By VAN HOLLAND
PINETOPS – Tommy Tolson has been rebuilding the SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars baseball program since he took over three years ago. The first two seasons was to be expected he said, but this year he expects big things from his team. He knows they have a calling to answer and expects that to happen early on this season, but so far it hasn't.
They didn't answer the calling Friday when they were shutout 13-0 in six innings by the Fike Demons in non-conference action. The Cougars fall to 0-3.
The Cougars only got five hits and never had a baserunner go past second base the entire game. The game was played like his teams did the first two years and he wasn't pleased with their overall performance, because he said they are a better team then what they have shown the first three games this year.
"We weren't ready to play today at all," Tolson said. "We had the day out of school and we just didn't show up to play and it showed big time."
Brayden Morris started on the hill for the Cougars and things didn't go well for him to begin with, but he settled down and he started hitting his locations.
Walks and errors will hurt any type of team on the diamond and that is what happened when the Cougars began to fall apart in the top of the fourth inning. Fike sent 12 batters to the plate and scored seven runs in the inning. Only one run was earned and the Cougars committed two errors in the inning and Fike drew four walks.
Morris took the loss after throwing 3 2/3 innings and giving up seven runs (one earned) off of four hits. He walked four and struck out two.
Cole Pierce relieved Morris and threw 1 2/3 innings giving up two runs on two hits, while walking two and striking out two.
Jarrett Mobley threw an inning and gave up four runs on three hits, walked two and struck out one.
"Our defense just didn't play behind our pitchers and we didn't throw the ball well," Tolson said. "We have to hit our locations and be effective."
The Cougars struggles at the plate seemed to have carried over from last year. They have scored just four runs in three games and haven't moved runners over like Tolson has hoped they would. The Cougars are batting .138 as a team and have just nine hits all season.
Tolson thinks it is a mind thing as far as not carrying the practice over into a game. He said he has to find a way to correct that somehow and get them playing like they practice.
"We have been working hard on hitting the baseball," Tolson said. "We have come a long way but we aren't doing the things in the game like we are in practice. We crush the ball in practice but we get into a game and we can't seem to hit it."
Tolson said he has some guys that have to grow up a little bit and understand what they are trying to do and figure out what their goals are.
"This is something we are going to talk a lot about because our seniors have set some big goals," Tolson said. "They are very realistic goals."
Tolson said he has a good team and they have been working hard, but just couldn't tell it in this game.
"We have to start putting it in the games instead just practice," Tolson said.
"This has been a building process," Tolson said. "We talked about how we just about had to dig the foundation up and put a new one down."
Tolson feels that they have done that over the past two seasons after taking some lopsided losses and getting beat by the mercy rule numerous times.
"Now is the time to start building the house on top of the foundation that we built," Tolson said. "This group we have now is good because they have worked hard the last couple of years but we just have to start making things happen."
Tolson said they have to do some soul searching and find out what it is going to take for them to do the little things.
Hunter Johnson led the Cougars offensively going 2-2, while Mobley was 2-3 and Nick Webb was 1-3.
The Cougars are back in action today when they host Southern Nash at 4:30 p.m.