By Harrison Tarr
For the Observer
Between the emergence of warmer temperatures, the smell of ballpark hot dogs in the air and the return of fully-packed stadiums, baseball season is in full swing in Lee County. As teams continue to navigate their respective non-area opponents, squads are beginning to establish what resembles an identity. Head coach Seth Nolen and the Beauregard Hornets believe that they’re close to doing just that.
After starting the season with eight victories in their first nine games, the Hornets had their first run-in with what the skipper believes is his group’s Achilles heel: errors.
“We won the first four, then we had a three game little hiccup there,” Nolen said. “Then we won four straight again. (Smiths Station) we didn’t even show up.”
When Nolen’s squad played host to the visiting Panthers of Smiths Station, defensive struggles became a medium of self-destruction, falling by a lopsided score of 11-1 and making what many consider to be a team to watch look even better than before.
“When you make eight errors, you make them a lot better than they are,” Nolen said.
According to the third-year head coach, the Hornets’ struggles on the defensive side of the ball have come in bunches.
“We’ve made 30 errors in 12 games,” Nolen said. “Half of them have been in two games. We made seven errors against Valley earlier in the year, we made eight (against Smiths Station).”
While his team’s errant tendencies are certainly a focal point for Nolen, he has made a point to remind his group that they much prefer to work out the kinks in the early season.
“We told the kids that you don’t want to have these games period,” Nolen said. “But you’d much rather have these games on a Monday night when — in the grand scheme of things — it doesn’t really matter.”
It is the coach’s goal to take care of the group’s weak points before the games that truly matter: area play.
“If we can get this figured out and ironed out before we open up area play against Pike Road, as long as we get this ironed out by then, that’s the one’s that matter,” Nolen said.
Aside from a handful of flare-ups, Beauregard’s skipper believes that the group is performing well when it comes to the bigger picture.
“We’ve been playing well,” Nolen said. “Pitching has been outstanding, defense has been pretty decent for the most part.”
He is specifically impressed by his pitching staff.
“The pitching staff is pitching to a 1.72 ERA,” Nolen said. “And the other teams are only hitting .208 against us.”
Mound production does not stand alone in eye-popping numbers for the Hornets, the blue and gold are getting the job done on the offensive side of the plate as well.
“Pitching has been awesome and we’re hitting about .330 as a team,” Nolen said. “We scored 94 runs in 12 games. It’s just the errors, they jump on us.”
All things considered, Nolen appears confident that his squad is capable of resolving it’s fundamental struggles and returning to the highly-talented group many expected ahead of the 2022 campaign.
“For the most part, we’re playing well,” Nolen said. “We’re doing a lot of good things, we just have some stuff to clean up. The way we’ve been swinging the bats and the way we’ve been pitching — if we clean up the defense — we’ll be right back where we want to be.”
The Hornets will be back in action on Monday, March 28 when they play host to the Generals of Horseshoe Bend in their final contest before welcoming Pike Road to open up area play. First pitch of Monday’s contest is set for 4:30 p.m. CST.