Baker Baseball season preview


Sydney Boaz

Baker baseball’s season officialy began on Feb. 14 with a win against the University of St. Mary.

Baker Wildcat baseball has officially begun this week. The Wildcats are coming off a year in which they saw progress, improving from 7-16 in 2020 to 19-31 in 2021.

In the 2020 season, the Baker Wildcats were “starting to hit their stride” before the NAIA shut down the season, Coach Ryan Goodwin explained in an interview with Lawrence Journal-World. But now that a new season has begun, the team is looking to fulfill those expectations.

“The expectation is to change the perception of Baker baseball this season,” Goodwin said. “The team is both young and battle-tested and with a lot of the team returning from last season. The team is very balanced and has impact players throughout the lineup.”

Goodwin said the depth of the team “is one of our strengths and could get us some wins,” and so is having steady hands in the lineup such as Junior Jared Parenti and Junior Hunter Gudde. Add in the transfers who bring leadership skills and impact in the lineup and Baker baseball’s roster looks ready to compete.

Parenti, who plays centerfield, chipped in and said that the expectations are high for this year’s team. Parenti also stated that chemistry is the start of a good team.

“We will definitely be tested throughout this year as we have a very tough schedule,” Parenti said. “But it’s good to see a lot of good teams especially ones we may see down the road.”

Goodwin describes the most important part of the schedule in March as a “murders row.” In this portion of the schedule, Baker faces Doane University on March 5 and 6, Clarke University on March 12 and 13, William Penn University on March 19 and 20, and number two ranked team Central Methodist on March 26 and 27.

“If the team can tread water here, then the rest of the year will be easier,” Goodwin said. “As the rest of the season is less hard and we could end the season on a winning streak.”

Another series to keep an eye on are the ones against rivals Benedictine and Mid America Nazarene in early April. Baker would benefit from having series wins on the road against their rivals as that would make it easier for them to start a streak to end the year. Outside of the series in March, the first series of the year is important for Baker to start the season on the right foot.

Starting against 18th-ranked Concordia, Goodwin shares his concerns as he explains that Concordia “plays pro-style baseball and their pitchers throw harder than the average in conference.” Both the power of Concordia’s offense and the velocity of the pitchers makes them a tough team to face at any time of a season.

“We are more athletic as a team and that Concordia has not played outside yet,” Goodwin said. “If we play mistake-free baseball, we have a good chance to win the series.”

Due to the cancellation of the original series, on Saturday the 12 and Sunday the 13, against Concordia, Baker played a game against St. Mary’s on Feb. 14 and was victorious winning 14-10. The now two-game series against Concordia was rescheduled for the 15 in a doubleheader where Baker won the first game 3-0 and lost the second one 2-7. Baker Baseball will next compete in the Southwestern Tournament in Winfield, Kan on Feb. 19 and 20