After getting off to a promising start by scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning, the Eagles (1-6, 0-1 Region 6A-A) stumbled in the top of the second defensively, letting a pair of fly balls drop in the outfield and then making a pair of errors in the infield, setting the stage for a five-run frame for the Lions (3-3, 1-1).
Between the elements of miscommunication and plain misexecution, first-year Mt. Zion coach Wade Cohen said it’s a combination of components that must be corrected if the team is going to have success this spring.
“It’s something I’m trying to continually improve with the guys. The bottom line is, players got to make plays,” Cohen said. “Until we do that, we’re going to keep getting the same results. It’s a matter of changing our mindset. If you’re not willing to make changes to get better, then you’re going to keep getting the same result you’ve been getting.”
The Lions added a run in the third, four more in the fourth and two in the fifth to end the game early, as the Eagle bats went cold after a solid first-inning effort.
The Eagles got both of their runs in the first, with second baseman James Bragg reaching on an error and stealing second, setting up an RBI single by designated hitter Nate Warren one batter later. Pitcher Tyler Watts then helped his own cause with an RBI triple to the right-center fence, bringing home Warren, for the 2-0 advantage.
Outside of that, though, Mt. Zion’s only other base knock was a two-out single from senior third baseman/pitcher Corey Loftin in the bottom of the fifth. Cohen said it seems to be an early-season theme where his ball club hits early and then shuts down.
“We’ve got to learn the mental part of the game and be mentally tough throughout the whole game. No matter what adversity you face, you’ve got to learn to overcome that adversity,” Cohen said.
Watts started for the Eagles and was the tough-luck loser behind the fielding mishaps, with Loftin and Bragg both getting in some work on the hill to close out the game.
And while the season hasn’t started the way Cohen or his seniors envisioned, there is still a ways to go now that region play is just getting underway. That said, it’s going to be a tough road ahead in a very competitive region night-in and night-out.
“We’ve got Darlington coming up Monday and Gordon Lee on Tuesday and then Trion next Friday. Those are three very tough opponents and we’ve got to make improvements or we’re going to keep seeing the same results,” Cohen said.