Licking County Settlers coach Kyle Sobecki knew the first week of the season would be a difficult one for the Settlers.

Licking County Settlers coach Kyle Sobecki knew the first week of the season would be a difficult one for the Settlers.

The players are all still making the adjustment from using metal bats for their respective college teams to playing with wood bats in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.

Additionally, the team was faced with a difficult schedule with games against last year's league champion, the Lima Locos, and the league runners-up, the Columbus All-Americans.

"You might as well find out what your made up of right away," Sobecki said. "The earlier on that happens, it will be a good thing for the team."

Entering last Friday's game against Lima, the Settlers were 2-2. They beat the Grand Lake Mariners 11-4 on June 15 and topped the Delaware Cows 4-1 last Thursday. The Settlers lost to Columbus 4-0 last Tuesday and to the Cincinnati Steam 3-1 last Wednesday.

"Everybody in our league is good," Sobecki said. "The Columbus All-Americans stand out, the Lima Locos are good and the Delaware Cows had a great start to the season winning their first three games. So we've had our hands full. But we're quickly starting to find out more about our team."

"We've been in every game so far and to finally come through and win one against the Cows, I think that's going to help us relax at the end of games," Settlers first baseman Jim Clayton said.

A major goal for Licking County this season is to finish above .500 for the first time. The Settlers improved their record from the 2006 season to last year but have never finished higher than ninth.

The hope for Sobecki and the team is that the first week will help the players get adjusted to the competition and the wood bats at the same time.

"It's been a little difficult," Clayton said. "With wood bats, you have to be aggressive because if you let a good pitch get past you, you're not going to get a hit on a bad pitch."

The Settlers trailed Delaware 1-0 going into the seventh inning but tied the game on a passed ball. Shortstop Kyle Klee's grounder scored right-fielder Steve Rosado for a 2-1 lead. With the bases loaded and two outs, third baseman John McCambridge singled to score Clayton and catcher John Turk. Relief pitcher Eric Van Matre allowed just one hit in the last four innings to earn the win.

"I thought we had some good pitching, but also getting the timely hits in the situations we needed them was big," Van Matre said.

Delaware, which entered the game 4-1, finished third in the league last year.

"Hopefully this will give us the momentum we need, we're about to play nine games in a row," Clayton said.

The Settlers, who also played Anderson last Saturday, have four consecutive home games at Don Edwards Park this week, playing Grand Lake today, Stark County on Monday, Columbus on Wednesday and Southern Ohio on Thursday. They will play Friday at Stark County and return home to play Grand Lake on Saturday and Lake Erie on June 29 before closing the month the following day at Xenia.

"I think the win will definitely give us the momentum we need," Van Matre said. "I think it takes some pressure off of us because we've already been in a bunch of pressure situations all week. We hadn't been able to come through until the game with the Cows, but I think this will help us get the tough games later in the season. It's just going to help us stay relaxed and play the game we know how to play."