WATERTOWN — Thirteen walks and six errors won’t win many ball games as made evident by the Watertown Rapids on Monday night.
The Rapids dropped their second straight Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game when the Albany Dutchmen left with a 14-4 win.
Watertown (7-5) never led but had remained in striking distance for the first six innings. In the seventh, though, the Dutchmen (7-5) put the game away, scoring eight runs and taking an insurmountable 14-3 lead.
It wasn’t Teddy Lepcio’s best outing. The side-arm relief pitcher came in to pitch the top of the sixth to replace starter Matt Aufiero and allowed nine runs on five hits and four walks.
“He couldn’t really get control of the strike zone and it kind of hurt us, I think we must have had a dozen walks tonight,” Rapids coach Mike Wood said. “That and you pair that with six errors and you can’t expect to win any baseball game.”
With some work, Wood expects Lepcio, who attends West Point, to bounce back.
“Just work on his mechanics and kind of figure out what was going on tonight, if something was kind of off,” Wood said. “I think he was getting squeezed a little bit behind the dish. You have to adapt to the zone and hopefully he can make that adjustment.”
Aufiero (0-3) struggled to find the plate at times, but limited the damage and kept the Rapids in the game.
“I was able to throw my three pitches for strikes today, other than in the past,” Aufiero said. “My command was better even though I had a lot of walks, but some walks in some not bad situations.”
Aufiero kept the Dutchmen close on the bases. With a quick pickoff move, Aufiero picked off two runs and forced another to get thrown out trying to steal second base.
The Albany bench wasn’t too fond of Aufiero’s move to first, claiming it was balk. Aufiero is used to tuning that noise out.
“I get that a lot,” Aufiero said of the Dutchmen’s dugout. “That’s just my move.”
Unfortunately for both pitchers, the Rapids behind them didn’t offer much support. In the past two games, the Watertown defense has made 10 errors.
“It’s kind of been our MO all year long, we’ve had a ton of errors,” Wood said. “We have to clean somethings up defensively. Any time you give a team additional outs like that, a good team like Albany is going to take advantage of it.”
The Rapids currently have made the third most errors in the league with 27.
When on the mound, Aufiero doesn’t worry much about the defense behind him.
“I don’t worry about it, I just worry about making my pitches,” Aufiero said. “If they hit a ground ball and it doesn’t get caught then I made a pitch there, so.”
Early on, the Rapids’ offense offset whatever miscues were made in the field by keeping pace at the plate. By the end of the fourth inning the game was tied at three.
“We had no timely hits tonight,” Wood said. “It’s a tough one but like I said, take it on the chin and move on.”
Contrary to the Rapids, Albany’s offense only got stronger as the game went on. Josh Hall started it off with a deep home run to right-center field in the third inning. He finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two runs batted in.
The Rapids will try to avoid being swept in this three-game homestand when they host Adirondack tonight at 6:15.