Southside Dirtbags near top of South Division

Team boasts 7-2 record in SLABA play

By ROBERT CHALUPNY

With the season in full swing, the Southside Dirtbags are soaring near the top of the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Association’s South Division, winning all their league games so far except two.

The Dirtbags boast a 7-2 record in SLABA play, but are struggling in interleague tournament play with a 1-4 record.

The Dirtbags played in the SLU/UMSL Pastime Tournament last weekend and finished 1-2, defeating the Mid-West Phillies 11-4 in their final game Saturday.

Dirtbags Head Coach Mike St. Cin told the Call the competition in tournament play is at a slightly higher level, but shouldn’t be an obstacle for his squad.

“Honestly, we are playing better competition,” he said. “We are, and it’s not a matter of the other teams being better than us, it’s a matter of us understanding what we have in front of us.

“When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of making an adjustment at the plate with a good pitcher.”

In a 3-1 loss against the Outlaws Saturday, the Dirtbags were somewhat surprised when the Outlaws bunted several times in a row. Though the Dirtbags made a few errors early in the game, they should have been able to recover, according to St. Cin.

“The team that we played, they literally bunted seven or eight times. So we made a couple errors on some of those bunts just in one inning where they got there three runs,” he said. “And then we just couldn’t get the bats going to generate anything in that game.”

The problem from the bats was a result of players not making adjustments to the left-handed pitcher they were facing.

“He’s the kind of guy, the kind of pitcher — he gets people out on balls that they roll over because he never comes inside,” St. Cin said.

“You know we try to pull on everything. We were out in front of everything. I’m not sure if he ever struck anybody out. We just never made an adjustment from our first at bat to our third and fourth at bat, which is our own fault as a team. It’s my fault, too, but we’re still learning.

“We pitched well. If we only give up three runs on our end, I expect us to score enough to win. We just couldn’t string any hits together. You could say Nick Kenny had a good approach at the plate. He was the only guy that was willing to take the ball (to the) opposite field.

“Deion Corley, he had a good approach. He had a couple hits up the middle, but besides that no one else really wanted to take what the pitcher was giving us. We all wanted to do our own thing out there.”

The Dirtbags will play in the SEMO Midwest Select Tournament this weekend at Southeast Missouri State University. They hope to be able learn from their experiences, and St. Cin cited communication as the biggest lesson learned from the SLU/UMSL tourney.

“We could have been better defensively. Se need to communicate more as a team out there,” he said. “Communication is key defensively, and in bunting situations, we have to communicate with each other.

“The positives were that after we made a couple of errors, we did communicate. We did execute everything we needed to execute defensively after that one inning.”