Team sees improvement from one game to the next
GOTHENBURG – The Elwood-Eustis Bulls played a doubleheader with the Imperial Longhorns over the holiday weekend. Both teams traveled to Gothenburg as field conditions in Elwood prevented the Bulls from hosting on their home field.
The Elwood-Eustis boys came out of the gate fighting in both games of Sunday’s doubleheader with Imperial, keeping the games tight and battling for runs.
The Bulls were connecting with the ball at bat and were getting the outs on the field to start the first game, giving up just two runs in the first three innings of game one. The Longhorns rallied a big 10 run inning in the top of the fourth to take a 0-12 lead over the Bulls when they took the plate and the newly minted team found a way to stay alive, scoring three runs to drop Imperials lead to nine runs and keep the game going for another inning.
In the bottom of the fourth with two outs, Nate Hodge took the plate for the Bulls and sent a hard ground ball through the infielders into center field allowing Quintin Shaner the Bulls’ first run. Before the end of the inning, Evan Niemeier scored Elwood-Eustis’ second run on a passed ball and Hodge scored the third on an error by the Imperial catcher.
The Longhorns put up three more runs in the top of the fifth and held the Elwood-Eustis boys from the plate in the bottom of the inning to claim an early win in the first game 3-15.
“We just need to get a little tougher, mentally, when we got runners on,” Said Elwood-Eustis head coach Keith Henggeler after the first game. “I think our guys are just getting nervous when there are runners on base and we’re struggling to throw strikes to make them put the ball into play.”
Henggeler pointed out that the Bulls are playing competitively in their games and making improvements every time they step on the field.
“You can see, when we execute, the innings are quick,” he explained. “When we’re throwing strikes we’re on and off the field. Offensively, we’re getting there. We need to score when the opportunities are there.”
Henggeler’s words about quick innings were verified again in their second game with Imperial on Sunday. The game went scoreless in the first three innings of the game before the Longhorns put four runs on the scoreboard in the fourth inning and two in the fifth. The Bulls responded with two runs in the fifth, and were shut down at the plate in the remaining innings. The Imperial boys took the win in the second game, 2-11, taking the game the full seven innings.
Despite the losses, Coach Henggeler expressed that he and his coaches are proud of his team.
“They’ve listened to us about playing fundamentally sound baseball,” he said of their growth. “We’re going to start seeing some close games. They’re getting better every time they get on the field and they’re close to figuring it out.”