Pitcher Mike Steinkamp got the first batter he faced to ground out pitcher to first. Things started to deteriorate then for the Salt Lake Trappers Friday night at Derks Field.
Chris Burton, the Braves' second batter, milked a two-base throwing error and a stolen base plus throwing error into Idaho Falls' first run in the first inning.The Trappers wound up commiting six errors leading to three unearned runs, and Idaho Falls gratefully accepted the invitation.
The Braves beat Salt Lake 8-4 for their first victory of the season. For the Traps, it was the first loss against two wins.
"It kinda sounds unscientific," says Steinkamp, a research assistant in nuclear physics working on a PhD in the off-season, "but I think baseball is a big momentum game. When it rains it pours. It's going to happen."
The Braves rained on him for two runs on two hits and a hit batsman in the second inning, a run on a double by Rich Karcher - his first of two - and a double-error on the same play by Mike Moberg in center in the third inning, and a fifth run on a double and single with two away in the fifth.
They added three runs in the eighth as the Trappers tried two relievers, and that made it 8-2.
Salt Lake came back with two in the eighth when Rob Bargas singled, and Ken Briggs tripled to the power-alley wall in right and then was balked home.
"The defensive lapses and opportunities we wasted early when we had their pitchers on the ropes were the key to the ballgame," said Trapper Manager Nick Belmonte.
Salt Lake left three runners on base in the third and one on second in the fourth, and in the second, Briggs struck out into a double play as Jim Schifman was trying to steal second.
Idaho Falls' Karcher, who had the two doubles and was on base a third time with an error, said, "They did make a lot of errors, but we hit the ball. The first couple of nights they had the breaks; we outhit them the first night.
"When we came out, we knew we were going to win.
"I just think we were more relaxed. The first couple of nights we were tight."
He considers the Braves a good club with a lot of unity that just hadn't had time to jell the first two nights because players were still coming in to the team on Tuesday.
Karcher said the Trappers pitched him away all night. "I just went the other way with it. I've got to work for that outside pitch."
Belmonte wasn't upset about his pitching in light of all the errors, but Steinkamp accepted some of the blame.
"I felt I had a decent hop on the ball," Steinkamp said, "but I had trouble hanging the slide. I got away with a few, and a few they hit pretty hard. Take away a couple of those sliders and it's a two-run game."
Idaho Falls' Burton and Geoff Orr had two singles each to help Karcher pace the nine-hit attack.
The Trappers also had nine hits - enough to win many games, said Belmonte. They came against five Idaho Falls pitchers. Bill Bates, the first reliever, picked up the win, pitching only to one batter to end the third - with the bases full of Trappers - and to three batters in the fourth.
He found it encouraging that third baseman Tom Duffin, No. 3 in the batting order, had his first two hits of the season, and that Schifman had two hits in his first appearance. Bargas had a triple and a single.
The Trappers play Butte tonight at 7 and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Derks before making their first road trip of the season.