Muskets need to 'let it go'
WITH a four-run lead at the top of the ninth inning in yesterday's Pacific League clash between Ipswich Musketeers and Toowoomba Rangers, the result looked as clear as the blue, cloudless sky above.
The home side had a comfortable advantage and were three outs away from a perfect four-win start to the season.
Then, without warning, the wheels fell off.
A 12-run avalanche from Toowoomba had the fans, the players, even the umpires searching for a reason why.
Pitcher Dean Jones had been looking good, closing out three consecutive Toowoomba batters in the eighth.
Then before he had time to figure out why, the lead was gone and he was being relieved, having conceded eight runs for no outs in 10 minutes of carnage.
The change of pitcher stemmed the tide, at least part of it, but four more runs followed and the game, as they say, was as good as gone.
Unsurprisingly, the Muskets failed to score in their final at bat and the 17-9 rout was complete.
Player-coach Dave Suthers was seething post-match and at a loss to explain his team's capitulation.
"It's very frustrating," he said.
"Any 'A' grade side should be able to close out a game with a four-run lead. We didn't pitch well today but they didn't lay the bat on too many either."
When asked what his side had to do to turn around the form for next week, his answer was simple.
"Let it go," he said.
"Today was disgraceful so we just have to let it go.
"We've been playing well."
And they had been playing well.
The Muskets had closed out Toowoomba the night before in game one of the two-game series at Tivoli.
The 9-3 Saturday night victory was just another day, or night, at the office for last year's Pacific League runners-up.
Rhett Bramwell and Steven Bayliss had both performed well and Suthers singled out his pitchers for special recognition.
"Jarred Byrnes and Gregg Ellis were outstanding for us on the mound last night," he said.
It's far from panic stations for the Muskets, who recorded two solid victories over Redlands the previous weekend.
The split result, while disappointing, leaves the home side in a strong position after two weeks of the Pacific League competition.
"Even after today's loss, we're still in a good position at three and one," Suthers said of his team's solid start to the season.
"It is a hard way to lose though."
At least the message for the Musketeers this week will be simple.
"Let it go."