By Amy Rutledge
The Bay boys baseball team has struggled to find its way in the first half of this season. Last Thursday’s 5-0 loss to Avon was a microcosm of the Rockets’ season, giving them an overall record of 1-7.
“I thought we rebounded well after coming off a tough loss,” said Bay head coach Joe Cheney. “We didn’t hit the ball very well. Avon’s pitcher did a good job mixing us up a little bit.”
The match against Avon was the third big game for the Rockets in one week. Prior to playing Avon, Bay played both Midview and Vermilion earlier in the week.
“We knew it was going to be a tough week,” Cheney said. “In the last five years of the conference one of those three teams, or us have won the conference. You have good strong programs and you have to come fighting every day. I thought we did a nice job of playing defense. Their hitters stayed with it.”
With half of the season behind them, the Rockets are still progressing trying to improve on their record and meet expectations for the season.
“We’re not quite there yet,” Cheney stated. “We have some injuries we’re fighting through. We had a concussion with one of our pitchers, and our shortstop just returned because of grades. We’re still trying to gel a little bit. We’re looking to support our pitcher.
“We’ve started to play better defense and now we are just looking to get the bats going.”
Cheney did credit their hitting to the new batting regulations, stating that most guys are already adjusted.
“A lot of the guys were swinging the bats last summer. It’s really a matter of adjusting to pretty good pitching,” he said. “The conference is pretty deep, pitching wise. “
The Rockets kept Avon scoreless the first three innings, but a double paired with a single put the Eagles on the board first in the fourth inning. Avon added four more runs to their score in the sixth inning putting them up 5-0. Bay was unable to answer back having struck out three of the last four batters to end the game.
Jake Peters was on the mound for the Rockets. Cheney said Peters has really stepped up his pitching and will be a key player in the coming years.
“Jacob has been a nice surprise this year,” he said. “He got a lot stronger. He’s an offensive lineman on the football team so he was working really hard in the offseason. He really took pitching seriously this year and had a great start against Rocky River and today against Avon.”
The Rockets will try to improve their record through the rest of the season. Cheney hopes the experience of playing better teams in the conference will translate to a better performance in the post season.
“Our goal is to continue to compete,” he said. “We’re trying to build the confidence level and hope to compete game in and game out. In post season we play a pretty strong division I schedule. Hopefully the experience of playing teams that are bigger than us will help us.”