Siegel baseball off to hot start in defense of state title – The Daily News Journal
Highlights of Siegel’s 6-4 win over Oakland Friday.
When you lose four key starters and one of the state’s best pitchers off a state championship team, there are going to be growing pains early the following year.
Thus far Siegel’s baseball team has been weathering the storm in the early going, racing out to an 8-2 start following Friday’s 6-4 win over Oakland.
But the Stars know there’s a long way to go if they are going to repeat the state title.
“We should be 10-0,” said Siegel junior shortstop and Louisville commitment Drew Benefield. “We have to get consistent defensively. That’s the only thing that has hurt us.”
Siegel’s three-game series with rival Oakland is a testament to that. The Stars won two of three, but the lone loss came via five errors and six unearned runs in a 9-5 final. Friday’s win was closer than it could have been after Siegel committed four more errors that lead to four unearned runs.
The Stars’ only other loss came to Beech when the team committed four errors.
“It’s been years since we’ve played that poor defensively,” said Siegel coach Craig Reavis, who has won state titles with both La Vergne (2002) and Siegel. “The last time we had (nine) errors in one series, it’s been a decade. We’ve got to clean that up.”
Defense is about the only area Siegel isn’t playing championship-caliber ball. The team is hitting at a scorching pace and the pitching has been very good after losing Mr. Baseball finalist Jacob Key from last season.
“It’s coming along better than I thought,” said Benefield, who cracked his first homer of the season in Friday’s win over Oakland. “(Key) was a big weapon last year. Every time he went out there, we were confident we were going to win. We’ve had some guys step up and pitch well.”
One of those is junior and MTSU commitment Zac Pearson. The 6-5 lefty was brilliant in Thursday’s 9-0 win over Oakland, tossing a complete-game three-hitter, walking just one and striking out eight.
“They key is just making plays,” said Pearson, who is also one of the team’s top hitters. “We’ve all been making strides. It’s going pretty (well) right now.”
Cleanup hitter Ryker Kristinus and top two hitters, Zach Bondurant (Oakland transfer) and Matt McCurry, have hit well around Benefield as the Stars have gotten solid production all up and down the lineup.
“We’re going to score runs and get solid pitching,” said Reavis. “We can’t give away games. Both games we lost, we gave away.”
Siegel is off to a 5-1 start in 7-AAA play, having swept Smyrna in the season-opening series. The Stars will have a tough series coming up beginning Monday at Blackman.
Reach Cecil Joyce at email@example.com or 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Cecil_Joyce.