Pinewood School baseball coach Chad Morin knows exactly what his team must do in the second half of the league season to contend for the title.
“We have to hit – bottom line,” he said, “and we can’t give away runs.”
The Panthers have been outscored 13-5 over their last three games, all losses.
Host Pinewood allowed only one earned run Thursday against South San Francisco, yet lost 6-1. The Panthers made five errors and got little out of their seven hits.
“We’re just sort of giving games away,” Morin said.
Games the squad simply cannot afford to give away if it hopes to get back in the race for first place in the Peninsula Athletic League Lake Division.
Pinewood, which opened league with back-to-back wins, entered this week with a 2-3 mark that puts the team in fourth place. South San Francisco leads the Lake at 8-0.
“Before those three losses, our goal was to win league and go to CCS,” said Morin, whose Panthers have never qualified for the Central Coast Section playoffs. “It’s still not out of the question, but we’ll probably have to win out and get some help.”
The coach hopes this is the week Pinewood (5-3 overall) turns things around. The Panthers were scheduled to host Crystal Springs Uplands (2-3 league) Tuesday – after the Town Crier’s press deadline – and visit Jefferson (1-5) 4 p.m. Thursday.
“We have a really good chance of going 2-0 and gaining momentum,” Morin said.
Pinewood began the season on a roll – winning five straight – though the coach admitted that the team played a favorable schedule. The slump started with a 2-0 loss at San Mateo March 25.
“We’re not all hitting on the same day and we’re relying too much on our best player,” Morin said, referring to Dylan Dreyer. “We need more of a team effort.”
Dreyer has carried the team at times – at the plate and on the mound. The senior is the Panthers’ ace pitcher (3-2 record, 1.40 ERA) and leads them in almost every offensive category – batting average (.731), RBIs (nine), doubles (seven) and home runs (two). Morin expects Dryer to earn all-league honors at shortstop and even get some MVP votes.
Kevin Tracy is “arguably our second-best player,” the coach said. The senior plays third base, the outfield and is the Panthers’ No. 2 pitcher. Juniors Jack Sweat and Travis Jones have pitched in relief; Morin expects them to lead the staff next year.
Catcher Oscar Fick serves as team co-captain with Dreyer. The junior’s .391 batting average ranks behind only Dreyer, Jones (.421) and Tracy (.417).
Pinewood has only 13 players on the roster, and five of them are new to the team.
“We lost a lot of guys (to graduation last year),” Morin said. “We’re still trying to find our identity and put all the pieces together.”
2014 baseball: Pinewood School - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier