According to coach Scott Koenig, there's still plenty of room for improvement in Cuyahoga Falls baseball.
However, getting a couple of wins always helps in the confidence department.
Falls played a doubleheader at Kent Roosevelt April 8. In game one, the Black Tigers scored their first win of the season in dominant fashion, winning 8-1. Koenig then tried to get all of his players some game time in game two and lost 5-3.
Falls then returned to Suburban League National Conference play April 10 at home vs. Hudson. The Black Tigers lost 10-3 to the Explorers.
Finally, Falls played host to Garfield Heights April 12 and scored a 7-3 win, despite some offensive struggles.
Falls' record stood at 2-8, 0-4 in the National Conference as of press time. The Black Tigers have already equalled their win total from a a season ago.
Koenig acknowledged that Roosevelt was fielding one of its youngest teams in recent memory.
"We took advantage of their youth," Koenig said. "We swung the bats pretty well that game."
Senior Kyle Borton improved to 1-2 on the season, as he got quality run support for the first time this season. Borton went five innings, allowed one run on two walks with five strikeouts. Freshman Alex Valente then pitched two innings of scoreless relief.
Falls jumped on Kent Roosevelt for four runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back, as the Black Tigers had their best offensive game of the season.
Will Rightley led Falls at the plate. going 3-of-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored, while Michael Hoedt went 2-of-3 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Senior Nate Vassalotti also went 2-of-3 with a walk, two runs and an RBI.
In game two, Koenig started "all underclassmen to match it up evenly," but the Black Tigers faltered due to "an old bugbear."
"We got guys on third base and we just can't get the ball in play," Koenig said."I wanted to give everybody playing time."
Zak Allen (0-3) took the loss in game two, going two innings, allowing three runs off two hit batters and three walks.
Sophomore Alex Abernathy led the Black Tigers at the plate, going 2-of-3 with two singles and an RBI.
In the loss to Hudson, Falls committed a cardinal sin of giving the Explorers extra base runners and extra outs.
"It was kind of close until the fourth inning until they got a base-clearing double [from Bryce Kilfoyle]," Koenig said. "We never really recovered from that."
Rightley (0-1) endured a tough start, going only three innings, allowing five runs on five hits with six walks.
"He just didn't throw well," Koenig said. "They were running like little jackrabbits like they always do. We gave them an inning worth of outs."
Falls scattered six hits in the loss, as Abernathy had a single and an RBI in the loss.
Against Garfield Heights, Falls was able to score six of its seven runs in the bottom of the first inning.
"They're struggling. They're kind of similar to us," Koenig said. "They're having problems getting kids to come out for baseball."
Falls sent 12 men to the plate in the first inning, highlighted by a double from Hoedt, an infield RBI single from Allen and two-run double from Vassalotti.
After that, Falls offense sputtered a little.
"We kept getting guys to third base and not getting them home," Koenig said. "It could have been a run-rule game for us. We never looked back, but we never put a foot on their throats, either."
Valente (1-0) benefited from the early run support. He got the win by going four innings, giving up two runs and striking out five Bulldogs. Alex Kolvey gave up one run in three innings of relief work.
Falls was set to play Nordonia April 13 and a doubleheader with Akron Firestone April 15, but results weren't available at press time.
Thanks to all the weather disruptions, Falls faces a stretch of four league games in as many days this week. Falls will travel to Nordonia April 16, visit Stow-Munroe FAlls April 17, travel to Hudson April 18 and host Stow April 19. First pitch for all four games is at 4:30 p.m.