Porters Chapel, St. Al use June to gauge team’s performances

Published 11:15 am Friday, June 24, 2016

There’s a solid eight months separating summer and the start of the 2017 baseball season.

But Porters Chapel and St. Aloysius are taking advantage of the downtime to tinker its program’s code for next year.

PCA outlasted St. Al in the first half of a doubleheader 4-1 in a game where the Eagles looked to be free of bugs in the program’s alpha stages. The later half gave the younger players a chance to get swings in and the Eagles also took that game 5-3.

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“This whole summer, pretty much all the phases have been there,” PCA’s assistant coach Larry Van Allen said. “My main focus with them is to make sure they play together and have a lot of intensity all the way throughout the game.”

Defense was a strong point for Porters Chapel in the regular season and has overflowed into summer scrimmages. In the first half of the doubleheader, the Eagles’ ended a few of their halves of innings early turning double plays and catching fly-ball outs.

While the defense remains in tact, their pitching has seen an incremental upgrade.

“We got some younger guys,” Van Allen said. “Cole Pittman and Wade Dickard, they’re going to start working in a lot more with our regular rotation because they’re young guys. They’re both going to be sophomores next year but they’re doing a really good job.”

Van Allen has to reshape the way his inexperience players think about baseball. Rather than coming out and just playing baseball, he wants his players to learn how to attack the game.

St. Al coach Sid Naron said summer is a great opportunity for his younger players to mix with older guys on the team and put players in new positions on the field.

“Offensively we have a ways to go. I think it speaks to our youth,” Naron said. “I think the guys are competing and they’re going to mature and I think it’s going to be ok by the time we get to the spring.”

Until then, Naron said his players have to get stronger, faster and game some baseball knowledge.

“We got to get some arm strength and get in the weight room,” Naron said. “That six to eight months leading up, I think we have enough time we just have to put the work in.”

The biggest thing for St. Al to develop before the spring is its pitching, which Naron said would come as confidence in players increases.

“And confidence really throughout the field. We moved some guys around from behind the plate, to short stop, to center field, to first base and gaining confidence and overall understanding of technique at those positions is going to be the biggest adjustments,” Naron said.

The Flashes have had a productive the month. They’ve gone 5-4 through June and while Naron doesn’t judge of his teams record, he thinks the teams success is more some based off the teams understanding what direction the program is going and buying in.

Van Allen commended St. Al’s younger unit and said the future of baseball is bright in Warren County.

“They’re young group is about how our young group is,” he said. “That team is going to be really, really good in a couple of years. They baseball around here from all the high schools, in two years it’s going to be a renaissance around here. It’s a lot of good young kids coming up.”