Eagles with key holes to fill next season

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Coach Joshua Hughes gathers his players together for a talk during varsity action at Plato. Misty Hughes Special to the Cassville Democrat

Purdy coach reflects on positive season, knows there is work to do

Purdy Coach Joshua Hughes did not spend long talking to his full team after a devastating 15-2 loss in the Class 2 quarter final at Plato.

"I don't care if you lose 1-0, 20-19 or 15-2, losing still hurts," Hughes said. "We played our tails off to get to this stage, and one game isn't going to define us or our season."

Purdy senior Sydney Birge takes his lead from base during quarterfinal action on Thursday. Misty Hughes Special to the Cassville Democrat

As the Eagles pick up the pieces and transition into the summer program, there will be some huge holes to fill.

First off, Purdy will have to replace its ace pitcher, Sydney Birge, and its first four outfielder options, along with the power bat of Dusty Videmschek.

"All of those seniors are going to be tough to replace, not only because of their play in the field, but the poise and leadership they brought to the dugout," Hughes said. "The younger players looked up to those guys."

Birge had been the rock on the pitching staff the last two seasons. Purdy threw its whole staff at Plato on Thursday, but the Eagles could not silence their opponent's bats in the late innings.

"I plan to spend some extra time with the pitching staff this summer and in the fall," Hughes said. "I might have got trigger happy and pulled Ricky [Aldaba] too soon. I thought Sydney had more left in the tank. I was wrong, it was my decision and I'll have to live with it. We will begin to put our bullpen back together."

Offensively, Hughes wants to see his team take the next step in growth.

"We'll be young next season," he said. "We have to take things as they come. I don't expect hall of fame numbers from every batter. I just want to see improvement from day one until the end of the season."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: