LAUREL – While the feeling of having baseball was exciting, the sight of rusty players was expected.
However, for founder and coach of the league, Colton Caver, opening day for the Deep South Collegiate League was a success.
“It was a great opening day for everybody,” Caver said. “We had about 500 fans come through the gate for opening day. I saw the players enjoying their at-bats and everybody got their innings in, so it was a pretty good day.”
However, after scoring two games in the early morning, Caver switched hats into coaching his team against Team Crim and came away with a 4-0 win. Pitching proved to be the difference as Team Caver’s arms seemed better settled to start the summer season.
The notable difference in the game was allowed walks as Team Crim gave up six while Team Caver recorded seven strikeouts in the eighth inning game and notably only gave up two walks which were back-to-back hit batters in the sixth inning with two outs.
Despite only totaling five hits, Team Caver cashed in on its few and after scoring a run in the second inning from a fielder’s choice, Tristan Tigrett (Hinds CC) delivered a two-run RBI single to extend Team Caver’s lead 3-0.
Team Caver then capitalized off an error in the sixth inning and stole home on a passed ball to secure its lead and win.
Despite the loss, Team Crim outhit Team Caver 7-5, but Team Crim’s pitching staff hit and walked a total of six batters.
According to Reed Trimble (Southern Miss), who went 0-for-3 for Team Crim, the biggest challenge was facing a different pitcher every inning.
“You can’t really get in a groove,” Trimble said. “You see the same guy two or three times then by the second or third at-bat you know what he’s got and I know what my approach would be. But instead you have to change your approach with each pitcher.”
However, for Caver, ensuring that pitching arms remain healthy and equal was his main concern for both teams but stressed the success from opening day.
“The biggest thing right now is that the arms are fresh,” Caver said. “The velocity is going to be there. Everybody is expected to throw at least three innings a week and everybody is on pace right now.
“I thought it was a great day for baseball especially since everybody has been off for the last three months. There is a lot of competing going on. Everybody played really hard.”