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LiUNA

Oakville boys still searching for their groove


By STEPHEN GLOVER

For the Call

It's an old sports cliché, but the Oakville senior American Legion baseball team clearly is suffering a Jekyll and Hyde complex.

"We're in a rut right now," Head Coach Ryan Hetzer told the Call. "We just seem to be not catching breaks and there are certain things that we're just not doing well. We're playing good teams who are taking advantage of our mistakes."

On Saturday evening, Oakville found itself holding a 4-3 advantage over Eureka as it entered the fifth inning. Yet it was the fifth inning when Oakville seemed to lose its focus as Eureka scored a whopping nine runs.

"The top of the fifth inning was one of those innings from hell," Hetzer said. "We just fell apart. There were a couple of errors, a couple of hits, couple of balls dropped in, a guy hit a home run and before we knew it, they have a nine-run inning. You just don't expect something like that to happen and when it does, it just takes the air right out of you."

Oakville ended up dropping the game 19-10 as starting pitcher Rob Bueltmann took the loss. Despite the loss, Hetzer was quick to point out that with so many games in such a short time period, any pitching staff is going to struggle at times.

"Rob's pretty much been our solid number two starter this season," Hetzer said. "We've been playing so many games lately that our pitching staff is just depleted. Over the course of the weekend, we've been throwing position players who haven't thrown all year."

Against Kirkwood on Sunday afternoon, Oakville's pitching woes continued in a 12-0 loss. Starting pitcher Casey Turner received his third loss of the season as he gave up eight runs in which six were unearned runs.

"He was so-so against Kirkwood," Het-zer said. "He had his problems on the mound and we didn't make some plays behind him in the first inning. We really are a Jekyll-and-Hyde team. One day we'll show up and play good baseball and do the right things and then other days we don't even seem to be the same team."

Oakville's pitching problems continued on Sunday evening in a 13-8 loss at home to Ballwin.

Pitcher Jeremy Boyer started in his first game of the season and clearly was not 100 percent after having several relief appearances this week.

"He's another guy who's thrown a lot lately," Hetzer said. "It's difficult to win when you just don't have the pitching and we just got into a situation where we've had a lot of games over a short amount of time. Our starter once again had to come out early in the game and that makes it even more difficult."

Oakville returns to action this week as they are slated to play in the district tournament starting this Wednesday. Its opponents and playing times were to be determined after the Call went to press.

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