by Spencer Gleason
The Affton Cougars have turned the page from last year’s first round exit of the MSHSAA Class 4, District 3 Tournament. And, they have already made their mark.
“I think the boys are anxious to get out there and play a game,” Affton Head Coach Rob Uthoff said during practice on Thursday, March 17. “We’ve been doing enough practice work and enough field work, that they’re ready to put it together. We’re excited. We have three games in two days, so we’ll see what we’re like in those couple days.”
Just three games into the 2016 baseball season, and the Cougars (2-1) have already made school history. They scored 41 runs in their first three games, for the most runs plated by Affton to open a season, this century. The bulk of those came on Friday, March 18 in a 29-1 five inning win over Bayless in the home opener.
In the middle of the pack’s attack have been senior David Walker and junior Trevor Little. The duo is hitting .667 and .417 respectively and has scored 13 runs, while driving in eight between them through the first three games.
Brendan Prosser, who is in his first season on the varsity club, leads the team with six RBIs and is tied with Little with three extra base hits. He is returning to the baseball diamond after suffering an ACL injury last season.
“They’ll provide some pop for us,” Uthoff said.
On the pitching rubber, Uthoff said that he has five pitchers — not throwers.
“They have a little bit of an arsenal and are actually thinking on the mound,” he said. “They’re going to give us a chance to win.”
During a preseason jamboree, all five Affton pitchers combined to walk only one guy. The key to their success is throwing strikes.
“We were throwing strikes and making them put the ball in play,” Uthoff said of their jamboree performance. “With our defense, that’s all we can ask.”
As a team, the Cougars’ fielding percentage is .965, only committing four errors, thus far this season.
“I like our defense,” Uthoff said. “We’ve been very strong defensively.”
For Uthoff, who is in his fifth season at the helm, having all the pieces of a ball club in sync is a dream come true.
“Coaching brings a little bit more to it,” the former catcher said. “To me, it’s like playing chess. It’s a mind game.”
The Cougars have one more home game in March, against conference rival Jennings High School on March 29 at 4:15 p.m. They have three road games before returning home on April 4.