Baseball trots forward

Cameron Arvidson (TheLorian)

As of April 2, the Duhawks baseball team stands with a 9-5 record overall, and a 6-4 record in American Rivers Conference play. Approaching the mid-point in the season, the Duhawks sit at a tie with Buena Vista University for third place in the ARC. With plenty of opportunity and a lot to prove, let’s take a look at how the team has gotten to this point and where they go from here.

Prior to conference play, the Duhawks played back-to-back weekends in Jacksonville, Illinois to get the season started. During their two trips in early March, the team took three games against Illinois College and dropped one to Augustana College. Over the four-game stint in Illinois, the team scored 30 runs while giving up 19. Overall, the Duhawks looked strong in their season debut, allowing them to bring that momentum into Conference play.

In their first Conference matchup of the year, the Duhawks absolutely torched Nebraska Wesleyan on their trip to Lincoln. Their offense was led by Luke Fennelly, dubbed “The Kid” by his teammates, who earned himself honors as both the American Rivers Conference “Player of the Week” and “Male Athlete of the Week” for his four homerun, seven RBI and .643 batting average in the series sweep of the Prairie Wolves. The Duhawks only had one game in the series where they did not score more than ten runs, proving that their offense will be their biggest driver going forward.

The team looked to bring this momentum into their following meeting against Buena Vista University, but fell short in the series going 1-3. During the series, Fennelly continued his offensive tear, which earned him honors on D3Baseball.com’s team of the week, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished by a Duhawk since 2017. Although the series didn’t go their way, the team turned in a strong performance from sophomore pitcher Matt Jeter, who threw seven innings of one-run ball in the Duhawks only win of the series.

With the future of their season uncertain, the Duhawks looked to regain their momentum in the first of two double-headers against Simpson College on April 1. In game one, junior pitchers Curtis Lilienthal and Ethan Peters did their best to secure the victory, throwing three innings each while only allowing one earned run between the two. The defense was plagued by errors and the offense was quiet compared to recent contests, which decided the game, resulting in a 4-3 victory for the Storm.

The bats woke up again for the Duhawks in game two of the series where the Duhawks emerged victorious by a score of 15-11. Luke Fennelly and Bill Luzzo lead the offense, combing for five hits, six RBI and five runs scored. Junior pitcher Owen Funke recorded the win, but it was an all-around team effort for the Duhawks to secure the second game. Coach Carl Tebon used four pitchers out of the bullpen and three players off the bench in order to scratch out the victory in an offensive battle.

Going forward, the Duhawks look to improve their record in the ARC, with tough series’ approaching in teams like Coe College and Luther College. In order to continue their winning ways, the Duhawks will need to continue their offensive tear that is being led by Luke Fennelly, Bill Luzzo, and Max Cullen. As a team, the Duhawks are hitting with a solid .321 team batting average, that will likely continue to prosper as the season goes forward. In order to solidify themselves as high-flyers in the conference, the team will need to improve upon their team ERA of 6.05, a struggle for the team up to this point. With veteran leadership on both sides of the ball, the Duhawks certainly have a chance to make a statement this year, as they were projected to finish in 8th place by ARC coaches prior to the beginning of the season.

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