Skipper pleased with progress
It was a frigid Tuesday evening as the Basehor-Linwood baseball team hosted Santa Fe Trail.
The Bobcats' bats were as cold as the blustery night air and they were turned away, 4-1, in the first game and, 9-3, in the second.
"Obviously, we would like to have scored more runs," BLHS coach Dave Svoboda said. "Cody McCoy did a nice job of keeping us in the (first) game."
McCoy pitched a complete game, striking out six, and surrendering four earned runs.
Svoboda will be happy if that continues.
"It's absolutely huge," Svoboda said of McCoy's start. "It does a couple things. It gives you an opportunity to win. More importantly, when you are going to play a couple of doubleheaders a week, it will allow you to get in a situation where you can save pitching for later in the week.
"With a sophomore and two freshmen as the starters besides Cody, we have to have Cody go five or six innings every time out. With young guys, you never know whether he is going to go a while or get knocked out in the first."
BLHS catcher Augie Pierce was pleased with his pitcher.
"He was very good," Pierce said. "His fastball was hitting its locations. The curve ball was hitting the locations. Most of hits he gave up were on the curve and those were nice pitches. He pitched a nice game.
The Bobcats committed three errors behind McCoy.
"We need to avoid the one or two innings defensively that have killed us," Svoboda said. "It isn't that we aren't capable of doing it. It's quite the opposite. I think it's a combination of things. There are walks at inopportune times. If you get back on your heels on defense, it is a recipe for disaster."
Svoboda believes that once the weather improves and the team is able to consistently practice outside, some of the shortcomings will work themselves out.
In the second contest, the Bobcats scored three runs but left six men on base.
"It was particularly frustrating when guys were called out on third strikes," Svoboda said. "Those were my first words to the guys after the game. Nothing good can happen when you don't swing the bat."
The players are frustrated as well.
"With teams like (Bishop) Ward, we are expected to lose," Pierce said of the season opener. "I think we could have done better against them. After a game like tonight, I feel like we could have won. We had a good chance to win but we didn't play to our potential and it is very frustrating."
Svoboda agreed that the early season competition has been stiff.
"When you are playing people like we have early, Bishop Ward is a great program and Santa Fe Trail is a great program, those are a couple of programs that are going to win 15 to 20 games every season," Svoboda said. "We are trying to see what we have. This isn't like basketball, where you have only a seven or eight man rotation. We are trying to find the confidence in every player that he can keep getting better."
Svoboda said he was discouraged by the final scores but encouraged by the continued progress he saw.
"(The second game is) the kind of game in the past where we get run-ruled and don't score," Svoboda said. "To me, that is the most encouraging thing."
The coach noted the Bobcats were down 9-3 and had allowed the bases to be loaded.
"In previous situations, we probably give up a hit there, it's 12-3, we don't score in the bottom half of the inning and the game is over before seven (innings)," Svoboda said. "It is progress. It isn't a fold up the tent, run-rule deal like in the past."
The coach said he isn't viewing the team's progress strictly by numbers.
"When you only won three games the previous year and you have three freshmen in the starting lineup at times, you have got to find a way to mark your improvement in a way other than wins and losses," he said.