HARRISBURG - Saturday's season opener left Delone Catholic with several things to work on after Easter.
The Squires lost 5-0 to Bishop McDevitt in a battle of Catholic schools, but they shook their heads afterwards about how much closer the game should have been.
They struggled at the plate against Crusaders pitcher Joe Mione, but coach Doug Arnold was more alarmed by the struggles in the field. Delone Catholic infielders committed four errors, which led to five unearned runs scored by Bishop McDevitt.
"We should still be playing, it should be 0-0," Arnold said after the game. “I hope it’s first-game jitters because I know we’re better than that defensively. That’s a thing we pride ourselves on.”
The Crusaders took advantage of those errors by successfully stealing bases on three attempts to put runners into scoring position. Delone's Wes Deporter got the starting nod behind the plate, taking over for Austin Roth, a three-year starter who graduated last spring.
“It’s a combination (of factors)," Arnold said of allowing the stolen bases. "This is Wes’ first year back there, he’s got to get quicker footwork. But I’m not gonna put it all on Wes, the pitchers need to help him out a little bit and be quicker to the plate.”
As for the Squires' difficulties at the plate, they knew scoring runs could be a challenge this season. Arnold, a former pitcher, throws dozens of pitches in batting practice to simulate game action, but he said he hasn't seen his players' approach in practice translate to the game.
In this game, they worked one walk and smacked two base hits that Crusaders fielders missed by inches.
“He kept us off balance," Kint said of Mione, who earned the win with six shutout innings. "He’d come with a couple fastballs, then he’d throw a change-up. He hit all his spots, too, inside and outside. He definitely took control of the game.”
But the Squires know they helped Mione out a little bit.
“Our approach at the plate was just terrible," Arnold said. "We were letting first-pitch strikes right down the middle go. I’m not questioning their heart, but we’re better than that.”
“We’ve got to swing the bats, that’s our problem," Kint added. "We’re swinging at too many strikes; we’ve got to pull the trigger, you’re not gonna hit the ball unless you swing.”
After they enjoy their Easter holiday, the Squires have four days to practice and improve for a Thursday afternoon game at Gettysburg.