Anytime a team loses a group of seniors who had as big of an impact on the team’s success as the Navajo seniors of 2015, there is an expected rebuilding process. On Tuesday, Navajo traveled to Sterling to open up their season on the road and begin to work on that rebuilding. However, the Indians brought back a 12 – 4 loss.
Pitching is the undoing, or the doing, of any successful baseball team. Issuing too many free bases in the form of walks is a quick way to undo any hope of defeating a competent team. Add to that a stat that isn’t kept by baseball, but it rides alongside the base on balls stat, and it does as much damage as the walks do.
If pitchers are walking hitters, you can bank on several hitters digging in the box knowing full well they are facing fastballs. They are in a hitter’s count.
“We walked way too many hitters and stayed in fastball counts,” said coach Weston Winters. “That’s not a good recipe for success, especially if we aren’t coming with high velocity. We have to get our off-speed over for strikes. We’ve got good arms. We simply can not afford to get behind in the count.”
With the harsh reality of exiting the state tournament in the first round on a walk-off home run back in the Spring still hovering over the team, Navajo was missing exactly what they lost from last year’s team. They were missing their staples on the mound.
Braden Box and Dakota McGrory are now freshman at Connors State, and they took their consistency with them. That’s not to say that the group of arms that now inherit their innings are not capable. They are now put on the spot, and have to quickly realize that all those innings that Box and McGrory chewed up all year long are now their responsibility. They have to now assume the roll of “Ole Reliables.”
It comes down to confidence. Fortunately for the Indians, they have a coach who has been down this road before, and it won’t be long before this new version of Navajo baseball begins to play up to the standard of winning that the Indians have established.
Colby Staggs had two singles and scored a run. Jacob Hall had a double.
Next up for Navajo is a double header today on the road at Lookeba-Sickles. The Indians play Cimmaron at 5 p.m. and Lookeba-Sickles at 7 p.m.
Reach Brad Gilbert@482-1221 ext.2076