Leprechauns Lay 11-1 Dud Against Jet Box

July 6, 2023by Jacob Cotsonika

Already on a losing streak, Royal Oak continued to reel on Thursday on Hawaii Night at the Lucky Corner, falling 11-1 in seven innings to the Jet Box. The loss marks five consecutive defeats for the Leprechauns, seeing themselves getting swept by a team now sitting at 7-13 and in last place in the North Division. Once 9-7, Royal Oak suddenly finds itself at 9-12 and out of meaningful contention for a playoff spot. 

Tonight’s game seemed to be an example of Murphy’s Law for the Leprechauns. The offense only managed to get across one hit in the game, a single by Alex Cheeseman (UAB) in the fourth inning. The hit was immediately made moot, as Cheeseman was caught stealing second during the following at-bat. Jet Box outfielders stole several hits away, treating road fans to multiple diving plays. Michael Tchavdarov, a surefire All-Star in the GLSCL, tracked down a handful of deep fly balls that would have been at least doubles if they had fallen. 

The Leprechauns had a prime scoring chance in the second inning, after three walks loaded the bases with two outs. Josh Getz (Northwood) was at the plate with a 3-2 count, and base umpire Sal Giacomantonio, then called Getz for a pitch clock violation, suddenly ending the inning.

Royal Oak pitching continued to struggle. In total, Leprechauns pitchers walked six batters and hit two more with pitches. Brandon Mann (Michigan) got his first start of the season, and cruised through the first two innings with relative ease. Mann ended up getting the loss after giving up five earned runs in four innings pitched. The top of the third is where everything started to fall apart for Mann and the Leprechauns. Mann loaded the bases with one out after walking two and hitting another player with a pitch.

On a play at second, Leprechauns starting shortstop and consistent leadoff hitter Josh Getz suffered a knee injury. After the game, Getz confirmed to me that he was definitely going to miss some games, a massive blow for a team that is already looking for some answers.

Two runs scored for the Jet Box on the play, giving them a lead they would retain a chokehold on all game. They would then score three runs in three consecutive innings, the two big blows being a two-RBI triple by Bruce Jellison (Wabash Valley) in the fifth and a three-run home run by Mark Kattula (Heartland CC) in the sixth. 

Even Royal Oak’s lone run of the game was due to Jet Box defense miscues rather than their own success. Alex Cheeseman hit what appeared to be a possible inning-ending double play, but the throw by second baseman Bruce Jellison sailed into the home dugout, putting Cheeseman on second with two outs. Brayden Daulton (Southwest Baptist) then hit a ground ball to shortstop Cody Hultink, who also made a throwing error, allowing Cheeseman to advance home. 

The Leprechauns will look to get back to winning ways, with a road game against the 8-14 Michigan Monarchs tomorrow. The second game of the series will be at the Lucky Corner on Saturday for “Bark in the Park,” before another road game to close out the three-game series.