Despite losses, BHS remains positive
Optimism seems to be the word of choice for the Baldwin High School baseball team.
It describes a team that only won four games last year, but brings in a talented class of freshmen. Five of the youngsters start for the Bulldogs. Optimism describes the future outlook for the BHS program.
"They handled opening game jitters very well," coach Brock Hartshorn said of his BHS squad. "We only made one error all night, which is really good, considering we had freshmen playing in the infield for the first high school game."
Even an opening day sweep can't keep Hartshorn from being optimistic about this team's season. The Bulldogs were beaten at home by De Soto 4-1 and 8-4 last Thursday.
"It was a good start," he said. "Our pitchers pitched well. Justin Vander Tuig didn't walk anybody in four innings. Zach Durr struck out nine in the first game. Our defense looked great for a first game and it's only going to get better.
"That is a good start to the season without getting a win," Hartshorn said. "It doesn't help our confidence, but the wins are going to come with this team."
In the first game, the teams remained scoreless until the third inning. The Wildcats took advantage of two walks to jump out in front of BHS. They scored four runs in the inning, however, Hartshorn said the game might have been tied if the Bulldogs could have made a great play in the outfield on one of the hits.
"Aaron Karlin missed a diving catch by a couple of inches," Hartshorn said. "The ball might have been in his glove first then bounced out. If that ball is caught, it's still 0-0 after five innings."
De Soto scored two runs on that hit and another pair on the following at-bat, which resulted in a two-RBI single.
Despite the four-run inning, the Bulldogs remained poised and held the Wildcats scoreless for the remainder of the contest. Baldwin's only run came in the final inning.
Vander Tuig scored the only run for BHS on an RBI by fellow freshman Landon Ausherman. The BHS rally stopped at one run, but Hartshorn was proud of his team's effort late in the game.
"We played very good defense," Hartshorn said. "Once our bats come around, this is going to be a very good baseball team. We didn't hit very well last night. The weather may have played a factor in that since neither team hit very well. They produced more runs than us in the first game because of some walks."
In the second game the BHS bats began to swing and runs began to tally up. Unfortunately for BHS, the same could be said for the Wildcats. De Soto led 5-0 before the Bulldogs' offense began producing.
Baldwin did manage to score four runs in the final three innings, but it wasn't enough to erase the deficit.
Durr and freshman Josh Hoffman each had a pair of hits during the second contest. Durr also earned two RBI.
De Soto's pitching impressed Hartshorn last week.
"They pitched two seniors, who are both very good," he said. "One of them was an honorable-mention all-state player last year."
Despite the lack of offensive production, the Bulldogs were impressive on the defensive side. On several occasions they picked off Wildcat runners trying to steal or gain an extra base.
"We picked four runners off in the first game," Hartshorn said. "We have two lefties who have very good moves, so we are going to pick a lot of kids off at first base at the high school level."
The Bulldogs play Wellsville today. The varsity will play at home, while the junior varsity team travels to Wellsville. Both doubleheaders begin at 4:30 p.m. BHS will also play at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Spring Hill, while the JV teams plays the Broncos at home.
Check for results from today's contests on the Signal's Web site at www.baldwincity.com.