XENIA — Spring has yet to be felt in the area and the poor weather conditions aren’t allowing any rhythm to be developed on the field.
Its effects were on display Tuesday during Xenia’s home loss to unbeaten Greenville at home. Multiple errors in the field negated good hitting and allowed a state ranked league foe to pull away 15-4.
Multiple games have needed to be moved or canceled due to many rainfalls seen locally. And even when Xenia has been able to get on the diamond, they’ve been greeted by cold and wind, causing sweatshirts and jackets to be commonly scene while on the field.
“We have just had to get used to the cold and [Tuesday] even whether it was raining or freezing cold or we had puddles on the field, the girls were texting me all day long in our group, ‘We want to play coach, we’re playing, we’re playing,’” head coach John Miner said. “Their love of the game and their passion kind of keeps me smiling when it’s cold.”
Miner surely appreciates the resiliency his team displays both off and on the field. He said his players were providing updates throughout the day on field conditions and giving prep on what work would be needed to make sure it was playable prior to the game.
And when it got started, that same sort of whippiness was used again in a tough situation against a powerful opponent.
The four runs scored by Xenia were the second most allowed by Greenville during its 12-0 start to the season. But neither of the two highest scoring teams in the MVL had plated a run through the first three innings on Tuesday.
Greenville took advantage of an error to grab hold of a 3-0 lead, but Xenia bats fired back to score two of its own.
Another error in the fifth ended up leading to a grand slam and a six-run frame. But once again Xenia didn’t waver and immediately got two more back to keep the game within striking distance.
Additional errors in the late innings eventually lead to Greenville pulling away. It’s part of the process of getting back on the field regularly as the weather allows.
“When things went bad for us today, they really went bad and you know, now we just gotta hit the reset button and start over and practice tomorrow,” Miner said.
Despite not getting on the field as much as it wants, Xenia still showed off the prowess it possesses by putting a scare into one of the state’s top teams. Greenville came into the game ranked No. 5 in all of Division II.
Xenia fell out of first place in the Valley Division by a half game with the defeat, the first time it has dropped out since the opening win. Despite that, Miner said he is proud of the talent the Bucs have developed and is excited to see leadership continue to boost the underclassmen’s progress.
“This team has something that some of the teams I’ve coached in the past don’t have,” he said. “We definitely had the bats and we are capable of scoring on anybody and hanging with them. We just got to balance offense and defense.”
Xenia will have more chances to do so soon as the area looks to get clear of winter and bring on spring. Miner noted the best practice he can provide to keep the team sharp involves getting games in rather than practice that has been relied on.
With less than three weeks already left in the regular season, the Lady Bucs will be hoping to warm up its play as temperatures rise around them. After a game at Sidney on Thursday, it will get another chance to play at Greenville on Friday.
“We’ll go back to the drawing board and clean things up and do the changes we need to do to compete on Friday against them and have a shot at them again,” Miner said.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.