Archive for Monday, April 9, 2012

Bishop Ward sweeps Bonner Springs baseball team, Braves drop to 1-7

April 9, 2012, 10:13 p.m.

Updated: April 12, 2012, 12:00 a.m.

— In his first season as head coach, Scott Lero is trying to establish a foundation for Bonner Springs baseball.

In the meantime, the team is going to go through some rough patches like the one it is experiencing right now.

“We’re trying to create a baseball culture here and that’s a process,” Lero said. “As impatient as I am, I have to sit back and realize it’s not going to happen overnight.”

The Braves are 1-7 this season while the coach and his team become more comfortable with each other. Lero said that with solid pitching as a starting point, this team has something to build from if it can just get over the fixable problems.

Many were on display Monday when Bonner Springs visited Bishop Ward for a doubleheader, losing both games. Bishop Ward won the games, 12-2 and 7-5, but they weren’t dominant. The Braves didn’t give up many hits or walks, they just couldn’t execute when the ball was in play.

An attempt to fake out and catch a Cyclone base runner ended up in an error. Sometimes, the player would be in the right place and failed to execute, or vice-versa, giving up bases.

“Those bases turn into runs and that’s what cost us in the end,” Lero said after Monday’s doubleheader.

But the two starting pitchers, seniors Sergio Valenzuela and Austin Clouse, have been a bright spot with sophomore Mason Patchett coming in with quality relief pitching. Valenzuela was roughed up in Bonner Springs’ first game, but Lero thinks it was an outlier. Clouse, on the other hand, has found his groove.

“From Thursday to today, two excellent games,” Lero said. “And they went to waste.”

It is encouraging to know that the starting pitching is sound. However, the offense still needs tinkering.

In the second game against Bishop Ward, a 7-5 loss, senior Gonzalo Pichardo had three RBI for the Braves. Valenzuela and Shawn Jones each added one, but those were the main highlights on offense. Too many times, Lero said, hitters will get behind in the pitching count and end up taking a big swing for a strikeout. The offense can’t string together enough hits to score.

The Braves seem to be improving with each outing, except for the lack of consistency. But the team has the feeling that the program is going upward. Also note that Lero has seen most of the players play only since the season started, so he is still trying to find the right positions for the players adjusting to the new roles.

“I think the skeleton is there,” Lero said. “We’ve just got to put the meat on the bones.”

Bonner Springs will visit Eudora for a doubleheader 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday.

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