LEWISBURG – The Franklin Monroe Jets struggled on Wednesday to get on track against the Tri-County North Panthers.
With the cold spring, all teams are making up games now before the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament starts next week. Franklin Monroe has a thin roster and pitchers and position players are getting worn out.
On Wednesday Franklin Monroe could only muster a single run and allowed 11 in the loss.
In the first two innings the teams played even with the Panthers barely edging the Jets 1-0. But they scored three in the next two innings to build a decisive lead.
Franklin Monroe coach Eddie Meyers moved starting pitcher Noah Koffer in the inning and brought in a relief pitcher Brenden Hosler. But the change only temporarily slowed the Panther bats as they would score in the latter innings and bring the game to an end.
The Jets avoided a shut out in the fourth inning. Bryce Filbrun reached base with a single. Koffer recorded a base hit to get the lone Jet run across the plate and avoid a shutdown. The Jets only had three base hits on the night with Levi Altic also getting a hit in that same inning.
Defensively, Franklin Monroe had some mental lapses – allowing an infield pop up to hit the ground untouched and giving up some fielding errors that the Panthers were able to take advantage of.
The Jets will end league play with a game against Covington. They have a winning record in the league and a winning overall record, which earned them a first-round bye in the OHSAA tournament.
The fourth seeded Jets won’t have to play the winner of Middletown Christian and Emmanuel Christian until Wednesday. So the weary team will get a chance to rest and regroup before starting their tournament run.
“We just didn’t have it today,” Meyers said. “I think that mentally we were not focused nor prepared for today’s game. North is a good team and is well coached. I have known Coach (Justin) Tucker for several years and you have to come to North ready to play. I give him all the props in the world; they are a good team. We did not swing very well at the plate – we also didn’t play defense.
“I think we were just checked out today. We only have 13 players in the program. So when you get to the second half of the season, arms are starting to get wore out. Bodies are broken down and tired. We don’t have much depth, so we have to grind it out.
“We are 9-8, so we want to stay above .500. We next have to play Covington. They have a new coach this year and some new players. We know that they are still a very good team. They will be tough and competitive like they always are. If we don’t play up to the level that we are capable of then we can be beaten at any time. We need to come out strong and get another ‘W.’”