Young Eagles still learning to fly

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Purdy's Sydney Birge fires a pitch home during the Eagles game against Pierce City on Friday. Jared Lankford/

Offensive woes hamper Purdy's success

The Eagles, by some standards, are slumping this baseball season.

Purdy, 5-13, has been a victim of its success this season. For the last eight years, it has ruled the Ozark 7 Conference with nearly absolute authority, earning seven conference titles to display in its trophy case.

This season however, nothing has come easy.

Coach Joshua Hughes and assistant coach Jason Webb have worked overtime to help this team improve.

"We got spoiled a little bit by having talented players who started two or three years and then graduated," Hughes said. "This year, we knew that we would have some ups and downs. You don't see the growth results in wins and losses, but we see it in practice."

Hughes said he and Webb try to keep things positive. He said his team has been in games and not seized a couple of key moments.

"We have lost three games by one or two runs," Hughes said. "Offensive execution has been one of our biggest obstacles this season."

The Eagles are hitting .220 as a team, and of its 73 hits on the year, only 12 have gone for extra bases.

Hughes said for the last for weeks, his team has been focus solely on hitting in practice.

"I bet I've thrown 200 pitches a day for the last 10 days," Hughes said. "For some of our kids, I believe it is a confidence issue. Once they get a hit or two, I think they will take off."

Purdy continues play in the Miller Tournament on Thursday against Fair Grove. Hughes thinks the tourney could help his squad.

"We have Greenfield, Fair Grove and College Heights in our pod, and I think we match up great with all three," Hughes said. "If we can get a couple of wins and gain positive momentum heading into districts, we could have a shot to make some noise."

First pitch Thursday is set for 5 p.m.

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