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Umpire’s Mistake, Passes Hurt Westside in TOC Loss

There was no mistaking which team was the more talented squad on Thursday afternoon. The Westside Dodgers delivered the only loud contact with the bats and proved to have the game’s best pitcher in Orlando Lewis. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough as the Dodgers’ season came to an end in a 5-4 loss to the Moreland A’s.

Despite Lewis striking out all six batters he faced and homering in the fifth, the Dodgers still came up a run short. The previous three Dodgers pitchers combined to allow double-digit walks.

A crucial umpire mistake didn’t help matters either.

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With the score 2-1 in the bottom of the second, the A’s had runners at second and third with one out when a wild pitch got past Dodgers catcher Cooper Anderson to the backstop. Anderson retrieved the ball quickly and would have likely tagged out the runner trying to score had he not collided with the home plate umpire. The collision knocked the umpire over and prevented Anderson from applying the tag. The run scored.

“My understanding of the rule is that the umpires are a part of the field,” remarked Dodgers Assistant Coach Dan Green. “Of course they try to stay out of the play and not be part of the game, but things do happen and they are considered part of the game.”

The Dodgers would escape the remainder of the second inning with the game still tied and had their chances to win after that. In the very next half inning, Anderson led off with a rocket shot down the left-field line. It was an easy double, but Anderson was called out as he slid into third trying to stretch the double into a triple.

More free passes hurt the Dodgers in the bottom of the third as the A’s loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsmen. The A’s took the lead on a bases-loaded walk and added two insurance runs on a single to go up 5-2.

At this point the Dodgers could have crumbled, they could have phoned it in, but instead they kept their heads high and battled back. After taking over on the mound in the fourth with the bases loaded and striking out the side, Lewis led the next inning off with a booming home run to center field.

“He is a really good ballplayer, best of his class,” chimed Green on Lewis. “He has a good future in high school baseball. If he works really hard at it, he could be one heck of a ballplayer and maybe play longer than high school. He is the leader of our team.”

After Lewis stuck out the side again in the fifth, Tyler Reyes would lead off the sixth with another home run to pull the Dodgers within 5-4.

“I got a fastball down the middle and just hit it,” recalled Reyes on his homer. “I thought it was actually just going to be a pop up.”

The energy and momentum was all on the Dodgers’ side at this point, but Westside would be unable to get another runner on base. The A’s closed out the remainder of the sixth inning in one-two-three fashion.

“They scored all their runs on errors. They only had three hits,” remarked Lewis, who was more disappointed with the loss than he was pleased with his personal performance. “We gave them 12 walks.”

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