College Sports

SLO Blues pleased by progress, but stress there’s still ‘work to do’

The San Luis Obispo Blues boast a 6-2 record just two weeks into the young season heading into Sunday’s road game against the Ventura Halos. But while head coach Jamie Clark is fairly happy with what his team has accomplished so far, he said the Blues “have work to do.”

“We need to clean up our defense a little,” Clark said. “(But) we’re putting the ball in play, and our hitters are doing a good job, especially for this early in the season.”

The Blues swept their season-opening series against the Santa Maria Packers before starting the California Collegiate League season last week.

Their two losses both came in league play — one to the Walnut Creek Crawdads and the other on Tuesday to the league-leading Academy Barons, who are 6-0 on the year.

The Blues had a team meeting after the Barons game, and Clark stressed that they’ve played well and experimented with things that they had done in practice. Clark added that the goal is “getting these guys developed and learning new skills” and that he was encouraged by the progress they’ve made.

The Blues aren’t yet at full strength, as seven players who have committed to the team this year are still in the midst of a College World Series playoff run — three from Oklahoma State, three from Texas Tech and one from Mississippi State. Depending on how the teams do, the players may not join the team until the beginning of July.

Who has stood out

Catcher RJ Hassey leads the team with a .478 average and 12 RBI, and outfielder Wyatt Hogan is second at .472 and nine RBI.

“(Hogan) is patient,” Clark said, “but able to battle off some really good pitches that would get by most hitters.”

Clark said the lineup is made up of tough outs — especially in the top and bottom of the order — players that work counts and foul off pitches to get to a pitch to hit. It’s paid off, as the Blues have reached double-digit runs in five of eight games this season.

“You go down our lineup, and we have a really solid lineup,” Clark said.

The pitching has been an area of concern for the Blues, who have a 3.55 ERA as a team. It hasn’t mattered much this season with the way they’ve hit the ball.

The Blues have 35 games left this summer with their next home game at Sinsheimer Stadium set for 6 p.m. Friday against the Ventura Halos.

SLO Blues

Recent results

June 3 Walnut Creek 5, Blues 3

June 4 Blues 12, Walnut Creek 9

June 5 Blues 12, Walnut Creek 3

Tuesday Academy Barons 7, Blues 3

Upcoming games

Sunday @Ventura Halos, 5 p.m.

Tuesday @Conejo Oaks, 5 p.m.

Thursday @Conejo Oaks, 5 p.m.

Friday vs. Ventura Halos, 6 p.m.