However, a little help from a rain delay allowed the Eagles’ young players to calm their nerves and hand Model High the defeat by a score 8-2 Monday as Parker picks up his first victory as Excel coach.
“We had a 30-minute rain delay, and when we came back in, we scored three runs in two straight innings,” Parker said. “The rain delay calmed us down a bit. We have a lot of freshmen. We had a lot of nerves to start the game and it showed.”
Excel was tied with Model, 2-2, after four innings thanks to some freshmen mistakes.
“The two runs we gave up were on errors,” Parker said. “We just couldn’t do the little things that we normally do. Our players were just tight.”
Parker was not surprised his team of seven freshmen and no returning starters from the previous year was nervous to start the game.
“I know we have some really dynamic freshmen and they’re good ball players, but I really do expect some inexperience and mistakes from the start until they can settle in,” Parker said. “They’ve been playing ball all of their lives. They know it’s just a ball game, but once you get on that high school stage and understand there’s not much different, then they definitely know they belong here.”
After the rain delay, the Excel bats calmed down and went to work. The team scored six runs in the fifth and sixth innings once the rain subsided. The Lady Eagles had 10 hits overall.
“After the rain delay, they were really relaxed and remembered that it was just a softball game,” Parker said of his team. “They came out and really swung the bats after that delay.”
Aliza Baker, one of the team’s freshmen, came in to pitch a scoreless final three innings. Fellow freshman Shay Sullins went 3-for-4 with two doubles to lead the attack offensively.
“I’m super excited for the girls,” Parker said. “They worked hard all summer and they put a lot into it. They are a great bunch to work with and I’m excited about how well they’re doing.”