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 Friday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2013. There are 18 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Merry sleigh bells jingle in our streets in the wake of a driving northwest storm of snow and rain. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Thomas Campbell was elected commander of John Buford Post 243, Grand Army of the Republic. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Thomas B. Reidy was named consul of C.W. Hawes Camp No. 1550, and L.H. Eihl was named consul of Camp 29, Modern Woodmen of America. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island aldermen last night upheld the view of a petition signed by 150 businessmen that the city should not install parking meters. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Total volume during the Christmas mailing season may reach 12 million pieces in Rock Island, according to Rock Island Postmaster Carl J.L. Wessel. 1988 -- 25 years ago: The aromas filling the air at the Rock Island Lines depot in Rock Island soon will be prime rib and roast duck rather than sawdust and plaster. A tourist train will be offering dinner excursions in mid-February or early March, according to Dan Carmody, executive director of the Development Association of Rock Island.