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Free bases

by Chris Conley

EVERYTHING EVERGREENS (FOX SPORTS WAUSAU-WSAU) The Evergreens could beat themselves at any time. And, with the playoffs starting today, the next loss will end their season. That's one of the lessons from last weekend's bad losses in Middleton. If the defense can't get outs and the pitching gives up too many walks, they could lose to anyone -- even bad teams.

The further the point, the Evergreens saw a very good pitching staff against Middleton on Saturday. Although they stated a JV pitcher with an average fastball, Alec Morrison threw lots of strikes. Both of their relief pitchers (Adam Nutting and Luke Schafer) were also consistently around the plate. The result was dramatic.

Middleton pitchers allowed no walks. They did hit two batters and committed two errors. Consider a hypothetical stat of "free bases" -- the number of bases that a team's runners advance after walks, errors, wild pitches and past balls. Everest had 9 free bases against Middleton -- probably about average in a high school game. But in the field the Evergreens gave up 7 walks, committed 4 errors, hit three batters and threw two wild pitches. That's 14 men who wouldn't have been on-base. Those runners advanced 31 "free bases". 5 of Middleton's 8 runs took advantage of free bases. That was, by far, the biggest difference in the game.

Today's opponent, Rhinelander, isn't a good team. They're 6-10 and have a lot of lopsided losses. Everest should win easily, but that depends on good pitching from Brady Borrell and much better defense than the losses to Kimberly (5 errors) and Middleton (4 errors).

Chris Conley