SENECA – Reed-Custer and Seneca seemed like teams heading in different directions when they played to a 11-2 Comets victory Friday to open the Interstate Eight Conference baseball season.
Maybe it’s a lesson in how wildly prep baseball results can fluctuate, especially in early April. The Comets, who’d won four straight games that week by a combined margin of 40-6, turned around Saturday and got swept in a doubleheader by Normal University. Seneca, which had lost its fourth straight Friday by a combined margin of 50-12, turned around and swept Serena in a doubleheader the next day.
To coach Kirk Houchin, it was obvious what had been lacking for the Irish after Friday’s game. They had averaged seven runs a game in their wins and just more than three runs a game in their losses.
“We gotta put some hits together,” Houchin said. “Some of the guys who were producing early now aren’t. They’re pressing, and other guys are starting to get hot. We gotta get those guys that were hot earlier, a week or two ago, going.
“Just can’t put it all together at one time. You know, [when] we’ve had some good hitting, pitching is lacking. And then when we have good pitching, we’re not scoring runs. I’m hoping here in the next couple weeks, we’ll put it all together and score some runs. Runs erase a lot of mistakes. Unfortunately, right now we’re not scoring the runs. We’re making the mistakes, and it’s really magnified.”
It wasn’t that Reed-Custer had played great baseball or been a great offensive team all season heading into Friday’s game. Coach Jerry Cougill and outfielder Josh Bull both said that Friday’s 11-run, 10-hit performance was probably the Comets’ best of the young season.
On Friday, Cougill was hopeful the Comets were trending in the right direction.
“Obviously we got a lot of things that we can work on, but I was encouraged offensively tonight,” Cougill said. “We have played pretty good defense. We have a much more challenging part of our schedule ahead of us, so we’ll see. We’ll see how we are in a couple of weeks.”
Maybe the lesson here is that we should wait a few weeks to make any real evaluations of either of these teams, or of any and all prep baseball teams. Houchin is hoping his Irish will look like a very different team. Cougill is hoping the Comets will not.