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Columbia Reds groping for answers after losses


A second straight Baltimore Metro League Senior Division loss left the Columbia Reds in a funk Thursday.

The Reds lost a disappointing 5-2 contest to the Yankee Rebels at Catonsville Community College. It followed a 3-2 loss to Liberty Road on Tuesday, and dropped the Reds' league record to 6-5.

"Things are not going well right now, but we're going to turn it around and get back on the winning track," Reds coach Tom Showe said.

Two other factors have left Showe feeling blue these days.

His starting left fielder, Matt Cyran, is out for the season with a knee injury.

"It was originally a football injury, but he reinjured it running into a fence for us and now has to have it operated on," Showe said.

And Showe's starting catcher, Tony Scarzello, injured his right wrist when a batted ball struck it during a game on the Reds' recent five-game trip to Denver. Scarzello, who broke the same wrist last summer, is having difficulty throwing.

The trip to Denver also caused some bad feelings among team members. Six key players opted to remain in Ocean City for senior week sun and fun rather than accompany the team to Denver. Five of those players were pitchers, and lack of pitching is the reason the Reds went 1-4 on the trip.

The only game the Reds won on that trip was pitched by Joe Nestor, a player borrowed for the trip from the older Reds team.

The Reds also were missing starting second baseman Brian Van Deusen on that trip, since Van Deusen was selected to play for Team Maryland in Oklahoma and the dates of the trips conflicted. Van Deusen was still missing in the Reds two losses this week.

Against the Rebels on Thursday, the Reds managed just four base hits -- by Bobby Lane, Brian Lopez, Kevin Nickey and Billy Mills.

Mills led off the fifth inning with a single. After a double play, Dave Buckholz walked. Tony Scarzello reached on an error. Lopez singled to left driving in a run, and a second run scored when the left fielder misplayed the ball.

That was the only inning in which the Reds had more than one base runner. Rebels pitcher Brian Matz threw a strong game, fanning seven and walking two for his third win without a loss.

The Rebels, 13-4 in the league and 15-4 overall, banged out nine hits in 5 2/3 innings off Reds starter Alan Vandenberge, who fanned three, walked two and was the victim of some poor Reds defensive play.

The Reds made four errors. And two of the Rebels hits came off plays on which Vandenberge failed to cover first base in time.

The Rebels scored once in the second inning on three straight singles. They added two runs in the third inning on two singles, a double and an error.

In the fourth inning the Rebels scored once, on two singles and a stolen base.

And the Rebels added one more in the sixth on a two-out single and two errors.

Vandenberge's only easy inning was the first, when he retired the side in order. But Showe still thought Vandenberge pitched a pretty good game.

The Reds play Liberty Road at 1 p.m. today at Atholton High with Brian Dunn scheduled to pitch for the Columbia team.

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