Blue Devils hope loss to Maroons serves as motivation to buckle down

Lead photo

Quincy High School third baseman Brady Lowe puts a tag on Belleville West's Jake Stedman after he safely reached the bag with a stolen base during the second inning of Tuesday's game at the QHS field. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Kyle Taylor sensed a lack of enthusiasm.

“It felt like another Tuesday at the ballpark, not a game day,” the Quincy High School baseball team’s senior shortstop said.

A five-run deficit after the first inning made it even worse.

“When I looked across the diamond, there were guys with their heads down early, earlier than they should have been,” Taylor said. “We have to make sure we are vocal leaders. We have a lot of guys with experience, but we have to be vocal.

“We have to get guys up and get guys involved, especially guys on the bench need to be vocal as well. It has to be a team effort.”

It will take a total effort to get things back on track following a 13-3 loss to Belleville West at the QHS field. The Blue Devils committed three errors, collected just three hits and lost any momentum gained from Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Quincy Notre Dame.

“Those two losses have not been very pretty,” Taylor said, noting the Blue Devils opened the season with an 8-4 loss to Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin. “We have to learn from them. Go back the next day and work harder. That’s the beauty of high school baseball. We get to practice every day.”

A rough start Tuesday put the Blue Devils in catch-up mode immediately.

Right-handed starter Jansen Lawson allowed three of the first four batters he faced to single while hitting the other with a pitch. A dropped flyball and a walk allowed the Maroons to build a three-run lead. After a pair of flyouts, an infield error and a walk produced two more runs.

Three of the five runs Lawson allowed in the frame were unearned.

“As a team, we have to be ready from the get-go,” Taylor said. “We made some miscues in the field from the start, and that doesn’t help the guys on the mound. And the guys on the mound have to get ahead in counts and use the corners a lot more.

“Collectively, we have to be better in practice. That’s where it all starts. We have to be locked in and focused. We have to take every game of catch seriously, every ground ball seriously, every swing seriously. We can’t take anything for granted.”

The Blue Devils trailed 7-0 before getting a pair of runs back in the third. First baseman Nathan Konrad led off with a walk and second baseman Gavin Powell followed with a single through the right side. A strikeout and a groundout followed, but Taylor knocked a two-run double to left field.

The Maroons answered with a solo home run and an RBI double in the fourth and put the game away with a Jake Stedman grand slam in the fifth. Belleville West collected 10 hits, including three home runs, off three Quincy pitchers.

Brady Lowe singled for Quincy’s only other hit.

The Blue Devils will face Kirksville at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at home before heading to Memphis on Sunday to play three games in the USA High School Challenge.

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