The Baker Orange

Baseball team stays optimistic

Story by Chad Mullens, Writer

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Two weeks ago, when the Baker University baseball team had started 6-0 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, players discussed one common theme: energy and hard work.

“I think we got out and played hard with a lot of energy,” senior James Gricol said.

With only two senior departures after last year’s 6-39 record, a lot of the team’s success has come from development within. The seniors have made sure to show the younger players what it takes to win.

“We just lead by example by always staying composed and working hard, working out hard and hustling every day,” senior Josh Zach said.

One of the biggest leaps in production this season has come from sophomore Gabe Greenbaum. After hitting .708 in an eight-game stretch, he leads the team with a .411 batting average.

“Gabe was hitting in the nine-hole and never complained,” Zach said. “And he simplified the game and started just hitting it hard, and then he found holes and got hot.”

There are also newcomers who have stepped up, such as sophomore Cort Brennan, who has started at first base in his first year playing, and freshman Lake Johnson, who claimed the starting shortstop spot.

Even after losing five of its last six conference games, Baker still remains optimistic about its chances in the conference.

“In all honesty, I think right now we’re just above the middle of the pack,” senior Thomas Hawkins said. “But we can get there with hard work.”

Baker’s seven wins in the conference is already more than twice the Wildcats HAAC total of three in 2013, but Hawkins is adamant on not letting the rest of the team become complacent.

“We’ve had problems with people making little mistakes here and there, like the previous years in these last few games,” he said. “But our teamwork will show off like it did in the first few conference matchups.”

The team was very pleased with its effort in the second day of games against Benedictine, losing in an extra-innings thriller on the back-end of a doubleheader.

“I think we got back to playing how we were playing at the start (of the conference schedule),” Gricol said.

Baker started the game in a 5-1 hole, before storming back with five runs of its own to take a 6-5 lead. Then, after trading runs in the seventh, the game was tied at 7, where it stayed until Benedictine came away with a walk-off victory.

“That was a tough loss, but I feel like it showed our resolve and our ability to come back through adversity,” Zach said.

Hawkins believes that they key to the team’s success is defense.

“All the games we’ve won, the common theme is we’ve played well defensively,” he said. “You obviously don’t see a lot of errors when we win games, so we just have to keep that up.”

Gricol would like another shot at the success he tasted the two seasons prior to last year’s setback.

“I thought we were close before, and I think this could be the best team I’ve been on,” he said.

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