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Baseball notebook: Defining & overcoming weaknesses

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A look back at the week that was on the diamond around Lebanon County, as teams look to fix early season weaknesses.

Elco back on track after two-game slide

The Raiders were riding high towards the end of last week with a 5-0 start.

Then all of a sudden, they perhaps hit that point of a season where you just hit a wall.

Elco’s first loss came by a stunning 16-1 thumping from Garden Spot, followed by a 9-5 loss Monday to first-place and unbeaten Manheim Central.

Since then, the Raiders found a way to shake it off, seeming to be back to normal with a two-game win streak, learning a lot from that rough stretch.

“Coach says every team goes through losing streaks in the season,” Weaver said. “It was cold, and wasn’t really our day. That’s not going to happen again. At least I hope not.”

And to put the game in a larger perspective, Elco coach Chris Weidner used a certain game from the majors that had similar affects to the Raiders’ day.

“Baseball’s a great teacher,” Weidner said. “I went back to the Phillies game Saturday night and tweeted that out, because that game was a microcosm of our game Friday. The Nationals couldn’t do anything right, and the Phillies couldn’t do anything wrong. We had to put that behind us.”

A-C and NL looking for consistency  

After 2-0 and 3-0 starts, respectively, the Dutchmen and Vikings are looking to steady their course after hitting lulls in both their seasons.

A-C’s biggest win of the week was a solid 7-2 win over then first-place and unbeaten Lancaster Mennonite, behind a big day on the mound and at the plate from Mitch Long.

“It’s was huge for us,” Dutchmen coach Scott Shyda said. “It was a big one before heading into crossovers and it’s going to be six tough games. We needed to put two good games together in a row.”

The win came after a 7-0 victory at Columbia the day before, which saw freshman Andrew Long throw a no-hitter in his first varsity start.

The winning continued after a 12-0 win over Lebanon Catholic, but since then, the Dutchmen dropped an 11-1 game to Garden Spot.

NL’s season has also been a roller coaster, dropping three lackluster games in a row, then bouncing back with a 5-4 win over Lebanon, before losing in five innings at Cocalico.

Now the Vikings are back to winning, including surviving a hard-fought game at Garden Spot and then taking care of Lebanon Catholic.

“These two days were key after the Cocalico game, because we didn’t play well there,” said Vikings coach Daryl Hess. “We turned around at Garden Spot and played like we can, coming from behind. Now it’s key we’ve got a little momentum going. Defensively, sometimes we don’t play as well and that’s been hurting us. That’s the one thing we need to sure up, not giving up extra outs and runs.”

Lebanon looking to turn around offense, season

A big reason for the Cedars’ 1-7 start has been lack of production at the plate, averaging just under three runs a game and not having scored more than five runs in any game this season.

One of Lebanon’s better games at the dish came in a critical game at Elco, though it still didn’t prove to be enough in a 6-4 loss.

“We had guys come up with big hits and guys lay down some really key bunts,” Lebanon coach Mike Toomey said. “Guys were more aggressive. As we see more pitching, we’re going to have more hits.”

With time running out, Toomey says having that sense of urgency could help his team turn things around.

“You have to have that every game you play,” Toomey said. “That’s what we do and that’s what I love about my guys. They give me everything every game.”

Critical stretch on deck for Palmyra

At 4-5 overall and 3-3 in MPC-Keystone play, the Cougars find themselves in the middle of the pack, heading into the second half of their season.

Eight of Palmyra’s last 11 games come against division opponents, starting Tuesday at Harrisburg, a stretch in which will obviously make or break their season.