The Salem baseball team will wrap up the regular season today with a game at Pulaski. The Spartans beat the Cougars the first time around, but now that seems like a long time ago.
After starting the season 9-0 the Spartans have gone 3-6 in the past nine games. While 12-6 is still a pretty good record, coach Wes McMillan is hoping the Salemites recapture the early season magic that had them looking like state contenders.
“We haven’t been the same team since spring break,” said McMillan. “We’re making a lot of errors, and we won games early in the season with our defense.”
Salem isn’t hitting the ball as well either. On Tuesday at Kiwanis Field they were shut out by Hidden Valley, 5-0, and held to five hits, all singles. Despite that the Spartans had some chances, leaving the bases loaded in the first inning without scoring.
“We can’t get a hit when we need it,” said McMillan.
Trevor Austin took the loss and pitched well enough to win despite being somewhat sick. It was still just 3-0 after six innings but the Titans scored two in the top of the seventh and Landon Hudson came on to get the last two outs.
Thanks to the hot start the Spartans will still get a good seed for the Conference 24 tournament, which begins Saturday. The first two teams get byes and Bassett appears to be the top seed. Salem and Pulaski are battling for the second seed, which also gets a first round bye, and tonight’s game will likely determine that. If Salem loses and finishes third the Spartans would host a weak William Fleming nine on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m hoping we can turn it back around for the playoffs,” said McMillan. “It’s baseball, anything can happen.”
Freshman Zian Honaker is scheduled to start on the mound for tonight’s game at Pulaski.