By John Stepp / For the Times-Tribune
The Whitley County Colonels may just be the hottest team in baseball in the 13th Region at this point of the season. The Colonels are the only team without a loss to a regional opponent and have managed a 7-2 record this year. Despite their success, Whitley County Coach Kyle Adams said his team still has a long way to go.
“We’ve got some kids who are playing well and some who are not. We’re putting the ball in play and forcing teams to play defense, but we’re also making simple mistakes,” said Adams. “What’s really been a disappointment to me up to this point is we have some kids who aren’t pushing other kids for playing time. We’ve used some substitutes throughout the year, but it seems like they are not taking advantage of the opportunity to play.”
Adams’ squad will focus on two areas in order to improve its team throughout the season — base running and fielding. Adams said his team is still making countless errors and not giving themselves an opportunity to close out games the way he’d like.
“We’ve got to improve our base running. We’re making mistakes and leaving men in scoring position and you can’t win games like that,” he said. “In the two losses that we’ve had, we had tons of errors. We didn’t come ready to play on either of those days. Southwestern beat us 8-0, but we had seven errors in that game. You can’t beat anyone making those amount of errors.”
Despite having only two seniors on the team, the Colonels are a somewhat experienced squad. Adams said most of his young players had the chance to get playing time last year. But even with that experience, Whitley County is still looking for a leader on the field.
“I think our youth could have a factor in us not playing well, but most of our young guys played all last year. We’re really still searching for a leader because right now we don’t have that,” said Adams. “We’re looking for someone to come forward, no matter the grade, and lead this team. That’s what we’re lacking.”
There have been some bright spots for the Colonels this season. Sophomore Stephen Watson has provided a spark at the plate, while junior Jordan Crusenberry and senior Tilmon Jackson have also stepped up for Whitley County.
“Right now, we have some players who are playing well at times and at other times, you really don’t know. Stephen Watson has done a good job for us at the plate and defensively,” said Adams. “Tilmon Jackson and (Jordan) Crusenberry have also been consistent for us.”
With just two losses on the season, the Colonels hope to keep improving in order to better prepare for their district matchups.
“Overall, I think we’re doing okay. We haven’t progressed as much we had hoped to, but I think we’re OK as long as we keep getting better,” said Adams. “Our focus will be our district games. We have to take care of them and make sure we show up to play each and every game. We have to eliminate the simple mistakes and keep putting the ball in play.”