After every game, no matter what the outcome, Indian Rocks Christian baseball coach D. J. Springman calls his team together in the outfield for 15 to 20 minutes. Long after the opposing team has boarded the bus and departed, the Golden Eagles remain in a circle listening to Springman dissect the highs and lows of their performance.
Springman might have set a personal record after Tuesday's game against Canterbury. The ritualistic speech approached 30 minutes, but that is fine with the fourth-year coach because it seems to be working.
The Eagles are 10-4 after a 4-2 win against the Crusaders, but the players gave Springman plenty of reasons to extend the post-game banter. At times, the Eagles appeared lax against the less-heralded Crusaders: not running out grounders, letting Canterbury singles turn into doubles and getting picked off base.
"That shows the maturity level," Springman said of his squad. "We haven't had a winning tradition and we have to adjust. It's a growing experience."
Indian Rocks has never won a district title in any sport, and coming off a runner-up season, the Eagles can earn the top seed in the division with a win Thursday against Lakeside. Springman thinks this might be the year the Eagles part ways with their paltry past.
After stringing together three straight wins with seemingly flawless execution, the Eagles struggled against the defensively sound Crusaders (3-6) who turned in two double plays. Canterbury ended a no-out, bases-loaded Eagles threat in the third with a double play and added another in the fourth.
Canterbury tied the game at 1-1 in the fifth and 2-2 in the sixth, both on fisted shots to the right side. Steve Geiger scored for the Crusaders and had an RBI.
Craig Streets (2-1) earned his second victory against Canterbury in relief of junior starter Matt Opsahl, who struck out four in 6 innings. Rod Rowles went 2-for-4 with two runs to lead Indian Rocks.