Arcadia overcomes early-season woes to become contender

Nick Dicarlo connects with a pitch during Arcadia’s 16–7 loss Thursday, April 13 at Arcadia High School. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

A common theme has risen for the Arcadia High School Titans: grind out wins in the face of adversity.

This theme has played out both in recent games in the form of comebacks, and the season as a whole, as the Titans started the season out 3–6 but bounced back with a 13–2 streak since March 10.

This surge has kept Arcadia neck-and-neck with Chaparral High School atop the northeast Valley region standings.

However, the Titans suffered a 16–7 setback after allowing 11 runs to the Chaparral Firebirds in the top of the sixth inning. Arcadia is now two and a half games behind Chaparral in the region standings as of Friday, April 14.

Early in the season, Arcadia Head Coach Troy Gerlach said the Titans had its fair share of struggles.

“Not saying we had issues, but we had some guys who were in their own way of doing things,” he said in an April 12 interview.

Arcadia pitcher Matt Schroer winds up for a pitch during the Titans’ 16–7 loss Thursday, April 13 at Ar-cadia High School. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Coach Gerlach said following a tournament the team had over spring break, he noticed several practices where his players were lacking energy and effort. This led to a team meeting.

“I’m not going to tell you what was said but guys cleared the air,” he said. “They got some things off their chests that had been bothering them and we really became a closer team on that day. In my mind, that’s been the difference.”

Since that meeting Coach Gerlach says he has noticed a difference in team energy.

Senior Matt Schroer said he saw the early struggles as a time of growing where the players were learning chemistry and trust for each other.

“Once the power point game started, we really figured those games mattered,” he said. “We want to make playoffs, we want to do well so we turned it on and found our groove.”

Schroer contributes to the groove by causing damage both hitting and pitching, in addition to solid hitting by the entire team.

On the mound, Schroer has a 0.81 earned run average through 43 of the team’s total 161 and 2/3 innings pitched. Pitching is where his heart is as he will pitch for Louisiana State University after this year.

The Titans rank boast a batting average of .338 with two of their hitters are hitting at .400 or higher. Senior Connor Deming is leading the way with .408. Schroer sits with a .390 batting average.

Schroer has blasted five home runs so far this season while knocking in 22 runs. However, he is not the only one who can do damage as seven batters have 15 or more RBIs.

There are a plethora of reasons the Titans’ bats were swinging well but Schroer said it boils down to an aggressive approach and swinging early in the count.

From a coaching standpoint, Coach Gerlach sees trust — which grew significantly after the early spring meeting — as a factor in the team’s hitting success.

“If one guy doesn’t get the job done, they know their teammate is going to pick them up and get it done after them,” he said.

“I think coming together as a team, playing selfless and having each other’s backs (has been key). One through nine, everyone of them has had a big hit at some point and they’ll continue to do so.”

Arcadia wraps up its regular season Friday, April 21 at Shadow Ridge High School. All statistics are as of Friday, April 14 and are from MaxPreps.com.

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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