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My Take: Focus or foregone conclusion?

Bethune-Cookman (20-23) at GSU (27-15)
Tuesday, 6 p.m., J.I. Clements Stadium
Probable starters
BCC — Waltermire
GSU — Pressey
Radio: 106.5,103.7 FM

The Georgia Southern Eagles find themselves in a tough spot right now with two thirds of the conference schedule behind them and a 9-9 record.
    Two players, Will Middour and Aaron Palmer, were kicked off the team last week, and that came after both served a suspension at the beginning of the season. As it so often is in baseball, two strikes and you’re out.
    Middour, a senior, has been solid on the mound throughout his GSU career and Palmer, only a freshman, was proving an asset both on the field at second base and at the plate hitting .306 through 20 starts.
    That’s not really the reason the situation is significant, though.
    The first question that popped up after the dismissal of Middour and Palmer had to have been, “Has coach Rodney Hennon lost this team?”
    The Eagles showed pretty quickly that the answer to that one was, “no.”
    The team showed focus on the road against a rival and former Southern Conference mate in a pretty good College of Charleston squad on Wednesday. So that went to show that the team hasn’t cashed in the chips for the season. But they also went 2-2 on the week, dropping two of three at home against Samford in a key weekend series.
    So the question of whether the dismissals have discouraged or unified the Eagles still has the jury out. Will the Eagles buckle down and show focus, especially at the plate, for the final three weeks of the season, or is it a foregone conclusion that the season will end with a mediocre record and a bad seed in the SoCon tournament?
    In the past, Hennon and the Eagles have proven that even when they have a lackluster regular season, they are still a threat in the conference tournament. And this team, despite its record, has a lot more talent on it than past teams that have made it to the SoCon semifinals and beyond.
    Sure, they’re young, but this pitching staff, even without Middour, is built to put together deep starts and quality relief.
    And at the plate, compared to last season, power is up, scoring is up, average is up and on-base percentage is through the roof.
    The first half of the season showed that the Eagles could flat-out dominate and still look good on a bad day.
    It’s no foregone conclusion that the GSU season is going to be forgettable, but because it’s baseball and any team in America can beat you on any given day, it’s also no guarantee that the Eagles will get their focus back.

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-4908.