Swagger. Sometimes the Belton baseball team has it, other times, well, not so much.
The Pirates (8-6) have won seven games by eight or more runs. On the other hand, in five of their seven losses, they have lost by five or more runs.
“Swagger is living in the moment rather than putting pressure on yourself,” said head coach Cody Newman. “It’s contagious.”
The swagger wasn’t there for Belton when it took on Kearney Tuesday on its home field. Belton left 10 runners in scoring position, while Kearney pounded out seven two-out RBIs and rolled over the Pirates 11-0.
Kearney started the scoring with one run in the top of the second inning. Belton responded by putting runners on first and second with no outs, only to collapse at the plate. A botched sacrifice bunt, a line-drive out, then a strikeout ended the inning, and for all practical purposes, any Pirate momentum.
The Bulldogs capitalized by scoring five runs in the fourth, one in the fifth, and four more in the sixth. Belton, meanwhile, could manage only four hits.
This wasn’t a typical Pirate performance. Belton had won three of its past four games, beating Raytown South 11-0, Truman 10-1, and Shawnee Mission (Kan.) North 12-0.
That Raytown South win, Newman said, showed what the Pirates can accomplish with a little swagger.
“In the bottom of the fourth of a 1-0 game, we got back- to-back hits,” Newman said. “You could start to see their body language change. The next guy up finds a gap and it becomes contagious.”
Newman just hopes the Pirates can catch that feeling again soon.