The Pickerington Post 283 Legion baseball team nearly doubled its season loss total in the Lancaster Post 11 Classic during the first week of July.
But coach Chris Weber said there is no reason to panic after his team fell to 23-7 entering play July 7, despite going 5-5 since beginning 18-2.
"I've been in this game too long to worry about one regular-season tournament," he said. "When you play nearly every day, it's just the ebb and flow of a baseball season. We always preach to the kids about not getting too high or getting too low, and that's the way we view things as a program."
Post 283 went 2-3 in the tournament, losing to Circleville Post 134 7-5 on July 1, Prospect Post 368 4-2 on July 3 and Pemberville Post 183 6-4 on July 4. Wins were against Chillicothe Post 62 11-1 on July 1 and East Lansing (Mich.) Post 205 5-2 on July 2.
"Sometimes you're not in synch in terms of hitting and pitching," Weber said. "We didn't get great pitching in those (losses) and we didn't hit that well, either. But there is plenty of baseball left to play. We're in good shape and will have things ready to go for the (District 8 tournament that begins on July 20 at Beavers Field in Lancaster)."
Pickerington is joined in District 8 by Athens Post 21, Lancaster and Meigs Post 39.
The next few weeks will be about fine-tuning things. Pickerington is 3-0 in the District 8 regular season. It swept Meigs 18-0 and 13-0 on June 7 and beat Lancaster 12-1 on June 17. Both games against Athens were postponed and will be rescheduled.
Post 283, which will be seeking its fourth consecutive district championship, has displayed solid pitching for the most part according to Weber.
"Tyler Magley threw well against East Lansing (Mich.) in the Post 11 Classic and shut down a pretty good team," Weber said. "Kyle Gannon gets better and better every time he takes the mound and Derek Helbing is just a monster behind the plate. He's thrown out over half of the runners attempting to steal bases and 35-to-38 percent is considered a good average. He just shuts down our opponent's running game."
Magley is a Liberty Union product. Gannon, a left-hander, and Helbing are Watkins Memorial products.
Others who drew praise are outfielders Tyler Makuch and Eric McClure, both of Liberty Union.
"Makuch has done very well in the leadoff spot in our batting order and makes things happen, which is everything you want from your leadoff man," Weber said. "McClure is really just beginning to emerge because he's showing better plate discipline and that makes him an even better hitter."
One thing which Weber says will help the team in the long run is facing the top-notch pitching it has seen in several tournaments, as well as the regular season.
"We see everyone's ace," he said. "East Lansing held its top pitcher to face us and lost a game before playing us. He was first-team all-Michigan, and we beat him. There's no doubt that we see everyone's top pitcher and that's fine with us. We don't pitch like that in the regular season. We give everyone the ball and see what they can do. When we get to district, then we'll start lining up our pitching to maximize our abilities."