Eagles 5th in home tourney
Purdy baseball rising to the occasion this season
The Purdy baseball team is finding its legs in the dirt this season, starting out with three losses but winning its last two straight to take fifth place in its home tournament.
Joshua Hughes, Purdy baseball coach, said the team has been shining offensively.
“We are doing a great job executing when we need to on offense and moving guys over,” he said. “Getting on base is big in high school ball, and we are doing that.”
In its five contests, Purdy has managed 47 runs and 48 hits, averaging more than 9 each per game.
“Offensively, that is a big strength for us,” Hughes said. “We’re scoring 8-10 runs per game, but we’re also giving some up. Usually, our pitching and defense is ahead this time of year, but if our offense can keep this up, we will win some games.”
Hughes said the runs allowed are partly due to the team not being able to work much outside.
“In the last two weeks [as of Monday], when we have had nice days, we’ve played, and when it has rained, we’ve been inside,” he said. “We haven’t had a true outdoor practice in two weeks’ time, so we are looking forward to getting in some good ones this week.”
Purdy is also hoping for some good news this week concerning one of its senior leaders, pitcher and shortstop Andres Aldaba.
“He was playing shortstop and went down with an injury, and it may be a season ender,” Hughes said. “We are hoping and praying it’s not as serious as it could be. But, since then, he has been in the dugout and is a great leader for us there. We hope to get him back on the mound.”
Four other seniors lead the Eagles this season — Osiel Aldava, Clay Henderson, Jake Brown and Zack Brewer.
“Osiel leads us with 7 hits in 5 games and is doing everything we ask of him,” Hughes said. “He is also second in RBI and leads in runs scored, and he has a win on the mound. He’s one of our guys that hasn’t pitched a lot but we will need with Andy down.
“Clay is in the three-hole for us and plays second base very well. He has pitched a bit and is stepping up on the mound. We look for him to be a leader and help us defensively up the middle.”
Hughes said Brown is the lead-off hitter and is doing well finding ways to get on for his team.
“He’s doing a good job getting on base and producing for us,” Hughes said. “He is our only senior that has played every game since he was a freshman. He [started] on the mound Tuesday against Marionville.
“Zack has just come out for us this year, and he is learning fast and making progress. He’s had some opportunities to run the bases and get a little time in the outfield. His baseball IQ is really picking up.”
Hughes said he also wanted to mention sophomores Ezequiel Garcia and Alexis Aldaba, each of whom is stepping up this season.
“Ezequiel is taking on that shortstop pitcher role left by Andy, and he is doing a good job with it,” Hughes said. “He is learning and getting better every night, and we are hoping he keeps taking that sophomore leap in crucial situations.
“Alexis, Andy’s younger brother, pitched against Billings and is giving us a lot with his brother down. He set the tone in that game and will have some big innings on the mound for us this season.”
Looking forward, Hughes said Purdy has the same goals this year as every year — win the conference and district titles.
“It takes a lot for us to win those, but we don’t set unachievable goals,” he said. “If we can win, that gives us a good shot at the Final Four and at state. We feel our schedule will prep us for that point in the season and win games that matter when it comes down to it.”
So far this season, Purdy dropped a doubleheader on March 20 against Clever and Monett, 7-3 and 9-8, respectively. In their eight-team home tournament, the Eagles fell to El Dorado Springs 12-10, then defeated Pierce City 13-3 and Billings 13-3 to take fifth.
Hartville beat El Dorado Springs to win the Purdy Tournament.
The Eagles played Marionville on Tuesday, with results not available as of press time. They return to action Thursday, hosting Billings at 5 p.m.