By Stephen Knoll
Spring has yet to really arrive, save for a few days here and there, so teams have had to travel elsewhere to get some game time in.
The Shiocton Chiefs headed down to Illinois at the end of March for a two part series across the border.
There was some clear rust the Chiefs needed to knock off, but head coach Jude Backman was at least happy for the game experience.
“Our players saw good pitching, played against teams who already had about eight games in,” Backman said “Maybe even more important was our players got to play on a baseball field.”
First up for Shiocton was a match up with the Galesburg Silver Streaks where Sam Van Straten got the start.
Van Straten went three innings with no earned runs and only one hit.
Solid pitching couldn’t make up for mental errors late in the game, though, as mistakes piled up for the Chiefs.
“The inability to make the routine plays defensively in the fifth and sixth, and a couple of bloop singles by Galesburg proved to be the difference,” Backman said.
Shiocton would fall 9-2 to Galesburg and quickly had to pick itself up for a Friday match-up with the Princeville Princes.
Having that in-game experience helped Princeville have a leg up against the Chiefs who struggled to get things moving.
Plenty of runners made it to the bases, but with runners in scoring position Shiocton was too often unable to bring them home.
The Chiefs stranded 11 base runners and only managed to bring home two runs.
Princeville meanwhile had a hitting clinic racking up 12 runs off of 10 hits.
While it’s a rough start for the Chiefs the experience alone makes the trip worth it for the coach.
“Having nice weather for both games allowed the spring trip to be beneficial as many young players got into the games,” Backman said. “Having a younger team, these two games allowed players to be moved around to try multiple positions”
Now the Chiefs are waiting for Wisconsin weather to cooperate and get ready for some home games.
Drew Schultz went 2-2 with one RBI during Friday’s match-up with Princeville. – Photo by Stephen Knoll
By Stephen Knoll