LETTS, Iowa – Casey Cantrell isn’t hitting the panic button, at least not yet. The Louisa-Muscatine baseball team suffered its second consecutive mercy-rule defeat Tuesday with a 13-0 loss in five innings to Pekin, but the L-M coach knows better days are ahead for the Falcons.
“We are young and these are lumps we have to take,” Cantrell said. “We’ve played the top tier teams already in Highland, Mediapolis and Pekin. I think before it’s said and done we’re going to be at least in the middle of the pack if not in the top half of the conference.”
Louisa-Muscatine (1-4) surrendered eight runs in the third inning on its way to a home loss to Pekin (5-2). Karson Cantrell, who has been the Falcon’s catcher since his eighth-grade season, was forced into action on the mound with the loss of Keatyn Velez. Jared Woerly and Kaiden Schneider also saw action on the mound.
Velez, who is the Falcon’s number one pitcher, was slated to start Tuesday night but was lost for three-to-four weeks after breaking his hand sliding into second base Monday night. The senior has 11 strikeouts and a 1.91 earned run average in his two starts this season and was the starting shortstop when he wasn’t pitching.
“I can’t position Karson where I’ve always positioned him,” Casey Cantrell said. “If we had Keatyn on the mound tonight it would have been a different story. Right now, we’re developing pitchers at the time as getting through the season.
“Still, we have to be able to come together shoulder to shoulder, depend on each other and start winning games.”
Senior Cody Calvelage recorded two hits from his leadoff spot, but he was the lone Falcon with a hit on Tuesday. Louisa-Muscatine was able to hang around until errors and wild pitches took over the game and Pekin took advantage.
Karson Cantrell pitched just under three innings and allowed eight runs. Schneider, meanwhile, threw two innings but tossed 27 balls compared to 16 strikes. Woerly entered and recorded the last out for the Falcons.
Still, Casey Cantrell knows his team is capable of more because he’s seen it. Louisa-Muscatine played “lights out” in an 8-3 win over Keokuk last week. The Falcons racked up 15 hits, Jared Woerly picked up the win and Kaleb Steele allowed zero hits in just under four innings of work.
“If that team shows up every night I don’t think there’s a team out here that can beat us,” Casey Cantrell said. “We’re aggressive when we’re on base. We have yet to be thrown out. It’s just a matter of pushing runs across.”
After a tough stretch, Casey Cantrell could easily see his Falcons going from 1-4 to 5-4 in the next week. Louisa-Muscatine has the day off today before traveling to rival Wapello Thursday.
“This is just a roller coaster and we have to get over the hill,” Casey Cantrell said. “We’ll be going down the hill pretty soon.”