Baseball team looks to take the next step this season


Photo Courtesy of Baker Athletics

Junior Tucker Flory steps up to bat. The Wildcats’ next game is on Mar. 4 at Sauder Field, playing against Dakota State.

Baseball season has arrived and the team has already played a handful of games, going 5-7 to start the season in non-conference play. The team is coming off of a 2022 season that saw the team go above .500, going 28-26.

Last year, Coach Ryan Goodwin explained that the expectations leading up to the season were to “change the perception of Baker Baseball.” Fast-forward to this year and Goodwin believes that the team is capable of big things this season.

“My expectation for this team is to challenge the school record for wins at 35,” Goodwin said. “To do this, we likely have to make an NAIA Opening Round appearance which we are very capable of.”

Goodwin also explains that the mindset this year is that the team can play with anybody. The baseball team took the No. 1 team in the country to extra innings and beat the No. 23 ranked team this year. He points out that the team is very talented and has a buzz around them this year.

“I believe that we are very close to changing the perception of Baker Baseball. We have raised a lot of eyebrows of coaches nationally,” Goodwin said. “But we need that big 30-plus win season to prove that we can be a consistent winner.”

Senior catcher Brian Hawkins explained that while preparing for the season, the team got a “solid understanding” of the goals and expectations this year while explaining that last year could have been better than it was.

“Last year was a good year in the context of improving on what we’ve been building for the last four years,” Hawkins said. “But it was a disappointment in comparison to what we felt like we could and should have done.”

In addition to Goodwin’s goal of winning 30 games, Hawkins adds that the team aims to be in Idaho at the end of the year, “competing in the National Tournament” and “putting Baker on the map nationally.” The season is long and the team has started the season 5-7, but that might be the thing that helps them in the long run.

“Our team is preparing by traveling to other states to play outside competition. This allows everyone to tune in on whatever we need to work on,” junior pitcher Christian Spitz said. “Our first two road trips have really helped us identify what we need to work on before conference play starts.”

Early on the team is trying to fix some things before conference play starts on Mar. 11 against Culver-Stockton. Spitz also didn’t shy away from the team’s expectations adding that the mentality of the team is to be the “best Baker baseball team this school has ever seen.”

“We know we have the talent within our roster to do so [make it to Idaho for the National Tournament],” Spitz said. “But we just have to put all the right pieces together.”

Goodwin had similar sentiments to Spitz’s statement, saying that the team is very talented and that the roster has a lot of depth. But he knows that the team has not yet reached its ceiling.

The season is just getting started but the team is motivated to change the perception of Baker baseball and make some noise in the NAIA.

The Wildcats will be playing against Dakota State from Mar. 4-5, playing four games with them at Sauder Field.