Week Five and Six Blog
If you have been following our season, we are midway through our Shippensburg series, which is the second of 6 conference series that we play in the PSAC. Currently, we are 12-10 (2-4 PSAC) and have been on a little bit of a skid as of late. Its been an interesting year and even with the fact that we are not playing up to everyone else’s expectations, we have two things going for us right now: we are healthy and we still have a very good team. No, we have not played up to our potential. Confidence is down right now and things have not gone our way in many situations. We have not exactly put ourselves in situations to win, either. But heck, that is baseball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains. Being a fifth year head coach, I am continuing to learn. And, like the last four seasons, I look at this season, so far, as another checkpoint or evaluation point that provides data on where we need to get better. Tonight, I am not giving up; I am looking for ways to build confidence and improve our program—we are going to get over this hurdle, just like we have gotten over hurdles that have been much higher over the past five years.
The toughest part of coaching a group that is under achieving is to let go. My goal and our staff’s goal, is to build confidence in any way, shape of form that we can, day in and day out.. Letting go of control is one of the hardest things we, as head coaches, have to do. We want to do it for them and we know we cannot. So when they screw up, which they always will do, eventually, we over coach and say things like, “catch the ball” and, “you shoulda hit that pitch” and, “throw strikes.” At which point, our players say in their heads, “Thanks coach; I was trying to drop it, swing and miss or walk that guy.” We want to tell them what they did wrong, making the sting of their failure, even worse. There is a difference between the dialogue above and teaching. Teaching provides helpful information. There is a difference between the above and, “here is how to improve.” We tell teammates to pick up their teammates, but we forget to do it as coaches. We dwell on failure, just as we harp on our kids not to. At this point, I committing myself to teaching—when we fail, I am going to be the first to say “So what.” Then I am going to teach.
We revisited our goals tonight and they have not changed. They are just as high as they were at the beginning of the season, just as high as they were when the last pitch of last season was thrown and most importantly, I still have confidence in our kids to get the job done. I believe in our kids, our staff and our process. Again, the pieces of the puzzle are healthy—the only question is if and when we stop under achieving and begin playing the Marauder way.
Here are a few positives from today’s double-header. Dan Johnson, a guy who deals with physical adversity day in and day out in his life, hit a HR and a triple that with a throwing error, turned into a little league homerun. He finished the double header with 3 more knocks, which should push his average over .340. His Quality Plate Appearance Percentage (the only offensive stat that I really actually care about) is through the roof right now, telling me that he could be hitting a lot better than .340. The kid has been flat our productive. The triple he hit today was definitely the most memorable play of the season thus far. I am a sucker for guys who play hard day in and day out. This kids does. Dan Johnson has established himself as a hard-nosed kid who isn’t flashy but gets it done daily and he does it with grit. He’s a guy our team should feed off of. Brooks Rothschild, coming into today’s game, was 5-0. He lost today, but has been lights out week after week. He is now 17-3 in the past two seasons. No flash, no 90 mph fastballs or filthy breaking balls, just grit.
Just like every other challenge that our program has faced over the past four years, we will figure out how to overcome our slow start this season, which has now bled into mid-season. Everyone knows the old cliché: its not how you start, its how you finish. I will add to that: who cares how you start or how you finish? The only thing we control is tomorrow’s first pitch and then when that is over, we need to focus on winning the following one. We have about 5600 more pitches to go. The downhill race to the post season has now begun.
Thanks for reading,