With the South Whidbey baseball team down 3-0 in the first inning during Saturday’s premiere game of the season on the home field, there was still hope.
Even when they had the bases loaded and couldn’t scratch out a single RBI, it seemed the Falcons could pull it out.
Coach Dave Guetlin urged his players to put the score behind them and stay focused after an especially disastrous display of egregious infield errors.
Down 5-0 as the second inning ended, there was still a chance the Falcons could overtake, then overcome the Ingraham Rams.
Unfortunately, things went rapidly downhill from there and the boys were throttled, big time, 17-0.
Last year, a district championship was certainly within South Whidbey’s reach — they came in second only to Granite Falls and this year, almost the whole squad is back.
So how can a seasoned team get so varnished?
“We’re certainly better than that,” Guetlin said later.
“Sometimes you get a stinker game. I’d rather have it now than at the end of the season. Even the new jerseys we gave out didn’t help much,” he said.
The players had no reasons and no excuses for the debacle.
“I just can’t explain it; it was a rough game, maybe a wake-up call for all of us,” Falcon pitcher Lakota Holder said. “The Rams were good, yeah, but we made a lot of errors.”
Holder added that he believes the team is solid and there are no fundamental concerns.
“Maybe it was first-game jitters, I don’t know. The coach told us after the game to flush the game down the drain and look ahead,” Holder said. “We’ll bounce back from it.”
Catcher Danny Parra was brutally honest. “We couldn’t make a play to save our lives,” he said. “People got psyched out or something but we need to focus on what we know we can do; there’s lots of games left.”
So, what do you talk about before the next game?
Coach Guetlin plans to stress the differences between winners and losers and the nature of character traits in the sport.
“You can’t play from fear,” he said. “If you make a mistake and let the fear take over, you’ll never win.”
The coach pointed out baseball is a game of failure. Even the best batters in the game fail in nearly 70 percent of their chances, and usually only get four cracks at it each outing — one of the reasons why a hit in baseball is much more easily viewed as an accomplishment than, say, a 15-foot jump shot. A home-run leader in the majors hits just one every 11.6 times he comes to bat.
Seven out of every 10 times at bat, baseball players don’t connect.
“How you react to failure determines success in baseball and in life,” Guetlin said. “And that’s what we’ll be talking about.”
Following two road trips to Sedro-Woolley and Sultan, the Falcons welcome the Turks to Falcon Field at 4 p.m. on March 21.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.