By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
The Williamsburg Yellow Jackets started the baseball season as hot as any team in the state, jumping out to a 9-0 start, including a 13th Region All ‘A’ Championship crown.
After breezing past the competition in the All ‘A’ Classic by an average of seven wins per game, the wheels seemed to fall off for Williamsburg coach John Mountjoy’s squad. The Yellow Jackets dropped seven straight decisions and have now lost 12 of their last 14 games with wins over Lynn Camp and Monticello.
While an increase in the level of competition can be blamed for a good number of Williamsburg’s losses, the truth of the matter is that injuries and player defections have taken a toll on the Yellow Jackets.
“We really started the season out hot, but you know we were playing teams that we were very similar to as far as size and talent,” Mountjoy said. “The level of competition picked up and our kids struggled a bit with that as we moved along in the season.
“Along with that, you always have some kids that quit, get hurt or lose interest as the season moves along,” he added. “You have seniors that are really focused on graduation and you’ve got young kids that are just thinking about getting summer started, so it’s tough to keep their interest when a team is struggling.”
With eight games remaining in the regular season, Mountjoy said the focus of his team and staff must now shift to improving and getting prepared for a showdown with South Laurel in the first round of the 50th District Tournament. He said it’s important for the players who remain to believe in themselves and what the team is trying to do in the long run if they expect to pull an upset in postseason play.
“We have to stay the course and try to get the kids that want to be here to play well,” Mountjoy said. “Yes, we know it’s going to take quite an effort to be able to knock off South Laurel and move on to the next round, but that’s what we’ve been working toward and preparing the kids for all season.
“Baseball is a funny game and I think anybody that’s been around it for any amount of time knows that,” he added. “Any team can win on any given day, but you have to be ready to play every day. Hopefully we can show up that day and get hot on a day where they’re aren’t at their best. If so, you never know what can happen.”