The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

March 21, 2013

Vikings defense falls apart in loss

Sports Correspondent

TARBORO — Tarboro Vikings coach Justin Smith sees his offense starting to come around and his pitching staff continue give stellar performances. But at the same time he sees his defense begin to fall apart. That is beginning to bother him.

Tarboro's defensive troubles continued Wednesday night at Municipal Stadium when they lost 12-4 to the Hunt Warriors. The Vikings (2-5) committed six errors, which gives them a total of 10 in two games.

"Our defense didn't perform tonight," Smith said. "We made to many simple mistakes and it costed us the game."

Jordyn Holland took the loss. He threw 5 1/3 innings, giving up nine runs off of six hits. He walked three and struck out five. Out of the nine runs, only one was earned, which came off of an RBI single in the second.

"Jordyn threw a good game and it was well enough to win," Smith said. "He gave up some hits, but most of the balls that were put in play were right at someone and they didn't make the routine plays at crucial times."

Tarboro committed two errors in the third, fifth and sixth innings, which led to 10 runs. Dropped fly balls and ground balls that should be caught or routine throws in the infield were the result of the runs.

"The little things are making a difference in our outcomes," Smith said. "The way we are looking at it now is... if our defense doesn't get better then we aren't going to win a lot of games. If that means bringing up kids from the JV team to get it done then that is what we are going to have to do."

Tarboro got five hits in the game and left eight runners on base. Seven of those runners were in scoring position and five were with less then two outs.

Joe Miller led the Vikings at the dish going 2 for 3 with an RBI, while Holland, Will Dupree and Tristan Bateman added a hit a piece.

Smith doesn't know what it is going to take to get his team to understand that they have to play solid defense to be able to compete.

"It seems like when we play good defense we win games," Smith said. "If we keep it under two errors we are fine."

Smith knows that errors are part of the game, but feels his team is to talented to keep making so many errors in a game. The mistakes aren't just physical they turn into mental ones as well and Smith wants to find a way to try and get his team to cut down on them.

Smith has been pleased with his pitchers this season. He said they are hitting their locations and making good pitches at the right times to get hitters out, but their defense isn't making things simple for his pitching staff.

Dupree suffered a loss Tuesday night when the Vikings committed four errors behind him and two of the resulted in their opponents scoring three runs.

Smith said he is pleased with Holland Wednesday, because he doesn't give in on the mound and that is one thing that they like about him taking the ball and facing any of their opponents.

"Jordyn is a bulldog and he isn't scared to take the ball and face anyone," Smith said. "We know he will give us a good performance and give us a chance to win and that is what he did tonight in his five plus innings of work. We didn't make the plays behind him."

Smith said his team will get back to work today and and try to make the proper adjustments so they can compete in games to come.

Tarboro is back in action Friday when they host the Nash Central Bulldogs at 7 p.m.