A busy week of baseball for Munroe ended with the team winning two district games and dropping a third contest, as their record for the season reached 16-3. The Bobcats, thus far undefeated in District 1-2A, began the week with a 9-5 Tuesday, April 1, road victory over rival Aucilla Christian. The victory didn’t come as easily as the final score might indicate, with Munroe falling behind 5-1 after two innings.
“Our last couple of games have seen us fall behind early,” said Bobcat Coach Jayme Williams. “Our starting pitching has struggled a bit, and we haven’t been as good offensively the first time through the order. One thing we’ve got to realize is that due to our record and start to the season, we’re going to get everybody’s best effort and we can’t afford to start so slowly. Sooner or later it’ll catch up to us.”
Luckily, the Bobcats found their bats in the third. After two batters reached safely, Senior Stephen Miller blasted a three-run homer to get the rally started. The Bobcats would go on to score five more runs, fueled in part by a solo home run by Bradley Klees and a pair of RBI doubles by Casey Mathers. Starting pitcher Nolan Haire struggled early, giving up eight hits and four walks, but the junior right-handler settled to get through the sixth inning. Haire earned the win after being relieved by fellow righty Will Harris, who pitched the seventh for the save.
On Thursday, April 3, the Bobcats traveled across the border to take on the Bearcats of Bainbridge (Ga). Once more, Munroe started slowly, falling behind 6-0 after four innings. The Bobcats settled and held the home-standing Bearcats scoreless the rest of the way, but a seventh inning rally that closed the score to 6-5 fell just short.
“We followed the same pattern as our last two games and this time it caught up with us,” said Williams. “We can’t keep starting in the hole against good teams. Hopefully we’ll learn our lesson. I’m proud that we came back late and made a game of it.”
The Bobcat rally began with a couple of Bearcat errors and walks and consecutive base hits by Kyle Skipper, Bo Bailey and Stephen Miller to cast doubt on what looked like an easy victory for Bainbridge. Starting pitcher Casey Mathers lasted only three innings, yielding five hits and six runs. Will Harris would come on to pitch the fourth, giving way to Myles Edwards, who pitched the final two frames.
“I think we’re at the point in the season where some of our arms are a little tired,” said Williams. “If there was a positive to this game, it was that we got a couple of good innings from our relievers. We’ll likely have to use more of a committee approach from here on out.”
The Bobcats finished their week with a 17-0 win over district foe FAMU. Bradley Klees and Stephen Miller combined to shut out the Baby Rattlers in the game shortened by the mercy rule.
“We were able to get all of our younger guys in, and we’re glad to be 5-0 in district play,” said Williams. These next three weeks are pretty important leading up to the district tournament. We hope to keep our momentum.”
Munroe was set to start the week on Monday, April 7, at home against Tallavana in their final regular season district match up. The Bobcats will also dedicate their recently constructed hitting and practice facility to the memory of J.C. Parton and Josh Wilder. The ceremony will begin at 5:30, just prior to the start of the Tallavana game. Tuesday, April 8, the Bobcats were scheduled to travel to Wewahitchka to take on the 13-5 Gators and Friday finds them on the road once more to face the Blue Devils of Holmes County.
“We’ll be tested this week,” said Williams. “Wewa is playing some good ball right now, and Holmes County will really battle us at their place. It’ll be interesting to see how we start off and finish in these contests.”