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Mehlville looking to hit on all cylinders


Mehlville looking to hit on all cylinders

By STEPHEN GLOVER

For the Call

A baseball team must master three critical components to be successful.

The Mehlville Senior High baseball team has the hitting part down really well. In fact, as a team, the Panthers are hitting an impressive .384.

"I think that hitting-wise, we're hitting the ball very well," Head Coach Jim Kern told the Call. "Our problems right now are a combination of pitching and defense."

Last Thursday, those two missing components were the main reasons why the Panthers dropped a 14-9 decision to Oakville in which Mehlville recorded five errors.

"The kids were not focused for the game," Kern said. "They just were not ready to go like they should be against a district rival like Oakville."

The Panthers (1-6, 0-1 Suburban West ) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the top of the first inning, but yielded six runs in the bottom of the inning which could have very well cost them the game. Kern hopes that Mehlville can eliminate such innings where the Panthers end up digging themselves into a hole in which they can't get out.

"We've had an inning like that in almost every game," Kern said. "We need to eliminate those kinds of innings."

Mehlville starting pitcher Mike Shore, a senior, threw three innings and gave up four earned runs on seven hits. Shore walked one, while striking out one as he recorded his first loss of the season.

"Mike did not have his best stuff going that day," Kern said. "He's the kind of guy that will do whatever it takes to win a game. His pitches were up and Oakville hit him really well."

At the plate, junior catcher Eric Tripp had a strong performance as he drove in two runs on two hits. Tripp also recorded his first home run of the season against the Tigers. He's currently batting .304 with a team high two triples.

"Eric is one of the catchers that's been seeing the majority of the time behind the plate," Kern said. "He's also one of the stronger kids on the team."

Mehlville attempted to climb out of its three-game losing streak against Saint Louis University High last Friday evening. Yet the Panthers came up short in a 5-3 loss to the Junior Billikens.

Senior Casey Turner took the mound for the Panthers as he threw 41/3 innings, walking seven batters. Those walks ended up punishing Turner as he gave up five runs on just two hits. He did strike out two batters in the losing effort.

Freshman left fielder Steve Thurmond racked up two hits in which he drove in two runs on three appearance at the plate.

The Panthers will return to action Mon-day afternoon as they play host to Lind-bergh for an important Suburban West Con-ference matchup.

The Flyers handed Mehlville a 12-10 loss just a couple of weeks ago and Kern knows that his team can match well against Lindbergh. Mehlville recorded eight errors while hammering out 17 hits in their loss to the Flyers.

"Lindbergh is one of the better teams in the conference," Kern said. "We'll have to defensively play them much better than we did the last time we played them."

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