Baseball Remains Hopeful

Photo courtesy of Ed Diller Photography.

The baseball team opened up their season playing 13 games in nine days, compiling a record of 3-10.

After having nine game cancellations dating back to Feb. 20, the Hawks opened up their season with a 7-1 loss against Div. III nationally-ranked No. 15 Randolph-Macon College on Thursday, March 12.

The Hawks then participated in the Snowbird Classic as they played 12 games in seven days in Port Charlotte, Florida beginning on Saturday, March 14.

To open up the first two days of the Classic, the Hawks suffered four-straight losses against No. 20 Heidelberg University in a doubleheader (13-3, 9-7), The College of Wooster (4-1) and University of Massachusetts-Boston (15-3).

On Monday, March 16, the Hawks earned their first win of the regular season against Lancaster Bible College by a final score of 15-10. Three Hawks tallied three hits in the contest: fourth-year second baseman and outfielder Stanley De La Cruz, third-year catcher Tyler Bell and fourth-year co-Captain Mike Sparacino.

Hawks fourth-year first baseman and pitcher Shaun Hansen earned the win on the mound and knocked in three runs batted in (RBIs) at the plate. Hansen currently leads the Hawks with 11 RBIs on the season.

On St. Patrick’s Day, Denison University earned a 7-1 over the Hawks.

The following day, the Hawks defeated Salem State University by a score of 9-7. Sparacino hit the first home run for the Hawks since former co-Captain Dave Lostaglio on May 4, 2013. This was the first home run hit in Hawks Head Coach Matt Righter’s second season with the team. Bell went 4-for-5 at the plate with a game-high four RBIs and a pair of doubles. Last season, Bell led the Hawks in RBIs with 15. Fourth-year co-Captain Richard Guido finished 3-of-4 with four runs scored out of the leadoff spot.

The same day, the Hawks were defeated by University of Massachusetts-Boston 6-3. Hawks fourth-year pitcher Tyler Mitts started a game for the first time in his career and threw five innings, striking out three.

First-year third baseman Tom Read and third-year catcher and outfielder Taylor Anderson both hit home runs for the Hawks during their second win against the Lancaster Bible College Chargers on Thursday, March 19 in a 11-2 score. The Hawks picked up two of their three victories in the Classic against Lancaster Bible College.

To close out the Snowbird Classic, the Hawks opened up their State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) schedule with three games against No. 3 SUNY Cortland from Friday, March 20 to Saturday, March 21.

On March 20, the Hawks dropped both games of a doubleheader against the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons. In the first game, the Hawks fell 16-2. They surrendered eight runs in the first inning.

The Hawks then lost 6-1 in the second game and proceeded to suffer a 9-2 loss the following day as the Red Dragons held on for the series sweep.

Righter said roster depth and hitting approach have been strong points at this point in the season, resulting in an improved team from last season.

“The fact that we were putting up pretty good numbers hitting-wise against good teams, that’s a good sign,” Righter said. “I think that we’re just going to get better and better.”

Bell said playing against three top 25 teams in the nation in SUNY Cortland, Randolph-Macon College and Heidelberg University was a good test for the team.

“It was a great chance to see where we were at competition wise,” Bell said. “Sometimes you need to learn how to lose before you learn how to win.”

Last season, the Hawks finished with a 14-22 overall record and 6-12 tally in conference play.

This season’s roster includes 14 first-years and nine fourth-years. Righter said the team is very excited about the younger players.

“I think we have a lot of talented players there that are going to keep learning throughout this year and they’re just going to get better and better,” he said. “We’re happy to have them.”

The Hawks are next slated to host Mount Saint Mary College in a doubleheader on Saturday, March 28 on Loren Campbell Memorial Field. The first game begins at noon and the second begins at 3 p.m.

Goals for this season include making it to the playoffs, which is a realistic for the team, Righter said. The Hawks last playoff appearance was in 2013 when they were eliminated in the first round.

“That’s the biggest thing,” Righter said. “Once you make it to the playoffs, anything can go. It’s one game at a time. I’d be very disappointed if we didn’t make it to the playoffs.”

About Melissa Kramer 157 Articles
Melissa Kramer is a fourth-year journalism major who lives for sports and music.