By Patrick Dillon @pdillon_sgn
WOODLAKE – Most teams at the start of the season go through a “getting to know you” phase, and that is exactly what is going on with the Woodlake Tigers. Right now they remain winless with an 11-9 loss to the Fresno Warriors.
“We are still trying to come together as a team,” Woodlake head coach Manny Martinez said.
At the plate in the bottom of their first inning, Woodlake (0-3) had their bats swinging away. The Tigers brought four runs across. Pria Bun scored two of those runs on a single. Woodlake’s only returning senior ended the game going 4-4 and scored two more runs.
“We have the possibility to do that in every game we play,” Martinez said.
Woodlake’s inexperience came back to hurt them in the next half inning. In the top of the second Fresno (1-0) reeled off nine runs. Most were scored on account of errors committed by Woodlake. As the one mistake led to another the Tigers began to look tense and unable to complete the simplest of outs. Once Woodlake fell behind, they couldn’t recover.
“I know we can hit the ball, but we’ve got to tighten down our defense,” Martinez said.
According to Martinez the Tigers’ woes stem from a lack of senior experience. Woodlake is starting five sophomores who saw significant playing time as freshmen. A good sign for years to come, but their youthfulness is filled with beginner mistakes.
For Martinez the way his team gets better is not by improving their skill level, but by solidifying their confidence.
“It’s not that they don’t know how to play the game it’s just they get nervous,” Martinez said.
Woodlake had another chance to gain their confidence Tuesday on the road, but came up empty with a 13-3 loss to the Mt. Whitney Pioneers on the road. They’ll be traveling again next week as they take on the Sierra Pacific Golden Bears on Tuesday, March 5 at 4:00 p.m.