The men’s baseball team, currently at 8-10, brought home a W in their most recent finale to a four-game series against the Luther Norse this past weekend, April 9 and 10.
The baseball team has had their hands full since spring break, when the Duhawks went 4-2 at the Russmatt Central Florida Invitational.
“We play a lot of games in a short amount of time,” said head coach Carl Tebon. “We get to know more about the team, and it really sets us up for our conference season.”
With the team back in Iowa and trying to kick back in gear after a long break, the Duhawks fell to the Buena Vista Beavers in two doubleheader matchups on April 2 and 3 in Storm Lake. The Duhawks did, however, welcome senior Kyle Hoffman back to the mound after two years as a relief to starter Alex Steines in the opener of the four game series.
Anxious to be back on their home turf, the men spent this weekend battling Luther. With the teams in the conference fairly well matched, the Duhawks have to grind out every hit and make each play count. Against Luther, they relied on their offensive zest coming from three key players. Senior Lucas Jacque hit a game-winning homer, junior Tony Heiser hit some key RBIs in the bottom of the 7th of their last game on Saturday, and Tommy Johnson went 6-6 that same day.
“We are getting the opportunities. When you don’t have guys on base, that’s when you have to worry, but when you get them on base, now it’s just getting them in,” said Tebon. “When we’re hitting as a team, hitting is contagious.”
The offensive success rolled over into Sunday afternoon’s game, where the Duhawks were able to claim victory 10-5. With their hitting still contagious, sophomore Ryan Koester followed upperclassmen teammates Tony Heiser and Patrick Walsh around the bases with a hit sailing over the wall, tying the game 3-3 in the third. Strong defensive plays and key hits against a rotating Luther bullpen rewarded relief pitcher Robert Hovey with the win after a strong showing by fellow sophomore Patrick Moriarty.
“We have some young guys playing some big roles,” said Tebon, but that doesn’t discourage them from taking on the rest of the season.
Many of the teams in the IIAC conference are very close in skill and number, which brings it down to “who shows up and who plays well.”
With a little over four weeks to go in the season, the team is looking forward to the close matchups ahead with one thing in mind: a short memory.
“You gotta have a short memory; there’s too many moments and too many opportunities where you can be a hero at one at bat and you can be a goat at the next.”