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Gateway Christian Warriors looking to stay on task

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Mike Smith Photo Gateway Christian School junior Wyatt Arlet smacks a practice pitch during Thursday’s practice at Noon Optimist Park. The Warriors host Logan today at 2 p.m. in a doubleheader.

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Focus. That was the mood of the Gateway Christian Warriors during Thursday’s practice at Noon Optimist Park. Head coach Rick Rapp is trying to keep his team on the right path for a state playoff berth. Gateway’s last title came in 2014.

Last year at this time the Warriors were 8-2 heading into a contest against Logan. This year the Warriors are 5-5 going into today’s matchup with the Longhorns.

“We pretty much have the same team from last year,” Rapp said. “We ended 16-6 and got beat in the first round of state and have high expectations. We’ve worked hard and believe we have shown improvement. Hopefully, that translates on the field against Logan.”

Rapp feels his team hasn’t been doing the little things to win this year, which has translated to a .500 record.

“We’ve lost ballgames we should have won,” Rapp said. “Whether it’s not getting a timely hit or not making the routine play when we needed too. In all sports, it’s the game of inches and the little things, so far we haven’t done that.”

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Rapp and his coaching staff of Mick Reeves and Jerry Kermode have been working on directions for the pitchers and the hitters. Rapp thinks the team has been improving and would like to see that carry over from practice to games.

“We haven’t gotten the timely hit when we needed to,” Rapp said. “We’ve made some errors at the wrong time and then some of our pitchers have had a hard time throwing some strikes, we just can’t do that at this level. We’ve got to cut down on some of those things.”

As a team last year the Warriors were hitting .289 and so far this year they’re hitting .269. Pitching wise the Warriors had an ERA of 2.86 last season, this year that number has risen to 3.66.

“We’ve had some big wins and some close wins,” shortstop Wyatt Arlet said. “We’ve had some tough losses, we’re a good team if we hit a lot better. We have a lot of mistakes in the clutch, so if we start working on that we should have a good chance this season to go all the way.”

So far, Arlet is hitting .188 with six hits and two RBIs. Last year his average was .114 with four hits and four RBIs.

“We haven’t played Logan yet, they’re the only team to beat Melrose, so that should be a good game,” said pitcher Jaydon Stephens. “Melrose didn’t graduate anybody, they’re about the same. “Elida has gotten better. Dora has gotten a lot better as well.

The stretch run starts today for the Warriors as they host Logan.

“I think the kids are going to come around and play like they’re capable of playing,” Rapp said.

Melrose is currently in first place followed by Dora, Gateway, Floyd, Elida, Grady/San Jon, and Logan.

Today’s first pitch is at 2 p.m. at Noon Optimist Park.

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