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Youthful Eagles working through early season 'growing pains'

The Excel Christian Academy baseball team for 2016 is very young with six freshmen in the lineup playing their first high school varsity baseball.

As expected, the Eagles have suffered some growing pains in the early going and that continued Saturday with an 11-1 loss at Mount Zion.

Mount Zion-Carroll scored five unearned runs in the bottom of the second as the youthful ECA defense committed four errors in the inning.

Mount Zion-Carroll added two more runs in the third, a single run in the fourth, and closed out the game in the fifth inning by adding three more.

“We’ve been really anxious at the plate and a little over zealous,” noted Excel coach Mike Cuomo. “We’ve not manufactured very much at the plate in our first two games and we’ve made too many miscues defensively.”

In a loss to Walker on Friday, the Eagles managed only one hit. Saturday, Joseph Cuomo doubled and later came around to score on a sacrifice in the fourth inning.

Marco Haro, who also had Friday's hit, and Blane Belisario collected the other Excel base hits. Belisario also stole a base.

ECA used three pitchers against Mount Zion. Wyatt Karlovich, Jordan Wilkie, and Belisario each saw time on the mound. Cuomo, Belasario, and Levi Blackwell each pitched in Friday’s loss.

“Our pitching has been pretty solid,” said coach Cuomo. “The kids have thrown strikes, we just need to play better defense behind them.

Excel has committed nine errors in their first two games.

“We’ve decided to keep an eye on pitch counts early in the season. The unearned runs have caused pitch counts to soar for some of our early guys. We have four games scheduled next week so we will try to piece together enough arms to get through it and get all our kids some work,” coach Cuomo stated.

Excel's busy week includes home games against Christian Heritage Monday (Feb 29), Trion on Thursday (Mar 3), and North Cobb Christian Saturday (Mar 5). The Eagles will also play Friday (Mar 4) at State Mutual Stadium in Rome against Armuchee. The home games are all 5pm starts. The game in the Rome Braves’ stadium is a 6pm start.

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