BELOIT - The Beloit Snappers' offense woke up just a little too late Wednesday night at Pohlman Field.
By the time the Snappers plated their first run in the fifth inning, the club was trailing 5-0. Though the offense was productive in the final five innings, the Snappers fell short 8-5 to visiting West Michigan.
It marked the fourth straight loss for Beloit, who once again struggled with runners in scoring position. Beloit went just 1-for-10 in that clutch situation, with nine runners on to show for their struggles.
Snappers manager Lloyd Turner said the numbers speak volumes about where his team is at this juncture of the season: Namely, hopelessly out of the playoff race with a 7-17 second half record.
"It shows how much development and growth our hitters need to go through," Turner said. "The good hitters are able to execute and get the job done in those situations, and those are the ones that are going to continue to move up the chain. It's been a long, rough year. The guys have picked it up with the bats for sure. But the key is getting the job done when you really need it.
"You can put yourself in position to do things all day. But if you don't get it done when guys are on, it doesn't matter. We've got to get better at executing."
The game couldn't have gotten off to a worse start for the Snappers.
Starting pitcher Rafael Kelly allowed a single, double and home run to the first three batters of the game to put his team in a hole they would never crawl out of.
Though Kelly (3-2) eventually settled down before getting knocked out of the game in the fifth inning, the Snappers' game of catch-up was too much to overcome.
Whitecaps leadoff hitter Parker Meadows went 4-for-5 to pace the West Michigan attack, while Bryant Packard added three hits and three RBI's.
Beloit is coming off a vexing road trip in which they swept the top team in the Eastern Division (Bowling Green), then were swept by a sub-.500 Dayton team.
"That really speaks to our consistency," Turner said. "We sweep the best team, and get swept by one of the worst teams. It's not that they can't do it. They just proved they can.
"It's just retaining that focus on a day-to-day basis. Not getting too high or too low. That's what we are preaching to these guys, and you just hope that they are listening. You've got to continue to do the little things, both in the games and before the game."
Leadoff man Anthony Churlin finished the game 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI's, while Max Schuemann added two hits as well.
The Snappers and Whitecaps will battle in game two of their three-game series Thursday at 6:30 p.m.