The Moline Maroons baseball team's start to the season was as rough as the spring weather.
Despite that, it has been a throwback-type season for the Owens brothers, senior Drew and freshman Mitch.
Drew and Mitch played on the same baseball team once before the 2013 Maroons. That was a season of Little League in 2007.
"It's been a blast," Drew Owens said."We played together down at Riverside for one year. It was my last year and it was his first year. That was pretty much it back in those days; it's kind of like a throwback this year."
For the foreseeable future, this season will be a one-and-done together too. Drew is in his final high-school season; Mitch is in his first.
"It's really different, because you're playing with better talent," Mitch said of the different times."You're all grown up and have more pressure on you then you had in Little League. Back then, we were just playing for fun, but now we're playing for something."
Drew, a shortstop, is having the type of season that many expected he would have, batting .441 with three home runs and 25 RBIs. Batting in the two hole for the past 12 games, right before Drew, it has been Mitch, a third baseman, that has impressed many with a quiet .362 average.
"Drew has been solid all year in every aspect of the game," Moline coach Craig Schimmel said. "It's what you expect from a three-year starter. Mitch hasn't played like a freshman. He has played like he belongs on varsity. He never seems nervous and he is very mature, both physically and mentally, for a freshman."
Although the freshman's play and maturity is beyond his years, playing varsity came as a bit of a surprise.
"I was a little shocked, but it's been great playing on varsity as a freshman," Mitch said. "I came into the high-school season not know what I was going to do. I just went in and performed the best that I could and they gave me a varsity jersey."
Drew has been one of his younger brother's biggest supporters, offering advice when needed.
"If I see something wrong in his mechanics when I'm on deck, I'll talk him through it when we get back on the field," Drew said. "It helps him with his approach the next time around. I feel like it's a good learning experience for him right now."
Moline has a 14-7 record, 4-4 in the Western Big 6, with the Maroons starting out their conference play 0-4. Mitchis confident that Moline is headed in the right direction now that they have strung some wins together.
"We've struggled a bit this season, but have turned it around of late," Mitch said. "We're starting to hit the ball well and make the plays that need to be made. We weren't playing to our potential at the beginning of the year."
The senior Owens sees progress, but also somethings that need some adjusting.
"We've got to work on our mental game," Drew said. "We have to focus on the first couple of innings, because we have struggled in those innings. We've got to have more confidence in ourselves, and, if we get that down, I think we can do some pretty big things."
Western Big 6 Conference standings
BIG 6 BASEBALL
Conf. Over. W-L W-L Alleman 7-1 18-2 Galesburg 6-2 18-6 Moline 4-4 14-7 Quincy 3-5 8-12 Rock Island 2-6 11-11 United Township 2-6 6-11
Today's doubleheaders: Moline at Rock Island, ppd. rain Alleman at Quincy, ppd. rain United Township at Galesburg, ppd. rain
May 6 doubleheader: Moline at Rock Island, 3:30 & 5:30 p.m.
May 7 doubleheader: Alleman at Quincy, 4 & 6 p.m.
TBA: United Township at Galesburg
BIG 6 SOFTBALL
Conf. Over. W-L W-L Moline 7-1 14-3 United Township 7-1 10-3 Alleman 4-4 16-7 Rock Island 4-4 7-10 Galesburg 1-7 8-14 Quincy 1-7 4-13
Today's doubleheaders: Galesburg at United Township, ppd. rain Quincy at Alleman, ppd. rain
May 8 doubleheader: Rock Island at Moline, 4 & 6 p.m. Quincy at Alleman, 4 & 6 p.m.
Today is Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.