by Justin de Haas
Defense wins championships.
The Walnut Creek Crawdads committed five errors and four of the seven runs allowed were
unearned. Walnut Creek (2-2, 1-2 CCL) shot itself in the foot too many times and it cost them
against the Bay Admirals (1-2, CCL) in a 7-6 loss on Thursday at Solano College.
Walnut Creek put itself in a hole early in the game after a throwing error from third baseman
Max Farfan cost the Crawdads a couple unearned runs in the first inning and a couple earned
runs off of Walnut Creek starting pitcher Kody Perry in the second put the ‘Dads in a 4-0 deficit.
Perry struggled as he gave up six hits in his two innings of work, but Walnut Creek manager
Brant Cummings talked about some of the positives from Perry’s performance.
“He pitched to contact which is really important,” Cummings said. “I think we let him down in a
couple of spots and he’ll be better beyond today. He made a couple mistakes, but overall he
threw strikes and pitched to contact, which is something we talk about. Nine against one. Our
nine guys against them. He gives us an opportunity and that’s what is really important.”
Walnut Creek center fielder Casey Cummings went yard for the first time this summer on
Wednesday and he did it again to get a couple runs back for the Crawdads. Cummings also
helped facilitate the tying run in the fifth inning by advancing to second off a wild pitch, stole third
base and scored via a sacrifice fly from Walnut Creek second baseman Ryan Ellis, who led the
Crawdads with two hits. Brant Cummings talked about how excited he is to watch Casey
Cummings and Ryan Ellis at the top of the lineup.
“Casey Cummings is coming off a fantastic junior college season,” Cummings said. “He’s
continued that. Homered the last couple games, scored runs, stole the bases, played defense.
It’s been a lot of fun to watch him. Ryan Ellis, it’s exciting to see him. He had a setback this year.
Didn’t get a chance to play. Now he’s out here playing defense and starting to swing the bat
Cummings was pulled out in the eighth inning due to muscle tightness, but the silver lining is
that it allowed Walnut Creek pinch hitter Joey Donnelly an opportunity at the plate with the game
on the line. Donnelly came through in a major way, tying the game at six with an RBI double to
push the game to the bottom of the ninth.
The excitement for the Crawdads would not last much longer though as a RBI single for Bay
Area third baseman Jarred Wood would walk it off for the Admirals. It was officially scored as a
hit, but could have easily been called an error on Walnut Creek shortstop Cam Calvillo, which
would have been the sixth of the game.
A poor defensive effort overshadowed an excellent pitching performance from Walnut Creek
relief pitcher Micky Thompson. The Spartan may have just arrived to the Crawdads coming off a
regional appearance for San Jose State, but he did not skip a beat in his Crawdads debut
pitching four innings with four strikeouts and no earned runs. Cummings spoke about what was
going right for Thompson in his first outing of the season.
“Really good command,” Cummings said. “More than one pitch, which is important. He’s fielding
his position really well, sometimes that gets overlooked. He’s done a great job throwing strikes.”
The Crawdads fall to 1-2 in CCL play after losing the series to the Admirals, but they come
home to face the Solano Mudcats on Saturday after an off day tomorrow. Cummings still has
lofty aspirations for his squad, but their defense has to minimize the errors to have a chance.
“We’re capable of winning the whole thing. That’s it,” Cummings said. “We are capable of doing
it. Now, will we do it? I don’t know. It’s going to be tough. There’s challenges everyday.”