The pressure was on Monday night.
Southern Boone visited Versailles for a Tri-County Conference battle and one thing the Eagles did not forget to bring were their bats as they topped the host Tigers 13-2 in five innings. Versailles initially held a 1-0 lead after the first inning, but it was all Southern Boone the rest of the way as they quickly regained a 2-1 lead after the second inning and did not look back.
The Eagles consistently put the ball in play and collected nine total hits as a team. However, only five of their 13 runs were earned and Versailles coach Jason Ollison said the errors simply just need to be cleaned up.
“Defensively we have to get a little better at cleaning up our infield play. We had three or four more errors on the infield today and that has to get better,” the coach stated. “That is not a technique thing, but a mental thing right now. We are afraid we are going to screw something up and then we end up messing it up.”
Although a team like Southern Boone who has traditionally been at the top or near the top of the conference is not an opponent to be taken lightly.
“They (Southern Boone) are a good, solid team and have a lot of kids that play a lot throughout the summer. We are young and getting better,” Ollison said. “They boys competed tonight and I was proud of them.”
As tough as the Eagles were to defend, they were just as tough to generate offense against as well. Consistent contact was made by the Tigers throughout the night, but the balls in play did not often find any gaps. At the end of the day, junior Taylor Dobbins was the only Tiger to collect a hit as the team’s batting average leader (.290) recorded two of them and added two more RBIs to his season total.
On the mound, sophomore starting pitcher Kade Marriott took the loss as he allowed nine runs in 3.1 innings of work while walking two batters and striking out one. Senior David Connor and freshman Brayden Morrison worked in relief and the duo walked three batters and struck out one as well.
“Our outfielders went and got it really well today, Taylor swung the bat really well and kept us in it for a while and I cannot complain about the pitching either,” Ollison noted. “Kade kept us in it as long as he could and David came in and did what he needed to do too.”
Despite the tough result, Ollison said he likes the way his club has come out and approached the game day in and day out. Moving forward, the team just needs a little spark of confidence.
“They have a good mental, approach to it. They want to get better and want to do well so it is not like they are getting down or doing things that re not going to make us better,” the coach remarked. “It is a process and just something that is going to take time. Once they start having some success and believing in themselves, it is going to take off.
“Right now we just have that thing whenever we see a conference team that we are kind of thinking we are at the bottom end of it. Once that turns it is going to be fun… until we change that mental side of it we are going to struggle, but these guys can do it and we are making steps in that direction,” Ollison added.
Versailles (3-7) will look to rebound with a visit to Warsaw on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.