By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
EXETER – The Monarchs so far this season have been mostly solid, but on Thursday, Feb. 28, they hit a bump in the road back to the section championships. Exeter suffered their second loss of the season at the hands of the Monache Marauders by a score of 7-3.
“It was a tough loss, but I fully expect my team to bounce back,” Exeter head coach Kevin Kirkman said.
Exeter’s (4-2) defense had been solid in this young season, but spotty play has plagued them in the field. Against Monache (4-3), a perennial front runner in the East Yosemite League, Exeter committed nine errors. That’s the most Exeter has committed all season.
“We’ve got to clean up the little messes we have then we’ll be alright,” Kirkman said.
It was difficult for the Monarchs starting pitcher and ace Jaykob Acosta to perform with no defense behind him. In his four innings he faced 21 batters and threw a total of 70 pitches. He did strike out seven, but the added pressure caused him to try and get the strikeout each time resulting in him overthrowing. He was responsible for five of Monache’s runs.
“He is throwing the ball well,” Kirkman said. “We are just struggling behind him.”
A couple of those blunders put Exeter in an early deficit, 3-0, at the end of two innings. Over the next two innings Exeter was able to pull even with Monache. A solo home run by Caleb Reynoso tied it up at 3-3.
After the Reynoso’s homer, Exeter returned to their former defensive ways as errors once again played a part in the last three innings.
Exeter’s biggest early season woe might be their fielding, but it does not stop there. Their hitting is in a slump as well. Only two Exeter batters registered hits, one of those being the long ball hit by Reynoso.
Kirkman believes that these two struggles are in fact related. The remedy it seems is confidence. At least for Exeter’s hitting that is.
“Once two guys or more start hitting then everyone will,” Kirkman said.
On the eve of their Central Sequoia League opener against the Immanuel Eagles on March 15 at 7 p.m., Exeter has a full schedule of four games this week including, three in two days. Last night they hosted the Coalinga Horned Toads. Results were reached after press time.
This weekend, Exeter heads over to the coast to play some of the newcomers to the section. Friday night, they play the winless Coast Union Broncos at 3:30 p.m. On Saturday, Exeter will have a double-header against the Orcutt Academy Spartans. Games are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.