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LiUNA

Walks, errors have Mehlville baseball reeling in 6-game skid


By STEVEN GLOVER

For the Call

Mehlville baseball is in the midst of a disappointing 2003 season.

The Panthers have suffered a six-game losing skid in which they've been outscored 64-30. They've also committed 28 errors during that six-game stretch while the pitching staff has boasted an earned run average of 6.5.

"Thirty-three of our walks have scored this season," head coach Jim Kern told the Call. "Defensively it's been very disappointing for us this year. Our main effort right now is to eliminate all walks."

On Monday of last week, the Panthers ran into probably one of the best teams that they've faced all season in the Marquette Mustangs. The Panthers traded blow-for-blow in the second inning as they scored a run each. But a two-run outburst by Marquette in the fourth and another in the fifth was the beginning of the end for the Panthers. Mehlville suffered its worst loss of the season in a 10-2 setback to the Mustangs.

"Marquette is probably the best team that we've seen so far this season," Kern said. "They really hit the ball well and did everything consistently."

Mehlville starting pitcher Mike Shore threw six innings and gave up eight runs on 12 hits. The senior hurler was otherwise solid on the mound as he walked zero batters in the losing effort. Yet despite the loss, Kern was happy with Shore's progress on the mound.

"Mike had no walks in the game which was a good sign for us," Kern said. "I should have pulled him out after the fifth inning because he was tired in the sixth and they started hitting him around."

The woes for the Panthers (1-8, 0-3 Suburban West) continued the following afternoon in a 16-1 pounding at the hands of Parkway West. The Longhorns held a 4-1 advantage after two innings of play, but hammered out 10 runs in the third inning.

"That was just terrible from the start," Kern said. "When you don't clear the bases at any time during the third inning, it ends up snowballing on you."

Senior starting pitcher Casey Turner managed three innings on the mound in which he gave up 14 runs on 12 hits. Of those 14 runs, only four of them were considered earned runs. He did strike-out two batters while walking five in the Panthers eighth loss of the season.

"Casey has thrown well all year, but had a rough outing against Parkway West," Kern said. "They (Parkway West) ended up hitting him very well that day."

Mehlville returns to action this Wednesday as they travel to Parkway Central for a Suburban West Conference matchup with the Colts. The Panthers will then travel to Seckman on Thursday and host Lafayette on Friday. Just this week alone, Mehlville will have played five games in five days.

"We just to need to take it a game at a time," Kern said. "We should have all 11 pitchers throwing this week so we definitely shouldn't have anyone complaining about not getting enough playing time on the mound."

All of the Panthers games are slated for a 4:15 p.m. start this week.

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