throw by Ryan Genua to catcher Jack DeBiase.

PBF had a chance to tie the game in the seventh, after shortstop Ryan Mariotti led off by reaching on an error, and right fielder Sean Deegan laid down a sacrifice bunt. But a pair of flyouts by third baseman Brian Langdon and DeBiase ended the threat.

Prospect-Beacon Falls had also squandered an opportunity in the first, when DeBiase walked to lead off the game, then moved to second on a wild pitch and stole third. DeBiase was stranded on third, though, as Posts 194-25 couldn’t manage contact past the pitcher.

“Any contact or a ground ball will score him there,” Augelli said. “That would change the whole complexion of the game. When you don’t hit, you have to play perfect baseball, and that’s a very hard thing to do.”

PBF took a 2-0 lead in the third when it loaded the bases with one out, following another walk by DeBiase, and back-to-back singles by second baseman Mike Hardy and Georgia. DeBiase scored on a wild pitch before Hardy came home on a groundout from Genua.

Georgia allowed his only earned run of the day in the bottom half of the inning, after packing the bases with one out on a single, walk, and hit batsman. A deep sacrifice fly to center pulled Monroe within one before a key defensive play at first by McKay ended the inning.

Georgia struck out one while walking two and hitting two. He allowed three hits, the same number PBF put up offensively.

“Our pitching has been excellent,” Augelli said. “We’ve been getting good games out of our pitchers. They’ve been keeping us in games. Our defensive has been solid, with a couple mental and physical errors here and there. But you can’t win with a hit in key situations.”

Prospect-Beacon Falls dropped to 2-12 with the loss.

“We’re going to win some games over the rest of the season,” Augelli said. “We’re going to beat some teams that don’t expect us to beat them. These guys are too good to keep losing like this. It’s a good team. We don’t play bad baseball, we just haven’t put it all together yet.”