BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — The first three games of last week are probably best left forgotten and in the past for the Maumee baseball team.
Losses on the road to Defiance, Northview and Springfield had the Panthers reeling entering Friday’s league contest at Southview. They had been outscored 24-2 and out-hit 32-8 in those games.
Something obviously wasn’t working, so assistant coach Todd Ery decided something needed to change. He arrived early at the Southview field and changed up Maumee’s pregame routine.
Whatever he did, it worked.
The Panthers recovered from the week with a big 8-6 win over the Cougars, playing their fourth game in four days.
“The little change of pace, (Ery) was right on the money,” said Maumee head coach Brian Nagy. “We played better. It was great all around.”
Maumee opened the week with a 7-0 loss at Springfield despite a strong starting pitching performance from Drew Durliat (four innings, six hits, five runs, three walks, four strikeouts).
A big second inning at Defiance carried the Bulldogs to a 10-0 win. They pounded out seven runs on five hits while Maumee committed two errors with a passed ball and wild pitch.
The Panthers were held to one hit in a 7-2 loss at Northview.
The matchup with Southview appeared to be going in much the same direction as the previous three, with the Cougars posting five runs in the first inning.
The Panthers stuck with it, though, and broke the contest open with a six-run, five-hit fifth inning.
“It was good the way the kids responded,” Nagy said. “We got down early and it would have been very easy for them to just be like, ‘It’s Friday, the weather is crappy, it’s cold, we can just give another five and go home early.’
“Instead, they kept battling and chipping away and got that big inning.”
Michael Dembski started for the Panthers, allowing five runs on six hits with four walks in five innings. He struck out three.
Xavier Lopez-Stuber and Chase Maulucci went the rest of the way. Nagy was particularly impressed by Maulucci’s performance, as he threw 1-2/3 innings and gave up one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.
“Mike Dembski had a rough first inning, but after that, he shut them down, did not give up another run,” Nagy said. “And then we brought in our relieving corp. Chase Maulucci did a great job of getting us out of a bases-loaded situation and only giving up a single run.
“They had the tying run on base and the go-ahead run at the plate in the seventh inning, and he managed to get us out of that inning as well with no harm done.”
Nagy said the win over Southview “was absolutely needed in so many ways for the kids and their confidence.”
“Baseball’s probably the most mental just because you have so much time to think, whether it’s between pitches or between at-bats,” Nagy said. “When you’re in the field, you might get two ground balls or two fly balls a game, and there’s so much time in between. There’s so much negative that goes on in baseball that it’s mentally wearing on you.”
After playing four games on consecutive days last week, the Panthers were scheduled to play five games in six days this week. Thankfully, four of those dates will be at home.
With weather postponements throughout the beginning of the season, Nagy said the schedule from here on out will be loaded with plenty of games each week.
“The big thing is monitoring our pitching and trying to play today’s game to win, but yet you’re always in the back of your mind thinking, ‘OK, we’ve got three more games in three days,’ so there’s always that juggling act with the pitch-count rule,” Nagy said.
“The rest of the season is going to be very much like that.”