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Visiting Male took advantage of five errors and a balk by SCHS on Monday and spoiled the Rockets' season-opener, 6-2.
However, SCHS Coach Bart Roettger didn’t force the Rockets to run after the defeat. Instead, he noted several positives despite the outcome.
“It’s disappointing because of the number of unearned runs we gave up,” Roettger said. “But it’s the first game, and we’re playing a team that fights for the 7th Region title every year. I thought we were aggressive at the plate, and our pitchers did enough to keep us in the game.
“Defensively, we let the ball play us a little too much instead of going after the ball. That’s something we have to work on, but I saw a lot of good things out there, a lot of potential.”
An error in the first allowed Male to score, but the Rockets struck back quickly.
Shelby took its only lead of the game in the second inning when Jared Clarkson and Eric Standafer drew back-to-back walks. After a throwing error advanced both runners, John Hunter’s double scored two.
That 2-1 lead lasted just a few minutes.
Male scored twice in the top of the second, the first coming as the result of an error and the second off a balk.
“Jared made a diving play for a ball, and it got by him, but that’s ok,” Roettger said. “He made a heck of a play to get to it, and I want him to dive after those balls if he thinks he can get it. That’s aggressive baseball, and that’s what we want.”
The score remained 3-2 into the fifth inning, when the Bulldogs got one hit and took advantage of a walk and three Rockets errors to plate three runs and take control of the game.
“We know we gave that game away because we didn’t field it well,” Roettger said. “That’s something we can work on, and we will work on.”
With six games scheduled this week, Roettger has his pitchers on a strict count of 60 pitches. Ben Glassner, Standafer and Trey Bailey all got time on the mound, and Roettger was pleased with what he saw.
“You can see how much Ben Glassner has matured,” he said. “Last year, when he struggled early on in a game, he would’ve let it get to him, but he stayed strong and pitched well through three innings [Monday].
“And I thought Eric and Trey both did good jobs – we only gave up one hit after the fourth inning. Eric’s going to start another game for us this week, and I think Trey showed that he can come in an throw in a big situation for us. “
Roettger said he’d like to get several pitchers some innings this week to get them prepared for the season.
“Eventually, we’re going to need all of them this year,” he said. “We have a deep staff, there’s no reason to wear a guys arm out this early.”