After losing three games handily last week, Carlisle’s baseball Bison look to rebound this week.
“One thing I’ll probably always carry through my coaching career is something from one of the coaches I worked for early on at Stuttgart,” first-year coach Phil Bernhardt said Sunday. “He always said he’s never lost a game — he’s only had lessons.”
The Bison (6-11) fell to Clinton, Palestine-Wheatley and Riverview last week, 16-1, 16-1 and 10-3, respectively. They were to face Cross County (2-12) Monday and Brinkley (0-12) Tuesday, travel to Des Arc (10-6) Wednesday and play host to Clarendon (2-13) for a doubleheader Friday to end the regular season.
“Des Arc hit their stride about halfway through the season,” Bernhardt said Sunday. “We’re looking to once again use that game as a motivation point. Cross County and Brinkley are two very winnable games. Des Arc is a rivalry, and we hope to be able to come out and put it to them knowing they’re going to be pretty good.”
The Bison knocked off Clarendon 16-6 on March 15.
“What we’re hoping to see is a lot of what we saw early in the season,” Bernhardt said of the Lions. “We hope to come out hot against them from the two games Monday and Tuesday and hope to be able to carry some momentum from Des Arc into Friday.
Bernhardt said he knew Clinton would be tough.
“From growing up when they were (Class) 4A, I knew what they were like,” he said. “So I knew they were going to be tough and come out and hit the ball. We had to go out and play defense, but unfortunately, we couldn’t get that done. They hit the ball.
“We had a pretty good first inning against them, and after that we got too relaxed, too comfortable, and we came out flat-footed from there.”
Palestine-Wheatley was a bit of a disappointment.
“I think between them and McCrory, they are among the top teams,” Bernhardt said. “Playing McCrory early in the season as well as we did (a 5-4 loss March 14), we talked about how Palestine-Wheatley at the end of the season would be our marker to see exactly how far we’ve come or fallen off.
“We knew going in they were going to be good. They had a very good track record, and we knew like Clinton they were going to come out and put the bat on the ball. That was a tough one. They were very good, very fundamentally sound in the field, and they did a good job batting.”
But he said the lopsided outcome was a bit of a combination of the Patriots’ good play and the Bison’s trouble.
“We thought maybe them coming into our house would have motivated the guys a little more,” he said. “We’re not sure where the connection was missed.”
Class 4A Riverview avenged a 12-2 loss to the Bison in the second game of the season.
“We knew they were going to come in more prepared this time,” Bernhardt said. “He said they were getting their pitching lined out the first time and went through four pitchers, a couple of them pulled from different positions. We knew they were going to throw their ace. We’d seen him before, so we were able to get in the cages and kind of simulate the speed.”
Bernhardt will join 3-2A coaches at McCrory on Monday to seed for the district tournament, which will start Tuesday, April 25. Teams must win one game to advance to the Class 2A North Regional at Palestine-Wheatley May 4-6.