Clark Baseball to Begin “New Season”
Friday, March 16, 2012
After a Florida road-trip that saw the Cougars go 1-7, Clark returns to the Northeast for NEWMAC Conference action and a clean slate.
“Ultimately, it’s a new season,” senior centerfielder Matt Bohl said. “If we take a couple games this weekend and get rolling into the conference, we might look back at those first games and be upset. But, really, these are the ones that matter.”
The Cougars’ new season begins right away, as they host NEWMAC foe Coast Guard Academy today at 3 pm. Today’s game is the start of a three-game series with Coast Guard, but the other two will be played on the road. If the Cougars are to turn things around, they will need to improve their pitching dramatically. Clark pitchers have a combined 6.34 ERA, and have allowed opposing hitters to bat .314.
Coach Jason Falcon has admitted to being a little frustrated with the team’s early results, but understands that his group has plenty of room to grow.
“We have to remember that we have a very young team,” Falcon said. “What we have to do is just be patient. I think we have some very good ball players, but it’s going to take some of our older guys stepping up to get us on track.”
One veteran that has been doing is part is first baseman Nicholas Kellogg. Batting .294, Kellogg ranks third on the team in average, but has been the team’s one power hitter, accounting for a team-leading 7 RBI and .382 slugging percentage. Kellogg has also been solid in the field, only committing a single error on the year, good for a .988 fielding percentage.
While Kellogg and Bohl are strong veteran presences, the Cougars are still an underclassmen laden team. Clark has started five freshmen the past several games, and Falcon believes the lack of experience will have to be managed carefully this season.
“The hardest part is how do we prepare them for things they’ve never experienced before,” Falcon said. “You know, that’s the tricky part. I think as coaches we have to make sure we point out both their successes and their failures. We have to let them know when they’ve done something well, but we also have to be there when they mess up.”
Despite the slow start, Clark has not changed its team goals. The Cougars still hope to find their way into the NEWMAC Tournament at the end of the year, and Bohl says his team just needs to put its slow start behind it.
“There’s obviously been a lot of negative energy, and that’s to be expected,” Bohl said. “As a senior and a leader on this team, it’s my job to stop that and get us going back in the right direction. We really need to come together as a team.”