‘Sick of losing:’ Cougars fall to St. John Paul II in fourth 7+ run loss of season

Published 8:24 pm Monday, March 18, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Cougars fell to St. John Paul II 3-10 in their fourth 7+ run loss of the season. Cougars’ head coach Ryan Riles said the team isn’t up to par fielding the ball. The Cougars had seven errors against the Panthers.

“I see some major improvements hitting the ball,” Riles said. “We’re lacking on the defensive side, kicking the ball around.”

Riles said he was proud of the way Oathen Atkinson pitched in the loss, but didn’t see the rest of the defense support him. Atkinson faced 37 batters and threw 83 strikes on 108 pitches.

Email newsletter signup

“Oathen pitched a heck of a game,” Riles said. “Probably the best game I’ve seen out of us this season. He didn’t deserve that. And like I tell them all the time, you got to get behind your pitcher, They’re up there by themself… They’re pitching their heart out, you’ve got to make routine plays.”

The Panthers opened the game with five unanswered runs through the top of the fifth inning. Spencer Blanton responded with a run for the Cougars in the bottom of the inning, courtesy of an Atkinson ground ball.

The Panthers scored another run in the sixth, before the Cougars shot back with two of their own. Landon Temples found home off an error from the opposition. Noah Smith scored two at-bats later off a Blanton line drive single. 

St. John Paul II scored four runs in the seventh inning, and the Cougars were unable to get on the scoreboard again. The game ended with a final score of 10-3.

The loss puts the Cougars at a 2-7-1 record on the season and serves as the team’s fourth loss by seven runs or more.

“They’ve got to find within their hearts,” Riles said. “I can’t play for them, I can’t do it. They’ve got to find within their hearts, and should, by now, be sick of losing. You should be sick of going through this.”

The Cougars have a game against Citizens Christian Academy on Mar. 22 before a 17-day stent until their next competition. Riles said he hopes to see a mental shift in his guys when that day comes. 

“Over the break, just focusing on their craft, cleaning things up, and mainly coming out with a different mindset,” Riles said.