Between the Base Paths: Growing pains

The Lamar Cardinals’ sweep of the Manhattan Jaspers two weekends ago showed off Manhattan’s expected slow start.

For starters, they haven’t practiced outside since October and are now facing live pitching for the first time. So their early rusty play is understandable. Plus, it’s simply too early in the season to nitpick.

“(The series) was certainly productive, but the numbers wouldn’t tell you that,” Jim Duffy, Jaspers head coach, said. “All in all the numbers they look disappointing, but I kind of I like some of the things that I saw and, in the same vein, we have a lot of work to do. That was totally anticipated.”

The most productive part of the weekend at Lamar for Duffy was that everybody played. Right now, he wants his team to focus more on the process of play, body language, effort and execution as opposed to results. Results to him are meaningful, but don’t become important until MAAC play.

Cardinals’ head coach, Jim Gilligan, happened to agree with Duffy. He thought the series between the two teams wasn’t what it looked like and misleading. He reiterated Manhattan’s not practicing outside all winter long, which is automatically advantage Lamar being based in Texas all-year round.

“This time of year it’s a matter of getting to play, find out what you got to fix and fix it,” Gilligan said. “You don’t know that playing intersquad games. You do that playing other people where you get a chance to, especially if you get to play good teams, see where your shortcomings are and then fix.”

“(Manhattan) should have gotten information out of the weekend,” he added. “We did about us.”

There were three Jaspers and an overall position Gilligan took a liking to: Jose Carrera, Tom Cosgrove, Joe McClennan and the outfield.

“I was impressed with the players. Good group of kids,” Gilligan said. “They have some good arms. Their left-handers, they got quite a few left-handers, that are decent pitchers. If they step up and do it, they can be a pretty strong team in their conference. They have got enough pitching to do it.”

With comments like that coming from an out of conference head coach, the young talent of Manhattan is already making its mark across college baseball.

“A lot of confidence from them,” Mikey Miranda, Jasper catcher, said of the freshman pitchers. “They came out and competed with confidence. It showed a lot from them. All our pitchers looked really sharp, really good.”

“I was thrilled,” Duffy said of all his freshman players. “They all held their own on the mound and at the plate. The young guys held their own exceptionally well. Now they’re ready to go.”