BERWYN — Every baseball team in the area would have liked an earlier start to the season, but Morton might have needed it more than most.
The Mustangs feature a young team and are learning varsity baseball on the fly this season. Morton entered its first West Suburban Gold series against Proviso East after playing just two non-conference games.
“We’re a young team, sophomores and juniors starting, so right now it’s learning,” said Morton coach Mike Casey. “The kids are trying to get acclimated to the speed of varsity baseball. They’re making some silly mental mistakes right now. It just shows we haven’t played enough ... in terms of the season being in late March you’d think we’d have at least six, seven games in. I see it in our hitters in their approach. They need to see more game-like pitches.”
Morton lost 8-0 at St. Rita on March 23, and Riverside Brookfield won 8-4 in Berywn in the home opener on Thursday. The Mustangs started Gold play with a doubleheader sweep of the Pirates, 17-0 and 11-1, to get the season back on track.
After a WSC crossover at Downers Grove North on Thursday the Mustangs will face a stiffer conference test against Willowbrook, expected to be among the contenders to win the league.
“The kids understand the game, it’s just applying what we do in practice into game situations,” Casey said.
Junior Sergio Villalobos got the start on the mound against RB and is going to be a key player on the mound and with the bat. Villalobos drove in the first run of Morton’s season and later scored in the same inning.
Villalobos, a varsity returner, noted that the late start has bothered the Mustangs’ rhythm in the early games but is hoping for a quick turnaround.
“We had two practices outside and the rest inside,” Villalobos said. “Personally I want to at least get over .500 with pitching and team-wise to be over .500, too.”