NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Bees were unable to get anything going offensively Wednesday afternoon, striking out 14 times en route to a 7-4 loss to the Long Island Ducks at New Britain Stadium.
John Pettibone had a disappointing performance in his second start on the mound for New Britain (3-8). He allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits over 3 2/3 innings, with only one strikeout.
“I felt pretty in-sync mechanically,” Pettibone said. “I felt like, for the most part, I had command of the strike zone. But I think, this early in the season, I just have a lack of arm strength. I felt a little better towards the end, so I’m hoping to build off of that and hope it improves over the next couple of starts.”
On top of the 14 strikeouts, the Bees were unable to take advantage of several opportunities to score in the game. As a team, they went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
New Britain Manager Wally Backman was frustrated by his team after the game, highlighting how it shot itself in the foot time and time again.
“It was terrible,” Backman said. “We had a lot of opportunities with runners in scoring position and we just didn’t get the hits. The only one I can even remember was [Deibinson] Romero’s two-out, two-run base hit.”
Left fielder Ozney Guillen was one of the few bright spots in the Bees’ order. Guillen went 2-for-3 in the game with a walk and an RBI. He was also the only starter for New Britain who didn’t strike out in the game.
“I’ve definitely been working hard and it helps to have a lot of former major leaguers around me,” Guillen said. “I just put myself in a position where I want to make Wally play me. I know the type of game Wally likes to play, which is good for me because I have that same style. Bunt, run, move guys over, diving for balls. I enjoy that style because it brings a lot of fun to the game.”
Guillen said after the game the 10:35 a.m. start, due to the School Day Game promotion, can be tough to deal with as a player, but that’s no excuse as the expectations are still high.
He said sometimes it takes hitters an at-bat to really get into the game, but it was nice to have a record-setting crowd of 6,246 there.
The Bees were able to stay in the game late because of their bullpen. Mike Hepple, Rainy Lara, Jim Fuller and Sam Gervacio combined for 5 1/3 innings pitched, three runs and seven strikeouts.
The three runs were given up in the seventh inning by Lara on what was called an inside-the-park home run, on a ball that was misplayed by Bees right fielder Jamar Walton.
New Britain has only managed to score 37 runs in the team’s 11 games so far. They are second-to-last in the Atlantic League in that category, ahead of only the Road Warriors, who have scored 34.
Yet Backman is still confident that the offense will get going.
“We missed a few days at the end of spring training because of the weather here,” Backman said. “So we’re trying to catch up and I still feel that we will catch up. We’re waiting, hoping that things will come around. I think it will come around. But if it doesn’t, we have to make changes.”
Tyler Roaix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org