LAKEWOOD — The Cougars baseball team lost a tough 17-0 game against Cascade Conference rivals Archbishop Murphy on Wednesday, April 3.
“We started off the season and I was really pleased with what we were doing,” said head coach Larry Delaney. “We have been in a rut the last week or so, and part of that has been injuries, but we’ve been struggling to hit the ball well.
“We are a team that wants to run and wants to steal bases. In fact, we’ve done real well in stealing bases. There are no numbers on it but I think we are one of the top teams in the state at stolen bases,” said Delaney. “It’s just something we do well, it’s part of our philosophy, and we work hard at it, but we haven’t had enough runners on base to maximize our scoring opportunities.”
The coach added, “Today we didn’t score and yesterday we only scored twice, so we need to work hard at getting more runners on base. Once we get them on base, I feel that we are going to be able to do what we can, we’ll be able to move around and score some more runs, and that’s something we are struggling with right now. We have a game on Friday, and then a Granite Falls series which is always a rivalry for us and hopefully that will bring about some changes for us next week.”
One of the injuries that has affected the Cougars was a back injury in senior starting pitcher Adam Oppliger.
“Right now our goal is to get ourselves back and healthy,” said Delaney. “Right now we are a little banged up. One of our starting pitchers is out with a bad back, Adam Oppliger, and really our pitching is a little tattered right now. Andrew Bean is really our only strong starting pitcher and he’s throwing one game a week and the other games we are really trying to piece it together with a lot of guys who, coming into the season, we didn’t think we’d have to count on to pitch a lot of innings.”
Delany said, “Yesterday, we threw four pitchers for the course of the game, Zach Keefe, Matt Seiber, Tim Kolling and Myron Phillips. We used four pitchers yesterday, five pitchers today, four or five on Friday until we get back to being healthy. We just don’t have one or two pitchers we can lean on to go five or six innings to be effective.”
The Cougars have goals in place that they will be focusing on once the team is back to full force.
“Last year we finished in third place in the conference behind Archbishop Murphy and Cedarcrest, which got us into District 1 tournament. We lost two games, against Burlington and Anacortes, and since it was double elimination we were out,” said Delany
“It was 2001 the last time we didn’t qualify for postseason. We’ve had a pretty good stretch of getting into the postseason, but we’ve also been in this sort of rut where we can’t get past the district tournament. It hasn’t been since 2005 that we’ve been able to make it into the state tournament. Ever since then, its been kind of this 12-8, 13-7, 11-9 record,” said the coach.
“This was our 11th game, so we are past the halfway point. We want to make sure at this point that we get into the postseason, and from there it is a double elimination tournament and anything can happen,” Delaney added.
The Cougars face Granite Falls in an away game at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10.