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Baseball: Gervais looking for offense after starting the season 0-6

It’s been a rough, albiet familiar first week of action for the Gervais baseball team.

The Cougars opened the 2014 season with a heavy slate of games away from Gervais High School, and thus far the team has yet to pick up an elusive first win.

“We have nine games in the next nine days and all of them are on the road,” said head coach Lindsay McCargar.

Gervais went 0-for-6 to open the season after suffereing a 12-2 loss Taft and a 9-1 defeat to Toledo over the weekend at the Taft Spring Break Classic.

While the Cougars have been competitive in several games, their early-season woes can be traced back to a lack of offensive production. Through six games, the team has scored just nine runs compared to 46 given up.

The winless start mirrors Gervais’ opening to the 2013 season, in which the team didn’t pick up their first win until the ninth game of the season. Last year’s team eventually bottomed out at 1-10 before rallying to advance to the 3A state playoffs for the second consecutive year.

McCargar would like to avoid a similar start, but the Cougars need time to work in their new athletes and help them find a place among the returning veterans.

“I hope it’s not directly similar to last year where we started 1-10,” he said. “ But we’re going to have some ups and downs.”

The team has several capable holdovers from last season’s playoff run. Senior Adam Jaramillo is a stable presence on first base and adds a powerful bat in the middle of the lineup.

Juniors Dakota Sandoval at third base and Nikita Kalugin as the primary option on the pitcher’s mound further solidify the team’s infield.

“We’ve got a good group of core guys coming back, and we’ve got some exciting young bright kids who are going to contribute to our program immensely,” said McCargar.

Those young players are the biggest wildcard this early in the season. While the veteran players have spent several years finding their place on the team, the new athletes take time to find their comfort level and figure out where they can best contribute to the team

“That’s kind of how it works out in the first couple of weeks of practice,” said McCargar. “You’re trying to work out what guys, athletically, can contribute in different areas.”

As such, the team’s identity in the middle of the season could be completely different from how the team opens the year.

“There’s going to be a lot of moving around, and there are going to be a lot of guys that are going to have to figure out where we’re best going to be able to put them on the field and help our team,” said McCargar.

Fortunately, the team still has several weeks before opening their league schedule April 4 against the Colton Vikings.

Compounding the difficulties is the fact that Gervais has yet to find a field in which to play home games. Summer construction displaced both the baseball and softball teams at Gervais High School, and neither field was ready to play at the beginning of the season.

Both the softball and baseball team were scheduled to play their home games at Chemawa High School in Salem, but Gervais School District was notified four days before the season-opener that Chemawa could no longer host the Cougars.

That left Gervais administrators working overtime to find a new “home field” before the start of the league schedule, but McCargar vowed that issue wouldn’t have any bearing on the team.

“We’re just on the road,” he said. “We have the same focus. We’re not going to let those things detract from our goals.”

The Cougars continue the season this week with a trip to Santiam that was scheduled for Tuesday.



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