By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets are a perfect example of the saying ‘It’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters.’
John Mountjoy's team started the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the 13th Region, sprinting out to a 9-0 record, which included winning the 13th Region All 'A' Classic.
After the quick start though, things unraveled for the Yellow Jackets in a hurry as they dropped the next seven games, six of them by 10 runs or more.
Williamsburg went on to win just four more games the remainder of the season, thanks to a number of obstacles (injuries, player departures, weather) that seemed to pop up around every corner.
After their season-ending loss to South Laurel Monday, Mountjoy was quick to point out a few positives that he took from the season as a whole and said he feels like this season's experience will go along way in player development in the program.
“To start out like we did and then to fall off isn't something you expect, but baseball is a funny game,” he said. “I really felt like we had a good group of kids coming in and they proved me right in the early going.
“As the season got longer, we had things pop up it seemed like every other day, whether it was an injury, somebody quitting or sitting around waiting on the weather to break,” he added. “But these are all just things you have to deal with in baseball and hopefully we can learn from the season overall.”
After dropping seven straight, Williamsburg was able to get off the losing streak with a win over Lynn Camp. The win came just in time, giving the team a little momentum heading into a showdown with McCreary Central that was to be followed by an upcoming match-up against Hazard in the All ‘A’ State Tournament.
The momentum didn't stick as the Yellow Jackets dropped a 6-2 loss to McCreary Central before losing to Hazard in a crushing, 21-1 defeat.
After being eliminated from the All 'A' Classic, Williamsburg never seemed to be able to regain any kind of rhythm as it dropped eight of the final 11 games of the season, including Monday's loss to the Cardinals.
Despite all the struggles this season, there's a silver lining for Williamsburg and that comes in the fact that with all the player departures and injuries this season, a plethora of young players saw playing time that they may not have seen otherwise. Mountjoy said given the number of young kids who stuck with the team through the struggles this year, the future looks bright for his team.
“We had a lot of things come up this year, but I really have to give credit to the guys that stuck with us and played this season out,” he said. “We had some kids out there at times that are seventh or eighth grade kids that were out here basically playing against men.
“When you think about the stuff we went through as a team, it can only make us stronger next year,” he added. “I know these kids showed me that want to play baseball and when you want to play, you're only going to get better as you progress. That's what we expect next year.”