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Anchors try to stay positive amid slow start

The Alexandria Blue Anchors are fighting to stick within striking distance in the first half of the season after a win and two losses over the weekend left them at 3-10 on the season.

Alexandria dropped a 10-2 game to North Division leading St. Cloud (10-3) on Sunday after splitting a pair with Willmar on Friday and Saturday. The Blue Anchors fell 8-2 to Willmar in game two after beating the Stingers 10-4 behind 14 hits on Friday night.

“It’s unfortunate,” manager Al Newman said of the slow start to the season. “I’m finding out most of our ball players all played on turf and they’re making the adjustments to the natural surface. Even though we have turf on our stadium, it’s still turf dirt. They’re just getting acclimated. It’s a bit of an adjustment and unfortunately we’ve made quite a few errors.”

Getting adjusted to a wood-bat league and the type of pitching that hitters see in the NWL has also been an adjustment for many of the Blue Anchors players. Alexandria has scored the second fewest runs in the league through 13 games at 46. The Anchors are also tied for the fifth fewest hits on the season with 99.

“It is a tougher adjustment for this group,” Newman said. "For a lot of these kids the velocity is more than they’ve seen on a daily basis and then you put a wood bat in their hand and their struggling to get the bat through the zone. Some of the guys are having better at-bats and better approaches. I think more than anything, a batter’s approach has to be much better with a wood bat than with aluminum, which is so forgiving.”

Newman said the Blue Anchors are hoping to have their full roster here by the end of the week. They were still without two of their pitchers and hoped to have a full roster at their disposal after a road trip to Thunder Bay and Duluth through Friday before wrapping up the weekend with two games in Rochester. Alexandria’s next home game is June 16 against St. Cloud.

The Blue Anchors are trying to stay positive and focus on the here and now in order to work out of an early-season funk.

“Right now, I’m talking about development,” Newman said. “Developing a work ethic, developing the different style of hitter that you must become with a wooden bat. I keep telling the guys that we want to break it down into 10-game spans at this point. When you get off to a slow start and want to gain ground, if you think you’re going to gain more than two games a week, you’re fooling yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint and try to take satisfaction with small things.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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