Despite a loss Wednesday morning in the Northeast Mississippi Coaches Association For Better Baseball Summer Championship series, Chris Basil said he sees a lot of potential in East Union’s young baseball team.
“We have an awful lot of talent and our eighth grade coming up has probably the most talent I’ve ever seen at East Union,” Basil said after the team’s 1-0 loss to the Booneville Blue Devils. “It’s time to step up and see what we can do.”
Starting pitcher Cody Dillard got off to a shaky start in the first inning, allowing two walks which led to the game’s only run.
While Trey Barkley, who entered the game in relief of Dillard, threw several strikeouts and allowed no runs, East Union couldn’t get it going offensively. The game ended in an hour and five minutes, sending the Urchins home for the summer.
“Trey did a tremendous job,” Basil said. “He didn’t walk people, kept them off stride. He was in command all day. It just wasn’t enough.”
The Urchins struggled all day long using the BBCOR bats that the Mississippi High School Activities Association will require schools begin using this year. These aluminum bats were made for the purpose of performing more like wood and reduce the number of balls that go flying long distances.
Basil said that, while the new bats will help with safety concerns, they will also have a big affect on how the game is played.
“People can see how much it changed college baseball this year, basically taking 30 to 35 feet off of every ball that was hit,” Basil said. “It’s going to have that kind of effect.”
In order to counteract this issue, Basil said the team would have to adjust its strategy.
“We’re going to have to look at running the bases better, bunting more, hit and running more.” Basil said. “We’ll also have to find ways to frustrate the opposing team’s pitcher and get him off balance.”
Basil said that the new bat rule would also have an effect on the mound.
“Basically you don’t have to have that dominant pitcher any more,” Basil said. “If you’ve got a guy that will throw strikes and doesn’t walk anybody, you’re in good shape.”
Basil also said that strength training was another key to adjusting under the new bat rule.
“The other thing I talked to the kids about is the importance of strength and strength training,” Basil said. “That type of training will help them tremendously with these new bats and give them some more power to work with. We’ve just now got some extra equipment in the weight room and we’re working out three days a week in the summer.