Oxford’s Baughman pleased with ’14 season overall
Oxford baseball coach Chris Baughman has a lot of positive memories of the 2014 season. Less than a week after his Chargers were eliminated from the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs, Baughman was upbeat about what his team accomplished.
“If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that we would have been 26-10 and playing in the 5A North Half title series, I would have probably taken it,” Baughman said. “Obviously, getting a little greedy at the end, I still feel like we’re the second best team in the state. With all due respect to the teams down south, I feel like if we play New Hope 10 times, we win four times out of 10.”
The Chargers failed to garner a win over New Hope in the 5A North Half finale, in large part to poor defense where they committed nine errors in just two games.
“In the back of my mind, I felt like if there was one place that was going to fail us this year it was going to be on defense and unfortunately, those last two games, we didn’t play well defensively. We gave up one earned run in Game 1 and Game 2. On the flip side of that, somebody beat us by playing great defense,” Baughman said. “They made great plays defensively the night they were here. (Will) Golsan’s play in the six hole to save a run, (Parker) Earhart’s play in the outfield on Jason (Barber’s) screamer with the man on second and third, that was huge, and then Davis’ (Wells) play down the first base line on Hunter (Roth’s) ball. I see those plays just about every minute of every day since last Friday night. You got to tip your hat to them, they made those plays and we just never could, defensively, get to making those type of plays consistently.”
The two areas that Baughman was most pleased with throughout the season were pitching and hitting, with a slight edge going to the pitching staff.
“It didn’t matter who it was. I know Jason and Houston (Roth) get the most exposure, but you look at Drew (Phillips) and the way he pitched. He had 0.84 ERA and he gave us three great outings. He beat Water Valley. He gave up one earned run to North Pontotoc that went deep into the playoffs and he threw well against Houston,” Baughman said. “Then Hunter comes in, and he hasn’t helped the entire team arm-wise, and he comes in and pitches like he had all year. He threw decently against Center Hill and had nothing in his arm and then came back and pitched well against Lewisburg, and then pitched really well against New Hope.”
The job Brooks Krouse did stepping up for Matthew Guyton on offense was another key for Baughman.
“Where we came from last year offensively, I’m extremely proud of, too. Everyone sees Jack and everyone sees Hunter’s stats but the job that Brooks Krouse did this year and the production we got out of him was tremendous. Had he not had the year he had stepping in for Matthew, we wouldn’t have gone near as far as we did,” Baughman said. “Michael (Bianco) stepping up in the leadoff, I know he hit .330 something, which is the highest he had ever hit. Then his on-base percentage, which I want to say was near .500. He and Chadwick stealing bases, those two pretty much had the green light whenever they wanted to. And Joey (Walden) coming in after not playing baseball since his eighth-grade year, he scored some big runs for us.
“I’m really proud of how we were on the mound, but I’m really proud of where we came from offensively and how much we improved offensively,” he continued. “It’s easy to sit here and point out all of the negatives in a few games we didn’t get runners in. The majority of our losses we didn’t get runners in, but we gave ourselves that opportunity this year where last year we didn’t in those losses.”
Summer baseball will start this coming Tuesday, with a doubleheader against Lafayette, and Baughman’s goal was to see what his entire roster could offer.
“This summer is going to be unique for us in that I’ve got a lot of my guys that I feel we’re going to be counting on next spring being on Dulin(s Dodgers) and other travel teams. We’ve got a couple of guys that are moving in that are going to help us and we’re anxious to see how they’ll fit in the mix,” Baughman said. “I want to get some of those kids that haven’t played in the last month in the playoffs some experience and some time on the field to see where they might possibly fit in and the roles they can fill.”