SOUTH WEBSTER — The South Webster Jeeps baseball team started the season 2-7. Whether you are Head Coach Ryan McClintic, one of his players, or a fan of the Jeeps in general, a rough start to the season can be discouraging to say the least.
With a team made up largely of a talented junior class that has been playing multiple sports together since grade school, expectations have never been higher for the Jeeps. Coach McClintic and his players were not satisfied with their poor start and decided to ramp up their intensity.
The hard work has paid off. Since then, the Jeeps have won nine of their last eleven games and are on a four game winning streak.
“We had a tough stretch of games to start the season,” admitted McClintic. “Every night in our league is a challenge. Early on, we couldn’t seem to come up with the key plays needed to win some close ballgames. We’ve made no excuses and continued to work on getting better each day. The guys are playing with more focus and intensity out there, and we just have to keep pushing forward and refuse to be satisfied with where we are at.”
At 11-9 (5-4 in conference play), the Jeeps are smaller than any other program in the SOC II. Adding to that was the gauntlet of their early schedule. With the new block scheduling in effect, the Jeeps faced both Wheelersburg and Minford very early in the season which resulted in their four conference losses.
During their four game winning streak, however, the Jeeps have played solid baseball. They have averaged 10 runs a game and given up only two runs per contest, while pitching two shutouts including a no hitter by pitcher Nate Hadinger.
“I couldn’t be any happier for Nate after his performance,” said McClintic. “He walked the lead off batter to start the game, and that’s something that would’ve bothered him in previous years. He showed great poise and moxie throughout the entire game and you could just see his confidence growing on the mound. He got stronger as the game went on, making big pitch after big pitch. It’s been great to watch him grow as a baseball player over the last few years.”
The Jeeps have also been solid defensively, committing only 1.5 errors per game behind their terrific pitching. If you add the 14 hits they’ve been getting at the plate, you get a recipe for success in South Webster.
With only a few weeks left of the season, the Jeeps look to keep their momentum alive the rest of the season. With Valley and Waverly remaining in SOC II play, they still have real chance to shake up the conference heading into playoff time.