The Duhawks, standing at 12-18 for the season, went 4-2 in their last six games after splitting two games with the UD Spartans on Tuesday, April 19, and taking the Simpson Storm 3-1 this last weekend, April 22 and 23.
“We had one (bad) inning against UD and one inning against Simpson,” said head coach Carl Tebon. “It was the difference in winning six straight versus having four wins this week.”
The Duhawks claimed the first game 4-3 against the Spartans, earning senior Patrick Walsh his third win of the season and relief pitcher senior Alex Steines his first save. Success on the mound coupled with success from the plate by four key Duhawks that each claimed multiple hits: first-years Danny Paluch and Austin Konagel, junior Nolan Ritter, and senior Lucas Jacque.
“It’s good to see young guys step up because we are a very young team,” said Tebon. “You gotta have kids like that, stepping up and getting used to playing at that level; it was definitely good to see.”
Game two had a similar start; the Duhawks led until the eighth inning where they lost the 4-2 lead, giving up six runs in the final two innings of the game, losing 8-4.
Satisfied with the split, however, the men then turned their attention to the Storm on Friday afternoon in Indianola. Claiming victory 6-1 and 11-2, the Duhawks were strong at the plate in both games of the doubleheader, backed by no earned runs from Steines on the mound in the first game.
“I think that it’s a little bit easier for pitchers when you’re scoring runs for them,” said Tebon. “It means less stressful innings, and we’re not bearing down every inning, but we had some great starts this weekend, and we’re definitely gonna need that this weekend coming up for sure.”
Sophomore pitchers Patrick Moriarty and Robert Hovey tag-teamed game two, Moriarty with his start of his career, throwing four clean innings. Konagel continued his strong offensive streak, sparking a Duhawk rally at the top of the seventh in game one and going 3-4 in game two, raising his overall conference average to .385.
“It was a good weekend, but it could’ve been a great weekend,” said Tebon. “They have it in them. It’s just getting it out of them consistently in big situations where we have to get more tough.”
With eight games left in conference play while sitting in the seventh seed, the Duhawks are excited for the battle for the 1-6 tournament spots. Up next for the men is a tough pitching staff from the Wartburg Knights this coming weekend, April 29 and 30 in Waverly.