Friday, April 2, 2010

Ranch baseball team growing up

Oh those inconsistencies of youth; it’s enough to drive a coach crazy.

No one knows that better than Lakewood Ranch head baseball coach Mike Mullen. With eight sophomores and a freshman among his top players, the Mustangs head man feels like he has been on a roller coaster ride this season.

After their historic 25-24 win in the Sarasota Baseball Classic on Wednesday, the Mustangs came back down to earth Friday losing 8-4 to finish the tournament at 2-2.

Though they couldn’t sustain the moment of that win, the Mustangs showed some grit and Mullen saw some good things in his team, which is important with two big district games coming up next week.

“I’ve learned we have a long way to go, but found our team is a lot more resilient than I thought,” Mullen said. “We are so young and are dealing with a lot of kids who are prematurely playing varsity baseball. In a lot of ways, they are physically and mentally not yet ready. They showed their youth in this tournament, but we improved and are getting better.”

Mullen was most pleased that his team cut down on its strikeouts. The Mustangs fanned 15 times in their four tournament games, which was a huge improvement.

Some of the kids are starting to show signs of improvement and becoming more consistent with the bat. The Mustangs also found a bonafide ace in lefty Dylan Horn, who showed he could pitch effectively against some of the best teams in the state.

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