07/11/2023 9:02 PM -
NAPPANEE, Ind. – The Griffith Generals once again failed to push runs across the plate in key situations during a doubleheader against the Elkhart County Miracle. The Generals lost two seven-inning contests by scores of 2-0 and 6-3. Two of the three runs scored in game two were due to a dropped pop-up by new Miracle first baseman Austin Jackson.
Game one was an entertaining pitching duel between Josh Ortiz and Bryce Trail. The game went scoreless until a hustling infield single by Dawson Willis that put the Miracle on the board. Jaden Miller added an insurance run with a ground-rule double in the sixth for the second Miracle run. The Generals would fail to score, leaving nine runners on base.
“We didn’t hit well with runners in scoring position,” said head coach Peter Romsek about game one. “Defense was good, but we didn’t get the big hit. That’s all there is to it.”
Game two was a much more frustrating affair for the Generals, as Evan Nieter put them behind early. In two innings pitched, he allowed five runs on five hits, walking three Miracle batters. He also had four wild pitches that allowed runners to advance.
Pitching coach Ryan Jemar narrowed Nieter’s struggles to a hostile strike zone, saying, “I think he was scared to miss with the umpire’s zone. I was fine with it, but the walks became a little too much. He had to throw fastballs in fastball counts, and he gave the hitters the advantage.”
On the offensive side, the Generals hit into more tough luck. Both Dawson Willis and Cole Mason leaped up in the air to rob hits on the middle infield. The Miracle outfield also had good first jumps to line drives, taking those hits away as well. That, on top of the error that scored most of the Generals' runs, led to another unproductive, underwhelming game on the offensive side.
When asked about game two, Romsek stated that his squad “had a bad first inning that we never recovered from. I thought we had 40 hard-hit balls, and we had seven hits. You can’t ask more for the barrels we found today.”
This latest chapter in the Generals season provides more head-scratching observations. The Generals have only had two wins since June 29, a span where they have gone 2-8. Both of those wins are against the Northwest Indiana Oilmen. In the victories, the Generals have been masters of base traffic on both sides of the ball, pushing across 16 total runs and only allowing one run in each game. The Generals have been outscored 57-22 in the other eight games.
The Generals remain the enigma of the Northern League with their puzzling mental mistakes and inconsistent run production. They have failed to make adjustments that have consistently paid dividends, as they have only strung together consecutive wins once this season: a three-game winning streak during a four-game homestand in the middle of June.
Griffith remains the anchor in the standings, as their latest loss drops them to a lackluster 9-24, a .273 win percentage. Their losses to the Miracle put Elkhart back in playoff contention as they pass the Panthers for fourth place. The Generals remain the only team in the league to have not been in a playoff spot at any point this season.
The Generals, simply put, are running out of time to make a playoff push. They will try and claw their way back into the win column against the Southland Vikings in Griffith tomorrow at 7:10 p.m.