The expectations within the Bandon baseball program were sky high entering the season.
Bandon knocked off the one-loss and No. 1 Reedsport Brave in the quarterfinals of last year’s playoffs, but the 2019 season didn’t start ideally. Expected roster members didn’t come out. Key injuries set back the progress of young players, leading to some tough-luck losses and more than a little frustration.
But perhaps things are starting to come together a little. Perhaps Bandon’s 10-4 loss to St. Paul last week when Bandon was one out away from victory before the Buckaroos exploded for seven runs was the wake-up call the Tigers needed. Since then, Bandon played a good Toledo team to a 2-1 defeat, then hammered Gold beach 14-1 on Tuesday.
“We need two good practices to get to Friday,” Bandon coach Jay Ferrell said.
Ferrell isn’t satisfied with a couple wins here and a couple wins there. He believes, even with the unexpected roster tumult, that Bandon can compete with Reedsport and Toledo for one of the three playoff spots available to the Sunset Conference (Class 2A/1A Special District 5).
But there are only two with at least three teams vying for them.
It puts extra onus to win those league games, something Ferrell is quite aware of.
“We gotta get a little fire in us,” Ferrell said. “I know we have a lot of young kids on the squad, but they still need to step up and grow up a little bit. You gotta attack the ball. You gotta attack every situation in this game.”
But Bandon is dealing with potential, something tricky and fickle; something which must be assertively grabbed and held onto, not imagined or trusted or taken for granted.
And so Bandon must do something even trickier than just fulfilling potential: building while also meeting expectations; getting better while also playing well.
Those two things seem at odds, but it’s certainly doable.
Braydon Freitag finally got going offensively Tuesday night with two hits. Coby Smith, Josh Minkler and Chris Butler all had two RBI, and Jason Wilhite had three. Freitag and Smith both doubled.
Are things coming along for Bandon? Perhaps. But one win a season doesn’t make.
And with no time to spare. Bandon has a hugely important game at Reedsport on Friday.
“We’re behind the eight-ball,” Ferrell said. “We have a little mountain to climb. We’re gonna try to make some magic happen on Friday.”
First pitch in Reedsport is set for 4:30 p.m.
Bandon also hosts Siletz Valley on Tuesday.