CPL: Season still a success for HiToms despite losing record
The summer for High Point-Thomasville was clearly not what President Greg Suire had in mind, but there were still positives to be taken away from the 26-31 season.
Though only able to be above .500 one time in 2014, the HiToms managed to slide into the Coastal Plain League playoffs on the final day of the regular season. They were eliminated in the first round by the Florence RedWolves, who are currently in the Petitt Cup championship series with Peninsula.
“Whenever you make the playoffs you want to put a check in the box as a success,” Suire said. “I am not happy with the fact that we did not win a division championship or Petitt Cup, but I am happy our guys rallied late in the year.”
That rally was a must for the Tommies to even be a part of the postseason. They went 8-2 during one stretch in which they had a six-game win streak. The HiToms slumped a bit on the charge home, but had done enough in the month of July to get in.
During the hot streak the HiToms were able to do something they failed to do for much of the year – drive in runners. The necessary hits that did not come in the first half of the season, were suddenly present. High Point-Thomasville lost 14 games by one run. Many of them came in the first month.
“There were times in the year where we didn't get the little things done to win,” said Suire. “Over the last quarter of the season we did do that and that is satisfying for sure.”
Suire says he beats himself up sometimes because the club is not at the level they were during a stretch of three straight league titles from 2006-08. He has to remind himself that the league is not the same as it was back then. During that impressive run, the majority of the roster remained together. Players come and go a lot more in the summer so it is hard to build team chemistry.
“It is a completely different game now,” Suire said. “There was hardly any changeover in the roster back then and now we do have changeover. It is really all about finding that chemistry and finishing strong.”
Suire has already extended an offer for some of the players to return, including head coach Austin Love. It was Love's first season with the organization, but he had a short stint with Suire in Wilson before coming to the Chair City. Suire would like to have a long-term coach in place and Love may just be that guy.
“I sure hope so,” Suire said. “Austin has been offered the opportunity to come back and now it is really up to him. I hope he decides to come back.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.