Dragons fall to Melbourne, scoring struggles continue

James Bennett - 20/10/15

The Doncaster Dragons are 0-3 in the win loss column, but what seems more worrying is that they have failed to score a single run for the whole season.

That’s 27 scoreless innings.

However, the Dragons are still hitting well, and were arguably denied a run by a questionable umpiring decision.

The Dragons took on Melbourne on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon. 

Before the game started the Dragons were already down a strong player, with Scott Carr injuring his neck before the earlier 2nd’s game. 

Simon Fitzmaurice started for the Dragons and continued his strong start to the season with another quality outing.

The game, like the previous week, started as a pitching duel.

The first run for Melbourne came in the second inning, a lead off double and a sacrifice bunt leading to a one out sacrifice fly.

The Dragons looked to respond instantly through Billy Findlay, who led the inning off with a sharp line drive down the right field line that came off the right fielders glove, allowing him to reach second.

However, before the Dragons were able to score him he was picked off at second base, on what was a very questionable decision by the base umpire.

Despite this Simon Fitzmaurice still managed to hold Melbourne to one run.

Fitzmaurice finished with six innings, four hits, one walk, one hit-by-pitch and one strikeout for one earned run.

Another positive for Fitzmaurice was a successful pickoff move to first that caught a runner trying to steal second.

Second Baseman Nic Unland said the offence let Fitzmaurice down.

“Our pitching today was absolutely outstanding, Fitzmaurice commanded the hill,” Unland said.

“But our hitters let him down, we didn’t back him up.

“We had too many soft at bats all day and when we did get runners into scoring position, we left them stranded.” Unland said. 

Marcel D’Avonie replaced Fitzmaurice on the mound in the seventh. 

D’Avonie struggled early, allowing two walks at the start of his dig. Both runners would eventually score, putting Melbourne 3-0 up.

D’Avonie finished with two innings, three walks, two hits for two earned runs and striking out two.

Melbourne turned it up a gear in the top of the ninth, putting four runs across and knocking Doncaster out of the game.

The Melbourne pitching was too strong for the Dragons all day,  final score 7-0.

Coach Ben Utting believes a lack of plate discipline is one of the main problems to the Dragons failing to score any runs this season.

“Discipline at the plate is one thing, getting good pitchers to hit, some of the guys are blazing away at pitches out of the strike zone or [that are] just not hitters pitches.” Utting said.

Brendan McDonald was strong in left field once again, making five putouts including a running catch down the line at the top of the six inning.

The Dragons will finish their current four-game home stand against Cheltenham this Saturday.