Prior to last night’s conference matchup at Wonderview, Academics Plus lost 11-1 to Little Rock J.A. Fair on Monday. Although, the Falcons have three conference contests this week and started the week with a loss, Academics Plus Coach Steven Tew was pleased with some aspects of the defeat.
"Looking at the scorebook, we statistically did better than they did," Tew said. "They scored their 10th and 11th runs in the fifth inning. We only played five innings because of the run-rule of 10 after five."
The Falcons (1-4, 1-0 A5-North) also have a doubleheader at Mount Vernon on Thursday. Tew said the Falcons have hit well their last two contests but still just need to put hits together. Additionally, they also need to cut down on errors.
Against Fair, Academics Plus had eight hits, but they were all singles. Tew noted it was the second game in a row that the Falcons hit from the top to the bottom of the lineup. Ian Gates, the number two hitter, was 3-of-3 and has just recently moved to that spot.
"I wanted someone between Will (Redwine, number one spot) and Michael (Haug, number two spot)," Tew said. "He is very selective up there and doesn’t swing at many bad pitches. He played well."
Tew pointed out Staton Wood, in the eighth hole, who had a hard line drive and was hit by a pitch. Also, Kevin Coffman had his first start in centerfield, and Tew said he played well. One of his attributes is his speed, and he almost beat out a grounder he hit between first and second base.
Redwine and Haug combined for the loss. In 3 1/3 innings, Redwine struck out seven batters. Haug yielded three hits, had three earned runs and fanned three batters. Tew is hoping his pitchers have a different perspective in the remaining games this week.
"We gave up too many walks," he said. "Our pitchers are strikeout pitchers. That is good, and I understand they want to get the strikeouts. The goal should be not to get strikeouts but to get the batters out whether on a ground ball or a pop up. It’s true we haven’t been able to back them up in the outfield, but we have to cut down on how many pitches we throw and how many walks we are giving up."
Tew said ideally the pitchers need to throw 10-15 pitches an inning but will have innings where they throw 20-25. The goal is to get ahead of the batters and get used to the strike zone.