By Brad Hallier
The Hutchinson News
The Hutchinson Monarchs hadn't played since Saturday, and they didn't think they would play Thursday either.
The rain, however, didn't wash out Thursday's game at Hobart-Detter Field, but the Monarchs probably wish it had been a rainout. While they had 10 hits, the Monarchs mustered just one run. Shoddy defense and pitching also contributed to a dismal 5-1 loss to the Newton Rebels.
While four days off isn't an eternity, in the Walter Johnson League, it can feel like it, especially with games scheduled nearly every day.
"(The time off) may have affected us a bit, and we didn't expect to play with the rain today," right fielder Andrew Standish said. "We had a good mindset for a while, but then we kind of got out of a rhythm."
Standish and relief pitcher Cameron Brockhoff were about the only bright spots for the Monarchs (9-12). Standish had three hits, reached base four times, and drove in the only run with an eighth-inning single.
Brockhoff pitched a perfect 2 1/3 innings, striking out five. But starter Austin Southmayd and reliever Cash Pechin struggled, giving up just six hits but walking seven and hitting two more Rebels with pitches.
"With pitching having four days off, it's all about rhythm," Monarchs coach Deron McCue said. "It can be hard to get back in groove."
The Monarchs could blame themselves for all five Newton runs. Southmayd struggled in the first inning and issued a pair of bases-loaded walks. Pechin also had a bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning.
A pair of botched pickoffs in the fourth inning led to a Newton run. First, Southmayd threw wildly to first base, and then first baseman Josh Williams dropped the ball. The next inning, a tailor-made, inning-ending double play ball was hit to third baseman Michael Herman. He threw to second baseman Aaron Bossi for one out, but Bossi bobbled the ball, which allowed another run to score.
"It's the same song, difference dance," McCue said, referring to a defense that has made 52 errors in 21 games. "We always hurt ourselves and give them extra outs. The kids are working hard. They just can't put it together."
That summarizes the hitting, too. With 10 hits often come many runs. Thursday, the 10 hits resulted in just one, which came when the score was already 5-0.
"When you get 10 hits, you feel like you should have had more (than one)," Standish said. "We weren't getting our hits consecutively. We had to string hits together, and we didn't."
The Monarchs did muster three straight hits in the eighth inning on winning pitcher Ethan Peacock, but they had little more.
"Four days off didn't lead to lack of effort and hustle in the first six innings," McCue said. "We've got to have a better effort than that."
The Monarchs will have just one more off day this season. Today, they travel to Maize to play the Kansas Cougars.
NEWTON REBELS 5, HUTCHINSON MONARCHS 1
Newton;200;120;000;--;5 6 1
Monarchs;000;000;010;--;1 10 2
W--Peacock. L--Southmayd. 2B--Monarchs, Williams, Standish.
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