The Manchester Academy baseball season is off to a good start despite some rainy days and playing games on the road.
The season began last week with four games in a row, starting off the Mavericks with a 1-3 record for this new year.
After only losing one senior last year, Coach Kyle Wever said he is optimistic that the Manchester boys will go far this season.
"We have got everybody from last year coming back this season, and so that is lots of experience on the team and great chemistry that has carried over from last year," he said. "We have a lot of play makers and big bats in the lineup that are really going to come together so I feel like we have got a good chance of going a long way this year."
The Mavericks played their first game of the season on Feb. 24 against Park Place Academy at the Mississippi College baseball field in Clinton.
Wever said that the Mavericks had a small case of the "first game jitters," resulting in about nine errors on the field on defense.
"The pitching and the fielding weren't there in that game, but we ended up having 17 hits," he said. "It was a heartbreaker to lose our first game 23-20, but if we could have gotten it all together between the fielding and the pitching, we could have dominated that game."
After shaking off that first game with Park Place, the Mavericks moved on to play their second game of the season against Leake Academy in Carthage on Feb. 27.
"It was a very good game," Wever said. "We cleaned up alot in that game. We went 7 innings and had 6 hits with 2 errors. But there was one inning that hurt us and we lost 6-5 in that last inning, so it was heartbreaking."
The Mavericks finally got their spark back on Feb. 28 against Deer Creek Academy in Arcola, winning their first game of the season with a score of 6-4.
"That game against Deer Creek was our first win," Wever said. "Our bats slowed down, and our fielding was better. We had 7 hits that game and only one error so we were a much better team than we were in that first game we played, but we still need to work harder to get it all together."
Wever said that playing multiple games in one week may have resulted in fatigue for some of the players as they approached their fourth game of the season against Winston Academy on Saturday in Louisville.
"When you play four games in a week with only 10 guys on your varsity roster, you get tired and players get fatigued and arms start hurting," he said.
In the game against Winston, Wever said that the Mavericks had a 3-0 lead after the first inning, which included a big Homerun hit from Ty Kilpatrick.
Though it looked at first like the Mavericks would quickly seal the deal in this game, Manchester's pitchers started to wear out in the 5th inning, and the team began to make errors.
"Going into the 5th inning we were up 5-2 and they scored 8 unearned runs on errors and walks," Wever said. "That's when the wheels fell off and kept on rolling, so we ended up losing 10-6 in that game."
He added that junior player Connor Stevens did a "phenomenal job" pitching in his very first varsity game for the Mavericks.
Wever said that there are several players who are already off to a great start this season with high game statistics.
"Ty Kilpatrick has been out big bat so far with 7 hits this season and he is batting .467 in four games," he said. "Dylan Dendy is following close behind him with 6 hits so far and is batting .429."
Other top performers include Jon Riley Poe with 6 hits batting .400, Parks Poe with several big hits, and Mills Paul an up and coming freshman for the Mavericks.
"Mills Paul has done well for us this year with 6 hits as a 9th grader," Wever said. "He has been a big part of our team being one of our starting pitchers. When he is not pitching he is a good utility player for me, and I feel like I can put him anywhere on the field and he will get the job done."
Moving forward with the season, Manchester will host two home games this week starting on Tuesday, March 3, against Leake Academy at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and Thursday, March 5, against Tri County Academy at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.