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Getting to .500

by Chris Conley

EVERYTHING EVERGREENS (FOX SPORTS WAUSAU-WSAU) A reasonable goal for the Evergreens is to finish the season no worse than .500. They can do this, even though they're 2-5 in Wisconsin Valley Conference play.

There are 5 conference games remaining: Wausau-East (twice), Wausau-West, Marshfield, and Merrill. The Evergreens can only afford to lose one of those games to finish 6-6. Here's what I think will happen:

Today's opponent, Wausau-East, has the worst pitching staff in the Valley Conference. Everest will start Brady Borrell today. I expect the Evergreens to hit a lot and win today's game.

The Evergreens will use probably have Sean Leudtke start game 1 in tomorrow's doubleheader at Eau Claire-Memorial, and then use a JV pitcher in game 2. That means Borrell will start again on Tuesday at Marshfield, which is the toughest conference opponent the Evergreens have remaining. Everest will be able to fire their best shot with their best pitcher, but Marshfield will also have a rested pitching staff and will throw one of their aces. This is the remaining conference game the Evergreens are most likely to lose.

Sean Leudtke will probably make his next conference start on five days rest next Thursday against Wausau-West. That game is a matter of pride for the Evergreens. They're a better team than the Warriors, and should not have coughed up a 7-run lead in a 12-8, 11-inning loss earlier this month. Everest committed 8 errors in that game, with 4 of the coming in the last inning, in what looked like a little-league throw-the-ball-around game. Any player involved in competitive athletics sees this as a revenge game.

The remaining two games will be at home against Merrill, with Borrell as the projected starter, and a road game at Wausau-East with Leudtke on the mound. I thought Everest struggled in the cold in their earlier 8-5 loss to Merrill, and is likely to turn the tables in late May. And I don't see the Lumberjacks beating Everest, even on Senior Night at their field against our number-2 pitcher.

6-6 in-conference is completely do-able. Everest will be able to set up its pitching to get favorable match-ups. Improved defense is the key to get there.

Chris Conley
5.16.14