Defensive woes were the Achilles' heel of Spring City this weekend, as the Red Sox dropped two Chester County American Legion games in a row - the first, a 14-1 setback to Downingtown on Saturday at Ram Stadium, the second a 10-8 defeat on Sunday at the hands of host Exton.
Spring City's skid follows a 4-2 home victory over the Paoli Cardinals on Tuesday.
Downingtown's Matt Engesser scored in the first inning on Saturday after being walked by Spring City starting pitcher Travis Kryder, and after allowing the Red Sox to tie the game at 1-1, the Diamond Dawgz rattled off 13 unanswered runs for the decisive win.
Spring City (8-5, 3-1 North Conference) scored its lone run of the afternoon in the bottom of the second. Kryder led off the inning with a triple that went to deep center field and bonced off the wall, inches from being a home run. He scored to tie the game at 1-1 two batters later after Ron Sivick executed a perfect bunt down the first baseline, pulling off the squeeze at home as both men were safe.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Downingtown's Chris Ott pitched scoreless baseball for the rest of the game, walking only two and striking out seven in a complete-game performance.
Poor fielding doomed the Red Sox. While the Diamond Dawgz scored 14 runs on the day, only half were earned. And with seven errors in the final three innings of play, Spring City's floundering defense took a pounding.
Kryder, whose triple was one of the few Spring City highlights of the day, would eventually take the loss. He was relieved in the sixth inning by Jon Hayes, who was moved in from right field. He would last only 1/3 of an inning, and was relieved by Anthony Quintangeli after giving up three earned runs. Quintangeli pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, giving up two more earned runs.
Spring City manager Jamie Scheck was obviously disapointed with his team's play.
"Overall, it just wasn't a good game at all," Scheck said. "Our defense really let us down. We didn't swing the bats well early in the game, and we just let them jump out to an early lead.
"It's tough to play our type of game, the kind we really like to play, when you're down by five or six runs. We came off a really good win against Paoli the other day, so it's one bad game. I just told the guys that we have to put it past us as soon as possible and just move on."
The Red Sox hoped to top Saturday's poor showing on Sunday by sending Sivick to the mound against an Exton team that not only sat atop the Southern Conference standings, but also sports players from the West Chester-Henderson High team, which was powerful in division play this past PIAA season.
Sivick came into the game with six wins so far, and after being the only player with an RBI for the Red Sox in the previous day's match, he hoped to bring a victory to the team from the mound.
Spring City's offense showed a spark that had not been seen in Saturday's action. First baseman Rich Guthridge went 3-for-4 on the day, hitting a double and scoring two. Second baseman Rick Gehman matched Guthridge's efforts, also producing a double and two RBIs. Quintangeli and third baseman Gerry Sobotor each added two hits to the effort, and Sobotor batted in three runs.
In the end, however, Spring City's newfound offense just was not enough to tame Exton. Errors cost the Red Sox yet again, and Sivick allowed nine runs, seven of them earned, over five complete innings. He was relieved in the sixth by Guthrie, who allowed one more run, but Spring City was unable to overtake Exton, and lost the game by a score of 10-8.
Sivick took the loss, falling to a season total of 6-4. Exton starting pitcher Matt McGrogan picked up the win after four full innings of work.
"It was a rough weekend," Scheck said after Sunday's loss. "Our offense has been pretty consistent. We hit the ball better today than we did yesterday, but our defense just let us down again."
The Red Sox return to action against Pottsgrove at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Ram Stadium.