It’s a good thing Southern baseball coach Roger Cador would rather struggle through February and March if it means success in April and May, because the first part has certainly been true.
Fortunately for the Jaguars, Cador thinks the light at the end of the tunnel may be coming up as Southern (3-10) heads to Nicholls State (8-9) on Wednesday to close out a dismal first month of the season.
“We play a tough schedule — probably way too tough for this group of kids this early — and it’s been really demanding on them,” Cador said. “That’s something we have to look at. You don’t want to kill their confidence with this kind of schedule, which has been very difficult.”
Southern has not officially named a starting pitcher against Nicholls, but Cador said typical midweek starter Jarrod Jarreau is likely to take the mound in order to keep the established rotation in place.
Jarreau took the loss in last week’s game against UNO after giving up 13 runs on 12 hits through four innings, but because of a flurry of errors, nine of Jarreau’s runs were unearned.
The big change for the Jaguars will be on the left side of the infield as Cador experiments with the shortstop and third base positions over the next few weeks.
Usual shortstop Troy Lewis will most likely shift to third base Wednesday but could also end up as the designated hitter, opening shortstop for a bit of competition.
Right now, it appears freshman Franky Montesino and junior Phillip Williams are the early leaders to claim the spot, but Cador isn’t anxious to rule anything out just yet.
“We’re not a good team with our infield and we have to make some moves to strengthen it,” Cador said. “The only way you’re going to strengthen it is to make some moves to see who can make you better because right now, what we’re doing is not working.”
One of the good things Cador has said about this team is that its failures haven’t been because of a lack of effort.
Southern has indeed seen its play move in the right direction, even if it’s only a slight move.
The Jaguars put 38 runs across the plate in their last six games compared to only 14 runs in its first seven outings to start the season.
As he has in past weeks, Cador continues to harp on Southern’s tendency to leave too many runners on base, adding that he has no intention of lowering his demands no matter how bad the season gets.
“It has nothing to do with effort,” Cador said. “The effort has to be more productive, to put it in a nutshell. Everyone is putting in effort, but you have to be able to make your effort work.
“I often tell my young people, ‘Why work hard and have nothing to show for it? That’s not what hard work is about. Hard work has to bear fruit.’ ”