Though the West Florida Jaguars surged out to a 4-0 start this season, the Jags’ will now seek to avoid consecutive losses when they play at Tate on Thursday night.
After falling to Navarre on Tuesday night, Jaguars coach Marc Conti knows it won’t be easy to snap their losing streak against the Aggies.
“Anytime you play Tate, it’s gonna be a close game,” Conti said. “It’s gonna come down to who executes at the proper time. Making one mistake at the wrong time could cost us the game. Tate is a well-coached team. Tate never puts a bad team on the field.”
Before the Jaguars lost, West Florida had outscored its opponents 22-9 through the opening stretch of the season.
While Conti said there was room for improvement with fielding and hitting, he also noted strengths his team carries.
“Our pitching has been really great,” Conti said. “That’s really been the highlight for us so far. Our hitting has been so-so, but I think our fielding has been bad lately. Luckily, good pitching will take you a long way.”
Accounting for two-of-four wins for West Florida, senior Mikey Jones (10 innings pitched, 17 strikeouts, 0.70 ERA) has helped set the tone for the Jaguars’ bullpen.
But if any team in the area will anticipate a challenge Thursday, it will be the Tate Aggies (1-0), who have had three games postponed because of weather this season.
But in the win over Washington, Tate coach Greg Blackmon was pleased with what he saw.
“From last year, I see a great improvement offensively and defensively,” Blackmon said. “We used three guys on the mound (against Washington) and they were all effective.”
Though he didn’t reveal who would be starting pitcher, Blackmon expects his bullpen to be tested against West Florida.
“West Florida is gonna play hard and they are going to play with emotion,” Blackmon said. “(Coach Conti) does a great job of preparing those kids to play. Tate is a close school to us, so it’s a rivalry. A lot of our kids grew up playing baseball with their kids. It should be a good game in front of a good crowd.”
Want to go?
• Who: West Florida Jaguars vs. Tate Aggies.
• When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
• Where: Tate High School.
• Records: West Florida (4-1), Tate (1-0).