The Muenster Hornets have jetted out to a perfect start in district play. First they took down one of the best teams in district in Alvord with 5-2 and 8-4 wins. Then they continued their strong play with a 10-0 shellacking of Chico on Tuesday, March 30, to move to 3-0 in district and 14-6 on the season.
Head coach Josh Wheeler admitted he was nervous about playing Alvord to start district, but after the duo of wins, he felt confident in how his team was playing. However, there are still many areas of the Hornets need to improve on.
“We played well and at times, we don’t finish games,” Wheeler said. “Our pitching has been good, but our velocity has to get better. We hit the ball fairly decent. We scored eight runs, but we struck out 15 times. That’s bad, especially with a guy that is basically just throwing a fastball. We got a three-run homer from Jonathan Wheeler, which was big. But to get two wins against one of the top three teams in the district is big.”
The pitching is getting better, Wheeler said, but the lack of velocity needs to ratchet up if the Hornets are going to make noise is the playoffs.
“We’re throwing strikes and we’re locating two pitches, but our velocity has to be better and we have to throw the ball harder than we are,” Wheeler said. “I want us to throw 80 to 83 miles per hour and we talked about that. Hopefully we’ll throw the ball harder. We’re throwing it 76 to 78 and that’s OK right now, but when you get to the playoffs, teams may be hitting off the wall. We have the potential to throw harder.”
Despite only giving up six runs in their past three games, the Hornets have fallen into some defensive lulls that Wheeler said has to be eliminated.
“Defensively we’re good and we didn’t make an error in the first game and we made two errors in the second game,” Wheeler said. “Those bad innings have to stop. You’ll get yourself beat like that. We’re out of the inning, but then our pitcher has to pitch 15 more pitches to get out of the inning. I’m pleased and we are team mainly full of sophomores and we beat a team in Alvord that is full of seniors.”
Muenster will host Chico on Friday, April 2, to wrap up the two-game series with the Dragons.
Now that the Hornets have one series under their belt, Wheeler said he likes playing the two games back-to-back.
“Usually I feel like we have more pitching than anybody else and the series benefits us,” Wheeler said. “Colton Deckard went all seven in the first game against Alvord and Cody Hill probably could have gone all seven the second game.”