By John Bohnenkamp
Ben Tallman took half of a home-run trot.
The Burlington Bees’ catcher made sure to touch first base and second base as his deep fly ball to left field settled into the glove of Alton’s Troy Johnson.
As Tallman cut his trot short, he motioned to the sky and the wind blowing in from left field that knocked down his fly ball.
It was that kind of day, again, for the Bees in Sunday’s 6-2 loss to the Alton River Dragons in a Prospect League game at Community Field.
The Bees (18-29 overall, 7-9 second half), who have lost four consecutive games, fell three games behind the Normal CornBelters in the Great River Division second-half standings heading into Monday’s game between the two teams at Community Field.
The Bees put the ball into play all day against the River Dragons, only striking out twice. But getting those hits to fall was a different matter.
“I thought we hit some balls really well,” Bees manager Owen Oreskovich said. “Just right at some guys.”
Tallman’s ball, one of the hardest-hit ones of day by the Bees, died in the wind that emerged from the northwest early in the game.
“The wind didn’t do us any favors,” Oreskovich said. “That ball Benny hit was hit pretty well. That ball’s leaving on a normal day.
“The score of that game doesn’t dictate how I felt about the game.”
The Bees got a strong first five innings out of starter Jared Townsend (1-5), who walked two and struck out six. But Townsend, who gave up one hit and one run through those early innings, gave up three runs in the sixth inning as Alton (25-23, 7-9 Prairie Land Division) second half rallied to take a 4-2 lead.
“I thought Townsend was amazing,” Oreskovich said. “I thought this was one of his best starts that he’s had this summer. He just had that one tough inning, where he gave up four hits to five batters. They just got some balls to fall, and we didn’t get balls to fall for us.”
The Bees had six hits, but left nine baserunners.
“I thought we had a good approach at the plate,” Oreskovich said. “Overall, I thought it was a good game for us. We just didn’t win. No one would realize that if you weren’t here watching the game.
“I can’t say we were striking out with guys in scoring position. We were hitting the ball.”
Ryan Grace had two hits and drove in two runs for the Bees. Kevin Santiago also had two hits.
Alex Redman (1-0) was the winning pitcher for Alton.
Photo: Bees shortstop Charlie Terrill throws to first in Sunday’s game. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)