Panthers baseball suffers losses in play against Kirkwood, Lafayette
Now that they're 10 games into the 2004 season, the boys' baseball team at Mehlville Senior High School is not quite where it wants to be when talking about wins and losses.
The Panthers (4-6, 0-2 Suburban West) are looking to improve on their record of 3-19 in 2003 and hopefully end the season at the .500 mark — if not above it.
Mehlville head coach Jim Kern knows that his Panthers still have a lot of work at hand, should they want to accomplish their goals this season.
"Ten games into the season and we're 4-6, which is a bit behind where we wanted to be," Kern told the Call.
"The pitching staff has been there for us this year, unlike last year where they struggled. They've really done an outstanding job."
In their first two conference games of the season last week, the Panthers fell to Lafayette and Kirkwood.
The Panthers' 16-2 loss to Lafayette April 5 was their worst loss of the 2004 campaign.
Starting pitcher Steve Thurmond threw just two-thirds of an inning, in which he gave up 10 runs on six hits with three walks.
The sophomore hurler is currently 1-1 overall with a 5.83 earned-run average.
One of the main setbacks for Mehlville in the Lafayette game was the fact that Lafayette scored 10 runs in the first inning and five runs in the second, for a 15-0 lead after just two innings of play.
"The first inning killed us," Kern explained.
"When we go down 10-0 in the first inning, it hurts. They (Lafayette) hit the ball really well and they're probably the best hitting team we've seen this year. It was really an uphill battle from that part."
On April 7 at Kirkwood, the Panthers held a 3-1 lead going into the top of the sixth inning. That was before the Pioneers' three-run outburst in the bottom of the sixth for the 4-3 win.
"Our effort was there to win the game," Kern said. "Offensively we just didn't produce. We just came up on the short end of the stick that day."
Mehlville starting pitcher Clayton Camp went 61/3 innings with four runs on six hits, as he walked three batters and retired five via strikeout in the loss.
The sophomore is currently 0-3 with a 3.91 earned-run average.
Kern said he believed that his Panthers should have given Camp and senior reliever Brett Fallert better support on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
"They (Camp and Fallert) both threw very, very well," Kern said. "It was a game that we should have won for them."
Mehlville is back in action this week as they travel to Northwest-House Springs today — April 15 — and play host to Fox Friday.
Earlier in the week, the Panthers faced Parkway West, St. Louis University High and Marquette — after the Call went to press.
"I think that we're going to have to take it one game at a time this week," Kern said. "Fox is going to be able to hit the ball and we're going to have to make plays.
Northwest always has very good athletes and we're going to have to play well in order to win both games."
The Northwest game is slated for a 4 p.m. start with the Fox matchup being at 4:15 p.m.