Baseball: After a 6-2 start, Coe-Brown humbled by 8-0 home loss to Oyster River

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 05-09-2023 10:19 AM

NORTHWOOD – Coe-Brown baseball head coach Rob Stockman doesn’t talk about his team like they’re 6-3, already matching their win total from 2022. He knows the Bears are still a work in progress. Monday was his latest reminder: an 8-0 loss to rival Oyster River.

The game felt over soon after it began. The Bobcats sent nine batters to the plate in the first inning against Tommy Flanagan, opening up a 3-0 lead. They added five more in the fourth to essentially put the game out of reach against an offense that was lifeless against Oyster River southpaw, Landon Wolusky, who tossed five scoreless innings.

Here are three notes on where Coe-Brown sits nine games into the season:

Stockman knows he can’t let the team’s record deceive them

6-3, especially after a 6-11 season is an admirable way to start the year. But Stockman’s yet to come away from a win or a loss thinking his team played what he feels is a good game.

“We’re a team in the works,” he said. “We're trying to clean everything up and just change the culture here and make them believe in themselves and working hard and doing the right stuff. It was just a bad game. We weren't ready to play. It falls on me. ... We weren't ready to play today. They were the better team, and they hit the ball, and we didn't make plays. Kind of the same stuff that we've been doing all year. We were just lucking out and winning some more games. That's the honest thing. Even though we were 6-2, we really haven't played a good game this year.”

The inability of the offense to generate much against Wolusky hampered Coe-Brown from getting back into the game after falling behind early. Despite not having overpowering stuff, Oyster River’s starting pitcher hovered around the zone and changed speeds effectively enough to keep the Bears off balance.

“He threw strikes. I'll give him that,” Stockman said. “We just didn't swing the bats today. We didn't have anything today.”

The Bears defense has a long way to go

Unofficially, Coe-Brown made four errors, including Flanagan dropping a pop up on the first base side of the mound that he should’ve let first baseman Adam Ludwikowski handle. 

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But with a compacted schedule – the Bears play four games in five days this week – there’s not a ton of time to run through reps in practice. That’s why Stockman had the team come in on Sunday to try to work on the defense.

“We had a hard practice with infield-outfield,” he said. “We brought a freshman up who was at shortstop. We moved some guys around. It's just a process. We've just gotta keep grinding.”

6-3 is still 6-3

Even though Coe-Brown’s yet to play its best, winning six of nine games is still better than not, even if it’s on the back of some luck. One thing that has nothing to do with luck that’s impressed Stockman, though: his team’s fight.

Down 8-0 in the bottom of the seventh on Monday, the Bears still loaded the bases, with bench players finding ways to keep the game rolling. On Friday against Pembroke, the Bears coughed up a 6-4 lead but rebounded to win, 12-6.

“Last year's team would've packed it in,” he said. “We would’ve lost 12-6 instead of winning 12-6. That's the one thing I give these guys credit for. They never give up.”

That bodes well for what Stockman’s hoping to build. It’s just his second year at Coe-Brown after spending 13 years at Pittsfield, so it’ll take time, but he’s starting to see reasons for optimism.

“(It’s) been my philosophy even at Pittsfield: smart, boring ball wins games. It always has,” he said. “I feel that way even in D-II, and we were 6-3 just by throwing strikes, trying to make the plays, get on base and we'll do something. That's what we'll keep doing. It's always worked, so we'll see. 

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