It’s too early in the season to start talking about postseason seeding and league championships, but a pair of Madison County teams are playing at a high level and those conversations will likely start sooner rather than later.
The Jonathan Alder baseball team is off to a stellar 12-1 record, while the West Jefferson softball team is 10-1. Both teams are at roughly the halfway point in the season and both coaches hope neither is at its peak anytime soon.
“Things are going pretty good but we’re still trying to find ourselves,” Alder coach Craig Kyle said. “We’ve played a lot of close games, and our guys are finding ways to win.
“The foundation of our program is to go out and compete. Our guys have handled adversity well. That have that mindset that they’re going to go out there every game and compete. They’re going to find ways to win games.”
That couldn’t have been more true than in the team’s 6-5 eight inning win over DeSales Monday. The Pioneers trailed 4-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. They managed to plate three runs in the seventh, gave up the lead in the top of the eighth, but clawed back with a 2-out rally in the last of the eight for their 12th win in 13 contests.
“The thing about this group of guys is that they don’t get too high or too low,” the coach said. “If a team scores, we’ve got to answer. It’s that simple. We put our guys in competitive situations all the time in practice and it’s paying off.”
Alder has gotten to the point with a complete team effort. The pitching staff has been solid, with starters and relievers each doing their job. The team is getting timely hitting from a number of players but the coach doesn’t think his team has played its best ball yet.
“We’ve got some good wins against some good teams,” Kyle said. “Our hitting is coming along and our pitchers are giving us a chance. At this point I’ve got a pretty good idea who we are, we’ve got a lot of competitive kids who haven’t peaked yet. I still see growth happening.”
Alder was scheduled to play at River Valley Wednesday before playing host to another Division II Central District powerhouse Lakewood Saturday, starting at 1 p.m.
“We’ve got to continue to take it one game at a time,” Kyle said. “We schedule good teams to get us ready for the tournament. If you want to be good you’ve got to play the best that’s why we’re playing Licking Valley, DeSales, Lakewood and later on Watterson.
The West Jeff softball team had no problem picking up a 9-2 win Tuesday at Dublin Jerome.
The Roughriders (10-1) trailed 2-0 after three innings before finally putting things together at the plate in the fourth, scoring five runs. The team cruised from that point as Isabelle Fisher earned the win inside the circle.
It was the first game since West Jeff dropped a decision at the hands of Jonathan Alder.
“We’re an extremely young ball club,” Roughriders coach Jim Stevens said. “We’re going to be fine, the girls are playing darn good ball right now, (the loss to Alder) was just a bump in the road.
“I like the direction this team is moving in. We’re going to get better and better.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter@MadPressSports.