Juniors take step in right direction
After a 0-16 campaign last summer, the Melons Juniors fared significantly better this year.
Although Gothenburg lost its first six games by an average of more than nine runs, the Melons earned their first victory of the summer with a convincing 13-5 win over Cozad on June 12.
The Melons picked up all four of its wins in a stretch of nine games sandwiched between the six-game losing streak to start the season and a four-game skid that ended the season.
Just like in 2013, the season ended with a pair of losses in the Area 6 Tournament. In the opening game, Gothenburg lost to a Cozad team they had beaten twice previously before the season ended against McCook, who beat the Melons for the third time of the summer.
On a positive note, the Melons were only held scoreless in one game.
“Overall, we showed signs of being a good team in each game,” said Coach Jake Fecht. “We just couldn’t put a complete game together.”
Riley Ostendorf and Bryce Kowalewski each faced their fair share of senior pitchers over the year, and it paid off. They were the only two juniors to hit above .300. Ostendorf’s .357 batting average was 140 points higher than his mark against senior pitching, while Kowalewski’s average was nearly 200 points higher at the junior level.
Ostendorf led the Juniors with 15 RBI, while Kowalewski finished second with seven. Kowalewski, however, led the team with 11 runs scored, whereas Ostendorf and Braeden Brundage finished the year with 10.
As a team, the Juniors hit .234 and posted an on-base percentage of .379.
Ostendorf was also the Melons’ workhorse on the mound, compiling a 4-1 record on the mound.
It wasn’t the batting or pitching that prevented the Melons from winning more games according to their manager.
“We had good hitting and pitching at times. The kids just made to many defensive errors,” Fecht said.
The manager of the Junior Melons has reason to believe next year will be another season of improvement. The Juniors are only expected to lose a few players from this summer’s team.
Even with the losing record, Fecht saw some good things from his team.
“Even though we won only four games, I was proud of the strides they made throughout the season,” Fecht said.