Braden Shipley knows that, objectively, he should be very happy with the way he pitched Thursday.
"I think, overall, this was probably the best game I've pitched in my few years of pitching," the No. 2 D-backs prospect said. "I'm frustrated with the way it turned out just because I'm a competitor and I want to win."
Shipley, ranked as the baseball's No. 74 prospect overall, didn't allow a hit through six innings but ran into trouble in the seventh. Ultimately, he gave up three runs -- only one earned -- on two hits while striking out six over 6 1/3 frames, taking the loss as Class A South Bend fell, 3-1, to visiting Dayton.
"As far as the whole game, I have to be proud of that. All of my stuff was working for me, and I pitched a good game," he said. "The bottom line is, even though we only scored one run, they only scored three and it was a quality start for me."
The Silver Hawks went hitless themselves after the third, but through the middle innings it seemed as though South Bend's 1-0 lead might be enough cushion for the 22-year-old right-hander. Other than when he hit Jeff Gelalich in the fourth, Shipley (1-1) was perfect. A double play meant he'd faced the minimum, and the wayward pitch didn't bother him in the least.
"There was an inside fastball called, and right when I threw it, I knew I'd hit him," he said. "Hitting guys, to me, is OK, especially when I'm trying to go inside. I'd rather hit a guy than have it go over the plate and have him crush it."
Leading off the seventh, though, Dayton's Beau Amaral hit a ball in the air to center field that meant trouble for the Silver Hawks.
"My initial thought was, 'Oh, that ball's caught.' [Amaral] sliced it a little, and the wind just kept taking it away from [center fielder Breland Almadova]," said Shipley. "I was thinking for a second that maybe [left fielder Chuck Taylor] would catch it, because it was slicing so much. Unfortunately, it dropped between them both."
In the meantime, Amaral raced all the way to third.
"That's really all the momentum they needed. It's not like we were up by three or four and I could stay aggressive and just keep attacking the zone. I kind of had to pitch a little differently. I had to try to get a strikeout or little pop flies."
Shipley did get one popup, but only after Gelalich reached on first baseman Daniel Palka's fielding error and before a single by Sebastian Elizalde drove in Amaral.
"It's frustrating when those things happen to you," Shipley said. "I felt like, with [Elizalde], I executed my pitch and he went down and slapped it over [second baseman Jamie Westbrook's] head for a little bloop single."
A wild pitch and a fielder's choice later, Gelalich crossed the plate and Shipley was done. Elizalde scored after Shipley's exit.
Shipley was the 15th overall pick of last year's Draft, and in his debut campaign, he was 0-3 with a 4.99 ERA between short-season Hillsboro and South Bend.
Amir Garrett, the No. 20 Reds prospect, allowed one run on two hits and four walks with two strikeouts through five innings for Dayton. He did not factor in the decision.