STRASBURG – New Market hasn’t gotten off to the start it wanted to this season, but head coach Matt Schaeffer is seeing some good signs from his Valley Baseball League squad.

After a 1-5 start, the Rebels are at .500 at 10-10 for the season, and Schaeffer said he is pleased with the progress they’ve shown.

“The first six games we were trying to figure things out,” Schaeffer said after Tuesday’s 12-6 loss to Strasburg. “We got a lot of guys who are coming from a different type of situation whether that be a lack of innings or just having a situation back at their school. So they’re getting back into the rhythm of it. So those first six games were kind of a road bump. And then after that, we played pretty good ball.”

One of the strengths of the team has been the pitching. New Market reliever Sam Prince (Pasco Hernando Community College) has led the way with 18.2 innings pitched in seven games and a 0.48 Earned Run Average. Logan Morrison (Concord University) has been the top starting pitcher, having thrown 17.1 innings with a 3.11 ERA 18 strikeouts and a 1-0 record.

“It’s been one of the more consistent parts,” Schaeffer said of the pitching. “We’ve been able to play complete games but that’s been one of the things that I guess guys lean on. But you watch baseball, you go through seasons where you see you can’t just lean on one crutch. You need all of them. So the hitters got to bail you out. The defense has to bail you out.”

Schaeffer said Tuesday’s loss was definitely not typical of his pitching as the team struggled on the mound.

Offensively, the Rebels had a solid effort against the Express on Tuesday. As a team, the Rebels are hitting 214.

Joshua Cox (University of Louisiana-Lafayette) has led the offense, batting .286 (20-for-70) with 10 RBIs. He is the only player hitting over .270 for the Rebels, the reigning VBL champions.

The Rebels are tied for second place in the North Division, 3.5 games behind first-place Strasburg.

Schaeffer said that he has some players who didn’t get a lot of playing time in college and so it’s taking them some time to get in the swing of things.

He said the league is a tough one but he feels like his players are adjusting well and making strides.

“If you’re going to come up and play in a league like this, it’s challenging,” Schaeffer said. “It’s not easy by any means. They’ve accepted the challenge. They’ve shown up every day and for the most part, we’re happy with where they’re trending to go, where they’re projected. So that’s our goal as a coaching staff and as a team, was to continue to develop while competing on a nightly basis. I think we’ve been able to do that. Obviously, we’d like to do it more than we have been but again it’s still early.”

– Contact Tommy Keeler Jr. at tkeeler@nvdaily.com