Led by seven strong innings and eight strikeouts from starting pitcher Chris Kovach, the Brahmas defeated the Valley College Monarchs 8-2 on Saturday.
Despite a rough patch at the top of the first inning, Kovach found his rhythm, according to head coach Bill Picketts.
“Chris has been good even though his record doesn’t show it,” Picketts said. “We haven’t been giving him much support, but he has been solid every time out.”
Kovach recognizes that he needs to improve on his ability to come out strong in the first inning.
“I have been trying to put up a zero for my team so they feel obligated to score runs,” said Kovach.
Kovach ended the day allowing two runs on four hits and four walks.
“When they pitch well, we usually have a chance at winning and that’s what happened today,” Picketts said.
The Brahmas got on the board early, scoring four in the bottom of the first inning, including two on a towering ground rule double hit by designated hitter Davis Lebarron. According to Kovach, this was key to the outcome.
However, Picketts said a reliable defense is a key strategy to success this season.
“When we play good defense, we are going to end up winning a lot of games,” Picketts said.
Although the Brahmas were ahead of the Monarchs for the duration of the game, concentration on fellow teammates and shouts of support were lackluster.
“Our dugout was terrible,” Picketts said. “I just had a talk with them about that. Their intensity wasn’t very good. In order for us to be a better team, a championship team, they need to be more focused.”
Lebarron shared the same thoughts as Picketts, emphasizing that teamwork is key.
“As a team, I feel like we need more throughout the game,” Lebarron said. “We need to be more enthusiastic.”
The Brahmas are playing in a new conference, the Western State Conference South, that includes a total of five schools: Pierce, Valley, Mission College, West LA College and Bakersfield College.
Every player’s mind should be focused on the goal of winning the conference, according to Picketts.
“We have played everyone so far, and we think we are just as good,” Picketts said. “If we can come back on Tuesday and get on a roll, it will be much easier.”
The Brahmas head back to Valley on Tuesday to continue the season series. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.