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Catholic sees improvement despite another lopsided loss

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FREDERICKSBURG – As tough of a year it’s been for the Lebanon Catholic baseball team, it still approaches every game the same in wanting to fight hard, and try to improve.

Though an 11-0 loss in five innings Thursday at Northern Lebanon may not indicate it, the Beavers did just that, managing to put together one of their better games of the season, particularly in the field, committing only two errors.

Lebanon Catholic even put some pressure on the Vikings (6-4, 2-3 Section 3) early on, thanks to Nate Hatzfeld and Nick Hartman back-to-back singles in the top of the first, followed by Matt Brennan retiring the side in order in the bottom half.

And it was only a 3-0 ball game heading into the bottom of the third before NL started pulling away.

“I thought finally … this was the closest we’ve been to error-free baseball,” said first-year Lebanon Catholic coach Kerry Long Jr. “I thought Matt Brennan pitched well today. That’s the most he’s thrown all year. Compared to what happened earlier this week, this is a good learning point. Hopefully we can carry that into next week.”

One aspect of the game that the Beavers continue to have a hard time with is at the plate, posting just two runs so far.

“We just need to keep working on the form,” Long said. “We’ve been putting the ball in play, but not hitting hard enough to get hits.”

But in order to keep seeing his team grow, Long says each game needs to be kept in the same perspective.

“I just tell the guys we have to look at the little things … focus on little goals,” Long said. “Try to get through an inning with no errors, try to get runners on, we even had a lead a few games ago. We need to keep focused on chipping away, one out at a time, and keep improving and pick each other up.”

Though the results may not be there, Long says he still wouldn’t trade this group of guys for anything, because of the way they’ve handled this season, as the Beavers (0-6, 0-4 Section 4) still look for their first win.

“They’re a great group of kids. We lack talent and experience, but we have a good time,” Long said. “At the end of the day, I think unless you’re a super competitive team competing for titles, you don’t remember scores. You remember the group of guys you played with and the time you had on the field. I commend these guys. They’re all high character players. It’s an honor to coach them.”

Even Northern Lebanon coach Daryl Hess noticed some improvement from the Beavers.

“I thought they played real well,” Hess said. “The kid (Brennan) did a nice job. He was keeping us off-balance and we were getting under some pitches. He did a nice job keeping us in check.”

After a three-run third, Michigan Daub help his team put the game away with a three-run homer, his first of the season, as part of a clinching six-run fourth.

“It’s a pretty good feeling,” Daub said. “I just look to get on base. Home runs are a plus, but getting on base is even better.”