WORTON — It was a numbers game this spring for Kent County’s junior varsity baseball players.
They limped through the 13-game season with a fluid roster that most days was only nine or 10. Coach Taylor Moore had to forfeit the final home game of the season because he did not have enough players.
Mostly freshman Kent County won only one game, 21-10 at home against Cambridge in early April.
Moore, in his second year as coach at his alma mater, said he hoped the lessons learned in the “ups and downs” of the season help the Trojans to become better ballplayers.
The win-loss record aside, Moore said the best part of the season was the growth he saw in his players.
Sophomore Cameron Troup led the team in hits, RBI and runs scored, putting up stats that earned him MVP recognition.
Also drawing high marks was freshman Yahir Fernandez Ochoa, winner of the Coach’s Choice award.
Moore said Ochoa “was the player who stood out the most. From day one to our last game he did not slow down and his skills and leadership grew every step of the way.”
When sophomore Gary Emory was called up to varsity, Ochoa assumed a leadership role, Moore said.
“He also took over the main catching duties halfway through the season and showed his abilities of commanding a game and being a vocal leader on the field and directing traffic when it came to making plays.”
Others who improved greatly during the season were freshmen Nick Jones, Collin Futty and Noah Humphries and sophomore Brandon Myers.
This was the first year of high school baseball for Myers, who lettered in track and field last year. Myers developed into a solid right fielder and consistent contact hitter. His season ended abruptly due to injury, and he was sidelined for the last four games.
Kent split its home-and-away series with Cambridge, avenging a 14-4 loss there.
The locals came close to getting a split with the Saints.
Kent’s boys lost April 25 at St. Michaels, 10-9, which was a huge improvement from the 10-0 six-inning beating they took in the first meeting.
In the rematch, the Trojans batted through the order and pushed four runs across in the top of the fifth inning to take a 9-6 lead, but their defense failed them late.
St. Michaels rallied with four unanswered runs; the winning run was scored on a suicide squeeze in the last of the seventh.
“Overall, this was one of the better games we played,” Moore said. “We did not give up during the game, always putting runs on the board and trying to make plays in the field whenever the ball was hit our way. The pitchers never swayed away from throwing strikes and were able to keep us in the game every step of the way.”
Futty (five strikeouts) went 4 2/3 innings before reaching his pitch limit. “We made some errors behind him that elevated his pitch count, but he was consistently throwing strikes,” Moore said.
Chris Butler relieved Futty “and did a great job throwing strikes, but we made a few errors behind him as well,” Moore said.
Troup led the Trojans at the plate with three hits, including a pair of doubles, and three RBI. Futty, Butler and Ochoa each contributed two hits.
Brandon Crouch, a late addition to the team, picked up his first hit of the season — a double down the right field line in the Trojans’ four-run fifth inning.
Also in the fifth, Futty and Humphries singled, Troup doubled, Ochoa reached on a walk and Jones bunted for a base hit.
When asked to comment on the season, Moore said: “Overall, it was great to see growth from these young men on the field. Hopefully they can start putting it all together through playing more baseball throughout the summer and work on making their improvements a consistent habit.”