E.A. Sports Today

Monsters miss

Choccolocco Monsters drop return game with Chatt-a-Hoots 12-4, six errors lead to eight unearned runs

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Another area that has failed the Choccolocco Monsters regularly this first season in the Sunbelt Baseball League rose up to bite them again Saturday night.

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The Monsters were charged with six errors that led to eight unearned runs and they fell to the West Division leading Columbus Chatt-a-Hoots, 12-4.

The Monsters, who lost in Golden Park for the first time in the regular seasaon, made 10 errors in the two-game weekend series that led to 11 unearned runs. They lead the SBL with 50 errors in 19 games, which have led to a league-leading 41 unearned runs. 

“If they were to write a book – and there probably is one somewhere – of the do’s and don’ts in baseball, some of those things that are good baseball versus not good baseball, we’ve done a lot of the don’ts,” Monsters manager Steve Gillispie said. “We did tonight and we’ve done on a regular basis.

“It’s like I said last night, if you don’t play good baseball, there’s just no way to win if you don’t play sound, fundamental baseball.”

The Monsters did take a 1-0 lead on the Hoots, but then gave up six in the bottom of the inning. They battled back to make it 6-3 and reliever Weston Kirk “absolutely did what we needed him to do” to stay in the game, but after getting the first two outs of the fifth he put two men on and an infield error opened the door for three unearned runs that pushed it to 9-3.

Kirk retired the first eight batters he faced after relieving starter Will Griffith, then issued a two-out walk that set the Hoots’ rally in motion. The Monsters opened the next inning with back-to-back errors and that led to an 11-3 deficit. They made two more errors when the Hoots scored their final run in the eighth.

“It’s not acceptable,” Gillispie said. “And it’s when those errors are happening. It’s when these mental breakdowns, compounded with physical errors, compounded with some of the don’ts in the baseball book of knowledge that’s just hard to overcome.”

For all the struggles they’ve had this season, the Monsters still have a chance to make the SBL playoffs as a wild card, but, of course, they have to make some hay this week. 

At the start of the week they play at Brookhaven, which currently holds the sixth and final playoff spot, and then come home to play division rival Gwinnett. The Astros play the Hoots at the start of the week.

“We talked about that as a team after the game,” Gillispie said. “It’s not so much what we did wrong, it’s that we fix it and we move forward and become a better team immediately by performing better as individuals.”

The bottom half of the Monsters lineup was their most productive. Their back five hitters had six of their eight hits with William Kelley, Dom Scavone and Sean Smith collecting two apiece. Scavone had a pair of RBIs.

Choccolocco   011 100 100 –   4   8 6 
Columbus       060 032 01x – 12 10 2
WP: Nick Morgan (1-2). LP: Will Griffith (1-1). 2B: Sean Smith (Choc), Jesse Donohoe (Col), Britt Netterville (Col), Nico Senese (Col).

Sunbelt Baseball League standings

Gainesville GolDiggers155.750
Waleska Wild Things98.5294.5
Alpharetta Aviators415.21110.5
Atlanta Crackers125.706
Atlanta Blues109.5263
Brookhaven Bucks99.5003.5
Columbus Chatt-a-Hoots108.556
Gwinnett Astros79.4382
Choccolocco Monsters613.3164.5

Saturday’s Games
Atlanta Crackers 6-5, Gwinnett 4-4
Columbus 12, Choccolocco 4
Gainesville at Brookhaven, ppd., rain
Waleska 7, Alpharetta 5

Sunday’s Game
Gainesville at Brookhaven, 3:05 p.m.

Monday’s games
Choccolocco at Brookhaven, 5:35 p.m.
Atlanta Blues at Waleska, 6:05 p.m.
Columbus at Gwinnett, 6:05 p.m.
Gainesville at Atlanta Crackers, 6:05 p.m.

Cover photo of Monsters manager Steve Gillispie and coach DeWayne Crowder by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos

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