The Eudora baseball team has proven that just because it gets up early it doesn't mean it is guaranteed a win.
For example: both games of the doubleheader against Gardner Edgerton last Thursday. In the first game, the Cardinals racked up five runs in the first three innings, but quickly lost their lead halfway through the game and fell 8-5. The second game was similar, with Eudora losing 7-2.
Coach Dirk Kinney said the primary reason the games were lost was the amount of walks and hits Eudora gave to the Trailblazers.
"Getting 17 hit-batters or walks is not going to win you any games," Kinney said. "In 12 innings, that's just not acceptable. Hitting-wise, we did nice in the first game and got up 5-1. We jumped on them, but then we let them jump on us. The second game was almost identical."
Kinney said there were things the team needed to work on, most notably, throwing strikes and mounting a strong defense. Pitching duties were being shared between juniors Brian White and Aaron Shockley, with Kelson Boyer getting the week off to rest. Kinney said despite the loss, he was confident the pitchers would continue to develop their skills throughout the season.
One positive aspect of the games was the team's hitting, Kinney said. All around, Kinney said the Cardinals played strong on the offense, which was capped off by junior Matthew Abel hitting six of eight in the games and stealing five bases.
"The hitting was nice," Kinney said. "Matthew Abel did phenomenal as the lead off. He did nice at the plate and ended up with five stolen bases. As a team, we had 12 stolen bases to their zero."
Kinney said what made Gardner Edgerton so strong was its ability to exploit the Eudora weaknesses.
"You sort of tip your hat to the team that takes advantage of those mistakes," he said.
Kinney said the Cardinal weaknesses he saw resulted from a lack of focus, not skill and talent. He said they were just going to continue plugging away at the essentials and work on the mental side of the game.
The Cardinal baseball team is scheduled to play a doubleheader against Wellsville starting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the home field. Then, the team will play another doubleheader against Anderson County at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the home field, before playing a third doubleheader against Ottawa at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Eudora.
Kinney said if the Cardinals hope to win those three doubleheaders, they must up their defensive play.
"We are going to have to throw strikes, and our hitting is going to have to come through," Kinney said. "Wellsville is a much improved team, so we're going to have to be ready."
This recent round of three losses comes on the heels of a successful start of the 2007 season and the 2006 state championship appearance. Kinney said although the losses might be difficult for the team, the players just needed to dust off their uniforms and get back on the field against Wellsville, Anderson County and Ottawa with a winning attitude.
"They just need to understand that they need to get back out there and compete," Kinney said. "It's not how you start the season, but how you finish."