OPENING WEEKEND WAS A HOME RUN

PATRICK MCAULEY ‘19 & JACOB CHRISMAN ’20 | STAFF WRITERS • This past weekend, the Wabash baseball team opened up their season with three consecutive games. Traveling back and forth to Westfield, Indiana on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the Little Giants were able to capture two out their three games. Friday evening, the squad took it to Transylvania University in a 12-4 victory. After coming off a solid victory to begin their season, the team finished a close game against an experienced University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Saturday with a 5-4 win. Finally, on Sunday, the Little Giants played against Transylvania once again but dropped the game against

the Pioneers. The weekend was successful, and much of it came from good prep throughout the prior weeks of practice.

“I thought we played very well in our first weekend,” said Charlie Brewer ’20. “The conditions were not great, but we reacted well to that.”

During the first few weeks of practice, the team focused on high-intensity game scenarios. With the pressure on and players possessing a competitive mindset during training, the improvements came quickly. Some of the set-ups included live hitting with pitchers throwing with a game-ready mentality and runners at third base putting pressure on pitchers by trying to score. The team also took a trip to Indianapolis for a stop at Bishop Chatard High School for an inner squad match up. These game- like settings give players a chance to hone their physical and mental abilities by essentially forcing them to conform to the competition.

A strong mental attitude also profoundly contributed to the team’s victories this past weekend. In game one, Eric Chavez ‘19 recorded 4 singles and a triple, driving in two runs and scoring one on the day. Jackson Blevins ’20 also had a great day at the plate recording a single and a double in three at-bats. Blevins drove in three runs in the 12-4 win. On the mound, Bryan Roberts ’18 recorded the win. He threw six complete innings recording five strikeouts and allowing only one run. Erich Lange ’19, BleTyler Cooper ’18, and Sean Smith ’21 all contributed to the victory on the mound as well. Brewer said, “It was good to see some young guys performing well at the plate and on the mound.

The future of our program looks very bright right now.”

The team has a winning attitude. For any college-level baseball team, weekend openers can show signs of jitter or signs of fire. Bryce Aldridge ’20 attests to the team’s strong desire to win that stems from having clarity in their minds. “I think we came out of the gate pretty well and our mental attitude was the best sign…As long as we keep focusing on that, we can keep chipping away at the little things,” Aldridge said. When a team possesses a strong mentality, then practices are more successful. Guys are not worried as much about their emotions, and they can focus in on improving their play. Nonetheless, many Little Giants that embraced the first few weeks of practice came out strong in the openers.
On Saturday, Aldridge ’18 went two for two at the plate, plating one run. Blevins also recorded his fourth RBI of the season and went one for two at the plate on Saturday. Chavez picked up where he left off driving in his third RBI of the season. Zach Moffett ’20 recorded his first collegiate win on Saturday. He threw in the 8th and the 9th innings striking out one batter. Cody Cochran ’18 started on the mound and threw six innings, before Lange came in the 7th, who handed the reins to Moffett in the 8th.

Wabash rallied on Sunday, but it was too little, too late. Starting off on fire, Blevins plate three more RBIs on Sunday on two hits. Other Little Giants with good games at the plate on Sunday were Sean Roginski ’19 and Jared Wolfe ’19.
At the plate Ryan Thomas ’19 took the loss, throwing three innings. Also throwing in the 10-9 loss was Lange, Smith, and Moffett. “Obviously, it would have been nice to sweep and take all three this weekend, but 2 out of three is a good start,” Jordan Hansen ‘18 said. “A multitude of freshman saw their first collegiate action and performed at a high level. They are going to be integral pieces to our success this season.”

The whole team combined for 31 hits over the weekend. Chavez battled .282. Playing his first game for the College, Jackson Blevins ’20 drove in six runs in two games. Aldridge, one of the team’s captains, hit five out of his eight at-bats for a combined batting average of .625.

The Little Giants are coming off of a 22-16 season under Head Coach Jake Martin’s first season as the head coach. “I think the biggest take away from this weekend and something Coach Martin reiterates is two-fold,” Hansen said. “First, we have a lot to work on. Second, the expectations are set and we have a little taste of what we can do and accomplish as a team this season.” The Little Giants are traveling to Tuscon, Arizona for Spring break. They will be playing seven games throughout the week and open with Simpson College on Sunday, March 4th.