By John Bohnenkamp
A team that just came together over the weekend is going to have its growing pains.
That was evident in the Burlington Bees’ 8-7 loss to the Quincy Gems in Thursday’s Prospect League game at Community Field.
Quincy (1-1) scored five runs in the eighth inning after the Bees (1-1) had built a 7-3 lead and seemed in control of the game.
“Those games happen,” Bees manager Owen Oreskovich said.
The Gems put pressure on after going down in order in the first two innings. They scored three runs in the third inning, and had runners in scoring position in the next four innings but didn’t score.
That changed in the eighth. Gabe Swansen homered to left field to bring Quincy within 7-4. Bees reliever Nick Tampa gave up a double and two walks to load the bases, and Oreskovich replaced him with Jaxon Ingram (0-1). Ingram gave up a broken-bat grounder to Lucas Loos for the first out, with Logan Voth scoring. Then Matthew Batts had a two-run double to tie the game, then Ingram gave up a single to Zach Stewart, and Quincy had the lead.
“That’s on me,” Oreskovich said. “I put Jaxon Ingram in a tough situation. I thought he pitched really well. But bases loaded, no one out, that’s a tough situation. That’s on me. I would like to, ideally, not put him in a bases-loaded, no-out situation.”
Oreskovich said he is still learning about his pitchers.
“I just met these kids, and watched them in real life — not on video — just a week ago,” Oreskovich said. “It’s just learning — what guys can handle what situations, what guys we want in certain situations. We’re still looking for our 4, 5 and maybe sixth starter right now, so that’s why you haven’t seen some of these guys pitch yet. We’re just trying to work through — we’ll have a better idea with the pitching by next week.”
The Bees got two shutout innings from reliever C.J. Lewis. Lewis allowed two hits and walked three while striking out two.
Lewis pitched just 3 1/3 innings at Toledo this season.
“I was very impressed with C.J. Lewis,” Oreskovich said. “He started working on a new arm slot this year, and he’s trying to figure it out. I was really impressed with him.”
The Bees, who scored 15 runs in Wednesday’s season opener, built their lead over the first five innings, but had just two baserunners over the last four innings.
“It’s timely hitting,” Oreskovich said. “You get a base hit here or there with runners in scoring position, move guys over, and you score runs, you have a better chance to win games. We just didn’t get that tonight. That’s OK. That’s baseball.”
Quincy’s Cael Kolacia (1-0) was the winning pitcher, allowing three hits in 4 2/3 innings.
The Bees have Friday off, then play a doubleheader at Normal on Saturday.
Photo: Bees reliever C.J. Lewis threw two scoreless innings in Thursday’s loss to Quincy. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)