Entering play on Wednesday, the Paducah Chiefs were in first place in the Ohio Valley League’s West Division and had not lost at home.
However, a 9-3 loss to Henderson, which paired with a Hoptown Hoppers 10-0, seven-inning win over Muhlenberg County, put the Chiefs in a tie for first place.
And, that success has been costly, too.
Paducah’s already-taxed pitching staff, which is without three pitchers who have yet to join the team for the summer, endured a short start from Nick King (3 1/3 innings, five runs, four hits) and a troublesome stretch from the fourth to the sixth inning where the Chiefs surrendered eight runs.
“I wouldn’t say it was building toward it, but this is what you’re going to get when you give up a lot of walks and a lot of baserunners,” Paducah manager Joe Hall said of his staff, which walked seven batters in five innings. “I’m pretty sure that King knows it. He struggled today, but he’s done a great job (4.32 ERA in two starts) all year. Tonight, he wasn’t on.”
Additionally, the Chiefs are without both of their third basemen.
Nicholas Rucker, who was slated to split time with Reid Homan at the hot corner, has been battling shoulder soreness that has kept him out of the last six games for the Chiefs.
Then, Homan left Tuesday’s 8-4 win over Dubois County with a groin injury — the severity of which required surgery and will sideline him for the remainder of the summer.
“That hurt a little bit,” Hall said. “Those two guys and being short pitchers, still, you can easily see that as running into a problem. We’ve seen that before.”
Before a brief rally in the ninth, the majority of the Chiefs’ offense had come from leadoff hitter Drew Hudson, who went 2-for-4 on his 20th birthday.
McCracken County alum Reid Pope, usually an outfielder, pitched three scoreless innings in relief for Paducah.
Henderson 010 413 000 9 8 1
Paducah 010 000 002 3 7 2
Haddock, Gray (7), McMatheren (9) and Thomas; King, Turner (4), Austin (6), Pope (7) and Dodd.
WP: Haddock. LP: King.
2B: HEN-Brown, Domer. 3B: None. HR: None. Top hitters: HEN-Domer 3-4, Freeman 2-5, Smith 2-4; PAD-Hudson 2-4, Roden 2-3, Tidd 2-4. Records: Henderson 6-4, Paducah 6-3.