“Wait till next year!” The cry of many a baseball fan when their favorite team has not had as good a year as hoped.
So it may be for the White Pine varsity baseball team as they concluded the regular season hosting Lincoln County this past Tuesday.
The Bobcats are not likely to make the four-team Southern Division III playoffs this year, but coach Quinn Ewell says they have much to look forward to for 2017.
The team split a double header at Laughlin last weekend, winning the first game 18-9, but dropping the second 33-5.
Ewell said, “We were just one run short of the 10-run rule in the first game. We scored eight in the top of bottom of the sixth to put it away. We went with our lead pitcher, Colton Britton. We scored five in the first inning, but they came back with seven runs in their half of the inning. But we kept the pressure on and scored some every other inning.”
It was 10-7 going into the sixth inning, when White Pine pushed across the eight runs.
The second game was one the team would just as soon like to forget, a lopsided 33-5 loss. The first 17 batters for Laughlin scored in third inning. The 33 runs are the most the Bobcats have allowed all season.
“We struggled with our pitching that game, gave up a lot of walks and Laughlin (10-8, 7-7, who may not make the playoffs either), was able to score quite a bit each inning, Ewell said.
But looking ahead to the future, Ewell expects to have the six freshman returning, along with Britton as a senior. “We’ve had a young team this season. Going up against upperclassmen pretty much every week, but we are able to hit the ball and put it in play which has really helped out the team.”
On Tuesday this week, the Bobcats (6-14, 5-9) lost to league leader Lincoln County (14-7, 13-1) in two games, 16-0, 11-1. “Even though we got 10-runs in both games, we actually played pretty good ball,” Ewell said. “They didn’t really crush the ball on us, we were able to get outs and move the game along. And for the level of talent, having only four returning men from last year, and the number of underclassmen, we played good ball. I was really proud how they finished the year.”
The games with Meadows that had been cancelled April 15 due to weather will not be played as they will have no bearing on the playoff standings.
Ewell said he is coaching a senior league team this season to help develop players for the future. “We haven’t had that program for about the last 10 years.” White Pine was the NIAA Division III state champion in 2005.