The baseball team experienced highs and lows during their annual trip to Florida. The trip started off on hot streak as the team swept the Utica Pioneers in their double header, 12-2 and 14-1, respectively. The Duhawks had everything going for them during the game, but juniors Brad Schwind and Mike Muto were two players who stood out.
Schwind struck out eight and didn’t give up a run in game one of the double header. He has taken more of a leadership role this year, not only as the ace of the pitching staff, but also in his role as team captain. Concerning his lead-by- example leadership style, Schwind believes everyone on the team to be a leader in his eyes while also valuing and expecting them to hold each other accountable and push each other both on and off the field.
“My goal as a captain … is to encourage competition between our players so that when we get on the field we are ready to compete just as hard against our foes as we do to ourselves,” he said.
Similarly, junior starting catcher Mike Muto is also a driving presence on the field.
“Obviously being where I am on the field, everybody is looking at me every pitch, so I make sure my body language is (always) showing positivity,” said Muto.
The team’s positivity was tested following the double header against Utica, as it was followed by losses in a tough three games against Lawrence University, Carleton and Knox. In each game the Duhawks either had the lead or were tied at some point.
The small streak could be attributed to the inability to bring in runners; many were left stranded in need of a big hit. This coupled with a rough relief showing late in the game against Lawrence, leaving the late rally unanswered. The men then struggled once again in bringing runners home in the 2-1 loss to Carleton, ultimately leaving the tying run stranded in scoring position.
Facing Knox next, the Duhawks didn’t show up until the eighth inning via the combined effort of Muto and sophomore Danny Paluch, both tallying RBIs.
Things then clicked with the team as the Duhawks flew head on into the final doubleheader of the Florida trip. Overtaking Hope 3-2 and 11-5, the team was able to end on a high note which featured a strong offensive showing by junior Danny Weiss and sophomore Austin Konagel.
Currently sitting at .500, the Duhawks hope to bring this offensive strength to Indianola on Friday as they take on the Simpson Storm. Junior pitcher Nick Spiess pegs it to mental strength:
“Just stay positive. You can’t get too high or too low in this game.”
The Duhawks play their home games at Petrakis Park, which is located within McAleece Park in Dubuque.