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Mehlville High pitchers struggle with 8-3 loss to Suburban West Conference rival, Lafayette


In years past, many schools in the Suburban West Conference took a look at their regular season schedule and saw the boys' baseball team at Mehlville Senior High School as an easy win.

Such is not the case in 2004 as the Panthers have amassed a record of 10-10 overall with a mark of 5-5 in conference play.

"I think that overall, we're starting to hit the ball better," Panthers head coach Jim Kern told the Call. "Defensively I think we've been solid and have been getting good performances out of the entire pitching staff."

Unfortunately, the Mehlville pitching staff struggled last week in an 8-3 loss to conference rival Lafayette.

The Panthers gave up one run in the first inning of the April 29 game and proceeded to yield five runs in the second and one run in the third as they found themselves down 7-0 by the fourth inning.

"We had a rough start that we couldn't come back from," Kern said. "During the last five innings, I thought that we played well."

Mehlville starting pitcher Clayton Camp struggled in his five innings pitched as he gave up seven earned runs on 12 hits.

The sophomore hurler walked three and retired one batter via strikeout in his sixth loss of the season. Camp currently is 0-6, yet has a strong 4.83 earned-run average.

"During the first two innings, he (Camp) had the ball up in the zone and didn't hit his spots," Kern explained. "In the third inning, I thought he started to settle down."

Mehlville's Jake Morgan had a solid afternoon at the plate as he drove in two runs on two doubles.

The junior currently is leading the Panthers with a solid .439 batting average with nine stolen bases.

"Right now, I would put him (Morgan) up as one of our best hitters," Kern said. "Over the past three weeks, he's probably hitting about .600."

The Panthers are back in action at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, as they take on Lindbergh at Heine Meine Field in Lemay.

Mehlville handed Lindbergh its only loss of the season last month in a 8-3 victory over the Flyers.

Yet the Panthers head coach believes his sluggers are still the underdogs as Lindbergh rides on top of the conference standings.

"We're going in as the underdogs," Kern explained. "We're going to have to play our game to stay in it and win because they're clearly in the driver's seat.

"I believe that we have the talent to compete with all the schools in the conference, it's just a matter of minimizing mistakes,'' the coach added.

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