Spuds head coach Blake Springer looked to carry hot bats over to weekend tournament

by CASEY MCCARTHY
Staff Writer | July 7, 2020 11:38 PM

MOSES LAKE — One game into a unique season, the Spuds and first-year head coach Blake Springer look to build off a closely contested 15-13 loss last Tuesday to Post Falls.

Springer said they’ve really just been working on the basics in their limited practice time this summer.

“You guys know how to play baseball,” he said. “The ball’s gonna get rolled out, and you’re gonna go play.”

Springer said it was great getting back out on the baseball field for the first time in while. Overall, he said he saw a lot of relief and joy from his players to be back where they want to be.

“There were a lot of smiles, even with the outcome we had,” he said. “I think they were just thankful for being on the baseball field because I know I was.”

The thing that impressed him most about his team’s result on the road last week was their performance at the plate, Springer said, despite not having seen live pitching for a while.

“They might have seen live pitching in the spring in scrimmages in high school practice, but the plate approaches were very good,” he said. “Even into the ninth inning when we lost the lead and were down two, one thing I was worried about was our plate approaches would be out the window. But the kids worked hard.”

After seven strong innings, Springer said, the pitching fell apart a bit for them as the Spuds pitchers struggled to find strikes. Paired with a number of errors in the field, he said, they gave up too many extra chances.

“That continues an inning,” Springer said. “And now, rather than giving them three outs an inning, you’re giving them six outs. That just doesn’t help in any way possible.”

Springer said he doesn’t put too much stress on the errors or struggles from last week in what is the first game for many of these kids since last summer. He said they’ve put in work on a lot of those troublesome areas in practice as they get set for the Northwest Blazer tournament this weekend.

With tournament play beginning on Thursday, Springer said they’ll look to carry over the hot bats they had in their opener.

“I think they’ll learn from their mistakes, and, as long as we can keep the approaches the same all weekend as we did on Tuesday, I think we’ll be just fine during this weekend’s tournament,” he said. Springer said he doesn’t place a lot of weight on wins and losses in what should have been a lost summer for baseball. He said as long as his players are learning and improving down the stretch, the season will have been a success.

Springer said he never expected to be in a Spuds jersey this summer, or any time too soon, really.

“I really didn’t expect to be in a Spuds jersey for the near future, that was for when I come back three or four years later,” he said. “But, I’ll take it. It’s fun. Being able to coach baseball is exciting in itself.”

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald The Spuds summer baseball team warms up before the next inning of a practice game on Monday at Larson Playfield in Moses Lake.

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The Central Washington Spuds hold a team scrimmage in practice at Larson Playfield in Moses Lake as they gear up for their second game of the summer later this week.