Hello Purple Heys and purplebaseball. I'm new to the board and a new freshmen parent at Whittier. Made it to my first game of the season today and it was tough to watch us give that game away today! I thought the pitchers threw well and the defense let them down today. Routine plays that have to be made at this level were not and ended up costing us the game. Seems like you two have been around Whittier baseball for a bit, is this the norm? I know they had a tough season last year.
First, welcome to the Board! More of us on here is a good thing, IMHO
I think this is a new year/new team, I don't see any carryover. Not a diss at last year's squad - just sharing my observations...
I think we have better, (somewhat deeper) pitching, better hitting through the lineup, we have more pop in the lineup, we have more overall team speed, and I think we will be a better fielding team (other than the catching position - how can you really expect to replicate a D3 Gold Glover?). Plus we are younger across the board than last year and to me that means room for improvement.
My sample size for that is Game 1 and Game 3 - it looked to me that Game 2 was a throwaway. We competed quite well in those two games. The way we lost those games speaks to what we need to work on to be in a position to win games against the good teams we will face this year.
Whitworth is a pretty darn good team - maybe as good as we will see all year. Their hitters were disciplined, hit deep into counts, and hit it hard through most of the lineup. They hit remarkably well with 2 strikes, or we pitched remarkably poorly with 2 strikes, but I think it was more the former than the latter. Whitworth's pitching did not dominate us. We had numerous well hit balls directly at waiting defenders. On the balance that should even out over a season.
In Game 1, we walked way too many hitters and that put pressure on the pitchers (self-imposed) and defense. With our well struck balls not dropping for hits early in the contest, all it took was one big inning by the Pirates to take advantage. I think some of this was first game jitters. Giving up 9 walks, 9 hits to this team and only allowing 6 runs...we held on admirably. Last year we tended to let games like this get away from us.
In Game 3, we hit well enough to win, pitched almost well enough to win, and ill-timed fielding flubs proved costly at the time. However, my opinion is that we could have hit a bit better, had more runs, and pitched somewhat better to where we might have withstood the errors - only 3 earned runs, and I think we can
do better. We had wasted opportunities to stop more runs, wasted opportunities to finish 1-2 and 2-2 counts, that would have ended threats. On offense, we had some trouble putting 3 or 4 good AB's together to really fuel big innings. So that is the space where we need to improve...in my opinion. We went toe to toe with a darn good team that probably would have blown us out in at least 2 of 3 last year. Game 3 was more about us losing it than them winning it (not to take credit away from the fact that they put pressure on us all game long - which had something to do with the outcome - but the fact is that to win at this level you have to withstand that).
I don't see the errors that were made in Game 3 being made again, and in fact they may have a positive effect over the long haul in teaching the level of concentration and technique that is necessary to win at this level. The things I look at are what wins games over the long haul...the things that good teams do.
So, my assessment is, we were closer to winning games against a team of this caliber than we generally were last year. We've got a lot of work to do. We need to hit better. We need to pitch better. We need to field better. Who doesn't, right?
But if we can do that, and I think we will, we will make teams have to beat us, and that could prove to be tougher on our opponents than last year.