St. Croix Central baseball team looking to get offense, defense on trackPitching appears to be in good hands for the St. Croix Central baseball team.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Pitching appears to be in good hands for the St. Croix Central baseball team. The next tasks for the Panthers are to get their offense up to a competitive level and get the defense to settle down and make the needed plays.
The Panthers saw their record drop to 0-3 last week after losses to Amery and Boyceville. Amery beat the Panthers 9-1 on Tuesday, while Boyceville dropped a 13-1 loss on the Panthers in their Dunn-St. Croix Conference opener.
The 9-1 score in Tuesday’s game is misleading. The Panthers trailed 2-1 after five innings. Amery broke the game open with a seven-run sixth inning. The Panthers outhit Amery, six to five, but Central’s defense gave Amery too many chances. The Panthers committed eight errors in the game.
Against Amery, the Panthers were able to create offensive possibilities. The Panthers left 11 runners on base, including stranding runners on every base in the first inning.
“We’re getting the baserunners, we’re just not getting the hits that score the runs,” said Central coach Jason Koele. “We’re trying different combinations of lineups, seeing who’s capable of making the big hit.”
Tyler Lathe and Isaiah Krogseng accounted for all Central’s hits against Amery. They each went 3-3 at the plate.
Koele said he thinks the team’s ability to connect with runners in scoring position is something that will work itself out soon. The issues with the defense are more of a concern. Koele said he’s not sure if it’s nerves, but the players aren’t making the basic plays that they are executing correctly in practice.
Lathe started on the mound at Amery and pitched five strong innings. He allowed two runs, but neither was earned. Koele said Lathe and Mike Nelson have quickly proven that they can pitch consistently at a high level. The Panthers are now looking for pitchers to fill in behind them.
Kyle Tallman got the chance to start on the mound against Boyceville Thursday. Boyceville scored nine times in the second inning, but it’s hard to place any blame on Tallman because the Panther defense committed six errors in the inning. They finished with nine errors for the game.
Central’s batters could only manage one hit against Boyceville ace Ryan Bloom. Alex Adkins got the only hit, a first inning single. He quickly stole second and third base, scoring on a groundout by Nelson.
Koele said the team’s communication is improving every game, which is something he was looking for. He said the team understands it isn’t far away from being productive.
The schedule gets busy for the Panthers with games the next four weekdays. The Panthers host Osceola in a non-conference game on Thursday. They will play at home Friday against Spring Valley. Next week starts with a game at Pepin on Monday. That’s followed by a home game against Luck on Tuesday.