A year to forget

Owls finish with worst record in team history
Aug. 11, 2013 @ 05:46 AM

In case you missed it, and by the looks of the attendance numbers you might have, the Forest City Owls had a rough season.

A heap of struggles and close losses sent the Owls to a 17-32 record, the worst in the teams six-year history. It was also the teams first losing record and the first year they missed the Petitt Cup Playoffs.

"It was a tough season and it felt like everything was going against us," head coach David Tufo said. "We would get hot and then the rains would came and washed us out and we couldn't get it going. It's tough but, but as a whole, the guys still enjoyed it and think they played good ball."

Tufo said he had no regrets about the season and that baseball just doesn't go your way sometimes, no matter the roster you're given.

"You always come out thinking that your team is the best one out there and when the results don't dictate that it can get frustrating," Tufo said. "Our guys battled from Day 1. It wasn't something that was in the cards for us this year. It was never a question of how hard the guys were playing or how talented we were, we just couldn't put it all together at the same time."

Return All-Stars Nate Chong and Jake Padgett, whom were expected to be the anchors of the 2013 team, struggled with poor performance and injury throughout the season.

Chong saw action in just 17 games and batted .224 while Padgett finished with a 1-5 record and a 7.62 ERA.

Offensively, Forest City had just three regulars finish with batting averages .280 or higher. But according to Tufo, the experience is measured beyond the box scores.

"At the end of the day the results aren't what it's all about. It's a big portion of it, but the whole process of getting them where they are right now is what's important," Tufo said. "I think they've all grown to be better people and baseball players. It doesn't always translate over to wins and loses like you wish it would."

Tufo, who came from the 2012 Pettitt Cup runners-up Fayetteville SwampDogs, is unsure about his future after his first head coaching season with the Owls.

"I have responsibilities here at school so I'm not sure if they'll let me leave for another summer," Tufo said about his assistant coaching duties at Menlo College in California. " If I'm allowed to it's definitely something I'd like to do."

Despite the meager success on the field, Tufo believes that the success of the season is measured in other ways.

"It's not always about the results and that's what a lot of people gauge success on, but I'm going to gauge it on how these guys perform during the school year," Tufo said. "If they have a great year in school then I'll feel that this summer put them in a position to succeed ... it's more of an investment for me. Everyone wants to win now, but if you don't it isn't always a failure. If they don't perform well than it tells me that I didn't prepare them like I should have."

Forest City will begin working towards a return trip to the Petitt Cup playoffs in 2014.

Owls W-L by year:

2008: 28-26

2009: 46-9*

2010: 37-19

2011: 30-25

2012: 34-22

2013: 17-32

*Petitt Cup Champions