Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@lhvc.com 

Legion B improves, continues to struggle

 


Niwot summer baseball coach Adam Strah had to dig a little deeper to find the silver lining in his team’s latest slump. Fresh off the team’s sixth straight loss, a 14-1 thrashing in their last game of a weekend tournament, Strah admitted that the Cougars need help in a number of areas. But he also sees where the high-level competition, both in quality and quantity, is paying off for his young players.

“As they’re involved in more situations, there’s a lot of learning of the small details of the game going on,” he explained. “That’s why they’re playing summer ball - to get that experience that they didn’t get in spring.” Niwot graduated 10 seniors from the high school varsity team last May.

Unfortunately, that experience has yet to pay off regularly in the win column. Going into the last week of June, the Cougars were 3-6 in the American Legion B Northern league, and had just split a doubleheader with the Denver Metro Legion B team (17-9, 6-12).

The team’s most recent slide began on June 27 with an 18-8 loss to Centaurus, and ended on July 3 with an 11-1 loss to Holy Family. In between, the Cougars took a break from league action over the holiday weekend to participate in the Colorado Classic 4th of July Shootout, a regional tournament featuring teams from around the Front Range and Cheyenne. Starting on June 29, Niwot played five games over four days in far-flung locations across the metro area, including Aurora and Golden.

The Cougars went 0-5 in the tournament, but Strah was once again able point to areas where his team surprised him, even if he had to get creative with the statistics to do it. In particular, he called out the team’s “competitive games” against Fossil Ridge and the Cheyenne Coyotes on the tournament’s opening day, even if they ultimately didn’t prevail.

“Thursday especially we finally played some solid defense,” he said. “We strung together the most consecutive innings without a defensive error so far this summer.”

Unfortunately for Cougars fans, it was all downhill from there. Despite some noteworthy individual performances from Joey DesEnfants and Aidan Galloway and extra help from U16 players Tim Stokes and Isaiah Golden, Niwot dropped the next three games in the Shootout, including a rule-shortened 14-1 thrashing by the Golden Demons on Sunday.

After the winless week, Niwot moved to 3-13 on the season, but Strah continued to see a team that is heading in the right direction.

“We’re making strides,” he said. “We’re doing better on our base running, and just knowing where to go with the baseball. Planning ahead and being prepared and wanting the baseball are all things we’ve definitely gotten better at.”

 

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