It's how you finish that counts.
Shorewood baseball coach Josh Lemke will take that point of view as he assesses the Greyhounds' recently completed 6-23 season.
The Greyhounds had too many lopsided losses early for his taste, found their footing in a late June doubleheader sweep of Brown Deer, went through another tough short stretch and then in the last two weeks played with some verve and energy.
They suffered three both maddening but still heartening one-run losses in the Woodland Conference Tournament, including an opening-game defeat to Western Division champ Greendale, and then used that impetus to turn in a stunning upset of Cedarburg in a WIAA regional semifinal contest.
The magic couldn't quite continue in the regional final to area rival Whitefish Bay, but the game was still competitive.
'Yeah, it was a mixed bag,' said Lemke. 'There was that long stretch where we weren't playing well, but playing well at the end of the season like that was a good thing. They got back together as a team after a few of the tough losses and figured out how to play baseball again.'
And play it reasonably well.
The Greyhounds didn't scare anyone this season offensively, hitting . 257 as a team, but Lemke said it was far better than last year and that there were a lot more line drives being struck.
Freshman infielder Aaron Eimers hit .341 with 30 hits, including six doubles and 13 stolen bases to lead the team, while pitcher Benji Bussen came in at .340 and outfielder Luis Roche .298 (seven doubles) and 14 stolen bases. Catcher Ben Grabowski, who had the big hit in the Cedarburg game, led the team in RBIs with 15, and sophomore shortstop Garrison, who made many spectacular plays this season, hit .273.
Senior Simon Bjornstad led the pitching staff with a 3-5 record, including the victory at Cedarburg with 46 strikeouts, 25 walks and a 4.02 ERA. Pitching was a struggle for the Greyhounds this summer with a 6.45 team ERA. Bussen earned two wins for Shorewood.
The Greyhounds were sound defensively with a .928 defensive percentage and 10 doubleplays turned. Dayton Simenz played a sound first base, too, with 177 putouts and 13 assists with just three errors (.984 fielding percentage).
Lemke could not say enough about Ferone's defensive work.
'He was our best defensive player last year and dramatically improved this year,' Lemke said.
Eimers was second-team all-conference on the infield, while Grabowski earned the same honor at catcher. Roche was honorable mention in the outfield.
The Greyhounds successfully fielded three teams this year with the junior varsity going .500. The freshmen, Lemke said, had a harder time of it this summer
Shorewood had only three seniors this year: Bjornstad, Jonathan Bussen and Nathan Raskin. Lemke said they will return almost the entire defense but noted the pitching will be hurt with the loss of Bjornstad and Jonathan Bussen, who was the Greyhounds' third pitcher.
'What was nice this year, that in trying times, the kids figured out how to play better,' Lemke said.