Goshen looks to sweep cross-county rival Pike County

Published 9:33 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nine days ago the Pike County Bulldogs and Goshen Eagles kicked off the 2013 baseball season with a doubleheader. Goshen swept the twin bill that day convincingly, 7-4 and 10-0.

The two teams come in to the rematch wanting to work on different things. Pike County head coach Kyle Davis said his team has to work on getting runners across the plate when they are in scoring position. In the first game of the season, the Bulldogs stranded seven runners on base.

“We have got to push guys home,” said Davis. “We have had guys on second and third and no outs in almost every game this season. We haven’t done a good job of getting runs on the board. In high school ball, if you don’t score runs, you won’t win very many ball games.”

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Davis said that his team is full of younger, less experienced players that are still learning the ins and outs of baseball. The Bulldogs are looking to improve through the season before the area series’ at the end of the regular season.

“We are still learning the small ball stuff,” said Davis. “We have some good seniors that have helped the younger guys along, but we are still learning the game as a whole. But we will get there before area play starts.”

Across the county in Goshen, the Eagles want to keep the momentum rolling after a solid start to the 2013 season.

In the season opening wins over Pike County, the Eagles received stellar pitching performances from Bryant Stephens and Jared Maddox. Stephens went struck out six Bulldogs in just three innings of work in the opener. Not to be outdone, Maddox went the distance in the second game, and stuck out 11 batters.

“I have really been impressed with our pitching early in the season,” said Goshen head coach Robby Kinsaul. “I have stressed to our pitchers to cut down on walks, and they have done that early on.”

Kinsaul and the Eagles met with former Major League pitcher Tommy John prior to the season starting, and John preached efficiency.

“Tommy told them that one less pitch in the second inning is one more in the seventh,” said Kinsaul. “The pitchers know that they have a good defense behind them, and get some ground balls.”

The Eagles have also been keeping the basepaths hot, racking up quite a few steals.

Senior outfielder Carlton Bean stole seven bases in the two games against the Bulldogs, and other runners have committed crimes on the bases as well.

“Get them on, get them over and get them in,” said Kinsaul. “It is one of our mottos this season. You can’t score a run standing on first.”

The Bulldogs and Eagles will meet for the second time on Thursday afternoon in Brundidge for another double header. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.