By Travis Smola
“It’s been a real rough season, to be honest with you,” Vicksburg Head Baseball Coach Brian Deal said after a doubleheader loss to Portage Northern.
The Bulldogs dropped the two games to Huskies 5-3 and 14-1. The first game was particularly frustrating – loss number 12 by two runs or less this year. “That really changes your whole season around,” Deal said. “If you get half of those games it makes a much better season.”
Vicksburg got into an early 2-0 hole in the first inning of the first game that turned into 3-0 in the second and then 4-0. Finally, in the bottom of the third, Chase Myers hit a single before Parker Wilson hit a big RBI double to bring him home and make it 4-1.
The two teams went scoreless in the fourth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Jacob Conklin hit a nice double and Myers got another hit, but the Bulldogs came away with no runs. In the bottom of the sixth, Austin Ziegler started a small charge with a single and a stolen base before Joey McCowen drove him home on a single.
Levi Root picked up a hit next and Vicksburg had two on with two out when Tyler DeVries made the score 5-3 on a single. In the bottom of the seventh Myers got on base again, but the Bulldogs ran out of outs and lost the game. In game two the only Bulldog to score was Myers on a Portage Northern error.
When the team has won this year, it has often been a split. The team took an early May game against Otsego 6-5 and then lost the next game 5-3. It was the same story on the road against Dowagiac. The Bulldogs took game one 6-3 and lost game two 2-1.
Deal believes the youth of the team has shown up most in the batter’s box and in the fielding this year. The team has pitched well, but at times the team has struggled to get runs. “We have moments where we can do some really good things,” Deal said. “We’ve got to get into making the routine plays consistently and not giving up a run here and a run there because we overthrow a cutoff guy.”
The good news is this season the team will only graduate four seniors. Deal has high hopes that they’ll be much improved next season with a year of varsity level play under the younger players’ belts.