Salisbury legion team's skid reaches seven games
Out of the handful of spectators watching the first game of Sunday's home-and-home double-header between Salisbury and Fullerton, nobody could have anticipated how the game would end.
Trailing 7-0 after four innings, the first pitch from CJ Tocci in the top of the fifth didn't come without some drama.
Following a remark from one of Salisbury's assistant coaches, the home plate umpire proceeded to eject both he and head coach Chris Rapp midway through the game. That left the Falcons without a listed coach on the roster, ending the game one pitch into the fifth by a 7-0 final at Salisbury High School.
Rapp, who hadn't said a word in the dugout, wasn't happy with the decision that saw him get tossed.
"My assistant coach asked where the pitch was," Rapp said. "I had my head down and he says you're out. I said, 'Who's out?' He said 'You're out.'
"I didn't say anything and he goes, 'You can't argue balls and strikes, [and] if you argue balls and strikes the manager is out because it's a major league rule.' I said, 'No it's not. The major league rule is whoever gets caught, gets thrown out.'"
Despite a looming suspension for the night game, Rapp was able to talk to the league president and will appeal the situation, allowing his team to take the field for the nightcap.
"If I did something I would take the ejection like a man, but I didn't do anything," Rapp said.
The Falcons dropped Sunday night's contest against Fullerton, 6-0.
Fullerton hit Falcon starter Jonathan Benitez early, recording five runs on a hit, two hits-by-pitch and three walks in his 1 1/3 innings of work in the first meeting.
Jose Berrios scored on a wild pitch in the top of the first, but most of Fullerton's damage came in the second. Benitez allowed walks to three of Fullerton's first four batters in the second; all three would later come around to score in the inning. When Tocci took over with the bases loaded, a walk to Jeffrey Charles scored Jacob Stopay.
Tocci, who hadn't allowed a hit in the second or third, got off to a rough start in the fourth. A hit-by-pitch placed leadoff batter Stopay on first, and three consecutive singles led two to more Fullerton runs in the fourth.
The Falcons, meanwhile, had just two hits on the day.
Heading into Sunday's double-header against Fullerton, the Falcons had lost six straight games dating back to their 10-9 loss against Southern Lehigh on June 10. Like their game against the Spartans, two of those six losses were by one run. Sunday's games pushed that skid to seven.
"Our defense, we had one bad inning in those close games and that's the difference," Rapp said. "We've come back in a couple of them late in the game, but we didn't get that extra run or two to get ahead."
Rapp and the Falcons know that if they want to make a playoff push in the season's final weeks, they're going to need to start stringing some victories together. Currently in last place at 2-9, the Falcons have seven games remaining and are two back of South Parkland and West Allentown in the win column. The top eight teams make the playoffs in the nine-team Lehigh Valley League.
For Rapp, the effort and play has been there all season, it's just a matter of staying consistent, not only throughout the season, but throughout the game's entirety.
"We have to play the same intensity the whole game like we do when we play well," Rapp said. "If they play confidently they play really well."
The Falcons will travel to J. Birney Crum Stadium on Thursday to face West Allentown at 6 p.m.