Eagles finding stride
Purdy baseball rips off 8 wins in a row
An 0-3 start for the Purdy baseball team may have seemed dire, but the Eagles are finding their wings this season, ripping off eight wins in a row — and many big ones.
After losses to Clever, Monett and El Dorado Springs, by a combined 7 runs, Purdy has outscored its opponents 89-17 and shut out two.
Last week, the Eagles mercy ruled three opponents: College Heights, 16-0; Southwest, 11-1; and Sparta, 16-1.
Against College Heights, Purdy put up 3, 6 and 7 runs in only three frames of work, racking up 16 hits along the way. Travis Hughes led the Eagles at the plate, earning 3 hits, a home run and two doubles, and tallying 5 RBI. Osiel Aldava went two innings on the mound, striking out 3, and Clay Henderson came on in relief, going the final inning and striking out 1.
In the Southwest win, the Eagles plated 6 runs in the opening inning. Osiel Aldava led in hits with 3, and Zach Henderson, Ezequiel Garcia, Jake Brown and Clay Henderson all added 2 each. Travis Hughes, Zach Henderson, Alexis Aldaba and Josh Brown all had 2 RBI each. One of Garcia’s hits was a homer. On the mound, Garcia pitched a full five innings, striking out four while allowing 3 hits and 1 earned run.
On Thursday, a 10-run second inning propelled the Eagles to the win.
Garcia, Jake Brown and Clay Henderson had 3 hits apiece, and Henderson totaled 5 RBI on the day. Jake Brown pitched 2 innings and Hunter Lee threw one, both earning 2 strikeouts each.
Purdy wrapped up the week on Friday with a 6-5 victory over Miller, fighting back from a 5-0 first-inning hole. The Eagles plated 3 runs in the seventh to take the lead and hold on for the win. Josh Brown and Jake Brown led with 2 hits apiece, and Jake Brown earned the only RBI on the day for Purdy. He also earned the save, pitching the final inning and striking out all three batters he faced. Alexis Aldaba earned the win, going six innings and allowing 3 hits and 2 earned runs, striking out 3.
Joshua Hughes, Purdy baseball coach, said the offensive explosion in the last eight games is a credit to the team’s work in the hitting department.
“Assistant Coach Derek Mann has done a great job working with our hitters,” Hughes said. “We also had the opportunity to work on our hitting a lot, especially in the beginning of the season when it was raining. We hit a lot inside and have implemented hitting time into our practice plan. We’ve really preached hitting the ball where it’s pitched, and we’ve been hitting the ball all over the field.
“Our soft hits have also been falling right for us. We have taken advantage of that and done a good job hitting where we want to”
Hughes said situational hitting has also been a key.
“Our bunts and running hits, and our sac flies when we have someone on third, have been good,” Hughes said. “Any time we’ve had a chance to score, we’ve been doing the right things to do it.”
Hughes said on the other side of the plate, the team’s season stats tell the story about its defensive play.
“The first few games, we were having trouble throwing strikes and making errors,” he said. “In those three games we lost, we had 13 errors and 23 walks. In the seven games since then, we’ve had 9 errors and 13 walks. So, you can see that correlation between winning and losing when we are making plays and throwing strikes.”
Purdy is also in strong shape conference-wise, sitting at 3-0 with wins over Billings, Southwest and Sparta.
“We have a big one Tuesday against Crane,” Hughes said last week. “They are legit with their seven seniors, and it will be a tough battle. Whoever wins that game will be in the driver’s seat with a good chance to win the conference.”
Purdy traveled to Crane on Tuesday, with results not available at presstime. The Eagles return to action on Monday, hosting Mt. Vernon with a 5 p.m. first pitch.