Sluggish start a thing of the past as Troy baseball has hit its stride

By: Mike Moore | Troy Times | Published May 24, 2011


TROY — Admittedly, Jim Ellis expected the transition to take some time before things officially got rolling.

He was a new coach, working in a new program with a roster full of new players.

But he didn’t foresee five losses in the first six games.

“That part was disappointing,” the Troy High skipper said of the 1-5 start his team got off to. “The weather didn’t help much and me being a new coach at a new school made things tough. But these guys had a choice to either throw in the towel or battle back. They never got down on themselves or gave up. They kept plugging away, and it’s gotten us to where we are now.”

At press time, the Colts were 12-9-1 overall. They had won 11 of their past 14 games, and by all accounts, appear primed to make some noise come playoff time.

“I’ve preached all year that it’s not how you start, but how you finish,” said Ellis, whose squad opens Division 1 district play at 1 p.m. June 4 at Utica High against Rochester High. “That’s what our focus has been, and it’s worked.”

“We needed time to adjust to everything, that’s for sure,” senior Nick Krajewski said. “Coach Ellis has a certain way he runs practices and coaches during games. Plus a lot of us were moved to new positions.”

The turnaround has been a complete team effort, according to Ellis.

While the natural adjustment for coaches to players, and vice versa, needed to runs its course, the play on the field has gotten significantly better.

During the 1-5 start, Troy scored just 27 runs (4.5 per game) and allowed 50 (8.3).

Since that sixth game, the Colts’ offense has been dynamite, scoring 141 runs (8.8). The defense and the pitching have been stellar as well, allowing just 66 runs (4.1).

The two losses in the past 14 games came by a combined three runs.

“I think we’ve gotten to know each other and understand what pieces go where, and that’s been a huge help,” Ellis said. “At the same time, we’ve really been pounding the ball of late. It’s been fun to watch.”

In their last 11 wins, eight have come in games where the Colts have scored at least 10 runs, four of which were 13 or more.

“Once we got outside on a more consistent basis and saw live pitching off a mound and not in the cage, that’s when things really took a turn,” Krajewski said. “We always knew we were a good hitting team, it was just a matter of putting it all together, which I think we have.”

With the winning, the team’s confidence is soaring.

They are already 2-0 this season against a Rochester team they face in the district opener, and they have a chance to advance to the final.

“We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves right now,” Ellis said. “We’re peaking at the time of the year you like to peak.”