Monday, September 13, 2010

The good, the bad, and the ugly

That's probably the best way to describe our first action against other people this fall.  In 4 games, we've pretty much covered the gamut of ways you can play.  We've been good in one, bad in one, played ok and lost, and played ok and won.  On the bright side, we haven't tied yet, and with such a young group, this sort of inconsistency is at least somewhat expected.  The trick will be making sure it doesn't last too long.

In our opener at Andrew last Friday, we got a near perfect performance on the mound out of Dustin Dunagan, John Mark Ramsey, Daniel Szathmary, and Brian Alder in a 5-0 shutout to start the fall.  The bats were a little quiet for my taste, but we did hit some balls hard, and Austin Jamieson posted 3 hits to pace us on offense.  Game 2 wasn't as tidy.  Our pitching was solid, with the exception of a rough second inning for Hayden Martin, who was having some issues with soreness.  Hayden felt himself tightening up after the first, but like most players, he felt like he could keep going and get the job done, so he went back out in the second.  Unfortunately, his command lapsed, and the Tigers were able to put together a rally.  The big inning wouldn't really be the difference in the game though, as our offense was unable to get going, and we dropped game 2 6-1.

On Saturday, we headed up to Alexander City to play in CACC's fall Tournament, which is almost a misnomer.  These fall "tournaments" are really just round robins where several teams get together to play in front of some scouts, but they are great because you get a chance to play more than one opponent without having to make a second trip anywhere. 

In game one, we teed off against Calhoun CC, a perennially strong team in the northern division of the ACCC.  Calhoun, as expected, was a good offensive club that really forced our young guys to throw some pitches and battle through some tough innings.  Thankfully, our offense showed up as well, and we were able to outscore Calhoun in a fairly poorly pitched game (for both clubs) 9-7.  The Zachs: Helewski and Mays, as well as Matthew Vollenweider each pitched brilliantly at times and ordinarily at others, but overall continued to provide solid work for us on the bump.

Game 2 looked like it was going to be a straight up pitcher's duel, as lefty Michael O'Neal impressed against Panhandle Opponent Gulf Coast CC.  Mickey provided three quick innings against GC, but their typically strong pitching stymied our hitters as well.  The entire game was really either about how good both teams could pitch, or possibly about how poorly each team was hitting this early in the fall.  If it weren't for Cody Dykes having an uncharacteristically bad outing in which he couldn't seem to get a feel for his off-speed pitches or get much jump on his fastball, it probably would have been a 3-2 or 2-1 type of game.  As it was, Cody was having a rough a go, and they were able to jump on him for 5 runs to beat us 7-2.  Our offense wasn't very good for the first 6 innings of the game, showing little life until Trace McDaniel provided a pinch hit single in the seventh.  After two quick outs, Neal Chambless and Ty Abbott turned in back to back doubles to get us on the board and plate two runs.  It didn't do much to change the outcome, but at least it gave us something positive to take away from an offensive perspective.

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