Shorebirds fall for 5th straight time

3 errors, 3 unearned runs doom Delmarva, 6-2

April 17, 1999|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

SALISBURY -- The usual pre-game ceremonies and post-game fireworks launched the Delmarva Shorebirds' home season last night, but the game itself didn't offer much encouragement.

The most successful team in the Orioles' farm system the last two seasons didn't do anything particularly well and lost its fifth straight in the South Atlantic League, 6-2, to the Piedmont Boll Wevils before 5,896 fans at Perdue Stadium.

Shorebirds starter Steve Bechler had a commendable outing, permitting one earned run in 5 1/3 innings, but three Delmarva errors led to three unearned Piedmont runs and the home bullpen was not effective.

"It's too early to start worrying," said Delmarva manager Butch Davis. "The fans are maybe panicking a little bit. If they just be patient, I think they're going to enjoy this ballclub. It's very young."

Piedmont (6-3) took the lead in the sixth inning on a run-scoring single by Jorge Padilla, the first batter faced by Shorebirds reliever Gilberto Bello.

Bello went on to surrender a home run by Carlos Duncan in the seventh and contributed mightily to a two-run Boll Wevils eighth when he overthrew first for a three-base error on which the first run scored.

Meanwhile, Delmarva (3-6) didn't have an extra-base hit until Matt Purkiss doubled across Craig Daedelow in the eighth. The Shorebirds' other run was knocked home by a Daedelow single.

"Purkiss is probably our best hitter right now," said Davis, whose offense has been straining to score. "We haven't swung the bat particularly well. The reason we won three times is the other team made more mistakes."

The club has a wealth of speed with Tim Raines Jr., the lead merchant. But getting on base has been problematical.

"We didn't execute in the field either. You can't throw the ball away like we did," said Davis, a former Oriole who managed the team's Gulf Coast affiliate last summer.

The field didn't help either. Recently re-sodded, it is lumpy and uneven in the infield and is going to take some acclimation.

"I'm not going to comment on that," said the manager.

Pub Date: 4/17/99

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