GREENFIELD – After three straight losses to begin the season, the Greenfield-Central baseball team was looking to put their first tick in the win column Tuesday night against Roncalli.
Right off the bat, however, that task looked unattainable for the host Cougars.
“They came out flat,” Greenfield-Central coach Robbie Miller said after the Cougars’ 9-0 loss vs. the Rebels. “I gotta get people ready to play the game.”
The Cougars earned two quick outs to start the game, but then Roncalli’s 3-4-5 hitters went double, walk, double to drive in a pair of runs.
A Cougars error allowed another run to cross the plate before the Cougars could escape the inning in an early hole.
“Nick Johnson, getting his first career start, threw well,” Miller said. “But you gotta make plays behind him.”
The Cougars’ bats were not clicking either. Through the first three innings, Greenfield-Central was not able to get anyone on base, as Roncalli pitcher Casey Gore sent the first nine Cougars batters back to the dugout.
Gore finished with five strikeouts while allowing just two hits and no walks in five innings to secure his first win of the season.
After the game, Miller had no trouble pinpointing why the Cougars’ offense has struggled out of the gate.
“I really think we’re competing in the box, but we are thinking too much,” he said. “They want to hit the ball hard, but we’re trying to do too much. The pitcher will supply the power.”
Greenfield-Central finished with just three hits on the night, and it would never seriously threaten to score.
Drey Jameson hit a double in the fourth inning, and Doug Jameson hit one in the fifth, but that was nearly the extent of what the Cougars could muster.
Dylan Cheshier added a single in the seventh to round out the Cougars’ hits.
After a third-inning home run by the Rebels’ Tyler Schoettle, Roncalli would do most of the rest of its damage on the base paths.
On the night, Roncalli swiped eight bases. Junior outfielder Michael Chitwood led the Rebels with four stolen.
“We haven’t worked on the pitchers changing up their rhythm enough,” Miller said. “We weren’t giving our catcher a chance.”
The loss makes it four in a row for Greenfield-Central, which also fell 10-0 against Lawrence North on Monday.
On Friday night, the Cougars (0-4, 0-2 Hoosier Heritage Conference) host HHC rival New Palestine (3-0, 2-0 HHC) in a doubleheader with county bragging rights on the line.
“We have some confidence going into the game after our scrimmage against (New Palestine) last week,” Miller said. “(But) we’ve gotta be ready to play, or it’s going to be a long night.”