Jeaneete baseball coach: Defense must improve for Hawks to win
Forgive the cliche — but what a difference a week can make.
For Jeannette baseball, a week's time is the difference between a perfect record and a 4-3 record, and between first place in Section 4-AA and fourth place in the section.
Jeannette head coach Marcus Clarkson has his finger on the pulse of the main reasons for the slide.
“We did not play good defense all week,” said Clarkson. “You cannot do that and beat the better teams in the section. You cannot give good teams extra outs or they will make you pay.”
The week of losses began with a 10-0 loss at the hands of previously winless East Allegheny.
Clarkson said his team was not underestimating EA, but that EA was fielding the ball and Jeannette was not. The error-riddled performance was underscored by a lackluster day at the plate for the Jayhawks.
Jeannette's response was not bad, but not good enough to earn a win over one of Class-AA's top teams, Shady Side Academy.
The Jayhawks took a 7-5 lead into the sixth behind a solid pitching performance from senior Garrett Elliott, but could not make plays late in the game and Shady Side stormed back for the win.
“We can play with that team,” said Clarkson. “If we play defense the way we can, we can play with them.”
Jeannette closed the week with a performance that pushed them further back in the standings — a 12-2 loss at the hands of Greensburg Central Catholic. A nine-run second by the Centurions sank the Jayhawks who fell to 3-3 in the section and 4-3 overall.
Clarkson will make a couple of adjustments to try to refocus his team and recapture the same confidence that led to a 4-0 start.
“I'm moving Sean Poth to the infield and putting Jordan Edmunds in the outfield to give us more speed and athleticism out there.”
Jeannette plays South Allegheny at home tomorrow to cap off a three-game week.
WPIAL Section 4-AA:
Shady Side Academy (5-1)
Steel Valley (5-1) (5-3)
Catholic (4-2) (4-3)
Jeannette (3-3) (4-3)
Southmoreland (2-4) (5-6)
East Allegheny (2-4) (2-8)
South Allegheny (0-6) (2-7)
Dave Moio is a freelance writer.