The Red Deer Carstar Braves still have a lot of work to do to close in on the .500 mark in the NorWest Midget AAA Baseball League standings, but head coach Cam Moon feels they’re headed in the right direction.
“We got off to a slow start, which was expected, but once we got all our players back, we’ve been playing a lot better,” he said prior to leaving for the Kamloops tournament Thursday morning.
The Braves are riding a two-game win streak and sit with a 4-11 record in league play.
“Early on we didn’t have the guys who were away at the baseball academies, so we were lacking a bit of depth and we were facing several of the top teams who were already in mid-season form,” explained Moon.
“With everyone back we have the depth, especially on the mound. Early on we’d run short of pitching, especially when we played a four-game weekend.”
But even during the early portion of the season, Moon was pleased with what he saw from the team.
‘The effort was always there,” he said.
The addition of the players from the Oyen academy, hasn’t changed the team’s chemistry.
“Not at all,” stressed Moon. “The guys have fit in perfectly.”
The Braves have won six of their last eight games, although only four of them (2-2) have been league contests.
“We’ve played a number of exhibition games to fill in the schedule,” said Moon, who knows the team has to continue to improve if they want to move up in the standings.
“The top three teams are extremely deep and if you don’t play your best they can embarrass you. And you need to be at your best for the bottom teams or they will beat you. But then that’s good.
“It forces you to continue to improve.”
All 13 league teams will compete in provincial play in late July.
“There will be a pre-provincial tournament from which the top eight teams qualify for the A-side provincials and the bottom five teams drop into a B-side tournament,” explained Moon. “We definitely want to be in the top eight. Once there you never know what can happen.
“One big win here or there can change everything.”
The Braves play four games in Kamloops, beginning today, and return to league play at home July 6-7.
They host the Sherwood Park Athletics July 6 at noon and 3 p.m. and the Sherwood Park Dukes July 7 at noon and 3 p.m.