It’s going to be a little tougher in the early going for the Leavenworth High baseball team.

Heading into the season opener Wednesday and Thursday’s home opener against Pembroke Hill, the Pioneers learned they would be without four players in the interim after being suspended for violation of school and team rules.

Let the games begin.

With a lineup consisting of a number of kids having to suddenly step up a bit earlier than expected, the Pioneers fell to 0-2 with Thursday’s 12-0 defeat to Pembroke Hill in five innings, but the team seems to have kept its perspective. 

“So far, I think we are doing well, we had our boot camp the last couple of days and we had a great time with everybody,” senior captain Chase Broeker said. “I’ve enjoyed it a ton. This is a family, we have to keep it that way and I feel that way, no matter what. There are a lot of young guys out here for the first time playing varsity and not having a whole lot time to prepare for it and were thrown into the ringer. It’s not necessarily fair to them, but it is what it is. We have to come out and try to play good baseball. Few mistakes here, few mistakes there, it’s going to happen. As long as we stay mentally positive and focused, I think those physical errors will go away once we get going.

“It’s a season of surprises. (Wednesday) after the game I said ‘why not us?’ Why not come out and beat a Free State again? Crazy things happen. Do something. We can still make noise and we have talent to play a good brand of baseball and I am confident in saying that.”

LVHS head coach Joe Allison saw some good things through three innings, trailing 2-0, before a fourth frame, Pembroke Hill barrage, including a homer, deflated his boys a bit.

“When you are throwing six inches off the plate and the umpire called two balls and that enticed him and he left one over the plate and a good hitter took care of it and you saw the deflation of it,” Allison said. “We had some JV guys filling in and their effort is good, they are battling, they are learning in the fire. At this point, it’s all you can ask for. We will need to take time to coach them up, but unfortunately, we don’t have a ton of time.

“All I can ask is that these guys continue to work hard, do what we ask them to do and we continue moving forward. High school in Kansas, you just have to be ready for regionals. We will work towards that, take one game at a time and continue to work our young arms…and definitely work on scoring some runs.”