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Are jitters to blame?

Bright lights, big crowd and a television audience greet Gresham in World Series opener


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: DEBBIE MEHLHAFF - Gresham players dance to I have the Power before taking the field during Fridays 4-0 opening-round loss to New Castle, Ind.

WILLIAMSPORT — Playing in front of the largest crowd of their life, under the lights with the ESPN cameras rolling, overcoming the World Series jitters may have been a factor in Gresham’s 4-0 opening night loss to New Castle, Ind.

"Each team has their own pulse, and this is a pretty laid back group of kids, but tonight I could tell they were a little tense," Gresham manager Jason Trickel said.

The event organizers make an effort to keep the focus on fun, trotting out mascot ‘Dugout’ to dance with each team before they take the field, even pulling the coaches onto the field for their own disco session that had both dugouts rolling with laughter before the game.

It appeared the Gresham side was loose with Devon Bratcher signaling toward the dugout with a big grin across his face after hitting a double in the third inning.

A few minutes later, left fielder Ethan Meckel sprinted over to snag a catch drawing ‘Moose’ calls from the Gresham fans. Upon hearing his nickname called, Meckel responded by playfully throwing his hands up by his ears to form ‘antlers’.

The Nationals were credited with just one error on the game, and their pitchers combined for seven strikeouts.

But perhaps the nerves showed through in the batters box, as the team hit just 2 for 20 (.100) on the night and were retired in order three times.

“I don’t know if we were nervous out there or what, but I’ve been throwing 75 (MPH) at them all week and they’ve been hitting the ball,” Trickel said. “Some of that might have been first-game jitters, but you have to credit the Great Lakes pitching. They stayed in the zone and overpowered us.”

Gresham takes on Parsippany, NJ, in an elimination game at 5 p.m. Saturday, televised in ESPN.




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