Fort Campbell Falcons athletes and coaches have had a tough season dealing with inexperienced players, extreme weather conditions and skilled opponents.
With determination to not let a season of losses deter them, the Falcons baseball team and the Lady Falcons softball team approached the diamond at Fort Campbell High School, Monday for the District 8 Tournament against rival Christian County.
At the top of the first inning of the baseball game, Christian County scored the first point, leading 1-0.
“Friday we came up against a slow pitcher and today the guy was a little faster so we weren’t pretty much timed up with him,” said Sophomore Zachary Lee.
“We had them until the fourth [inning] and we had some struggles hitting,” said Lee. “[We had] a lot of errors that also killed us too, and walks by pitchers that also hurt us.”
The Falcons continued to struggle as they allowed Christian County to score nine of their 10 runs on five hits in their last two advances.
At the end of the fifth inning; however, Christian County won 10-0. The Falcons finished the year at 8-22.
“Walking too many batters hurt us during the season and in the fourth inning our pitchers began struggling to find the strike zone,” said Coach Kenny Caver via email.
Caver added that the season as a whole had many ups and downs and that the players had a hard time scoring because they didn’t swing the bats well.
Lee said despite their loss, they surprised themselves and a lot more people.
“Compared to the last time we played Christian County the boys did make a good amount of improvement,” said athletic director Tricia Keenan.
“Just by being able to hold [Christian County] to only one run – three four innings – that really was an accomplishment that you normally do see later on in the season once the kids have started gelling together.”
Caver also noted that despite losing first baseman Koty Hix and right outfielder Johnathan Ladrillono, who are graduating, the Falcons will be better prepared next season.
“We graduate two seniors, so the majority of the team will be back,” said Caver. “I’m looking forward to next season and the challenges it presents.”
Hix and Sophomore Zachary Lee were selected to the All District team.
“They really deserved the All District selection,” said Caver. “Both [of them] had outstanding seasons.
“Koty will graduate and will be greatly missed,” he added. “We are looking forward to two more great seasons from Zach.”
The Lady Falcons also lost in their bid to steal a win from the Lady Colonels and their chance to move on in the tournament and play against University Heights.
The Lady Falcons lost 15-0 in three innings. The team finished the year at 0-12.
“It was a hard end to the season,” said Coach Greg Spence. “They really wanted to go out with more of a fight than we did today and one of our issues for years has been pitching.”
The Lady Falcons’ senior pitcher Brittany Gossett pitched the entire game and became frustrated by the second inning.
“I had to learn how to pitch because nobody else knew,” Gossett said.
“It’s super frustrating when you have a game, when you do pretty good and you have your last game and you’re walking tomorrow.”
The weather affected the spring schedule for both the Falcons and Lady Falcons.
“We’ve had a hard spring season in general because we have had a ton of rainouts,” said Keenan.
Despite the losses, Spence is optimistic that his continuation as a coach will help solidify the team’s performance next year.
“I’m the first coach who has been around for more than a year,” Spence said. “Hopefully I can get something started earlier in the season to try to get us better prepared.”
Next year Keenan is hoping for “more wins” and a “memorable season” for both teams.
“Next year if they come back and they stick with it, it will be a great year,” said senior Larissa Massie.