After one of the worst winters in Michigan’s history, we were not sure when we would be able to start playing games on our field at the beginning of the year. With a natural grass field, it takes a lot of work to make it playable after a winter full of constant snow and ice.
We got back from Columbus Wednesday evening and had two days to get our field ready before our home series against Ashland University. Before Saturday, we had to clear the field of leaves and ice, roll the infield, roll the outfield, put up the windscreen on the outfield fence, put on the poly cap, fit the net on the turtle for batting practice, and try to get the infield as dry as possible. Friday after practice the team assembled to complete all of those tasks.
After working on the field Friday, the infield dirt was still pretty soft even after we used an entire pallet worth of quick-dry on it. The baseball gods wanted to see some games because when we went to look at the field Saturday morning it was dry enough to play and have our first home series of the season. Going into the series we knew it would be hard-fought. Ashland won the conference tournament last year and is always a tough team to play.
In the first game our senior RHP Matt Reck was sharp yet again giving up two runs in 5.1 innings and leaving the game with a 5-2 lead. Senior RHP Colin Gerish finished out the last 1.2 innings and we won 9-2. Sophomores Luke Ortel, Tad Sobieszczanski, and Lincoln Reed each had two hits in the game. Sobieszczanski led the way with three RBI and we were feeling good taking the first game of the series. With that win we were 7-6 in the conference and with two games left in the series we were looking to move up in the conference standings.
The second game of the day started a little rough as Ashland jumped out to a two run lead in the first inning. Our freshman RHP Jake Lee did not panic though and showed some real poise and basically shut Ashland down the rest of the way. At the end of seven we were all tied at three. One of the drawbacks of not having lights on your field is that when the sun stops shining, the game has to stop. Since we were tied when the umpires thought it was getting too dark, we had to continue the game the next day in the eighth inning.
We continued the game at noon on Sunday with some good momentum from the previous day. We had our closer start the resumed game and he held Ashland scoreless for two innings. In the top of the tenth we committed three errors in a row and Ashland scored to go up 4-3. We were unable to push a run across and ended up losing the continued game. The loss gave us a .500 record in the conference with one more game left in the weekend to maintain a winning record.
The third game against Ashland might have been one of the worst games we played all season. We committed nine errors in nine innings and beat ourselves. We had a lot of mental and physical mistakes that led to us giving away bases and runs all afternoon. Of the 17 runs Ashland scored in the game, nine of them were earned. The only runs we managed to get across came on a home run from sophomore Chris McDonald, his first of the year.
The loss was disappointing especially since it put us under .500 in the conference. The good news is that we have five conference games this week that can turn our record around. Be sure to check in next week to see how we did in these five important games!