MORGANTOWN — Hitting means quite a bit to the Morgantown Post 2 baseball team.
The squad takes pride in being a tough out and any fan who has seen a Post 2 game this summer can attest to the talent the team has at the plate.
But according to pitcher Evan Smith, the team’s batting performance plays a large factor in other facets of their game.
“Our hitting is usually where we build our energy,” he said after Post 2 was blanked, 11-0, Friday July 13, by Garrett County (Md.), at Mylan Park.
“We just weren’t getting the hits we usually do. Our bats were dead tonight. We need to learn to bring energy instead of waiting for the bats to get hot.”
Post 2 coach Tyler Barnette called the performance “very uncharacteristic,” an apt description for a squad that looked vastly different than the one that has so far picked up 23 wins during the 2018 season.
“We didn’t come out as the same team we usually do,” he said. “I told the guys after the game, we don’t ask a lot of you; just a couple hours a night at the ballpark. We didn’t get that this evening.”
Barnette also attributed the loss in part to the performance of Garrett’s Caleb King, who gave up just three hits and recorded seven strikeouts as the starting pitcher for the guests. He also added two runs, one hit, and one RBI at the plate.
“He was good tonight. He had us mixed up, and we just didn’t respond to it well,” he said.
King kept the game moving at a fast tempo, keeping the Post 2 batters from developing a rhythm at the plate and stagnating their usually high-scoring offense.
“He knows how to control the game. He worked fast and efficient,” Barnette said. “We had a few guys try to break the rhythm, but he wasn’t snapping out of it.”
King, however, was not the first nor last talented pitcher Post 2 will come across this season, and Barnette knows that in order for his team to continue to develop as hitters, they need to learn to roll with the punches and adjust to the pitcher on the mound.
“We’re going to run into this problem; it’s American Legion baseball, there are good guys everywhere,” he said. “We just have to be able to reset ourselves out there.”
Barnette hopes the loss will serve as a lesson to his team — when you’re committed to success, you can never afford to take a night off.
“We talked about this after the game; we know that everyone in this program cares,” he said. “What we can take from this is that everyone has to give 100 percent effort all the time.”
The loss is Post 2’s second to Garrett this season, and drops the team to 23-6 overall. They return to action, at 1 p.m. today (July 14), in a double header at Moundsville.