First-year Camdenton head coach Bryce Durnin is beginning to notice a rather unsettling theme plaguing his squad so far this season.
Coming into their contest with Glendale (10-2), the Lakers (3-5) were boasting an exemplary team ERA which hovered around 1.1 – only to have three wins in seven games to show for it. On Tuesday, another strong pitching performance equated to another tough loss as Camdenton was blanked, 5-0, by the host Falcons.
Four of the Lakers' losses this year have been by one run, and although Durnin's bunch fell by five this time around, only one of the runs they allowed was earned.
“Everybody that we have thrown out there has done an excellent job of at least giving us the opportunity to be in the game,” Durnin said after the defeat.
Camdenton junior hurler Austin Stamper was the latest representative for Camdenton to take the hard-luck loss – allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out four in five effective innings of work.
Opposite Stamper, Glendale senior Caleb Combs was just a little bit better – using a rather unorthodox pitching motion and an unyielding wind blowing in from right field to help him go the distance for a two-hit shutout.
“He's got kind of that side-winding action that makes that ball go away [from hitters],” Glendale coach Mike Snodgrass said of Combs. “On a day like today, you're not going to be able to do too much with that ball. Conditions were pretty effective for what was going on with him.”
The door creaked open for the Lakers in the top of the third, however, as an inconsistent Combs seemed destined to give up a slim 1-0 lead by walking two batters and hitting another to load the bases with one out.
“I just got a little freaked out in that third inning,” Combs said. “I just couldn't find the strike zone.”
Facing the dangerous Haiden Randall, Combs came up huge – getting Randall to swing at the first pitch and ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Camdenton never got a runner past second base the rest of the way.
“We had the right part of the lineup up for us and we go up there, swing at the first pitch and we roll over one,” said Durnin about the double play. “To me, that was kind of the inning that we had at least to make a statement. We missed the opportunity.”
Glendale would tack on two runs in the fifth inning after a grounder to first base wasn't cleanly fielded. In the sixth, two more Falcons crossed the plate following a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt.
“For the most part, we've been pretty clean defensively,” Durnin added. “If you're going to beat a good team, you've got to make those kind of plays.”
Camdenton hits the road to play Waynesville on Thursday, while Glendale travels to Branson on Wednesday.