By Jeffery Armstrong
The 14-year-old Morrow-Lake City Astros have been doing well in the state American Amateur Baseball Congress baseball playoffs, held at Morrow-Lake City Park.
How well? As of Friday night's game with the Old National Reds, the Astros were 3-0 for the tournament, the last of the unbeaten teams.
In the three AABC tourney games, the Astros have allowed 0.68 runs per game while scoring seven runs per game themselves.
"It's been basically pitching and defense that's kept us undefeated through these playoffs," said Astros' head coach Robert Jaracz. "We've started gelling at the right time."
Jaracz, whose team is 57-22-12 overall, said that wasn't the case earlier in the season. He said a lot of the players wanted to do things their way and they lost games in the beginning.
"The guys weren't playing together at all. They were trying to swing for the fences and all that stuff," said Jaracz. "After the coaches got on them, they started making contact, hitting and running and playing team ball. Once they bought into the team concept, we took off."
The Astros have been blazing since they started playing team baseball. They have gone 20-1 in their last 21 games and look to go even further in AABC action.
Jaracz said the pitchers have been the main cogs to the team's success all year, dominating opposing hitters with various pitches and pinpoint location.
"We're not the type of team that just throws fastballs down the middle," said Jaracz.
"We've played against high school competition in most of our games and you can't throw just one pitch. You've got to mix things up."
The pitchers also do a great job at the plate. Robert Jaracz, the coach's son, bats at a .570 clip, Craig Walters is doing well and Kelvin Clark leads all the pitchers with a .650 average.
Second baseman Joel Bustamante leads the non-pitchers with a .600 average.
Jaracz also praised the skills of catcher Jesse Wierzbicki, saying he's done a great job calling games and playing defense.
"Jesse blocks the ball really well and has a strong arm," said Jaracz. "He's done an excellent job holding runners and he's thrown out a lot of them as well."
Jaracz said his team isn't the "rah-rah" type; they're basically low-key guys that get the job done.
Jaracz said the team is "silent but deadly."
"If we win tonight, that means we've made the nationals," he said.
"We might show a little more emotion than we normally do if that happens."