As the weather is heating up, so too are the men of Loras College baseball, and the implementation for the team’s new motto, “75,” is finally here.
With this spring’s baseball team, “75” represents the number of miles between the conference tournament in Cedar Rapids and Loras. This simple saying of “75” is said at every practice, every workout, hung up in the Fieldhouse hitting facility, and written on the team’s practice shirts.
The women’s basketball team had a similar motto of “EIO367” meaning Excellence In the Ordinary with “367” representing the miles between Loras and the final four site at Calvin College.
“75” It is more than a motto to the baseball team.
“It’s a mentality,” according to co-team captain and junior pitcher Brad Schwind.
The motto “75” pushes the baseball team to its limits and holds the team accountable for their individual and group actions both on and off the field. While it is no secret that the baseball team struggled overall last year, this motto is meant to inspire and motivate as the Duhawks are not shying away from the challenges that lie ahead. Rather, the Duhawks hope to be a surprise and make some noise this year in the IIAC, despite their No. 6 ranking in the preseason IIAC poll.
Junior pitcher Aidan Wojciehowski professed his personal motivation and looks forward to “being the underdog.”
“It’s no surprise that we will be towards the bottom of the conference in the predicted standings. To me that adds fuel to the fire to get to where we want to be,” said Wojciehowski.
As a team there’s a different dynamic at practices this spring. No player was satisfied with how last year played out especially with a 14-24 record, so everyone is relying on each other for strength.
“In baseball especially, teammates rely very heavily on each other in order to be successful,” co-team captain and senior outfielder Tony Heiser said.“The hard work that we have all put in together allows us to be confident in stressful situations and to perform for our teammates and not ourselves.”
The missing piece last year seemed to have been a lack of accountability throughout the program. However this year, the upperclassmen, team captains and coaches have held players and themselves accountable to change the mindset surrounding the program and return to its championship-contending status.
Junior infielder Tom Greffly comments on the new mindset.
“We aren’t just teammates, we’re family.”
Last season the team overall was young. The hope and belief this year is that the team will prove themselves as contenders for the IIAC title.
“We will have a chip on our shoulders because of that (preseason prediction),” said junior Brad Schwind. “‘75’ has encouraged us to work harder than ever before. We are all looking forward to putting our offseason work to the test.”
The Duhawks took the field on the road to “75” starting last Wednesday, Feb. 22 in Iowa City against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. Despite the loss 1-8, highlights include five innings of no-hit relief by Wojciehowski and strong offensive showings by sophomores Danny Paluch and Austin Konagel.