Errors still troubling Cavalry
The Lansing Cavalry opened the summer season by winning their first five games, but since then the schedule has been rocky.
A 1-3 performance at the Lawrence Tournament and a 2-3 showing at the Burlington Tournament were fueled by defensive errors - mostly in the infield. Then the squad crumbled with more errors in a home loss to Ozawkie before being swept last Wednesday at Ottawa.
"We hit rock-bottom," Cavalry coach Jake Hanson said of the losses at Ottawa.
Hanson said there were numerous factors he attributed to his squad's recent struggles, which include having lost six of their last eight games prior to Wednesday night's doubleheader at Basehor.
First, Hanson said, have been nagging injuries and aches and pains that half of his players have been dealing with. In addition to six who have been ailing in recent weeks, Kyle Hutchison joined the list when he took a line drive off the wrist late in game two against Ottawa.
The second, and most glaring, problem has been incessant infield errors.
"I think a lot of it is mental," he said. "What I'm concerned about is a lot of times they're not even getting in front of the ball. There'll be a runner on second base, and it's imperative they get in front of it and at least knock it down."
Hanson said he was confident his players would work through their recent struggles, which he said had been atypical for this group during their careers.
"It's a problem that hopefully we can take care of if we take some ground balls (at practice)," he said. "They just look really unsure of themselves in the infield right now."
Hanson said he had been pleased with the play of his outfielders all season, though. Mike Bayless has been nearly flawless in left field all summer, as has Tom Kohl in center field. Mike Amaral and Josh Coleman have shared time in right, and they also have been solid on a daily basis.
"The good news is our outfield is playing great right now, but we're not getting a lot of fly balls out there," Hanson said.
Hanson also has been pleased that his players have continued to hit the ball well throughout the summer. Jeff Terrill broke out of a hitting slump against Ottawa when he smashed two home runs. Jordan Pratt continued his recent hot streak with the bat when he added his first homer of the summer against the Cyclones.
Hanson gave the Cavalry almost a full week off for the Fourth of July holiday. He said he hoped the time away from the field would be enough for his players to heal and refocus.
Hanson said he was confident his players would not have any trouble getting back on track after the break because he said Lansing's graduating seniors would not let the Cavalry crumble. He said those seniors - Conn Blakley, Lonnie Hansen, Josh Coleman and Matt Mowery - addressed the squad after the losses to Ottawa and assumed a greater leadership role.
"A couple of those seniors said their piece," Hanson said. "They said, 'I don't want to go out like this. Let's get it done.'"