Patriots still not satisfied despite undefeated start

Published 3:00 am Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Pike Patriots have yet to taste defeat so far this season, but despite the 7-0 start, coach Allen Ponder and the Patriots are far from satisfied.

“We battled some tough times early,” Ponder said. “We tried to get in the swing of things and the guys did a good job. They have continued to work and get better shaking the rust off.”

The Patriots made a run at their first championship since 2012 last season before ultimately coming up short. This season, they welcomed back the majority of the team back, which means the players are more familiar with each other than ever.

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“The biggest thing for us is the team chemistry,” Ponder said. “Our kids enjoy coming to practice every single day. They enjoy being around each other; that’s been the biggest difference.”

The Patriots have beaten their opponents by an average of nearly 7 runs over the first seven games. During that span, the Patriots have worked on simulating certain game situations to get them ready for adversity later in the season.

“It’s a good thing for confidence,” Ponder said about his team’s lopsided wins. “We also understand that we really haven’t faced any adversity yet. In practice, we try to simulate being down in games. We haven’t had to face that yet, but it’s coming.”

During the first seven games, the Patriots have averaged nearly 11 runs per game.

“We have swung (the bats) well,” Ponder said. “One thing we haven’t done well as of yet is being consistent. We have spurts, but haven’t had that game yet where we swung the bat well (batters) one through nine. We have swung it well in spurts. We are excited about the opportunity of putting it all together.”

On the pitchers mound, the Patriots have a team ERA of 2.39.

“We have a lot of arms this year,” Ponder said. “It’s very important to be able to go three, four, five, six or even seven deep. We are going to play a lot of baseball games.”

The increase of games will come in the way of tournaments over the next two weekends. Ponder hopes the tournament will get the pitchers ready for the playoffs later in the season.

“You are going to play at least three games,” Ponder said. “When you play three games, you have to have at least three quality arms. It’s a good opportunity to get those guys on the mound while at the same time preparing yourself for that type of format.”

The Patriots hope to improve to 9-0 this afternoon when they take on Emmanuel and Marianna.