July 4, 2012
The Street Kids/Mojo softball team are in a slump.
After showing some signs of life a week and a half ago in the GSL King of the Hill event in Oberlin, Ohio, the Street Kids team returned to Topeka, Indiana for the annual July 4th festival event, an event they won last year. But since the Kids last tournament win on June 2 in Kokomo, they have gone a disappointing 8-6 in tournament play, including 2-2 in Topeka on July 4th.
The Kids opened the tourney on Tuesday night against a local team, Jamar Slabach. The Kids came out strong and made this one go quickly, winning 17-2. Terry Patesel, Jay Jeffery, Leland Schmucker and Faron Miller all had three hits in the win.
An hour later, the Kids played a very good RC Recycling team from Topeka. While they are a NSA "D" team, RC might be one of the best "D" teams in the state, as they have rolled off several wins this season in all three classifications. This one was close until the fifth and sixth inning when SKS started to wake the bats up. The would get enough to win it by the mercy rule late, 16-6. Jay Jeffery, Scott Martin, Leland Schmucker and Fred Schmucker all had three hits in the win.
After advancing to the third round of the tournament, the Kids came back on Wednesday and played Cedar Creek, a team that beat the Kids in Indianapolis during the NSA NIT earlier in June. On Wednesday, Cedar jumped out to an early 9-0 lead, but the Kids battled back and eventually took the lead heading into the sixth inning. But Cedar came up with a few big hits and took a one run lead into the top of the seventh. Street Kids needed one run to tie, with a home run left to hit, but they went quietly in order and they fell to Cedar again, 15-14.
After the tough loss, the Kids came back to play a tough team from Pennsylvania called Fishers, who lost to Region Softball earlier in the day, but battled back through the losers bracket with some big wins. Street Kids never got their offense rolling in this one, and Fishers took advantage basically with one big inning in the fourth when they scored 11 runs and they would hold off SKS, 19-9. The Kids finished the tournament a disappointing 2-2. Manager JR Shapiro said the mistakes combined with poor hitting lead to the early exit.
"Its no secret we are not playing well," the long time SKS coach said. "But we cant give teams extra chances. When we fail to make plays that we normally do, that gives good teams second chances. As far as hitting, its just one of those little slumps we are in. But we will get through it. We have about about 10 days to get ready for the Kiracofe, where we MUST play better in order to get deep in that one.
With a struggling .587 team average, the Kids did not have many stars on the day, however, Jay Jeffery and Leland Schmucker both had 10 hits each in the four games. But when you are struggling like the Kids are right now, personal stats mean nothing.
"I really don't care how well any one player did because we lost as a team," said TJ Jorgensen. "We had a few guys stand out, but just like if one guy stands out for playing poorly, it doesn't matter. We won earlier this year as a team, and we will suffer together in these losses as a team. Because the team is the only thing that will get us through this."
Street Kids (47-13 in tournaments; 68-16 overall) will be off until next Wednesday when they return to league action in Elkhart.