With North baseball this season, there have been some things to lament, along with others to be hopeful about. Despite the fact that the Coogs have been pounded the last two outings and are 3-10 in District 31-5A heading into the season finale Friday against Econ, this bunch of battlers has been in most of the tilts it eventually lost.

It has been an adjustment-and-growth season under first-year head coach Damian Gonzalez, and sometimes the skipper has become frustrated with his kids' hazy focus and lack of experience, But he and his optimistic coaches are already preparing for next year in the back of their collective mind.

"They are so young in the mental aspect, but their athleticism has allowed them to stay in most of the games," said Gonzalez after North got drubbed 16-4 at home by Harlingen South. "But I think we are going to be improved next year. I just want us to pay more attention to the little things, because they have cost us a lot of close games."

The Coogs (6-20 overall, nine one-run defeats) were guilty of a handful of slipups against the Hawks, and each came back to haunt them. From not charging grounders (and suffering subsequent bad hops) to failing to realize a telltale pattern of first-pitch selection developing from the South starter: Gonzalez has stressed baseball IQ all year, with some learning steadily yet others in the remedial class.

"This is definitely a transition year for us, but we get a lot of these guys back next year," he said. "And we will expect them to come back smarter about baseball, ready to work, and ready to win."

One guy the Coogs cannot count on for 2012 is hard-hitting first baseman Matt Morin. He went 4 for 4 Friday with a bevy of ringing smashes good for three RBI. The dangerous cleanup hitter will play his last game Friday, as will outfielder Joel de los Santos and infielder John Gonzaba, both of whom have been steady starters for years.

The bulk of the rest of the kids will return, paced by Matt Garces and Fernie Conteras, the pitcher/catcher battery who could be among the league's best next time; they have been throwing well in district for the most part, but the offense has been spotty. Outside of a 16-run explosion against Econ and 11 against P-SJ-A, the Coogs have managed just 20 runs in 11 outings. Having all-star outfielder Keith Silva (injured this season) would have helped; luckily he is back for another try in 2012.

They got four runs against the hard-hitting South club, which is playoff bound, but blew a few chances for more as the Hawks slowly pulled away. Morin had brought the squad close with a bases-loaded double in the third to make it 4-3, South. The Hawks got after Contreras for three more in the fourth and then were able to strand eight North runners in the final four frames.

A double-play ball off the bat of de los Santos in the fourth was particularly depressing, as the home side had a bases-loaded, one-out situation backfire down 7-3. South would score the next nine runs to take command.

With North baseball this season, there have been some things to lament, along with others to be hopeful about. Despite the fact that the Coogs have been pounded the last two outings and are 3-10 in District 31-5A heading into the season finale Friday against Econ, this bunch of battlers has been in most of the tilts it eventually lost.

It has been an adjustment-and-growth season under first-year head coach Damian Gonzalez, and sometimes the skipper has become frustrated with his kids’ hazy focus and lack of experience, But he and his optimistic coaches are already preparing for next year in the back of their collective mind.

“They are so young in the mental aspect, but their athleticism has allowed them to stay in most of the games,” said Gonzalez after North got drubbed 16-4 at home by Harlingen South. “But I think we are going to be improved next year. I just want us to pay more attention to the little things, because they have cost us a lot of close games.”

The Coogs (6-20 overall, nine one-run defeats) were guilty of a handful of slipups against the Hawks, and each came back to haunt them. From not charging grounders (and suffering subsequent bad hops) to failing to realize a telltale pattern of first-pitch selection developing from the South starter: Gonzalez has stressed baseball IQ all year, with some learning steadily yet others in the remedial class.

“This is definitely a transition year for us, but we get a lot of these guys back next year,” he said. “And we will expect them to come back smarter about baseball, ready to work, and ready to win.”

One guy the Coogs cannot count on for 2012 is hard-hitting first baseman Matt Morin. He went 4 for 4 Friday with a bevy of ringing smashes good for three RBI. The dangerous cleanup hitter will play his last game Friday, as will outfielder Joel de los Santos and infielder John Gonzaba, both of whom have been steady starters for years.

The bulk of the rest of the kids will return, paced by Matt Garces and Fernie Conteras, the pitcher/catcher battery who could be among the league’s best next time; they have been throwing well in district for the most part, but the offense has been spotty. Outside of a 16-run explosion against Econ and 11 against P-SJ-A, the Coogs have managed just 20 runs in 11 outings. Having all-star outfielder Keith Silva (injured this season) would have helped; luckily he is back for another try in 2012.

They got four runs against the hard-hitting South club, which is playoff bound, but blew a few chances for more as the Hawks slowly pulled away. Morin had brought the squad close with a bases-loaded double in the third to make it 4-3, South. The Hawks got after Contreras for three more in the fourth and then were able to strand eight North runners in the final four frames.

A double-play ball off the bat of de los Santos in the fourth was particularly depressing, as the home side had a bases-loaded, one-out situation backfire down 7-3. South would score the next nine runs to take command.