Little things cost Bobcats vs. Lansing
The story Monday night for the Basehor-Linwood baseball team was big offensive innings. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they were on the wrong side of the crooked numbers.
BLHS led Lansing 2-1 after four innings of the first game before surrendering five runs in the fifth and four in the sixth to lose 11-5. The Bobcats came back in the second game of the doubleheader and allowed a seven-run third inning en route to a 13-2 six-inning defeat.
"It's the little things," Tyler Miles said. "We do little things wrong, time and time again. That kills us in the end. Every game it seems like one inning kills us. We'll play fine, except for that one inning. We can't seem to bounce back from that inning."
BLHS coach Dave Svoboda said the team played very well throughout the night except for two innings: the sixth of game one, and the third of game two.
"It's a combination of things," Svoboda said. "Pitchers are working behind in counts. Pitchers will walk guys at inopportune times, we will kick a ground ball when we have a chance to turn two; it's a lot of things. If I could pinpoint the fact that it was just pitching, or pinpoint the fact that it was one guy on defense, we would make changes at those positions."
Miles came into the second game in relief of Luke Kreider during the calamitous third inning. Running in from the outfield and struggling initially, surrendering three of the seven third inning runs, Miles settled down. He struck out three Lansing batters in the games final three innings.
"I think we just need to calm down," Miles said. "Once we calm down, we start throwing better and having more confidence in ourselves. That will lead to better things."
Once Miles relaxed in the fourth, the defense followed suit.
"I would get ground balls and my defense would back me up," Miles said. "After that one inning, the defense was right there with me. It helped me out."
But how to avoid the big innings in the future?
Svoboda believes the core problem is a lack of team confidence.
"We just need to have a greater sense of personal belief," Svoboda said. "That is a hard thing to coach. I can coach how to take a better route to a ball in the outfield; we can coach how to open up your front foot to get a better look at a curveball. It is awfully difficult to teach confidence. These are good athletes. They have to start believing in themselves. We're going to do whatever we can to enable that, but ultimately it will have to come from them."
The young Bobcats are still drawing on their limited varsity experience.
"I think there is a lot to be said about experience," Svoboda said. "We talked to our guys about that last Thursday against Mill Valley and again tonight, if you don't have a background of continuing success, and victories at a certain level, it is hard to have something to draw from. Unfortunately not a lot of guys here have played varsity baseball, and not a lot of guys here have played winning baseball. So when it is time to stop the bleeding, some of these guys just don't know how."
The team received a huge blow earlier in the day when it was learned that senior second baseman Matt Fanning would be lost for the season with mono.
"I am so disappointed for him," Svoboda said. "I wanted his senior year to be perfect."
Svoboda said that Fanning was so renowned for his defense that he was referred to as "the black hole."
Brandon Leppke is the leading contender to take over for Fanning at second base.